Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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Sunday, 26 January 2014

Celebrating Australia Day and Waltzing Matilda

Gidday mate - hows-ya-goin?   (how are you going?  ie - are you well?)

It is Australia Day and from Coral Bay on the west coast, across the outback, to Uluru in central Australia, to Sydney on the east coast and everywhere in between, Australians are celebrating in one way or another what we love about Australia, what makes us Aussies, our diverse multiculturalism and what makes Australia a great place to live.



Dorothea Mackellar is one of Australia's celebrated early poets. Her poem, "My Country", which talks about her love for Australia, was first published in 1908, and has been recited and sung by generations of Australian schoolchildren. 

To learn more about Dorothea and to read the full poem, please click on her website - dorotheamackellar website
Here is the most well known verse, actually the second verse....

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me


(yes I know, I have used this mosaic before - but I love it!)



On Australia Day will be the announcement of the Australia Day Honours list and the naming of the Australian of the Year.

There will be Citizenship ceremonies across Australia as we welcome new Australians.

Australia, the "land down-under", is a place of mateship, the fair-go, the "she'll be right mate" and have-a-go. Perhaps the distance from our European background in the early days of Colonisation contributed to the attitude of "making a go of it" and making do with what you had.

I don't know where the laconic image of the Aussie comes from - perhaps it is the heat and not wanting to open you mouth too much when you talk so that the flies fly in (in the summer in some parts at least!).


On Australia Day there will be BBQs (barbecues), and days at the beach or around the pool, cricket games, camping, water sports, yachting, canoeing or fishing in a river or off a jetty or a beach somewhere. Just about any outdoor activity you can think of (other than snow sports - it is summer after all!). Perhaps just sitting and watching the sunset. 


There will be prawns and sausages on the "barbi" (BBQ) at Australia Day breakfasts, Vegemite on toast, "true-blue" Aussie meat pies with tomato sauce in a paper bag, or fish and chips on the beach. Don't forget the "eski" (cold box) of cold beers!  


Perhaps there will be "man-projects" out in the backyard that require help from a female (can you come and hold this love...while I drill, cut, saw, hack, hammer, climb a ladder, use the rivet gun.....). My husband says, what can be more Australian than a bloke fixing up his shed on Australia Day!  So we hold what we are told to hold, don't offer too many suggestions, and sweep up afterwards. I am sure it will be "she'll be right love" in the end. Plants can hide a multitude of building projects that didn't quite go to plan!


Another thing that happens around our yard about this time of year is picking the grapes for the annual grape jam making.  We had to net our two vines to keep out the birds, but those little "greenies" still get in through the net. The greenies peck holes in the grapes and then the bees get in.  Along with a touch of mould we have had this year - our grape pick looks a bit dubious. But the grape jam has to be made (it's tradition in our family) so I spend a few hours sorting through and picking off the viable grapes for the pot.

You can read more about grape jam making in our family by clicking here - Grapes are not just for wine



 Oh and at the end of the day don't forget the fireworks!



 Curiously we celebrate our convict background and people are proud to include a convict in their ancestry. In those days our ancestors arrived in sailing ships from England. No doubt new Australians will one day celebrate their ancestors arriving on wooden boats from Asia in the current wave of "immigration". Anh Do has written about it in his childrens' book "The Little Refugee". All of these people both then and now, were and are, searching for a better life in the "land of opportunity".

This church you see below is a convict built church at Port Arthur in Tasmania - a convict built prison - now a tourist attraction and a lasting reminder of our convict past. 


One of Australia's most loved songs, Waltzing Matilda, celebrates a sheep stealing wanderer who escaped the police by drowning! Written by Banjo Paterson in 1895, at one stage Waltzing Matilda was even on the list being considered for our National Anthem. Advance Australia Fair is our National Anthem, but Waltzing Matilda is our unofficial national anthem. Perhaps it is something to do with Australians supporting the underdog.

