Straya Day comin up

Right all youse bogans, i hopes youse been payin good attenshun to all them adverts from mr rudd an the guvinmen. Cos its awstraya day comin up and we hafta have a barbie and burn chops. Cos the govermin adverts say so. And kev is da man.

I really don’t get all the horrible fake nationalist jingoism thats sprung up about Australia Day. And I doubly dislike some dipstick in the government spending my tax dollars on advertisements exhorting me to more nationalist crap. Excessive, frequent, and obvious nationalism has something rather unpleasant, even abhorrent about it. Perhaps it’s too close to American behaviour, or perhaps it’s just that strong nationalism has so often led to wars.

Bah Humbug to Straya Day.

Though this does remind me, about 20 years ago when I worked for the Guvmint doing very secret things… back in the days when envelopes from any government agency still bore “O.H.M.S.” (*)… I was one of a few lucky ones who went off to field trial some equipment I’d been helping to design and build.

We spent about 10 (or 14… can’t remember) days deep in the Flinders Ranges at this time of year. Every day was very, very hot – typical in-shade temperatures in the middle of the day were around the 40 to 45 degree mark.

Anyhow, we would leave each day for the work site, typically about 6, or maybe 6:30 am with an hours drive to arrive, work through until about 6pm, and drive back to the Wilpena motel.

This continued through weekends, after a week we knew all the staff at the motel and had eaten every single item on the dining room menu. Some of the other people staying there got curious, about this bunch of blokes who would be off at the crack of dawn each day, and back in the evening. Some little Irish fellow asked what we were doing, and quick as a flash one of the other guys replied “taking soil samples to locate ground water”. He went away satisfied, though this was about as far from the truth as you could get.

The long days continued through Australia Day, though we did make an exception: We took breakfast outside, sat around a table, and about 7 am sang, very loudly “Happy Birthday to You” (being Happy Birthday Awstraya). Then we nicked off for the day, back out to work again.


(*) O.H.M.S. is not some kind of government tribute to Georg Ohm, after whom the unit of electrical resistance is named, and who in turn gave ¬†us Ohms Law – the foundation on which much of Electrical, Electronic, and Communication engineering is based. (Though James Clerk Maxwell is probably better credited with the ultimate foundation for all of electrical and electronic engineering, but that’s another story entirely.)

No, O.H.M.S. stood for “On Her Majesties Service”. (And now you can see where the James Bond title of many years ago sprang from – a logical extension, “On Her Majesties Secret Service”.)


I agree – wearing Australian flags outside of sporting venues is a bit too ‘Cronulla-ish’ for me – nothing decent or pretty about it, unfortunately. I commented on Poet Squib’s blog the other day that the volume of flags on a car is directly related to the decrease in IQ points.

If you need to avoid the all-too-obvious Australia Day guff, it might be worth noting that the Chinese New Year (the ox) falls on the same day. Get your red clothes on, throw out the chops and get in some wok-fried noodles instead!

Comment by Kath Lockett | January 24th, 2009 4:57 pm | Permalink

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the public holiday and the opportunity to mingle with friends but yes, the flying of twin flags out of each car window is a bit jingoistic for me. After all, it marks the invasion of a country deemed Terra Nullis when there had been occupants here for 2000 years or more, one of the only occupied countries that did not enter into a treaty with King George. And frankly . . who can afford lamb?

Comment by Baino | January 25th, 2009 7:48 am | Permalink

Gong hee fat choy
Ah So

Comment by Dad | January 25th, 2009 4:31 pm | Permalink

When I was a small child an letters arrived with “OHMS” on them, I remember asking my father what it stood for.
He replied ‘trouble’ as mostly they came from the Taxation Office or had some sort of bill in them.

Comment by Dad | January 25th, 2009 4:33 pm | Permalink

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