Saturday, 26 January 2013

The History of Australia Day and our Challenge Laundry Bags

Happy Australia Day Everyone!  
Especially to our guys and gals who are serving our country overseas and elsewhere not with their loved ones.  

As well as the big reveal of the Australia Day Laundry Bag Challenge Janine has put together some information about Australia Day and what is stands for - hope you enjoy it!   
Over to you Janine...

I must admit I once had to think hard to remember what Australia Day celebrates so media promotions over the last few years have been a good thing . But,  do we see it as a day to remember past events or to celebrate what we have now?  To help me, and anyone interested, I've looked at the history of the day and collected information, which I've copied and condensed into the notes below.  Janine C

AUSTRALIA DAY  - celebrated on January 26th - the anniversary of the First Fleet landing.

1788 - January 26th, Captain Arthur Philip, and a few men, rowed ashore from the HMS Supply, and took possession of the land in the name of King George lll. They had been sent to establish the colony of New South Wales - the first penal colony in Australia.  The fleet of 11 ships had arrived in Botany Bay around the 20th of January but after realising the land was unsuitable they sailed north to Port Jackson. Interestingly, the first man to set foot on the land was actually a convict named James Ruse, who carried First Lieutenant George Johnston on his back making Johnston the first officer to land.

1808 - While 20 years after the landing there was no official recognition of the anniversary the date was used by immigrants, especially emancipated convicts, to 'celebrate their love of the land they lived in' with heavy drinking from sundown on the 25th.  In the early hours of the 26th, the now brevet Major George Johnston (see above), wearing one arm in a sling, after an accident during the night, led men of the New South Wales Corps in arresting Governor William Bligh, fourth Governor of New South Wales, in what became popularly known as the 'Rum Rebellion', and was the only military coup in Australian history.

1818 - For the 30th anniversary Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged 'Foundation Day' with an official celebration. He ordered a 30 gun salute, one for each year the colony had existed, and granted a holiday to Government employees.  Gradually other organisations gave their employees a holiday on the 26th.

1838 - Fifty guns were fired from Dawes' Battery and Foundation Day became Australia's first public holiday. The previous year the first Australia Day Regatta took place on Sydney Harbour, followed by rockets and other fireworks and this became  an annual tradition.

1888 - The holiday, now called 'Anniversary Day',  had been celebrated on different days around the country, but by 1888 all colonial capitals, except Adelaide, chose January 26th.

1938 - January 26th had become Australia Day in all states except New South Wales, where it was still Anniversary Day for a few more years. The celebrations centred on a re-enactment of the landing of the First Fleet, which left out the convicts but included interaction with a group of Aboriginals on the shore. For many years the day was difficult to celebrate because organisers found the involvement of convicts embarrassing.
1948 - Australia Day had been celebrated on January 26 in all states since 1946.  Now, it was decided to move the public holiday to the nearest Monday to create a long weekend. 
1988 - The celebration of 200 years since the arrival of the First Fleet saw events in all major cities, including street parties, historic re-enactments and competitions.  The National Australia Day Council had been established in 1979 - possibly because the day was the only holiday associated with contentious issues. We celebrated the first permanent European settlement, tainted by the fact that it was a penal colony, and indigenous Australians felt the day excluded them and their culture and renamed the day Invasion Day.  The council was to steer celebrations towards a day to celebrate everything that is great about being an Australian, rather than a day of remembrance (see 1808 above).
1994 - All States and Territories celebrated Australia Day as a unified public holiday on the actual day for the first time. 
2008 - Two hundred and twenty years after the First Fleet landing found Australia Day still a little unsettled. Suggestions to change the date to break unpopular associations were common but polls showed the people were not interested in changing the date and the Prime Ministers of the 2000s agreed.
2013 - The 26th fell on the Saturday so for the first time since 1994 the public holiday on the 28th was to be  the observed day, though some elements still used the 26th.
Today Australia Day is a public holiday across the country.  Most people enjoy a day off work for family gatherings or sports events and in some areas, shopping.  The Australian of the Year Awards are presented to Australians who have made an outstanding contribution to their country or community.  Citizenship ceremonies are often held to welcome immigrants who have been granted Australian citizenship. Many celebrations on Australia Day include displaying the national flag and singing Advance Australia Fair. While we welcome new Aussies into our communities many young Australians are on the far side of the world in places with strange sounding names like, Kandahar, Dubai and Tarin Kot.

Wherever possible our Australian Defence Force members around the world commemorate Australia Day. In the past they have enjoyed roast dinners, Aussie food like meat pies and sausage rolls and games and competitions.