You can see Australian icon Slim Dusty singing Waltzing Matlida at the closing of the Sydney Olympics 2000 by clicking here - YouTube-Slim Dusty

Here is the first two verses and chorus - 

 Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong,
Under the shade of a Coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boil,
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boil
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.
....................
Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.

 

You can see the full lyrics by clicking here - waltzingmatilda

To go 'waltzing matilda" is to go walkabout (trekking) carrying your swag (pack)
A "jumbuck" is a sheep. A "swagman" is described as "an underclass of transient temporary workers, who travelled by foot from farm to farm carrying the traditional swag (bedroll)" taking on part-time or transient work. A "billabong" is a pool of water.

To read more about Waltzing Matilda, including the original version written by Banjo Paterson, and the meaning of the words please click here - All Down Under


Below is a picture of my maternal Great grandmother and grandfather on their wedding day. Our family first came to Australia from England as pioneers in 1853 and travelled to Western Australia from Victoria in 1898.  I am proud to say that my grandsons are sixth generation on my grandmother's side. They are also proudly second generation Australian from a Eurasian background on their mother's mother's side. Their grandmother, Grandora, and her family came to Western Australia from war-ravaged Singapore.  What a wonderful mix my grandsons are. Australian, with a rich historical and multi-cultural background.


And yes, we have a convict on my Father's side! He was transported to Fremantle in Western Australia for steeling a gun, and was given his "ticket-of-leave" (pardon) on arrival.

Happy AUSTRALIA DAY!  Chuck another prawn on the barbi will yah, and see-ya-later.

ps - we are also called the "land of the long-weekend". Australia Day is Sunday 26 January - but we have a public holiday on Monday 27 January! Fair Dinkim! (that's correct) - can you believe it?)

Do you have Australia Day (or national day)  traditions in your family?


  Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you.


I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been


39 comments:

  1. That was a fantastic post, Jill. I'll have Waltzing Matilda ringing in my ears all day, because when I was a child it was certainly on the list of songs every school choir sang. Your history and ours share many similarities. I love your Aussie 'can-do' spirit. As always, the photos you chose to illustrate your words were perfect. Happy Australia Day!

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    1. Oh I didn't know that school children in other countries learnt Waltzing Matilda. How interesting! Were the words explained to you?

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  2. Great photos and words about Australia Day Jill. It makes me feel very patriotic! Have a good long weekend.

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  3. Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing!

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  4. Wow I'm so glad I came by--what an interesting post with great photos and the mosaic of course is fantastic. Hope you have a very good day off tomorrow (well it's about today now where you are) ..

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  5. Happy Australia Day, so like our Canada Day. Hope you had a fantastic celebration.

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  6. Happy Australia Day, Jill ! Looks like a wonderful family celebration. I love your mosaic and the photos. Enjoy your holiday and have a happy week!

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  7. What a fabulous country you live in. You have much to celebrate! I really enjoyed the photo and story of your family.

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  8. What fun and WARM ~ chilling in MA ~ Wonderful photos and so glad you and your family had a wonderful ~ time ~

    carol, xxx

    www.acreativeharbor.com

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  9. My personal experience is that I've only met friendly and cool people from Australia, I pan to visit your small and very interesting continent some day; so lets go Waltzing Matilda.

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    1. not so small! We have many thousands of kms across! It takes about 3 days driving to get from where we live in the south west to Broome in the north west - and that is just within the state of Western Australia. So when you do come you need to be specific about where you would like to go "waltzing matilda".

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  10. Great post, Jill. I love the way you've weaved history, poetry, songs and modern sayings into this information driven post that reads like a story. Your pics are wonderful too :)

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  11. What a wonderful post! I enjoyed the photos. However did you get a photo of your feet in the water? Or is that someone else's feet? lol. I do like the verse of the poem you shared with us. I've been to your country several times and think it is so very beautiful.

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    1. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed my post. And yes they are my feet. I have an underwater housing for my P&S - so I just floated on my back, and this was the result! The underwater setting makes things out of the water sort of yellow-orange, but I think that adds to the summer feel.

