On Australia Day and dyeing

G'day all!

Today's post is brought to you by several dictionaries of Aussie slang. I think some of you overseas types might need it as I really don't know which colloquialisms you will know. Maybe even some Aussies might need it - we do use different words for things. How many of you say "togs?" What about "cozzie" or "bathers"? As a Victorian, I say togs or bathers. What is the difference between a scallop and a potato cake?*

It is Australia Day today. Today is the day that we celebrate what it is to be an Australian, and the day that Captain Cook planted a flag on the shores of Botany Bay and claimed this country for the King Of England, whoever that was on the day. No mind that the Frogs and the Dutch and Portuguese had already been here. The Frogs were apparently camped on the other side of Botany Bay only a few days earlier than Cook and were there at the same time. They obviously didn't think much of it. If they had, we would've been Frogs not Poms. The Portuguese and Dutch had been visiting the north west of Australia for years - there's apparently even cats to prove it. Yep, ships' cats got jack of being on sailing ships and escaped onto the mailand - the genetics of cats in the northwest and deserts of Australia indicates they are not the same as the cats brought with the English, or cats that live in Asia.

(Corymbia ficifolia. I so lust after one of these for the front yard. You need to buy ones that are known to be red flowering as they can come in red, white, pink or shades in between. Someone worked out how to graft them - gums/eucalypts are notoriously hard to graft. I want one of the dwarf grafted ones.)

Edited to add a comment from a different Lynne:
Just one thing, please take it in the spirit intended (I wanted to email but couldn't find a contact address) - it was Captain Arthur Philip (leader of the First Fleet) that raised the British flag on 26 January 1788 in Sydney Cove - Captain Cook was already dead by then and Botany Bay wasn't suitable for a settlement (no fresh water).

I stand corrected - my history is my dodgiest subject, well maybe apart from physics... 8-)

I digress. I dunno what I am digressing from. I am not going to get into native title stuff - lets just say the original inhabitants of this land, and plenty of their number remain, were jibbed so you can't really blame them if they don't think much of Australia Day. I won't get into politics much either except to say that Aussies regard themselves as egalitarian and willing to give anyone a fair go - so how about it, government? Givem a fair go. Look to your responsibilities to future Australians.

(There is a native bee on one of the flowers. I was delighted to see it. At least I presume it is a native bee. There are swarms of blasted feral European honebees around and they outcompete the little, or in this case goodly sized, solitary native bees. Each one of those flowers is about 2.5cm/an inch across the "petals.")

Heh. For some reason the national anthem and a very well know Australian poem come to mind. Compare and contrast:

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded Lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens,
Is running in your veins;
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

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

The tragic ring-barked forests
Stark white beneath the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
An orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the crimson soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart around us
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold;
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown Country
My homing thoughts will fly.

(Dorothea McKellar's "My Country." The bolded quote is the one most often quoted in Oz. Gosh, I go a bit teary reading it. How pathetic!)

Now here is the national anthem, "Advance Australia Fair":

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in Nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us all sing,
"Advance Australia fair!"

(First verse of the national anthem and the one most commonly used. For the rest of them, go here and scroll down. Be afraid, be very afraid - white Australia rules! Note that what is the third of the original verses is now the only one usually acknowledged as any other verse of Advance Australia Fair. Also note that Waltzing Matilda, linked on that same page, has been put forward as an alternate national anthem. Who wants a story about an itinerant (ie homeless) low skilled worker stealing a sheep and escaping the law by committing suicide as their national anthem? Maybe I am just unAustralian.)

You would really think this is a golden country from the national anthem. Treated well and in a good year, it is, but we have not treated this land well and successive droughts and salinity and soil loss etc etc are ravaging it. At least Ms McKellar's poem sums it up somewhat better.

Onto different things. Pretty things. Not that my country is ugly but these are pretty things that I made.

Sock yarn. Bright bright bright! Only three colours used to dye it. Not much green came out in these ones due to the way I lay the yarn in the pot - the blue and yellow didn't mix much.

Edited: sold! If you really liked it though I can have a ping at doing some more...

Three colours for this lot of 8 ply (DK) in beige - see how it is toned down? It has a bigger range of colours though. Interesting since it was dyed at the same time as the sock yarn.

Then there are the fancy yarns, which are meant to go together as some sort of scarf.

