citizens of New Holland united

Australia Day 2013

Today we are celebrating Australia Day, though some indigenous people refer to it as Invasion Day, or a Day of Mourning. As I write this there are  flooding rains in the north of our country, raging bush fires in the south and pouring rain over The Flamingo Nest on the Hill. It is just over two years since the devastating floods that claimed the lives of so many victims, including my cousin whose body has never been found and many people still carry the scars and traumas of those days. The saying goes that every drought is ended by a flood. Now it seems that every flood is followed by a fire.

A woman, Ita Buttrose who has been a major player in Australian media for many years has been named Australian of the Year. I have to admit I feel that it was a safe and unimaginative choice for an election year. I personally was more excited about Akram Azimi‘s award for Young Australian of the Year, who by coincidence (?) lives by the maxim that I do and that is to treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.  It may not always work in your favour, but at least you sleep at night. (Except for the stick list, but that is a whole different matter and not to be discussed today – maybe)

Australia is a large land, a land of contrasts, a land that can be beautiful and at the same time deadly. We are fortunate in that we have the benefit of great abundance of many things, but we are constantly reminded by events naturally and human caused that we need to value and sustain those gifts.

We are a land largely free of civil and political unrest, our diverse cultural mix manages cohesion most of the time, we have managed to separate church and state in recent times, and though we moan and groan about our political leaders they are a fairly benign group as a whole.

Many years ago we gave ourselves the badge of “The Lucky Country” and I think we can still wear that with pride. I am not claiming that we are better than other nations, but we are lucky in that by happen stance many of us were granted the gift of being born here, and many have been gifted the opportunity to live here.

No one has to fear a knock at the door, or going to the market for bread. We care for our less fortunate, though it can be well argued, not well enough. We have the freedom to go where we may, and to share discourses denied many other individuals.

We may not be sizzling the steak and sausages outside quite as much this year, due to rain and fire, but we can still all pause and be grateful for what we do have and why we have those freedoms and gifts.

Happy Australia Day!

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10 thoughts on “citizens of New Holland united

  1. OMG I love that poster. Australians have such a great sense of humor.

    I really sorry to hear about your cousin. It must’ve been terrifying when the wall of water hit their house and the baby was sucked out of her mother’s arms like that. So awfully sad that the body was never found. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

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  2. I know this might be a scary prospect for you FD, but I was thinking along very similar lines early today as I was sitting under tent in pouring rain at a local market.
    Ita Buttrose is an admirable woman and a great achiever, but surely there is someone else out there who might inspire newer generations. (Now I’ll go and read about Akram)
    When I look around the world we do indeed have so much to be thankful for, but I think that thankfulness should be expressed in more meaningful ways than just getting crissed as a picket at the local boozer and being draped in an Australian flag. Maybe we just don’t have meaningful celebrations up this way which encourage reflection and appreciation.

    Hope you are spared flooding rains from the remnants of Oswald or whoever he is moving down in your direction.

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    • Great minds do think alike, after all! What passes for culture on Australia Day is rather disappointing. I think the inflatable thongs are a new low this year, but at least no can beat anyone to death with one!

      Getting pretty soggy, and expected to get heavier overnight, but the coast is going to get the worst I think.

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  3. Yes, I’ll always be glad I was born here, and that my ancestors had the good sense to migrate, both forced and unforced… something to do with stealing an anchor I believe.

    I suppose if conferring awards on each other and having barbecues floats some peoples’ boats, then good luck to them.

    Let’s hope we never see floods like those again. 90mm here and still raining.

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  4. Happy Australia Day! I’m hoping that the flooding and the fires are stopped this time around without so much devastation. I’ve never been to Aus, and I think it’s unlikely that I will ever get there, but I always feel a connection- mostly because they have done some great things with Hand Hygiene in the hospitals, that I use in my hospital.!

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    • When we enter my mother’s care facility we have to use the disinfectant dispensers at the front door, and then we are asked to do the same when leaving. Same in all our hospitals now too. Doctors are asked not to wear ties I believe as well. I was impressed!

      Still raining and places further north have had tornadoes as well, which is not a regular thing for us.

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