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  12. That's a lovely church! And a great series of shots.

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  13. Lovely group of photos. Such a variety of Aussie life. The church looks like a great place to take photos!

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  14. Indeed, Great experienced traveler!
    Nice Set of your photography!!

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  15. Happy Australia Day. It must feel good to have such a long history in one place. - Margy

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  16. It was a beautiful albeit Hot Australia Day over here in Adelaide and like many other Aussies we spent it at the beach. I love your mural Jill.... definitely a sunburnt country with jewelled seas.

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  17. OK, I should like those prawns on the barbi, and the fish and chips on the beach...adore seafood and I am thinking that the seafood that you all get down under, are much fresher and better tasting, then what we are able to get here. It looks like it would be a grand time of celebration and with family and friends, it does not get much sweeter. Have a Happy week my friend, always a lovely pleasure~

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  18. That´s a great post, I enjoyed reading it, looks like you had heaps of fun!
    Over here since 1990 we have German Unity Day, but we don´t celebreate like that for sure. It´s in October when it´s rather cold already.

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  19. Replies
    1. it is! I have never seen it anywhere in the shops - just made by my family. Probably having to pick out all the seeds is a problem. I am thinking of buying a seedless grape variety.

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  20. What a great post Jill. You have certainly given a wonderful image of how Australia Day is celebrated as well as relating it to some of our wonderful poetry.

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  21. Happy Australia Day, Jill! I love the variety of ways you celebrate and your multicultural background. They used to throw people in jail for the slightest offenses back then, eh?
    Oh, and now you have me humming Waltzing Matilda. I didn't know it was Australian and I only know the chorus.

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    1. actually steeling a gun was probably pretty bad. They even transported people for steeling a handkerchief - or "uttering" to a church minister!
      How interesting that you know Waltzing Matilda but didn't know it was Aussie!

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  22. Thanks for sharing the traditions and history...love the bbqs and jam making :)

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  23. Happy Australia Day! One day I hope to visit. It looks lovely.

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  24. great firework shot.... and looks like an all round amazing day

    Mollyxxx

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  25. Such a wonderful visit. I probably will never get there, so I love getting there through your post.

    Great to have you at "Oh, the PLACES I've been!"

    - The Tablescaper

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  26. What a beautiful post. Reading the sunburnt country poem always gets me teary. Here's to flies on the canvas, toes in the water and grape jam. :)

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    1. such a beautiful poem isn't it. I am not sure if they still teach it in schools.

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  27. You gave such a wonderful overview of the celebrations. I do wish I'd have tried Vegemite while there and Waltzing Matilda will be waltzing through my brain all day now!

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    1. If you ever try Vegemite only put a tiny thin spread on the bread or you will find it way to salting. It is not meant to be slathered on thick! which is where I think people who have never tried it go wrong. Easy on the Vegemite!

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  28. Australia day sounds much like our Fourth of July or Independence day. I've always loved Waltzing Matilda even though I have no clue what the heck half of those things are.

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    1. LOL - If you click on the link in my blog post you can go to the page where it explains the words.

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  29. Thank you all dear wonder readers. I am glad to hear that you have enjoyed this little taste of Australia Day. I am surprised that so many overseas readers know Waltzing Matilda - but might not have known that it is Australian, but I do understand that you might not know what the Aussie lingo means!
    I apologise if I do not get over to your blogs. I will try to rectify soon! I really appreciate you stopping by and thank you for the time you have taken to make comments.

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  30. WHERE were you swimming?! it looks like an idyllic beach in the middle of the desert!

    -Maria Alexandra

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    1. yes it looks a bit like desert. But it was just at a beach just north of our city where you can drive onto the beach. I was using an underwater housing for my camera, and the orangy hue comes about when you use an underwater setting on your camera but you are photographing land.
      I love doing half water half land. You can get some neat effects.

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