Archive | January, 2013

Australia Day

27 Jan

Australia Day

What does Australia Day mean to Aussies? It can mean many things, going to the beach to soak up the sunshine and playing cricket, putting on a BBQ full of snags with an esky full of beer, giving up a date with Tom Cruise because mum’s cooked a lamb roast, becoming a citizen of this country of ours, or just enjoying plain old vegimite on a slice of toast with a cuppa.

Australia Day (previously known as Anniversary Day or Foundation Day) is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, the date commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove, New South Wales in 1788 and the proclamation at that time of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia (then known as New Holland). Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on 26 January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. It is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, announcement of the Australia Day Honours list and addresses from the Governor-General and Prime Minister. It is an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia, unless it falls on a weekend in which case the following Monday is a public holiday instead. With community festivals, concerts and citizenship ceremonies, the day is celebrated in large and small communities and cities around the nation. Australia Day has become the biggest annual civic event in Australia.

On 13 May 1787 a fleet of 11 ships, which came to be known as the First Fleet, was sent by the British Admiralty from England to Australia. Under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, the fleet sought to establish a penal colony at Botany Bay on the coast of New South Wales, which had been explored and claimed by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770. The settlement was seen as necessary because of the loss of the Thirteen Colonies in North America. The Fleet arrived between 18 and 20 January 1788, but it was immediately apparent that Botany Bay was unsuitable.

On 21 January, Phillip and a few officers travelled to Port Jackson, 12 kilometres to the north, to see if it would be a better location for a settlement. They stayed there until 23 January; Phillip named the site of their landing Sydney Cove, after the Home Secretary, Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney. They also had some contact with the local aborigines.

They returned to Botany Bay on the evening of 23 January, when Phillip gave orders to move the fleet to Sydney Cove the next morning, 24 January. That day, there was a huge gale blowing, making it impossible to leave Botany Bay, so they decided to wait till the next day, 25 January. However, during 24 January, they spotted the ships Astrolabe and Boussole, flying the French flag, at the entrance to Botany Bay; they were having as much trouble getting into the bay as the First Fleet was having getting out.

On 25 January the gale was still blowing; the fleet tried to leave Botany Bay, but only the HMS Supply made it out, carrying Arthur Phillip, Philip Gidley King, some marines and about 40 convicts; they anchored in Sydney Cove in the afternoon.

On 26 January, early in the morning, Phillip along with a few dozen marines, officers and oarsmen, rowed ashore and took possession of the land in the name of King George III. The remainder of the ship’s company and the convicts watched from on board the Supply. Note that the formal establishment of the Colony of New South Wales did not occur on 26 January, as is commonly assumed. That did not occur until 7 February 1788, when the formal proclamation of the colony and of Arthur Phillip’s governorship were read out. The vesting of all land in the reigning monarch King George III also dates from 7 February 1788.

1818 was the 30th anniversary of the founding of the colony, and Governor Lachlan Macquarie chose to acknowledge the day with the first official celebration. The Governor declared that the day would be a holiday for all government workers, granting each an extra allowance of “one pound of fresh meat”, and ordered a 30 gun salute at Dawes Point – one for each year that the colony had existed. This began a tradition that was retained by the Governors that were to follow.

In 1988, the celebration of 200 years since the arrival of the First Fleet was organised on a large scale, with many significant events taking place in all major cities. Over 2.5 million people attended the event in Sydney. These included street parties, concerts, including performances on the steps and forecourt of the Sydney Opera House and at many other public venues, art and literary competitions, historic re-enactments, and the opening of the Powerhouse Museum at its new location. A re-enactment of the arrival of the First Fleet took place in Sydney Harbour, with ships that had sailed from Portsmouth a year earlier taking part.

Since 1988 participation in Australia Day has increased and in 1994 all States and Territories began to celebrate a unified public holiday on the actual day for the first time. Research conducted in 2007 reported that 27.6% of Australians polled attended an organised Australia Day event and a further 25.6% celebrated with family and friends making Australia Day the largest annual public event in the nation. This reflected the results of an earlier research project where 66% of respondents anticipated that they would actively celebrate Australia Day 2005.

Outdoor concerts, community barbecues, sports competitions, festivals and fireworks are some of the many events presented in communities across Australia. These official events are presented by the National Australia Day Council, an official council or committee in each state and territory, and local committees.

