Australia Day Celebrations
Its a Wide, Brown Land
This has been an amazing week, leading up to Australia Day, 26th January, 2011.
First there was the visit by Oprah, the American talk show hostess, who fell in love with a country she has probably barely heard about before, She and her entire audience of over 300 toured the country and were treated like royalty. The crowds poured out wherever she went. The flags flew and the big O was seen on the harbour bridge during a fireworks display.
She made 4 shows while she was here and they were featured on TV during the past week. Her promotion and passion for a country many Americans have probably never known anything about brought a real sense of pride within us. Then on the night of the last show, last Sunday, the movie Australia was shown. It was an overwhelming night and I am still feeling the emotion we all experienced.
So what is Australia Day? Let's talk about it here.
Its a Strange Land
It's not until you get into the heart of Australia that you realise how wonderful, how vast, and how brown this country truly is. Hot, dusty, flies, fear, crocodiles, hundreds of miles from anywhere and the western powers reached in and stole a whole generation of indigenous half breeds.
The film, Australia, brings to mind what that time was like. How English aristocracy claimed to own most of the top end and made a fortune from the people they dominated and treated as slaves. That is the theme of this movie and it is extremely moving, more so because it is performed by Australian actors who have the passion and knowledge to portray it as it truly is.
Leaving the film aside this discussion on a land that many may never get to visit personally is designed to bring some awareness about what a great place Australia truly is. It beats every country in the world for its life style, generosity and talent.
When one talks about Australia there are things that bring passion right to the top of the list and one of these is a poem, My Country, written by Dorothea.
Wikipedia notes of her: "Her best-known poem is My Country, written at age 19 while homesick in England, and first published in the London Spectator in 1908 under the title Core of My Heart. The second stanza of this poem is amongst the most well-known in Australia." The image of her is open source from Wikipedia.
The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!
The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.
Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.
Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.
An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.
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How Much Do You Know About Australia
Is it a place you want to visit?
Still Call Australia Home
Many Aussies have gone overseas to make a name for themselves as not many would give us a chance otherwise. Peter Allen was one who went to America and married Lisa Monelli, daughter of Judy Garland. He returned to Australia from time to time and among his legacies he left us some great songs, one if these is now an iconic great, I Still Call Australia Home,
That's the thing about aussies overseas they cannot get the flavour, the smell of the eucalypt, the quietness of the bush and the sounds of the birds anywhere else in the world. Their heart aches for that something special which draws them back again and again,
Peter Allen came back with throat cancer that killed him. If ever there was a hero among our talent it has to be him. Thank you Peter.
Wikipedia notes: "Peter Allen was born Peter Richard Woolnough in Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia. He was the grandson of George Woolnough, whom Allen immortalized in his song "Tenterfield Saddler". Allen began his performing career with Chris Bell as one of the "Allen Brothers", who were a popular cabaret and television act in the early 1960s in Australia. Mark Herron, the husband of Judy Garland, discovered Allen while he was performing in Hong Kong. He was invited to return with them to London and the United States, where he performed with Garland."
Peter and Olivier Newton John
Do You Follow Australian Artists Overseas
Do you think Australia produces great artists
Taking The Oath
Australia Day is when a lot of New Australians are given their citizenship. They become part of the nation and hopefully part of the cuture. We take people from all over the world into a multi-cultural society and they enrich it with their unique foods, talents, way of life and so on, They might learn from us but we also learn from them
During the day there are a lot of concerts and celebrations going on around the nation. One of the features of the day are the Australians of the Year who are nominated from each state and territory and from them comes one as the main selection for the title. This year it is Simon McKeown, an ex banker and now a philanthropist. But we also have the junior title, won this year by Jessica Watson, and a senior title now Prof. Ron McCallum.
Now we don't go in much for titles and everyone is equal here, although some might think they are better than others. But the tall poppies are soon brought to earth by little folk who do just as well, perform sometimes a lot better and are respected a whole lot more.
Money is not the big issues among us but just living life as it was intended, Doing your job, sharing with others, looking after mates, and being there when needed. That's the spirit of Australia and we do embrace people who want to be included in our land.
Does Multi-culturalism work for us
Do you think different races, creeds and colours can live in harmony
Is This a Great Country
Have you learned something here about Australia
Kevin Rudd's Apology to Stolen Generation
We could not leave this story without a look at our first Australians. They were here, lived, migrated around it and looked after the land for hundreds of thousands of years.
They had no police, no laws, no money, no calendars, no written religion, no doctors, no knowledge of the economy, of stocks and shares, of living in cities, of building houses, of educating children, nor of all the other things that westerners take for granted. So the first settlers looked on them as ignorant 'blacks' who were there to be eradicated or, at best, driven out.
Today we almost worship their talents, their lands, their abilities and even their culture. Today it is a different story and Australia Day ceremonies now begin with a smoking ceremony and welcome to country. Even pariament now opens with such a ceremony.
These people have taught white man a lot. Including such things as tolerance, racial acceptance, and most of all how to appreciate the country we all now share.
Welcome to Country Smoking Ceremony
After Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, apologised to the stolen generation in 2008, amid tears from all in the audience and many at home, including me, he awarded them the right to hold this ceremony before the opening of parliament. We cannot ignore the roots of this country nor the people whose lives are bound to them. We cannot ignore the feelings and hopes they have for a better future. We cannot ignore the fact that they owned the land before anyone arrived from white man's counties.
Please scribe a comment on your feelings on Australia. Thank you
© 2011 norma-holt