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My family lives in a beautiful area on the north coast of NSW.  This area is often called “God’s country” as it is just so unspoiled and lovely.  It is the northern rivers area and is about a 3 hour drive south from my home in Brisbane.  NSW is the state south of Qld where I live.

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For this Australia day I chose to spend the long weekend with my family in this lovely area.  It is tradition for families to get together for this special day.  The day usually includes a good Aussie bbq with family and friends and if you live near the coast it often involves time at the beach.  For me, I was lucky enough to have it all plus more.

We spent the Sunday out in the boat on the Clarence River which runs out in to the Pacific Ocean. The day was spectacular. We cruised up the river calling in to several beaches for many swims as we needed to cool off.

We tied the boat up in front of the local pub in Iluka and stopped for a couple of cold beers before enjoying our lunch of locally caught fish.

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On the actual day, Monday 26th, friends and neighbours joined us for an Aussie bbq, Aussie beers and swims in the pool.  The day was casual, very casual because that is what suits our climate and that is how Aussies like to have fun.

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Australia Day is on January 26 and commemorates the establishment of the first European settlement at Port Jackson, now part of Sydney, in 1788.   The First Fleet was led by Captain Arthur Philip. He established the Colony of New South Wales, the first penal colony in Australia.

Australia Day is a public holiday in all states and territories. All schools and most offices are closed. Stores are often open, but may have reduced opening hours.  It is an opportunity for Australians to come together to celebrate their country and culture.

Many people have a day off work and use the day to picnic in a park, have a bbq with family and friends, go shopping or to play or to watch sports events.

In some towns and cities, citizenship ceremonies are held on Australia Day. These are ceremonies to welcome immigrants to the country who have been granted Australian citizenship. Although official, these ceremonies often have a festive atmosphere.  In addition, the Australian of the Year Awards are presented. These are awards for Australians who have made an outstanding contribution to their country or community.

The locals enjoying their Australia Day lunch

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