|Paying homage to our heritage on our |
So as I sit here on this balmy public holiday dedicated to celebrating all things Aussie, I’ve got to thinking, what is it exactly that makes me so proud, so humbled, to bear the emu and kangaroo emblem on my passport?
For me, it took a stint of living outside our Garden of Eden that is Australia, and some vast travels abroad to truly appreciate the beautiful backyard we lay claim to. 18 months based London and backpacking through Europe, experiencing how other cultures exist made me acutely aware I was blessed to hail from a whole other world. Indeed, so many people would ask, in the depths of the depressing London winter “Why on Earth are you living here when you come from Australia??!!” And the answer was always the same. It’s not forever – I knew I could go home to my piece of paradise in Oz any time I wanted. Basically, the joke was on English aristocracy – sending out the great unsavoury elements of society on a flotilla of boats as punishment for feeding their hungry family… Looks like we got the last laugh that time Poms!
|I blame the Heathrow Injection for the |
double chins. The silly hat however was all me
I’ll never forget the night we too got our own back, freezing our butts off at JJB Stadium, Wigan, watching Australia smash the Brits in the final match of the 2001 Rugby League Test Match Series. After being vastly outnumbered and enduring a barrage of unfriendly banter from the locals, flatteringly labelling us criminals and demanding we set sail for home, my flatmate Chris finally stood tall and garnered the rowdy crowd’s attention with one simple statement: “Well at least we only had to steal a loaf of bread to get out of this shithole country.” And... silence. Enough Said.
|You can probably guess which one is flatmate |
Chris, he is the quick wit
Some of the other factors that fostered this appreciation for Australia, whilst o/s was the drunken dancing and singing loud and proud to Men At Work’s “unofficial” Aussie Anthem Land Down Under, or standing in awe at the paradoxically serene ANZAC Cove, tears of pride streaming down my face as we stood shoulder to shoulder in silence listening to the wails of The Last Post play. Or perhaps it was upon my return, and the plane winged its way over the stunning Sydney Harbour and I involuntarily gasped at the spectacular beauty of it all, as if seeing it for the very first time that combined to make me one helluva proud Australian.
From every compass point this Great Southern Land offers up Mother Nature’s gems, be it the majestic Twelve Apostles, the picture perfect Whitehaven Beach, or even the simple ones, the precious ones to me, like the sprawling, stunning view of the Pacific Ocean from Sawtell Headland, or just lazing about at Park Beach, in Coffs Harbour. Even the breathtaking panorama from my parent’s front balcony, watching the sun creep out from the horizon, lush rainforest at my back and the sparkling sea winking at my front failed to entice me until it was no longer my ever present backdrop of my world.
I’m patriotic and unashamedly so. We live in a land overflowing with liberties, love and laughter and have a history that is peppered with heroism. Gallipoli, whilst a devastating example of war, gave this country its first taste of courage and determination and 96 years on we are still heralding the bravery in battle of these valiant men. And thanks to their valor, we are free, we are fun, we are fearless. We are Aussies! And we inhabit the best damn country in the whole wide world.
|A place for giving heartfelt thanks, ANZAC COVE|
Of course, the recent Aussie Oprah-ganza has done much to refuel this fire of nationalism. Witnessing the jewel that is Oz through the eyes of the 145million others almost makes you want to pass out with a patriotism overdose. The chorus line of Aussies singing the definitive, emotive closing number, left me, heart swelling and tears welling and truly defines the way I feel today about this Land Down Under that we can luckily call home.
I Am. You Are. We Are Australian….