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Australia Day

Off we went off, unsuspecting, to the ferry back to the centre to explore a little more. It was Australia Day. We gave it little thought, having understood the plan was ‘to have a barbecue with friends’ and not much else, until we turned into the bay to the right of Mosman and saw ourselves in a veritable traffic jam of yachts, cruise liners and gigantic Navy vessels, all bedecked with flags and excited people waving Aussie paraphernalia. Unable to get to Circular Quay, we were dropped on the other side of the Opera House, seeing crowds and crowds of people on every side. As we set foot on the shore, two mega fighter jets came thundering through and flew right around Sydney harbour bridge, flying by twice to the delight of every male in the vicinity. Rushing over to get a view of the harbour, we were then given a wonderful spectacle of yachts dancing in time to swan lake, followed by a tongue in cheek pas de deux played out by the cute little Cook ferry catamarans, followed by a troupe of black bee jet skiers, alongside the fabulous view of the massive Navy vessel close up- very impressive indeed. Having obtained every single piece of free merchandise they could, the girls continued the day tattooed with the Australian flag and waving little Aussie union jacks with stars like true natives.

Next stop was a delicious walk through the botanical gardens, well, well, worth it, and an unremarkable lunch surrounded by hungry ibis at Botanical Gardens cafe, on our way to the Australia museum in Williams Street. Ostensibly going to see the Aboriginal artefacts, we fell in love with this museum. Perhaps because it was near empty, everyone else being at the Quay enjoying the Australia Day concerts, but every room was a joy to visit, from the mammoths to the moths.

Our favourite, perhaps, the 200 treasures exhibition. 200 exhibits from the museums entire 18 million-strong collection have been selected and showcased for their importance or relevance or peculiarity: not just for their value or rarity, although of course many are priceless, but for their importance within a certain time, or the way on which they show us the varying significance we put on things that touch our lives. Through these treasures, a great story is told about Australia, its people and history, every part showing the entangled relationship between people, nature, culture and history that is here shown, in a perfectly and beautifully exhibited manner.

I felt perhaps the girls could do a similar exercise and select say 20 things, memories, places that they’ve lived during these three months to ‘exhibit’ too. Watch this space….

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