Citizenship ceremonies are also commonly held with Australia Day now the largest occasion for the acquisition of Australian citizenship. On 26 January 2011, more than 300 Citizenship Ceremonies took place and 13,000 people from 143 countries took Australian Citizenship. In recent years many citizenship ceremonies have included an affirmation by existing citizens. Research conducted in 2007 reported that 78.6% of respondents thought that citizenship ceremonies were an important feature of the day.

The Governor-General and Prime Minister both address to the nation. On the eve of Australia Day each year, the Prime Minister announces the winner of the Australian of the Year award, presented to an Australian citizen who has shown a “significant contribution to the Australian community and nation”, and is an “inspirational role model for the Australian community”.[30] Subcategories of the award include Young Australian of the Year and Senior Australian of the Year, and an award for Australia’s Local Hero.

Debates about the Australian of the Year award often revolve around the relative balance between sport, science and the arts. Fourteen winners have excelled in sports as diverse as cricket, swimming, athletics, sailing, tennis, boxing and motor racing. A recurring criticism that sport features too regularly peaked in 2004, when Steve Waugh was the fourth sporting winner in seven years and the third Test Cricket Captain to be honoured. Despite the perception of an over-emphasis on sport, the list of past winners reveals a strong endorsement for scientific achievement; by 2009 thirteen Australian scientists have received the honour, including a remarkable ten from the medical sciences. A long-term view also reveals that Australia’s talented artists have not been neglected; ten winners have excelled in creative pursuits, including six musicians, a dancer, a painter, a comedian and a Nobel Prize winning novelist.

Many Australians of the Year do not fit neatly into categories such as sport, science and the arts. Phillip Adams once described the past winners as ‘an eclectic collection of people who reflect the diversity of achievement in this country. Australians of the Year have also excelled in public administration, the military, social and community work, business enterprise, academia, religious leadership and philanthropy. There has been relatively little public debate about the gender balance of past winners. In 1961 several news outlets incorrectly referred to Sir Macfarlane Burnet as ‘Man of the Year’; the mistake was not allowed to continue, as Joan Sutherland took out the second award, but it is certainly true that women are under-represented. This year it was the Turn of Ita Buttrose.

Former copy girl, journalist, famous lisper, editor-extraordinaire. The woman who, as editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly, liked to catch the bus to work because bus trips were an excellent time to read and touch up nail polish.The lady – because she is a real lady – whose brains and strength of character saw her become the first female appointment to the News Ltd board (she said she ”often felt lonely”). The single working mother who rejoiced when retail trading hours were extended in 1984 because it had been such a terrible rush, cramming all that kid-ferrying and shopping into short Saturday mornings. She is both one of us and the best of us. Members of the media are not often accused of good works, but Ita Buttrose, named Australian of the Year for 2013, has used her enormous profile to commit worthy acts far nobler than her profession.

For some Australians, particularly Indigenous Australians, Australia Day has become a symbol for adverse effects of British settlement on Australia’s Indigenous people. The celebrations in 1938 were accompanied by an Aboriginal Day of Mourning. A large gathering of Aboriginal people in Sydney in 1988 led an “Invasion Day” commemoration marking the loss of Indigenous culture. The anniversary is also known as “Survival Day” and marked by events such as the Survival Day concert first held in Sydney in 1992, celebrating the fact that the Indigenous people and culture have not been completely wiped out.

In response, official celebrations have tried to include Indigenous people, holding ceremonies such as the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony, which was held in Sydney in 2006 and honoured the past and celebrated the present; it involved Indigenous Australians and the Governor of New South Wales.

The Australian flag is always flown with pride, whilst there are many who would disagree there are many ways our national flag is displayed & worn, the traditional flag pole, hats, t-shirts, towels also tattoos. It’s alway interesting to see how it’s displayed.

There are many different types of food from sausages on the BBQ, meat pies, the good old lamb roast to a bucket of prawns and a dozen oysters. One of my favorite foods to consume is the old Aussie lamington, it’s a sponge cake dipped in a chocolate sauce then dipped straight away again in shredded coconut. You also can’t pass up a glass of red wine accompanied by different varieties of cheeses and dips while sitting on your mates back deck looking out over the bush listening to the bell birds sing away.

One small trivial fact a lot of Aussies don’t realize is the English beat the french fleet commander Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse into Sydney by a few hours only. Just think, we could be now putting garlic into our escargot instead.

Last but not least are the stories told about Australia through the eyes of Australians such as our famous poets to name a few, Dorothy McKellar, Banjo Paterson & Henry Lawson. One of the most famous Australian poems is ‘My Country’ by Dorothea Mackellar, which begins by contrasting the English landscape praised by English poets with that of the harsh Australian bush. The second stanza of this poem is copied here.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

Australia really is the lucky country.

