My life long friend brought me half way across the world to Australia with the promise of pristine white sandy beaches, turquoise water and bronzed Aussies strutting around in budgie smugglers. Instead I landed up in Cobar, the land of 40 plus degrees, where every breath ignites your lungs, you could cook an egg on the road and the unfortunate realisation that your late night McNuggets craving is met with a 350km drive!
Leaving London at a pretty chilly five degrees, and travelling half way across the world for a complete adventure, I did not expect to be serving food in a local Cobar restaurant to someone with an Australian flag painted on their face. But there I was , and I soon come to learn that this was one of the many things Australians done on Australia Day. Coming from the England the closest comparable national event is St. Georges day. Which is a memorial day for the death of Saint George. This was also where the flag of England then developed from and often back home many people decorate their homes with the St.Georges cross. However it wasn’t until visiting Cobar that I come to realise how different Australia Day events are to those back home for St.Georges day. Back home the day mainly consists of lots of heavy consistent drinking throughout the day, however there are not normally any special events or gatherings for families and friends. St.Georges day is not so much a family social event, whereas Australia Day seems to be a lot more orientated towards families and friends coming together to eat traditional Australian foods like Vegemite and lemington , and enjoying each others company. Before visiting Cobar I had tried Vegemite however I had no idea what lemington was. I am yet to try a slice however that is something that is top of my list to get from the supermarket.
Cobar being a small town, I was not sure there would be too much going on for Australia Day. However I was wrong! I am currently working at one of the restaurants in Cobar and the bar was the busiest I have seen it since I arrived, not too long ago. There were people coming in with there faces painted, a few people had Australian flags on their cheeks and the general atmosphere was one of joy and happiness. The bar was packed with punters all having an Aussie day cold one. Serving some of the regulars at the bar many of them were asking me how I was enjoying my first ever Australia Day in the lovely town of Cobar. My response to them was that although I was behind the bar serving them drinks it was actually a great experience for me just watching the people of Cobar go about their day and socialise with friends and family.
Unfortunately I was not able to fully submerse myself in the Australia Day celebrations as much as I would have liked as I was working for the majority of the day, however I had been told about various community events that were on and I would have loved to have visited some of them. One of them being the Yabby Races at the services club. That would have been something I would have loved to seen for certain. Maybe I will have to return to Cobar for Australia Day again sometime. I did manage to take a trip to the Cobar Golf and Bowls club in the evening which was packed full of locals still celebrating Australia Day drinking, dancing and being merry. Some people had Australian flags and were waving them around whist on the dance floor, other were dressed up in the Aussie colours with flags wrapped around their waist.
All in all my first ever Australia day experience was certainly something I will never forget and will remember for years to come. I am planning to be in Australia next January therefore I am hopeful I will be able to enjoy the day further and maybe participate in some of the traditional activities.