It’s Australia Day! Australia Day is a holiday along the same lines as our very own Independence Day. It falls on January 26 (26 January, if you’re Australian) each year, on the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convince ships from Great Britain and the raising of the Union Jack in 1788. According to the official Australia Day website, the holiday brings Australians together to celebrate what’s great about the country. It encourages patriotism, and asks everyone to re-commit to making Australia an "even better place for the future."
In honor of Australia Day, let’s celebrate some things Australia has given to the U.S.!
Whether it’s kangaroos, koala bears, or dingoes, there is probably some Australian animal that you’ve heard of and/or think is dope. To me, Australian animals are incredibly interesting, mostly because the country seems to be home to either the most adorable animals ever (wallabies, platypi, wombats, kookaburra, emu) or the most terrifying (Tasmanian devils, saltwater crocodiles, blue ring octopi, the box jellyfish, giant spiders, and dingos, which famously eat babies). Cracked has a pretty good overview of just how many things in Australia will kill you.
The Irwin Family
Most people have probably heard of "The Crocodile Hunter" and the whacky antics of Steve Irwin, who famously wrestled crocodiles (obviously), wore khaki shorts, and said "crikey!" all the time. He and his wife, Terri Irwin, owned and operated the Australia Zoo (Terri is now the sole owner), while his daughter, Bindi, was a television star who followed in the footsteps of her famous parents. I bet a lot of Americans learned about animals from Steve, who obviously loved what he did. Steve was an environmentalist, passionate conservationist, and animal activist. Steve Irwin was so awesome that he even had a species of snail named after him, called the Crikey steveirwini (I’m not joking).
Imagine a world without Nicole Kidman, Olivia Newton-John, and Hugh Jackman. We wouldn’t have the films "Moulin Rouge," "Grease," or "Wolverine" (actually, I could live without that last one). The point is, Australian celebrities in the U.S. tend to be pretty awesome. The list also includes Russell Crowe, Eric Bana, Simon Baker, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Cate Blanchette, and Natalie Imbruglia, among a bunch of others. Then again, if we didn’t have Australian actors, we wouldn’t have to deal with Mel Gibson’s anctics, either. Ah, well, I suppose their Australian accents make up for it.
What are your favorite Australian influences in the U.S.? Is it the didgeridoo? Vegemite? Christmas in summer? Whatever the case, Happy Australia Day!