Some of these photos I’ve included are courtesy of our friend Jodi & Vince which were taken this year, thanks guys.

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Heidelberg

8 Jan

Heidelberg

Heidelberg is a city in south-west Germany. The fifth-largest city in the State of Baden-Württemberg after Stuttgart, Mannheim, Karlsruhe and Freiburg im Breisgau, Heidelberg is part of the densely populated Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region. In 2009, over 145,000 people lived in the city. Heidelberg lies on the River Neckar in a steep valley in the Odenwald. A former residence of the Electorate of the Palatinate, Heidelberg is the location of Heidelberg University, well known far beyond Germany’s borders. Heidelberg is a popular tourist destination due to its romantic and picturesque cityscape, including Heidelberg Castle and the baroque style Old Town.

Heidelberg is in the Rhine Rift Valley, on the left bank of the lower part of the River Neckar. The River Neckar here flows in an east-west direction. On the right bank of the river, the Heiligenberg mountain (445 m) rises. The River Neckar leads to the River Rhine approximately 22 kilometres north-west in Mannheim. Villages incorporated during the 20th century reach from the Neckar Valley along the Bergstraße, a road situated along the Odenwald hills.

Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago “Heidelberg Man” died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of worship were built on the Heiligenberg, or “Mountain of Saints”. Both places can still be identified. In 40 AD, a fort was built and occupied by the 24th Roman cohort and the 2nd Cyrenaican cohort (CCG XXIIII and CCH II CYR). The Romans built and maintained castra (permanent camps) and a signalling tower on the bank of the Neckar. They built a wooden bridge based on stone pillars across it. The camp protected the first civilian settlements that developed. The Romans remained until 260 AD, when the camp was conquered by Germanic tribes.

The Heidelberg castle is a mix of styles from Gothic to Renaissance. Prince Elector Ruprecht III (1398–1410) erected the first building in the inner courtyard as a royal residence. The building was divided into a ground floor made of stone and framework upper levels. Another royal building is located opposite the Ruprecht Building: the Fountain Hall. Prince Elector Philipp (1476–1508) is said to have arranged the transfer of the hall’s columns from a decayed palace of Charlemagne from Ingelheim to Heidelberg. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Prince Electors added two palace buildings and turned the fortress into a castle. The two dominant buildings at the eastern and northern side of the courtyard were erected during the rule of Ottheinrich (1556–1559) and Friedrich IV (1583–1610). Under Friedrich V (1613–1619), the main building of the west side was erected, the so-called “English Building”. The castle and its garden were destroyed several times during the Thirty Years’ War and the Palatine War of Succession. As Prince Elector Karl Theodor tried to restore the castle, lightning struck in 1764, and ended all attempts at rebuilding. Later on, the castle was misused as a quarry; castle stones were taken to build new houses in Heidelberg. This was stopped in 1800 by Count Charles de Graimberg, who then began the preservation of the Heidelberg Castle. Although the interior is in Gothic style, the King’s Hall was not built until 1934. Today, the hall is used for festivities, e.g. dinner banquets, balls and theatre performances. During the Heidelberg Castle Festival in the summer, the courtyard is the site of open air musicals, operas, theatre performances, and classical concerts performed by the Heidelberg Philharmonics.

There are many historical churches in Heidelberg and its environs. The Church of the Holy Spirit has been shared over the centuries since the Protestant Reformation by both Catholics and Protestants. It is one of the few buildings to survive the many wars during the past centuries. It was rebuilt after the French set fire to it in 1709 during the War of the Palatinian Succession. The church has remains of the tombs and epitaphs of the past Palatinate electors. This Church stands in the Marktplatz next to the seat of local government. In 1720, Karl III Philip, Elector Palatine came into conflict with the town’s Protestants as a result of giving the Church of the Holy Spirit exclusively to the Catholics for their use. It had previously been split by a partition and used by both congregations. Due to pressure by the mostly Protestant powers of Prussia, Holland, and Sweden, Prince Karl III Philip gave way and repartitioned the church for joint use. In 1936 the separating wall was removed. The church is now exclusively used by Protestants. Furthermore there is the Catholic Church of the Jesuits. Its construction began in 1712. It was completed with the addition of a bell tower from 1866–1872. The church is also home to the Museum für sakrale Kunst und Liturgie (Museum of Ecclesiastical Arts). The oldest church in Heidelberg is the St. Peter’s Church (now Lutheran). It was built by early Christians (Catholics) sometime during the 12th century, although there is no exact documentation of the date.

