Sunday, January 27, 2008


Ah, Australia Day. The sun is shining, the sea is glittering, tourists are smeared with white zinc cream across tanned noses, houses sport the Aussie flag, Haydos scored a ton in the cricket and the scent of barbeque is in the air.

Fifteen thousand became Australian in citizenship ceremonies across the endless summer lands, beer flowed, parties enjoyed and fireworks set off. The top gong - Australian of the Year - went to Lee Kernaghan for his charity work, rather than his contribution to country music - though that's what most Australians know him for.

Young Australian of the Year is Moto GP Champion, Casey Stoner. Of course, we Aussies love our sporting heroes.

Yeah, I know: Australia Day was yesterday, but I had some emergency baby-sitting to attend to and didn't get time to post this.

Still, it was a majestic day with the ferry races on Sydney Harbour and masses of people out and about wearing the flag or showing the flag from car aerials.

It's been 220 years since Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet these shores at Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour to establish a penal colony, 107 years since the Federation of the states and it's also the 200th anniversary of the so-called Rum Rebellion where soldiers detained Governor William Bligh - yes, that Bligh - because he was too harsh and wanted to run New South Wales as a Penal Colony - what it was set up for - and to restore discipline. All Bligh sought to do, in both mutinies, was his duty.

Major George Johnston, commander of the Sydney Garrison, removed Bligh to resolve the crisis in administration and to preserve public order. He was the first to remove a Governor, a situation which arose two more times in our history. At Johnston's court martial, he was sentenced to leaving the army - a punishment seen as tacit approval for his actions.

So. A-day. Yay Us!

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