The country’s favourite public holiday, kind of like a Christmas Day and the Melbourne Cup all rolled into one. Although I’ve had a few of them I still have a David Attenborough like fascination for what goes on.
Beach parties, street parties, barbecues, picnics, and water slide parties. The national flag becomes as ubiquitous as fruit flies. From car flags to sun hats, headbands, tattoos, bikinis, nappies, beach towels, windscreen wipers and condoms.
Celebrating national pride in such a confident way is as foreign to me as dancing live on stage at a Beyonce concert. For kiwis and Brits, it’s just not what we do.
But watching Australians celebrate their country is bloody brilliant. And what better place to observe than the epicenter of Australian suburban beach culture, Cronulla.
Yes, it might be a little controversial. It does have a bit of baggage around Australia Day thanks to 2005 race riots, but this year the beach was full of nothing but blue and red-flagged abiding citizens (helped out by a lot of bored looking police officers).
I’ve been meaning to check out the ocean baths of South Sydney for some time. Basically, I’m going to have to pay the Cronulla ocean pools another visit because there were so many distractions I didn’t even make it to the pool steps.
From the surf competition to the wave riding machine to the free concert where a group of middle aged men were dressed as batman baddies playing Men at Work. Driving out of Cronulla and towards the Botany Bay National Park the Aussie pride got bigger and the street parties more raucous. I spotted one flag possibly as large as my apartment. I almost ran down one kid on his Australian flag scooter. Apparently business is booming in China where most of the flagged merchandise is produced. Alanis Morissette might say that was ironic.