Australia Day is a national Public Holiday held on January 26th each year to commemorate the day the British First Fleet landed at Sydney Cove in 1788. It is the date that our Government bequeaths Order of Australia Medals (or jellybeans , as my dear old Da referred to them), and many immigrants become Australian citizens. It is a day full of community events, and of family gatherings in parks or at the beach for a cricket match and a barbecue. It is also the last big hoorah after the Christmas holiday break which means that pubs across the country will be full to the brim with punters betting on cane toad and cockroach races, playing pub trivia, or singing along to pub bands playing iconic Aussie rock music.
We are patiently awaiting the announcement of The 2018 Australian of the Year which is the real test to determine if, as a nation, we have grown up at all. I remember the decade when you had to be either a Pop Star or a Sportsman to win that accolade. No offence intended, but neither are necessarily the makings of a noble human being.
There is a movement challenging this date. In some quarters the 26th of January is known as Invasion Day or Genocide Day. My views are totally irrelevant here.
If the weather is good – and that means not 90 degrees plus, nor 80% humidity – I hope to jump on the ferry and take the five minute trip to Coochimudlo Island where there will be beach markets and the opportunity to swim in the beautiful Moreton Bay. Somewhere in the mix will be a barbied snag or steak, and a chilled glass of plonk from the Hunter Valley.
Lamb is the traditional Barbeque fodder as a nod to those years last Century when “Australia rode on the sheeps back”. They were the days before a kilo of lamb cutlets cost $48-00!
Another nod to earlier days will probably find me making Golden Syrup Dumplings. What is Golden Syrup? Golden syrup or light treacle is a thick, amber-coloured form of inverted sugar syrup made in the process of refining sugar cane into sugar. When I was a child this product was affectionately called Cockie’s Delight as those that lived on the land, droving sheep and cattle, could easily transport this deliciousness in their saddlebag, as an additive on their damper ( Bread) or to sweeten the Billy Tea.
Here’s my Cockie’s Delight Dumpling recipe courtesy of http://www.taste.com.au
1. Combine 2 cups (500ml) water, brown sugar, 1/4 cup (60ml) golden syrup and 50g butter in a large saucepan. Stir over a low heat until melted.
2. Meanwhile, use your fingertips to rub in 50g butter into flour. …
3. Bring the sauce to the boil then drop heaped dessert spoonfuls of the mixture into the sauce.
4. Serve with a scoop of ice cream.
TLOML has a passion for the works of A B (Banjo) Paterson so I do expect a recitation of Mulga Bill’s Bicycle ( which I suspect is his own version of Alzheimer’s testing)
So though there will be no hand on the heart stuff in my house, I will most certainly reflect and honour previous generations for the deeds that have allowed this country to provide me and mine with a most glorious lifestyle.
Have a bonzer Australia Day, mate.