Posts Tagged ‘Federation’

Too many Sundays.

January 25, 2015


Just when I thought life had gone back to normal another public holiday is looming. Australia day. It will be Sunday again tomorrow. Even though shops might be open, public holidays in small towns are redolent of scratching dogs and empty footpaths, bar for some, who like us are in search of life and joyful company. We keep wandering.

I know tomorrow will be a celebration of Australia. The TV has been full of Ads urging us to search deep within ourselves to find an original reason to celebrate again our glorious abode of Australia and what it means to live in Australia. ‘Go on’ the TV man urges, what do you think is special about Australia? And an image is shown of a man lying in the grass with a map of lollies in the shape of Australia on his round pale stomach. Yuk. He then starts to slowly eat a lolly at a time.

Even the brilliance of TV advertisements gurus could not think of a more suitable image. So what hope have le peuple got? On ABC TV today there was an hour long program on Australia with the theme of ‘Girt by Sea’. It was a potpourri showing endless waves and miles of footage with surf board riders. A relentless army of sun and coconut oiled bodies sweating themselves into future melanomas. As the movie went though the history of Australian surf, surf board riders, surf life savers, and sun baking; it clearly showed that lying in the sun seemed to have reached its peak some years ago. Younger up-and-coming surf riders now wear full body suits and sunbaking has lost some of its much vaunted popularity. Many now wisely seek shade and cover of trees.



There will be the usual cars with tooting horns going around with little Federation flags stuck outside the car window. The occupants shouting Aussie Aussie, oi, oi, oi and I’ll smile back good humouredly but without too much conviction. I find all that conventional patriotism a bit silly and should really give them the two fingers salute. I am getting a bit old for a punch up though. It reminds me when I stood up for an elderly lady whose intended parking spot at Woollies Super Market was taken by some hood who quickly put his car in her spot, grinning stupidly. You’re a real bastard, I stated firmly and without flinching. He came to punch me and with his steely determination too. His girl friend with a serpent tattoo got out of the car, and said…(get a bit closer now, dear readers)…”Leave him alone, HE IS JUST AN OLD MAN”. And this was years ago before we moved to the farm in 1996. Geez, the hurt and humiliation still bites. I was old before middle age.

As for Australia day. Here is a poem that says it so much better than all that flag waving;
Dorothy Mackellar.
“The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.”

Dorothea Mackellar