26 January 1788 - the day Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the first fleet of 11 convict ships from Britain, sailed into Sydney Cove. The raising of the Union Jack on this day signified the occupation of the Eastern half of the continent by the British. This date is not the date the continent was discovered by Captain James Cook - that was 22 August 1770. Incidentally, Captain Arthur Phillip became the first Governor of New South Wales.
It's only since 1984 that all states have been observing 26 January as a public holiday and celebrating Australia Day. It's become a tradition of backyard barbies - with plenty of prawns, backyard cricket games, fireworks, Australian of the Year awards and a day when wearing the Australian flag as a superhero cape while slugging down a couple of cold ones is actually cool. :-) For the rest of the year, that kind of overt patriotism would label you a bogan....
So we donned our Aussie gear - of which we seem to have accumulated a fair amount! :-) And off we headed for South Bank where that festivities for the day seemed to be happening.
Just arrived - watching the Raising of the Flag ceremony, big gun salute & F1-11 flyover
One of the cannons blowing smoke rings over the river
The local rock radio station, Triple M, had been running a competition on their morning show (The Cage) for a few weeks in the build-up to Australia Day - The Cage's Prawn Star. A prawn peeling competition to take place live on air on Australia Day at South Bank. So we headed on over for the fun!
They even got a sound bite off Scott which they play every morning on the radio.
The Prawn Stars at the starting line! (see video at the end of the blog for more)
Jambezi were playing at the South Bank Piazza - we'd actually seen them before at the Fete de la Musique. Great vibe and a good place to escape the sun (but not the heat!) for a while.
Wrapped in my Aussie flag sarong - it was great for keeping the sun off the shoulders!
Streets Beach at South Bank was absolutely packed! Hrm..... luke warm pool water with so many people.... didn't really appeal to us.
In the afternoon we headed over to the lawns in front of the Cultural Centre for the best viewing spot for the fireworks at 7.30pm (click on the pic for a larger view)
I absolutely love this building - it's the State Law Building. Very Gotham City - just needs some gargoyles. Funny, I've just found out that it's known locally as "Gotham Tower" or the "Batman Building".
Chilling out on the lawns
The Treasury Casino across the river which is lit up at night
A panoramic shot taken from where we were sitting (click on the pic for a larger view)
The Brisbane Wheel at sunset