G’day, eh? We are Aussies – January 26, 2015

It’s official, today we are Aussies! This morning Anna and I joined 620 new citizens to take the Australian citizenship pledge at Brisbane City Hall.

Play the slide show

Do we now speak with perfect Aussie twang, enjoy the taste of Vegemite or magically understand the rules of cricket? Uh, no – and especially not the cricket!

After the ceremony, we enjoyed a fabulous lunch with great Aussie friends. Thanks to Fiona for putting on lunch, and to Fiona, Kate, Terri, Kaelene and Sharon for the Aussie welcome and laughs.

What’s next? Perhaps we should learn the lyrics to the Australian national anthem. Anyone know whether is the “national anthem of STRAYA” or “Advance Australia Fair“?

Oh yeah, and there is an election on in Queensland next Saturday – voting compulsory.

Drugs and Alcohol in Brisbane – Dec 2, 2007

Queensland Police is now conducting random Roadside Drug Tests state-wide. The tests detect use of drugs including cannabis, ecstasy, ice and speed.

Those who fail a random RDT face automatic suspension of their driving license (24 hours) plus the prospect of fines of up to $1,050, permanent license loss and three months’ jail if convicted.

Of the 63 drivers in Brisbane tested overnight Friday, five of those tested positive for illicit drugs (Brisbane Times).

Meanwhile, a woman was arrested after fleeing after a car accident in Brisbane on Saturday (news.com.au). She allegedly had a blood alcohol level more than 8x the legal limit.
Good luck to her defence lawyer!

Mt Coot-ha – May 5, 2007

Sunset at Mt Coot-ha
Sunset at Mt Coot-ha

Anna and I went hiking on Mt Coot-ha, about 5km west of downtown Brisbane. Mt Coot-ha is a popular spot for hiking, cycling and picnics. The forest, primarily open eucalypt, is Brisbane’s largest natural area at 1500+ hectares.

A little history

Mt Coot-ha was home to Turrbal Aboriginal people. The name is derived from “kuta” the Aboriginal word for honey. Since Brisbane’s settlement, residents have enjoyed visiting Mt Coot-ha for the views of the city and surrounding areas. In 1873 the forest was declared a reserve and supplied timber to the railway construction. Later Mt Coot-ha was designated as a public park.

Gold (in small quantities of low-quality) was mined on Mt Coot-ha between 1890-1950. During WWII, the reserve was used as a military base, mine storage and assembly depot, and featured huge searchlights that watched the skies for enemy aircraft.


Check out our photos from Mt Coot-ha.

Photos of South Bank Parklands – March 5, 2007

Anna and I took a few hours to wander around Brisbane’s South Bank Parklands. This area is home to rainforest gardens, a swimming lagoon, walking & cycling paths, craft market, cultural centre and the brand-new GOMA (gallery of modern art) — plus a lot more! It is a beautiful spot within the city, right on the banks of the Brisbane River.

Have a look: Today’s photos are posted in my South Bank photo album. These are best viewed in slideshow mode, so you can see the description of each picture.

Australia Day – January 26, 2007

Happy Australia Day!

On January 26, 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and became its first Governor. Australia Day, 26 January, is a national day of celebration where Australians and us wanna-be-Aussies come together to celebrate what’s great about Australia and being Australian.

This makes today a perfect one for me to enlighten you with some observations about life in Oz! This is a unique combination of advice I wish I had heard before we moved, and a few quirks about life “Down Under.” So, grab your Australia-shaped hamburger and a bottle or three of Toohey’s, and just relax -Â There are no dramas here.

#1 – Look right

Let’s start with an easy one: Cars approach from the right, not the left as in North America. The advice of “look right” should be self-explanatory.

#2 – No room for fluffy in the inn

Neither the city councils nor the “body corporate” (that’s a condo board of directors to the rest of us) look fondly upon cats and other pets in rental situations. So if you have a pet, you will almost certainly be forced to look for a detached home.

For those who do not already have a pet, you can always find several thousand of the local favourites to call your own! That’s right, get your fleas here. Many houses have ’em, and you can have some too!Â

(Regular treatment by pest control keeps them away — or try some natural prevention, such as putting basil in the window.)

#3 – Rent/Lease payments on cars and accommodation are priced by the week

Self-explanatory perhaps, but a difficult adjustment for us newbies who are used to thinking in monthly terms. We thought, “Wow, rent is really inexpensive!” But that changed once we realized that key appliances like a fridge aren’t typically included in your rent.

#4 – Brissy

Here’s a little Aussie grammar for you. If you can shorten a regular word by putting “issy” or “ey” on the end, then do it.

One more thing: Steve Irwin notwithstanding, no self-respecting Australian actually says “Crikey!

#5 – One Hundred Points

Get used to the idea that, no matter what you’re doing – from opening a bank account to applying for a rental property – you will be asked for “100 points” of identification.

This means at least one piece of government-issued photo ID with your signature, plus up to 3 additional pieces of identification. Each type of ID carries a different point value depending on the service to which you are applying, so be prepared to show multiple forms of ID.

#6 – “No dramas”

A classic Australian expression, which means something of “no worries,” “no problem,” and/or “you’re welcome.”

It may also be used to offer assistance. For example, “If there any dramas, give me a call and I’ll sort it out.”

#7 – Indooroopilly

The pronunciation of many suburb names in Brisbane bears almost no resemblance to their spelling. The locals will (rightly) laugh out loud at your weak attempt at their pronunciation. It may sound mean-spirited, but you’ll get used to it!

So the correct pronunciation of Indooroopilly – at least, as close as I can get with my Canadian eh! accent – is “Indro pill ee.”

#8 – Wonder bread

The classic Aussie BBQ … perfect for Australia Day! Get your shrimp, sausage, and burgers, all served up on … sliced bread??

What’s up with that? Well, we scoured the grocery stores and managed to find one package of 6 hot dog buns for the low price of $3.91. Don’t even mention about hamburger buns, they just don’t seem to exist here.

The local solution is two slices of white or wholemeal bread, plain and simple. Oh, don’t forget the coleslaw and sweet chili sauce — and lots of it!

#9 – Free TV has the best shows

Australian free-to-air television channels such as Seven are running the new-release North American shows, including this season’s “24” and “Heroes.” The paid digital cable channels, on the other hand, are showing “Murder She Wrote” alongside 5-year old episodes of “ER.” Go figure.

And finally #10 – Sunblock

What can I say? Any country where a red-headed Canadian boy an buy a 1 LITRE jug of SPF-30 sunblock is OK by me.

Hey mate, please pass another Toohey’s from the esky. I’m going for more of that chili sauce!

Later, eh?