This is how my family and I chose to spend Australia day, and the significance the day has for me.
What I did:
My family and I spent time together, which for me is a great joy. Our family had a b-b-q in the back yard which is a really Aussie thing to do in my book. The meal was washed down with the odd glass of wine or beer and my sons provided the entertainment.
Lucas and Brett started telling stories of their adventures as teenagers. Any parent will tell you that you often learn things you never knew before, at times like these. Needless to say, it was a very interesting afternoon listening to all things they used to get up to – the good, the bad – and the downright ugly!!. This was all punctuated with side-splitting laughter and there is truly nothing better than a good belly laugh. Even my father and mother-in-law joined in telling tales about the things my husband, Terry, used to get up to. My grandchildren, Charlotte and Cooper had a fantastic time in the little pool – jumping around and splashing the dogs whilst Terry did Poppy watch duty.
My daughter-in-law, Alisha, and Brett’s girlfriend Courtney, helped in the kitchen and all in all we had a wonderful time. Later that night after every one had left for the night and just as the cricket was finishing, the Tamworth fireworks went off, so Terry and I watched them before going to bed – they were stunning. What a perfect day.
What I Think About Australia Day:
On Australia Day morning I read an article in the paper which was about what a celebrity thought about what Australia Day meant to her. Jane Caro thought that most Australians took pride in being Australian when, in fact, it was freak of birth. She went on, very nicely, to point out that the people who could take pride in Australia were those who had either chosen that nationality for themselves, or who had achieved something for, and on behalf of Australia. These people, she thought, could truly take pride in being Australian. Jane thought that the rest of the population could claim to being grateful for being Australian, and explained at some length, the difference between gratitude and pride.
The article provoked me into thinking about Australia day more than I ever had before. I agree, and disagree with her. I have never done a thing that could be considered of national importance but I feel like I contribute to my community every day in the work that I do. I do the best I can to provide a service to the public, even though there may be the odd day when I don’t do as well as I should. I also try to be helpful to my fellow-man when the opportunity arises – cooking for the dear old soul that lives across the road or providing help to my in-laws with transport, shopping and medical appointments. I don’t think that these are things to be proud of, but more they are something that I can take pride in making an attempt to do.
I must say that I am grateful, every day, for the wonderful Aussie life I have, the freedom of choice in all things, the choices that living in this abundant country affords me. I am currently on holidays in Sawtell and this morning I walked along the beach, smelled the salt air, felt the ocean breeze and marvelled at Australia’s beauty, and just fleetingly I thought of the poor souls in other parts of the world that were cowering in a small room listening to gunfire and wondering if they would live through the next 5 minutes.
I am very, very grateful for my accident of birth. Australia truly is a lucky country and I am proud to take a part in her making.
Julie Preston nee: Di Saliva