Whether it’s your first 26th of January down under or you’re an old hand at celebrating Australia’s national day, we share some ideas for immersing yourself in the cultural experience that is Australia Day.
The 26th of January marks the anniversary of the First Fleet of British ships’ 1788 arrival at Port Jackson in NSW. However, the meaning and significance of the day have evolved over time.
There is a history of considerable controversy surrounding the date and nature of celebrations and Australia Day’s links to the effect of British settlement on indigenous Australians.
Modern celebrations focus on celebrating what’s great about Australia and feature outdoor events, concerts, festivals, sports competitions, parties, BBQs and fireworks.
Official celebrations include citizenship ceremonies and the presentation of awards like Australian of the Year and the Order of Australia.
The city – The Rocks in Sydney is pretty special on Australia Day, thanks to the area’s rich history, excellent free entertainment and a buzzing energy. But every city has its own celebrations, so check the National Australia Day Council website for events near you.
The beach – play cricket or volleyball on the sand, jump in the water to cool off, or take a nap in a deckchair. Bring your own shade in the form of a large beach umbrella or gazebo to avoid sunburn, glare-induced headaches or sunstroke.
The park – pack a picnic, organise a game of touch football or soccer, or just relax under a tree with a good book. Look for a park with tables and benches or invest in a nice big picnic blanket to make sure everyone’s comfortable and be prepared to fight the ants, flies and mosquitoes that will want to join the festivities.
Or best of all, have a BBQ at your place!
You can’t beat the classic Australia Day uniform of singlet (tank top), shorts and thongs (flip flops), for both men and women. Odds are it’ll be hot, so stay away from stifling clothing and dark colours, opting for green and gold instead.
If green and yellow just aren’t your colours, fear not. Anything blue, white or red, preferably all three at once, is great too. And of course the Aussie flag, in the form of T-shirts, hats, temporary tattoos or anything else you can find, is the perfect accessory.
Top tip: Your local discount store will have an array of affordable Australia Day garb.
Listening to Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown on Australia Day is an enduring tradition in many families. Every year, national radio station Triple J polls its listeners to determine their favourite song of the year. The 100 most popular songs are then counted down on or around the 26th of January.
Now here’s a type of music you may not be familiar with – Australiana. It’s a broad genre that aims to capture the essence of Australian life and spans folk, country, traditional ballads and pop, with a generous helping of cheese. Add these classic tunes to your Australia Day playlist:
The warm weather in January means salads, seafood and lots of meat are the order of the day. Beef and lamb are traditional favourites and anything in sausage, patty (burger) or skewer form is ideal for the BBQ grill. Try this recipe for spiced BBQ lamb cutlets from taste.com.au.
If you’re a vegetarian, don’t let that stop you BBQing up a storm with haloumi, falafel, marinated tofu, lentil patties, vegies like eggplant, capsicum and zucchini or anything you can think of. Surely everything tastes better chargrilled?
There’s only one way to find out!