I’m delighted to be part of the Book’d Out Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop celebrating Australian Writers and stories. I’m giving away a copy of NORTHERN HEAT and a matching book beanbag – the perfect place to rest your book or your e-reader when you’re snuggled up reading! I’m also giving away a copy of The Outback Heart, by Fiona Palmer, one of my favourite Australian Rural Romance authors. The giveaway is only open to Australian Residents. Stop by the other blogs on the tour to win some other fabulous prizes.
Do you join in Australia Day celebrations and stick Aussie flags on your car/boat/caravan? Do you succumb to the Australian Meat and Livestock advertisement and put lamb on the bbq or are you more a reef and beef fan? Do you take the time to remember why we celebrate Australia Day on the 26th January?
Having cruised down the Queensland coast and into Sydney Harbour this year I have a slightly different take on Australia Day and the history of the celebrations.
Over the last six months we’ve visited islands, bays and rivers that were named by the British Explorers in the 1700s and 1800s. We’ve learnt more about the local Aboriginal tribes and their deep connection with their land. Some of these tribes waged successful guerrilla warfare against the newcomers, including capturing sailing vessels and exacting revenge for the murders of their families. But I also have a better understanding of the hardships faced by the colonists. Names like Cape Tribulation and Shoalwater Bay are reminders that they too were just men, and occasionally women, doing their jobs in extreme conditions.
It’s easy to cast them as villians without remembering that many of the early explorers had no choice in the tasks they’d been assigned and they were literally in uncharted waters. Australia’s coastline is not hospitable – I know first hand now! Rocky shores, pounding surf breaks, strong currents, large tidal ranges and river entrances clogged with shifting sands made life difficult. The Great Barrier Reef was treacherous for vessels trying to navigate their way through the maze of coral bommies and reefs. There are over thirty wrecks of historical significance scattered along its length. Captain Cook escaped sinking by the narrowest of margins on Endeavour Reef south of Cooktown. The English had no easy ride claiming Terra Australis for a new settlement.
The cultural richness of modern day Australia owes everything to the subsequent waves of migration. If food is a measure of how a country embraces different nationalities then Australia is doing okay. In the month that we’ve been moored in Rozelle in Sydney we’ve walked past Greek, Thai, Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, French, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Persian Restaurants, and Australian Pubs selling steaks and meat pies.
This year on Australia Day I’ll raise a glass of Barossa wine to honour past generations, whatever their birthplace. I hope that Australia can continue to be an open and welcoming country, always mindful that we are fortunate in so many ways. So many people from all walks of life and many different countries have helped to build this wonderful nation.
What are your plans for the day? Picnic, barbecue, or quiet day at home? Do you have a family tradition?
To go into the prize draw leave a comment on the blog or visit my author page on Face Book.
Don’t forget to check out the other blogs at Book’d Out to go into the running for more great prizes!!