Australia Day/Invasion Day

This is my first time being in Australia for Australia Day. It’s a celebration of the landing of the First Fleet - the first British convicts who came here to build the colony. Aboriginals refer to it as Invasion Day. It feels a bit weird to celebrate something that was the start of one culture and the demise of another.

The celebrations have also been strange. In the morning Johnson, Oleg and I went and watched the annual ferry race, where they race four of the small commuter ferries from Circular Quay, around one of the islands, and then under the bridge. Slowest. Race. Ever. Other than maybe tortoise racing. We watched it from the Harbour Bridge, which I hadn’t walked on yet so that was cool, and the four racing ferries were decorated and then trailed by a whole host of other boats wanting a close-up view.

During the day there were buskers, and live music venues, street food (sausage sizzles are quite popular), a display of classic cars (the quantity of them was a bit more impressive than the quality). We hung out in Hyde Park, and listened to music in the afternoon. Went back to Oleg’s apartment for dinner, then watched the Darling Harbour fireworks from the Google Sydney office.

I don’t think I mentioned this before, so side story: I went to Google for lunch with Oleg a few weeks back, and it was amazing! Everything I’d ever dreamed! Chefs on 2 floors, a kitchen stocked with food and drinks all day, people playing Guitar Hero, Halo, and ping pong. Tables full of Nerf guns. Extravagant office decorations. It was awesome!

So we went to Google to watch the fireworks - 18th floor of the IBM tower, overlooking Darling Harbour. We ate free Google M&Ms, and drank free Google fancy juices, and watched an amazing display of lights and explosives at eye-level. It started with a string of white sailboats, their masts illuminated different, changing colours, that sailed in a ring around the harbour. Then a tall ship lit up with Christmas lights, and light flooded a choir that was singing something (maybe the national anthem?), and it sailed around the harbour and docked, I guess in a re-enactment of the First Fleet landing. And then the fireworks started. They LOVE fireworks in Sydney, and use any excuse to set them off, even if it’s a free viewing of the Nutcracker outside the Opera House, or the finals of Australian Idol. As a result, they’re really good at putting on a fantastic show. Every time seems to get better. And this time the view was just spectacular.

Yesterday I went to the beach, watched Darjeeling Ltd, and then watched the men’s finals of the Australian Open. Today we’re doing a BBQ. All in all, it’s been a great weekend.

2 Responses to “Australia Day/Invasion Day”

  1. Laura Says:

    Yesterday was a widely celebrated Aussie day at Whistler too… There were lots of people dressed in yellow (which, frankly, I don’t understand), and my Australian ski instructor for the day celebrated by teaching all day and then working a double shift at a bar. Whee!

  2. the Mum Says:

    Wow! I think I better check out Google here in Waterloo!

Leave a Reply