Hilltop Views

Jana Soares

Courtesy of Jana Soares

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“Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!”

“Oi, Oi, Oi!”

This is a call-and-response chant that I heard for the first time on January 26, 2016. My friends and I were walking on the sidewalk when a group of people chanted from the window of their car, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” and my friends cheered back, “Oi, Oi, Oi!” in response.

I inquired as to what this was, clearly confused by this exchange. I learned that it is a typical cheer during sporting events and apparently, for Australia Day.

My name is Jana Soares and I graduated St. Edward’s University in May 2015.  I am currently abroad in Sydney, Australia conducting microbiology research at the ithree institute at the University of Technology Sydney as part of a Fulbright fellowship.

I arrived here in late July 2015, just catching the tail end of an Aussie winter and now it’s February 2016, marking the last month of summer.  For the rest of my time here, I will be sharing some of my experiences with Hilltop Views and I hope you enjoy reading a little about life Down Under. I am happy to answer any questions, so feel free to reach out to me at any point!

Australia Day is a public holiday celebrated each year on January 26. It marks the day the first fleet of British ships arrived at Port Jackson, New South Wales and when Governor Arthur Phillip raised the flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove, in 1788.

In Sydney alone, there were numerous events and celebrations planned both in the CBD and surrounding suburbs. Prior to Australia Day, I searched for events online, checked stores to see what decorations and types of foods were on sale in anticipation of the holiday and conversationally surveyed people to understand how Australia Day is celebrated.

I asked questions such as, “How is Australia Day typically celebrated?” or, “What plans do you have on Australia Day?”  The following is a list of observations, responses and findings, in no particular order:

1.  Listen to the countdown of the Triple J Hottest 100, where the public votes on the top 100 songs of the year (Triple J is a national Australian radio station).

2.  Go to the beach with a picnic and some cold beverages, since it’s usually very hot that day.

3.  Eat lamb, BBQ or both!

4.  Hang out with your mates at a park and create a sort of Slip N Slide out of garbage bags and water (another suggestion from this conversation was to get an inflatable swimming pool).

5.  Buy items with the Australian flag on them (or just buy Australian flags) ranging from an Esky (a cooler box), to dresses, light up hats, sunnies (sunglasses), stickers and temporary tattoos.

6.  You can also buy apparel and food items with the Australian sports team colors (green and gold). I saw cupcakes decked out in green and gold frosting.


What did I actually do on Australia Day?  Well, the day started off with a quick trip to the lab to set up a few things, where I listened to part of the countdown of the Triple J Hottest 100 (#1 on the above list — check!) that was playing on the radio in the lab.

 Afterwards, my friends and I attended one of the events publicized held at Sydney Olympic Park, wearing green and gold sports shirts (#6 on the list — check!) and Australian stickers, and carrying mini Australian flags (#5 on the list — check!).  Here, we saw part of an Australian citizenship ceremony and watched families playing rugby and cricket (Bonus — not on the list!).

For lunch, we headed to Ribs & Burgers and I ate a delicious lamb burger (#3 on the list — check!).  I then went back into lab that afternoon and listened to a few more of the Triple J Hottest 100 (#1 on the list — double-check!) while continuing a bit of lab work.

Since it was still fairly sunny but slightly cooler nearing the late afternoon and early evening, we decided to head to Balmoral Beach. Equipped with a picnic of grapes, popcorn and cold berry iced tea (#3 on the list — check!) we enjoyed gorgeous ocean views, good conversation and time to relax.

On the way back home, we found our way to Darling Harbour, just in time for the closing events for the day. This included the singing of “Advance Australia Fair,” the Australian national anthem, in both an aboriginal language and in English, and a lively fireworks performance set to different songs (another fabulous bonus — not on the list!).

All-in-all, Australia Day was a day full of time spent with wonderful friends, great food and exciting festivities. I managed to check off most of the suggestions on the above list, added a few bonuses and left item #4 (garbage bag slip-n-slide) as a rain check!

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Jana Soares