Among the most prominent museums of Heidelberg are the Carl Bosch Museum which shows life and work of chemist and Nobel Prize-winner Carl Bosch. Then there is the Documentation and Culture Centre of German Sinti and Roma describing the Nazi genocide of the Sinti and Roma peoples. The German Packing Museum (Deutsches Verpackungsmuseum) gives an overview on the history of packing and wrapping goods whereas the German Pharmacy Museum (Deutsches Apothekenmuseum) which is located in the castle illustrates the story of Pharmacy in Germany. The Kurpfälzisches Museum (Palatinate Museum) offers a great art collection and some Roman archeological artifacts from the region. In the honour of Friedrich Ebert one established the President Friedrich Ebert Memorial which remembers the life of Germany’s first democratic head of state. Besides, there are guided tours in most of the historical monuments of Heidelberg, as well as organized tourist tours through the city available in several languages.

Heidelberg is known for its institutions of higher education. The most famous of those is Heidelberg University. Founded in 1386, it is one of Europe’s oldest institutions. Heidelberg is the oldest university town of today’s Germany. Among the prominent thinkers associated with the institution are Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Karl Jaspers, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jürgen Habermas, Karl-Otto Apel and Hannah Arendt. The campus is situated in two urban areas and several buildings. In numerous historical buildings in the old town there are the Faculties of the Humanities, the Social Science and the Faculty of Law. The Faculties of Medicine and Natural Science are settled on the Neuenheimer Feld Campus.

Heidelberg has a reputation as Germany’s most romantic old city. Part of this has to do with the writers of the romantic literary age who wrote of it on the grand tour, some who attended its university. Part of the romantic reputation can be laid at the door of a small café near the Heiliggeist Church and the sweet chocolate treat, the Student Kiss. In Heidelberg today you encounter vibrant young woman attending the university, but in the 19th Century, of course, the university was all male, primarily upper crust sons of nobility and the rising industrialist class (see Heidelberg Student Prison). Young women of similar class attended finishing schools in the city and in the proper society of the time, rarely were allowed to mingle without the watchful eye of chaperones.

Fridolin Knösel, a charming and witty baker and master confectioner opened his Café Knösel on Haspelgasse street in 1863, a rather novel idea spreading through Europe based on the cafes of Vienna (see Vienna’s Traditional Cafes), and quickly became a hit among the city’s university lecturers and students. Young ladies of Heidelberg were particularly partial to the sweet chocolate delights of his sweet shop. The male students of the university certainly flocked to the shop, hoping to steal a glance or notice from the girls, during the averted attention of the governesses. A master marketer as well as a chocolate maker, Knösel clasped on the idea of a delicious little delight of praline nougat on a waffle wafer covered in dark chocolate, which could be offered as a present, which he named the Student Kiss . A gallant and elegant idea which quickly caught on as a way to exchange a token of affection to which the chaperones couldn’t object and which could pass muster in the proper social order.

The custom of the Student Kiss (Studenten Kuss) of Heidelberg has continued for a century and a half, with the descendants of the Fridolin Knösel continuing the family tradition of the romantic symbol of chocolate in its distinctive package of red with 19th Century student silhouettes, still made by hand from the original 1863 recipe. This charming Heidelberg specialty souvenir as drawn the hearts of locals and visitors alike for generations. The noted and famous from Mark Twain (see Mark Twain Heidelberg Mystery) to world leaders Bill Clinton and Angela Merkel, even Michelle Obama on a recent trip have made it a point to stop in for a kiss at the little shop on Haspelgasse. You’ll also find Student Kiss coffee cups and a selction of other chocolates. A single Student Kiss with a message insert in your choice of languages is about €2, a box of 3 is about €6. Take home a kiss to give to a sweetheart who didn’t make the trip to Germany, but make sure to have an extra, because it’s easy to end up with just a wrapper left over from temptation.

The Café Knösel Konditerei, the oldest café in Heidelberg, is separate from the chocolate shop next door on the corner, and you can still sit down for a homemade cake or warm food in the historic wood décor. The Café Knösel is also a hotel with 6 rooms above. Just a door or two away from the Knösel Chocolate sweet shop is the Schnookeloch Restaurant where students carved their initials in the tables, still there today. Needless to say we brought a few home for the kids, with varying success. “Geez, that chocolate sure tasted good. What’s with the fancy wrapper?”

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