Scallywag

To get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.

~ Mark Twain ~

The Quirky Ways Of Australia

September 8th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 3 secs

Australia is strange, but it has a heart.

Australia is strange, but it has a heart.

Of course Australians are quirky. It’s comes from living in the place. If you live elsewhere then you will no doubt expect Australia itself to be a strange and, of course, you’d be right.

Though we could become a republic at the drop of a hat, most Aussies don’t want to do that. Instead, we keep the figurehead of the British Queen on our currency and as the titular head of our democratic government. Why? Simply because we like her.

Having a Queen appeals to Aussies and makes us feel kind of gushy about quaint traditions… like scones with jam and cream. So because celebrating is fun, we’re glad to keep this slightly quirky arrangement going in perpetuity (or at least as long as we can).

To commemorate this relationship we remember the Queen’s birthday as a public holiday. Only, it’s not held on her birthday. And, weirdly, different Australian states celebrate it on different dates.

We do the same with celebrating May Day, but Australians end up having it in March, May, and October. Besides which, this remembrance of international worker’s freedoms is called 8 Hour Day in some states and Labour Day in others (the former because it was meant to represent a 40 hour working week – being 8 hours for work, 8 hours sleep and another 8 for all the rest).

Then there’s the Henley on Todd River Race in the desert town of Alice Springs that is loosely based on the Henley on Thames race in Oxford, UK. Except that the Todd River has no water in it. This means that “boats” have no bottom, leaving competitors to bizarrely race their boats running “Flintstone like” over the sand on their feet.

While Aussies can’t quite understand that Tasmania at the very bottom of Australia, is so dry. Being cooler than most other places in Australia, Aussies strangely believe Hobart must be a very wet. Yet it’s the second driest city after Adelaide, sharing weather that’s similar to the Mediterranean.

These days, Aussies look a lot to America but really, we’re far more like Brits in many respects. Then again, we are nowhere near either, being part of the Asian Pacific region with an ever-growing population of citizens from Asia. But, oddly, arriving in Australia leaves you feeling like you’re nowhere near Asia.

Confusing? In a way, it is. But Aussies are used to these quirky conditions and are more than happy to laugh about them too.

Places like Tasmania has even more peculiar ways (but that’s another story). In any case, you’re better off coming down to visit and finding out for yourself. Just be sure to pack your T-shirt and thongs (err.. flip flops) for Christmas and take care not to get too sunburnt. After all,  the next stop south is Antarctica…

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