If you like any of them, make me an offer. If I agree to the offer, you get some nice yarn! Otherwise I'll list them next week on my yarn page. I'm also going to put up a page of spinning and fibre cos I have Too Much Stuff and not enough time to play with it all, plus I really need some extra cash at present, being unemployed and all and not being able to pursue some very interesting permanent jobs due to DH having to fly to SF for a third interview (having done so well in the second interview that he skipped the need for the usual third interview - ie no point going for permanent jobs here if we won't be here in 3 months but then again I should put in resumes for them just in case....). That is over 30 hours of flying in planes for one interview! We are going to have to plant so many things in the front yard to help offset those caron emissions....

Finally, to finish up a massive post, a poor sad cat sitting in a wheelbarrow. Obviously she was not getting enough attention...

*For those of you who remember the asterisk at the start, if you go into a fish and chip shop in NSW and ask for a scallop, you are likely to get what Victorians call a potato cake. To us a scallop is a shellfish. A potato cake is exactly that - a slice of spud dipped in batter and deep fried. However, New South Welshmen will claim that a potato cake is a hash brown (except rounded not rectangular). Don't ask me what we called grated up potato before Mcchukkas came on the scene with their American food - I don't know.



  1. Hi Lynne --

    You seem to be a patriotic Aussie -- we need more of it!

    Happy Australia Day! Come join us:




  2. Robyn7:22 pm

    Happy Australia Day! Reading the poem and anthem and seeing such lovely examples of native fauna has this Aussie feeling a little homesick! I have been in Canada for almost 10 years but Australia is still very much HOME.

    Love the dyeing too - wish I had some $$ to offer for the sock yarn!

  3. We were having this discussion a few weeks ago: there are about 5 questions the dictionary people can ask and from that they can determine where you live: I do think that even though we have different words for things : port, suitcase, devon, belguim, etc I usually know what people are talking about 99% of the time. I'm not a big Australia Day person, it's not a big day here, maybe because we are our own island!!! Nice dyeing!! Poor cat!!!

  4. G'day Lynne, and a happy Australia Day to you, too.

    Loved your flora fotos - many of the natives in the adjacent forest area to us are having a bit of strife in this dryness, so it's good to see yours flowering.

    I know this is going to sound weird, but I'm sure I remember making 'mock fish' which was actually a hash brown. Hmm, does sound weird, but there you go.

  5. Happy Australia Day to you - thanks for the Australia lesson. :)

    Love that bright sock yarn!!

  6. I love Dorothea McKeller's poem! It's one of my all time favourites. You've made this ex-pat, flood and frost ridden, UK living Aussie very homesick!

    Lovely photos too as usual. :-)

  7. Hello Lynne

    Loved the dyed yarn. The photos of the Australian natives were beautiful too.

    Just one thing, please take it in the spirit intended (I wanted to email but couldn't find a contact address) - it was Captain Arthur Philip (leader of the First Fleet) that raised the British flag on 26 January 1788 in Sydney Cove - Captain Cook was already dead by then and Botany Bay wasn't suitable for a settlement (no fresh water).
    Hope you had a good Australia Day. Please feel free to delete this commetn after you've read it.

  8. Gorgeous colors!
    Happy Australia Day!

  9. Apparently even most government ministers don't know the real 'why' of Australia Day, sp don't worry about that. I do, actually, but then I have a (completely useless except for personal interest) degree in history so I should know!

    I wonder what you ask for in NSW if you actually want a scallop, ie. the shellfish.

    As well as all the regional differences in terms like that, I also have to cope with the fact that half the time I use English (as in those used in England) for things - a product of an early childhood actually apent there, then an Australian childhood spent with British parents who always used the English words, then nine years there later on. I confuse myself let alone others!

    Good luck to Nathan - your cat will look extra miffed if he gets that job and you go away!

  10. Scallops are shellfish to us Brits - and very nice they are too if you get the King scallops fresh in Newlyn :-) Potato cakes here are a mix of flour and potato and are like small flat thick pancakes. Nowt like hash browns anyway!

    Love the yarn you dyed, the first one I am not surprised sold - it is VERY like the lovely Jamboreee by Colinette. I'm very tempted and must look at your yarn page soon.

    It sound slike mucho exciting stuff is occurring on the job front, best of luck to both of you and I hope the US thing works out!

  11. what gorgeous colours in that wool. Doesnt surprise me that the sock wool sold fast.


  12. Great Australia Day post! I love your photos. I hope that all goes well with the third interview!

    The look on Nutmeg's face is precious. So hard done by!


Post a Comment

I enjoy getting comments but if I don't have your email address, I may not be able to reply 8-\

Popular posts from this blog

Griping - A very gross post

Seattle Six

Still here, waving!