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Australia Day

26th January 2007

To get a native's perspective on Australia, there's no better occasion than Australia Day. Falling on January 26, it's the country's most important public holiday and biggest day of celebration.

January 26, 1788 marks the date that Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales (home of present-day Sydney) and became its first Governor. Over the years, the "anniversary of the foundation of the colony" has been observed in the traditional manner with "drinking and merriment". To this day, Aussies still know how to celebrate.

There are also those that prefer not to celebrate Australia day as a nationalist holiday. For those Australians, it's simply a good day for a barbie. Food, drinks and friends, all day long.

To give you an idea of what's happening this year, let's look to Australia's biggest city, Sydney. Each year, Australia Day begins with the Woggan-ma-gule Morning Ceremony. Performed in the Royal Botanic Gardens, sacred country of the indigenous Gadigal people, the ceremony honours the past and celebrates the future inclusion of all Australians.

In Syndey Harbor, the main attraction is the Surfboard Challenge. Paddlers of every kind: men, women, pros and amateurs alike race across the harbor as a mass of spectators watch in anticipation.

In Melbourne, you can expect alot of the same, including races, concerts, picnics, art exhibits, festivals, theatre, and fireworks.

So pop over and throw a few snags & chops on the barbie, knock a few coldies down, bring the softies for the ankle bitters, blonk your butt and have a natter, it will be a ripper of a day....

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