Monday, January 26, 2009

Australia Day 2009

The tradition of noticing 26 January began early in the nineteenth century with Sydney almanacs referring to First Landing Day or Foundation Day. That was the day in 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the First Fleet of eleven convict ships from Great Britain and the first governor of New South Wales, arrived at Sydney Cove. The raising of the Union Jack there symbolised British occupation of the eastern half of the continent claimed by Captain James Cook on 22 August in 1770.
Then, in 1818, Governor Lachlan Macquarie, made the thirtieth anniversary of the day a public holiday, thirty guns counting out the years of British civilization, a tradition Macquarie's successors continued.

In 1837 the celebration widened with the first Sydney Regatta, the beginning of a new tradition — one which still continues today. Five kinds of races, including one for whale boats, drew crowds to the shore of Sydney Harbour.

Representatives of the Australian sister colonies, five in number, went to Sydney to celebrate with New South Wales in 1888, the centenary. New Zealanders were also there. Victoria had separated from New South Wales in 1851, and Queensland in 1859. (In 1863 control of the Northern Territory passed from New South Wales to South Australia.) Only Western Australia was not self-governing by 1888, having a smaller population and developing more slowly, even after taking convicts between 1850 and 1868. Essentially transportation to New South Wales had ended in 1840. Van Diemen's Land, with self-government by 1856, had gained a new name, Tasmania, having ended transportation a few years before.

Celebrations surrounding the inauguration of the new Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January in Sydney and at the opening of its first Federal Parliament on 9 May in Melbourne overshadowed Anniversary Day in 1901. Federation had been a remarkable political achievement.

On Australia Day 1988 Sydney Harbour, that 'chief amphitheatre of Australian life', was again the centre of attention. This time the extraordinary spectacle attracting some two million people to its shores was the arrival of Tall Ships from around the world and the First Fleet re-enactment.

We will celebrate with our "tradition" street cricket match and barbeque ... cheers mate!

Information from Celebrating Australia: A History of Australia Day essay - Dr Elizabeth Kwan

Monday, January 12, 2009

Warning for all young drivers … but will they ever listen?

An article in our local newspaper over the weekend caught my eye.,22049,24875701-5001030,00.html

I read it with interest, including some of the comments on the blog highlighted in the middle section, and then began to think about it …

How do the people working close to the coalface of road safety get their message through to those who are scoring up high in our road statistics lists? Can anyone get through to them?

Or do we just have to wait for the theory of survival of the fittest to filter through the idiots and we will, hopefully, be left with some with brains to continue the generations.

It is just tough to think that there are going to be lots of innocent people along the way who will suffer unnecessarily, but that was going to happen anyway I guess.

Cynical? Yep, I freely admit that.

An answer to the problem? Hmm … difficult really; and I guess if it had been easy, there wouldn’t be the enormous problem, would there? Someone would have worked it out already!

However, I will go right out on the limb and say that I think that it is us who have to take a certain amount of responsibility for it. Yep us … you know, me and you, not the other guy who is not in our backyard.

Why? Maybe we needed to be a bit tougher training our kids. Maybe we needed to not give them everything “we didn’t have” and let them work for it, like our parents let us do.

There is also the issue of the cars now … a heck of a lot faster and more powerful than they were a while ago. They go just as fast in younger, inexperienced hands too. And it is not the speed that usually does the damage, it’s the sudden stop.

Well, anyway I hope the one young driver mentioned in the article takes hold, with both hands, of the chance he has been given, and makes use of it. Otherwise, he or one of his mates will soon add to this year’s statistics.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! 2009 is going to be tough

The Prime Minister said to enjoy New Year's Eve, because 2009 is going to be tough.

Ah well! That can often be the case when those who have enjoyed themselves a little too much try to open their eyes and lift their heads!

A couple of bits of humour and the seemingly obligatory fireworks to bear us up.

Let's be positive and 2009 will be OK ... more about that later ... nothing too heavy now.

And please, don't drink and drive ... walk home like Marmaduke or get a tow, ie a sober driver ... don't add to that statistic.

Happy New Year everyone!

( Brad Anderson & Parker and Hart)