Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Salute to Australia


In joyful strains then let us sing Advance Australia fair.

From Advance Australia Fair, the national anthem of Australia
Composed in 1878 by P.D. McCormick

Here in Toronto, Canada, it is the dead of winter. In Australia,  however, it is the summer season and it’s time for tennis. The Australian Open is under way in Melbourne and yesterday was Australia Day, a national day of celebration and Aussie pride. 

Australians celebrate their national day on January 26 because it is the anniversary of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain and the raising of the Union Jack at Sydney Cove in 1788.

As a tribute to "The Land Down Under", Number 16 proudly presents some quotations about Australia.  Hope you enjoy them.

Down Under we send soldiers and wool abroad but keep poets and wine at home.

- John Streeter Manifold, Australian poet (1915-85)

In all directions stretched the great Australian Emptiness, in which the mind is the least of possessions.

- Patrick White (1912-1990), Australian novelist: The Vital Decade (1968) ‘The Prodigal Son”

Australia is a huge rest home, where no unwelcome news is ever wafted on to the pages of the worst newspapers in the world.

- Germaine Greer, Australian feminist, in Observer, August 1, 1982

Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.

- Donald Richmond Horne, The Lucky Country: Australia in the Sixties (1964)

Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.

- Charles M. Schulz, cartoonist and creator of Peanuts comic strip

When New Zealanders emigrate to Australia, it raises the average IQ of both countries.

- Attributed to Robert Muldoon (1921-1992), New Zealand statesman (Note improper use of the word “emigrate” - quote should read “immigrate to Australia”)

I’d like to be seen as an average Australian bloke. I can’t think of . . . I can’t think of a nobler description of anybody than to be called an average Australian bloke.

- John Howard, former Australian prime minister

God bless America, God save the Queen, may God defend New Zealand. And thank Christ for Australia."

- Russell Crowe's message to Australian television while clutching his Oscar statuette in Los Angeles after winning the 2000 Best Actor Academy Award. for Gladiator (Although born in Wellington, New Zealand, Crowe grew up in Australia)


* According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the population of Australia is estimated to be 22.5 million people (Canada has 34.2 million people).  The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that there is one birth every 1 minute and 44 seconds in Australia.  There is a death every 3 minutes and 44 seconds.

* The Australian National Flag (pictured at the top of this posting) was first flown in 1901. It has three elements on a blue background.  The Union Jack appears in the upper left corner (or canton) to acknowledge the history of British settlement.  Beneath the Unition Jack is the white Commonwealth Star.  Its seven points represent the unity of the six states and the territories of the Commonwealth of Austrralia.  The Southern Cross, a constellation of five stars, appears on the fly of the flag in white.  The Southern Cross can be seen only from the Southern Hemisphere and is representative of Australia's geography.

A salute to all my mates in Australia.  I hope that some of you will read this.  I would be particularly happy if a reader from Toronto, Australia contacted me or sent me a comment.   For the record, I have never visited Australia,.  I have, however, met many Aussies on travel tours.  I have found them to be delightful and fun.



Congratulations to former Toronto Blue Jays' closer, Tom Henke.  The Terminator has been elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ontario., southwest of Stratford.  If you are in the area and your are a baseball fan, it is well worth visiting.  I've been there.


Wayne Gretzky, The Great One, turned 50 years old yesterday.  He was born in Brantford, Ontario on January 26, 1961.  Number 99 scored more than 50 goals in a string of eight seasons from 1979 to 1987.  Despite all of Gretzky's accomplishments, he was unable to win a Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings.  All of his Cup victories were with Edmonton.

- Joanne

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