Australia Day takes place on 26th January and is the country’s national day which celebrates national unity and acknowledges its citizens and their contribution to the country. It marks the date in 1788 of the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove. Around 750 mostly petty criminals were transported from the UK along with around 300 medical and military personnel to establish a colony which has since become a desirable place to live and a vibrant tourist destination. Between 1945 and the early 1980s many UK nationals emigrated to Australia through the £10 ticket programme which sought to bring in migrants to fill labour shortages. The programme saw more than a million UK nationals leave for Down Under. Nowadays it’s one of the world’s top destinations for backpackers hoping to experience some of the enviable Australian lifestyle.
Australia has come a long way since 1788 when that first penal colony was established. There are iconic and innovative buildings and architecture such as Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Australia now celebrates its indigenous heritage in the form of Aboriginal art and culture. There are also stunning natural wonders: vast outback, Uluru, Great Barrier Reef (A UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the vast outback and spectacular coastlines. The Australian wildlife is pretty unique, there are those cute koalas and bouncing kangaroos. Sydney also hosts the Mardi Gras one of the world’s largest Pride festivals. Australia boasts top-flight cricket and rugby teams, tennis players and let’s not forget surfing which must be the country’s national sport. Then there’s the barbecue-the country’s best-known foodie export. Simple cooking on coals outdoors works well in Australia; perhaps we should have left it to them. We’ve all been to a barbecue in this country where the sausages have been burnt or which has been cut short because of the weather.
Long before remote teaching was introduced for students during the covid pandemic, Australia had been remotely educating students living far from the nearest school in the outback. School of the Air launched in 1951 using radio to deliver classes to these children. Now wireless technology is used enabling better communication and faster marking!
We couldn’t think about Australia without giving a mention to what must be Australia’s most famous export – the soap opera Neighbours. Launched in 1985 it quickly became a daytime tv favourite of students. Set in the fictional Ramsay Street in the suburb of Erinsborough, Melbourne it’s the show that launched a thousand pop careers (Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Stefan Dennis to name a few). With far-fetched storylines, impossibly good-looking residents and seemingly endless sunshine it’s no wonder that for 30 minutes each day from Monday to Friday we were quite happy to be whisked away to the other side of the world. In 2022 it was announced that Neighbours would end, and the final episode aired on terrestrial tv on 28th July 2022. Only a few months later Amazon Freevee announced the return of Neighbours on their platform in 2023 so loyal fans will still be able to follow their favourite soap once again.
Finally, Happy Australia Day to all our Australian staff and students!
You can use Library Search to find books and articles on Australia, soap operas, and Australian tourism.
Image source by Joeyy Lee