. . . and there are plenty of celebrations during the long weekend. Sometimes visitors don’t know what Australia Day celebrates so the Arts Centre have decided to build an African Village on the lawns and we have a Great Australia Day Duck Race which doesn’t use real ducks and is not on Australia Day, so that should help clear up any confusion for the visitors.
On Saturday at the Town Hall is a Citizenship Ceremony led by Lord Mayor John So, followed by a flag raising ceremony performed by the governor assisted by Lord Mayor John So. During this ceremony there is usually a flyover of FA-18s along Swanston Street, but with the new Federal Government promising to cut expenditure we might end up with a couple of Tiger Moths. The flag raising is followed by a people’s march down Swanston Street led by Lord Mayor John So. Throughout the afternoon there are celebrations and entertainments in the Alexandra Gardens. In the evening is the annual Voyages concert in Fed Square. This year the theme is percussion and drumming. This will be followed fireworks at about 9.15pm.
On Monday is the Great Australia Day Duck Race where the ducks will be flagged off by Lord Mayor John So. This event is raise money for lifesavers, so expect our Lord Mayor to be wearing a lifesavers cap.
. . . and there are plenty of things on for the young ones this weekend. There are free performances by the Ticklish Allsorts at Docklands on Monday suited to ages 3 to 10. The Wind in the Willows continues at the Botanic Gardens and there are free dance classes for kids at Docklands. Most Australia Day events this weekend also have activities for children. Details at Family & Children in Melbourne.
For the whole family there are fireworks displays on Friday and Saturday nights. See details at Fireworks in Melbourne. For those kids who have never grown up there is the Hot Rods Show at the Royal Exhibition Building.
. . . and don’t Melburnians love anything that is free! This weekend there is free Jazz at Malvern Gardens and the free Eltham Town Jazz, Blues & Heritage Festival. Details at Jazz in Melbourne. There is a free comedy debate on Friday evening at the Docklands. (details at Comedy in Melbourne), a free outdoor concert by Mark Symons at Williamstown, and there are free fireworks displays on Friday and Saturday nights. See details at Fireworks in Melbourne.
. . . and for those who would like to get out in the country this weekend there is an Australia Day Holiday (Monday) picnic at Living Legends just past Tullamarine. This property has been set up as a sort of retirement home for great racehorses. When they finish their career they are sent out to Living Legends. Which is a bit of a bummer because they were looking forward to being sent out to stud.
Also this weekend is the annual Australia Day races at Hanging Rock. Details of both these events at Horse Racing in Melbourne.
If you are going to either of these events you might want to combine it with a visit to the Rupertswood Mansion in Sunbury which is having one of its rare open days.
. . . and while the rest of us are having fun, spare a thought for those out there at markets who are slaving over a hot wok or a hot barbecue or a hot pile of DVDs. By the way, the Bannockburn Fair is looking for quality children’s entertainers. Drop us a line if you would like more information.
. . . and in the early days of European settlement, Melbourne was heavily dependent on the sea and sailing ships. This weekend there is the Inaugural Melbourne Tall Ships Parade with an impressive array of tall ships under sail making their way across the bay from Sandringham to Williamstown with various vantage points along the way. Actually the official title is the Inaugural Melbourne Tall Ships and Steam Parade so that Little Toot – sorry, the illustrious Steam Tug Wattle – can take part. Details at Williamstown.
If that whets your appetite for boating you can go along to the Melbourne International Boat & Lifestyle Show next week. (Have you noticed how many events are getting “and Lifestyle” tacked on the end. That means while the blokes are looking the boys’ toys the sheilas can go and have an expensive pedicure and cocktail. At the Quilt Show and Lifestyle Exhibition there is a bar with a big screen for the blokes where they watch the finals of the curling direct from Norway – at least it’s better than looking at quilts. Then at the bridal expo there . . . come to think of it there is no acknowledgement that men exist at all.) Details of the Boat Show at Sailing in Melbourne.
. . . and you can sample some of these at the Kilcunda Lobster Festival, but be warned the lobsters have usually run out by mid afternoon. You can also sample plenty of nature’s gifts at the Yarra Valley Australia Day Festival at Gulf Station in the Yarra Valley which also has lots of activities for the kids and the family. Details of both of these at Food & Wine in Victoria.
For those who prefer to combine their picnic with a spot of organised cruising on your motorcycle there is the Australia Day Ride to Remember starting from Albert Park and heading off to the Yarra Valley. Details at Motorcycles in Melbourne.
. . . and when white man arrived in Australia they could see or hear little of conventional European beauty. The landscape was harsh, the vegetation was scruffy and disorderly, the birds were raucous unlike European songbirds and the natives seemed to indulge in a droning tuneless chant. It took a while to learn that it was all in the way you look and the way you listen. Two events this weekend juxtapose European sensibilities with the strange beauty of the harsher local environment. At Gol Gol near Mildura you can listen to Bach in the surroundings of the Australian Native Garden.
For the obverse, you can listen to the Songmen of Arnhem land combining with the cast of Romeo and Juliet for a special performance under the stars in the manicured European landscape of the Royal Botanic Gardens.
. . . and there numbers of chances to engage with history this weekend. Three of Melbourne’s grand mansions together with their surrounding grounds will be open. The open day at Government House is a White Hat favourite, but be warned – there may be long queues. Como and The Mansion at Werribee Park have a number of historically-based activities to celebrate Australia Day and there is an open day at Rupertswood Mansion. The Government House event is free but normal entry charges apply for the other three.
There are some who know that history is all about lace and crinoline and others who know that it is all about grease and steam. For the latter there is the annual Australia Day Picnic & Historic Vehicles Display in the Domain.
Details of all these at History & Heritage Festivals in Melbourne.
By the way, the following weekend there is a rare opportunity to venture inside the walls of one of Melbourne’s most historic buildings. We’ll tell you about that in next week’s newsletter.
. . . and there are more stages bright in Melbourne than there have been for quite a few years. There is Shout at the State Theatre, Phantom at the Princess, Priscilla at the Regent, Spamalot at the Maj and a variety of offerings around the suburban theatres. Details at Theatre in Melbourne.
The White Hat Advance Australia Fair Quiz.
- Kylie Minogue has her own brand of lingerie, but for much longer an Australian high achiever in the area of popular entertainment has had items of intimate apparel named after him. What is his name?
- The Constitution of Australia when defining the Commonwealth of Australia makes reference to an overseas country (other than Great Britain). What is this country and is any intelligent life to be found there?
- If you stood prime ministers Billy Hughes and Malcolm Fraser next to each other what might be the first thing you would notice?
- Name a living Australians with an international reputations in
c) popular church music
d) Roman history
- Australia Day quizzes in the popular media seem to have a heavy emphasis on sport so here are White Hat’s Australian sporting questions:
a) Name an Australian Olympian who is an accomplished cellist and became head of one of the world’s most influential organisations
b) Name an Australian Olympian who was a nuclear physicist.
c) Name an Australian swimming champion who married a Prime Minister
d) Name a junior backstroke champion who now hosts some of the highest rating TV programs on the BBC.
e) What Australian publication had as its catchcry “Australia for the white man!” and which Australian cycling champion officially ended the White Australia Policy?
- Some commonly used phrases out there are “As Irish as Paddy’s pig”, “As American as apple pie”, “As camp as . .” – anyway you get the idea. What is your suggestion to complete the following phrase – “As Australian as . . . . “
Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org
No prizes – just glory and a warm inner glow.