I love the fact that Aussies are becoming more and more patriotic as time goes by. I remember when Australia Day was just another public holiday and there were no really big celebrations, but now the flag is out in force everywhere, and it is a real feel-good day for our great country. Ken and I decided to forego our annual Aussie Day party for a fund raising event in Kinglake instead. Kinglake was one of many towns burnt out by the 2009 Victorian bushfires, and they are still in the process of rebuilding the town, as are so many other small towns. But this year the residents wanted to raise some money for Queenslanders, and we thought it would be a good way to spend the day. Most of our friends who usually come to our place had other things to do, so it worked out well.
Our friend Mark had to work today, so we collected his wife Louise and the three of us drove up to Kinglake this morning. It was cloudy but mild when we left Eltham but as we ascended the hills toward Kinglake it got progressively misty. The clouds were very low, and we were driving into them.
It didn't look very promising when we arrived at the Kinglake Pub grounds around noon. A few people stood shivering around the entrance gate. We paid our $5 entrance fee which entitled us to barbecued snags in bread and two cans of drink.
The grounds were set up with tables and umbrellas ready for the sunshine, but were deserted at 12.15 pm
Ken, Louise and I made a beeline for the pub, where we joined other people for a nice hot coffee.
By 1.30 pm the fog had lifted, and although it was still cloudy, people had started arrving in droves.
The concert had started, and local bands and singers came and went as we sat for a while with our sausages and drinks. Aussie flags were everywhere.
The grounds were filling up fast by 2 pm, with people strolling around, or settling themselves down to watch the concert.
The kids playground area was well patronised.
Many cars had flags tied to the aerials, but this one was the biggest flag we saw on any car today!
Everybody had Aussie gear on - young and old alike!
Ken added $20 to the fundraising with this teeshirt which were selling fast.
I asked the parents of these children if I could photograph their little Aussies, and they were happy for me to do so!
You see this sight a lot on Australia Day - people drape the flag around themselves and wear it like a cape. Love it!
A sombre sight was the signs of rebuilding around the town; among the still-scorched trees showing re-growth, we could see caravans and tents next to building foundations.
Among the fundraising activities for children were pony rides and rides in this miniature car. I'm small, but it still took me a few minutes to fold myself into it for a photo!
We left Kinglake about 3.30 pm, driving back through Kinglake National Park with its vibrant green new growth. That is the nature of Australia's native plants life cycle, to be burnt before they can renew themselves. At a huge cost in more ways than one, but I wouldn't live anywhere else in the world.AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE!!!