In 2013 there could be ADF members curled up under an AHQ quilt reading a letter from home, or using the free time to do their washing, carried in an AHQ laundry bag.

Most of the Aussie Heroes we sew for are part of Operation SLIPPER.  The information below is from the Australian Defence Force website and explains a little about what our boys and girls deployed under Operation Slipper are doing 'over there'.

Australia’s military contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan is deployed under Operation SLIPPER. Australia’s military contribution includes an annual average of 1,550 Australian Defence Force personnel deployed within Afghanistan. These numbers vary depending on operational requirements and shifting seasonal conditions. Approximately 800 personnel provide support from locations within the broader Middle East Area of Operations, including our maritime commitment.  In keeping with the ISAF strategy to strengthen civilian engagement in Afghanistan and to better integrate civilian and military efforts, Australia now has around 50 civilians working in Afghanistan, in addition to around ten Defence civilians.
Australia’s substantial military, civilian and development assistance focuses on:
Training and mentoring the Afghan National Army 4th Brigade in Uruzgan province to allow transition of lead security responsibility for the province.
Building the capacity of the Afghan National Police to assist with civil policing functions in Uruzgan;
Helping improve the Afghan Government's capacity to deliver core services and generate economic opportunities for its people.
Operations to disrupt insurgent operations and supply routes utilising the Special Operations Task Group.

Thanks for all that work Janine C.  

And now for another way to celebrate Australia Day.  

The Australia Day Challenge Laundry Bags!

But first - a bit thank you to everyone for getting in the spirit and making the awesome collection you are about to see!

I will start off with mine as I am disqualifying myself from the prize seeing as I made the quilt for the judge!  Don't want him to be biased!  LOL


Christine C (WA)



From Pauline
"A fond Australian memory of mine is hot summer days during the school holidays, playing cricket on the road with the neighbourhood kids. And one hand, one bounce."

Debra S 

Debra S

Debra S

Debra S

Debra S

Debra S

Julie Ann

Julie Ann

Julie Ann

 Liz J

Liz J

Detail on back of bags above




Sue N







Judith M



Janine C

Janine C

Amy and Angela


Judy C
Note - Fabric is plain homespun discharge dyed with bleach and Judy has stencilled the features on them.

Judy C

Judy C


Jill M

And finally, without doubt, the award for Commitment to the Challenge goes to 
Kiwi Karen 
for the huge number she completed!
All the rest are her's.

Please note several with pigs for 7RAR!

And finally, although Marg hasn't quite got this one finished I think it deserves to be included because of the amount of work in it.  Also, having completed 29 laundry bags on her own in the week between Christmas and New Year I think she deserves to be cut a little slack - don't you?

Great job ladies and thanks so much for getting into the spirit at such short notice!

So, what do you reckon. Who is the winner?

All will be revealed on Friday night in the 
Quilts of the Week post.
Regardless of who wins you are all winners as these laundry bags will be so well received "over there" and especially as they all have something Aussie on them!

If you want an address to send your laundry bag to and you haven't asked me for one can you please wait till I get home from the "School Run on Thursday?  Thanks.

Now I wasn't going to post any thank you messages tonight but this one seems way too appropriate to leave it off.

Hi Janine,
I recently received your beautifully handmade laundry bag.
I am writing to thank you for your kind gift, which certainly put a smile on my face! The magazine was also a wonderful treat; everything looks so delicious and fresh!! I'm already getting a little excited about cooking some meals and eating some fresh salads!
I am a Lieutenant deployed to Afghanistan with my soldiers from my Regiment in SA.  We just reached the half way mark of our deployment, so we've tentatively started the down-hill count down! Everything is travelling well over here; the weather has risen from a not very enjoyable -5*C to a balmy 10*C! Not quite tanning weather; but we'll take what we can get.
Whilst we're a little sad to have missed summer, we're just looking forward to going home!! We are looked after quite well over here; everyone makes sure we are feeling loved and have some trinkets from home to remind us of Australia! 

Tomorrow is Australia Day; the cooks are doing a big cook up of lots of meat. And some coke to supplement for beer. There'll be some improvised cricket games as well I'm sure!!
Thankyou once again for your very kind gesture. 

It is just beautiful and a wonderful gift that I shall treasure. 
Take care and best wishes for 2013.

Kind Regards, 

Till next time............keep spreading the word and Happy stitching!


  1. They are wonderful. What is the official laundry bag count for Australia Day? I lost count, being distracted by all those amazing pigs.

  2. Great Job Everyone, I love them all and I would too like to know the total made. (I posted 24 with flags on them this week).