Holistic local sustainability; food, water, energy, money, people

Talking about Australia Day, 2023

January 26th is an opportunity to discuss a really interesting topic; our day of ‘national unity’ that has become quite contentious. Fortunately, we can practice democracy freely at home, even though Canberra is hobbled by money and scheming.

The official Australia Day website provides playlists and quizzes to make it a fun day. But I wanted to provide an enjoyable way for my guests to engage in the difficult issues. So I created a Botanical Banter quiz that combined thorny questions about both backyard plants and Australia Day. The instructions were:

In pairs or a group, take a card. Each card names a plant in the garden. Discuss the question, then find the plant to get some answers. (Leave the answer card on the plant.) Put the question card back with the others. Take another one and repeat.

Some examples


Pomegranate Poms

What date did the Poms arrive in Australia in order to settle here?

Pomegranate trees are not from Pommieland. They originated in Persia, but the Romans thought they came from Africa, which is where the name comes from (Punica – their name for Carthage in north Africa). They thrive in a mediterranean climate and are a very popular fruit in the Middle East.

26th January, 1788 marks the landing of the First Fleet in Australia.

Community Grapevine

Does Australia need “Australia Day?”

Muscat (red) Grapevines grow well in a mediterranean climate. Brisbane is a little too humid, but enough of the fruit ripens for the odd human to graze on it.

Many countries don’t have a ‘day of national unity’ as such. For example the U.K. has various bank holidays to mark events in the Christian calendar and Royal Family occasions such as weddings and jubilees. A national day often marks forms of independence. India marks its 1950 constitution as Indian Republic Day on January 26th. We didn’t have a war of independence like the USA did. Australia’s independence has been an evolutionary process, encouraged by the British. Federation was achieved though negotiation and referendums. Our Constitution dates from January 1st, 1901. Why do you think it isn’t a public holiday?

Banana Benders

When does the story of Australia begin?

Lady finger bananas are sweeter than the Cavendish bananas sold in shops. All bananas are clones, grown from harvested suckers.
The Australia Day website australiaday.org.au says, “The Story (of Australia)
begins 60,000 years ago. New chapters are written every day. On Australia Day, we reflect on our history, its highs and its lows. We respect the stories of others. And we celebrate our nation, its achievements and most of all, its people.”

Would “Settlement Day” be a more apt description for the 26th of January? What do you think of calling it ‘Invasion Day?’
Botanical Banter © 2022 by Simon Cole is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

A fun time was had by all.

We started at 3pm with afternoon tea and when the temperature fell, we fired up the BBQ for dinner.

If you’d like a copy of Botanical Banter get in touch via the Contact Page and I’ll send you a copy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on January 27, 2023 by .
%d bloggers like this: