Australia · music · photography · summer

Sounds of Australia

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“Out on the patio we’d sit,
And the humidity we’d breathe,
We’d watch the lightning crack over cane fields
Laugh and think that this is Australia.” ~ Sounds of Then (This is Australia) ~ Gangajang.

This coming Saturday, the 26th of January, is Australia Day and to commemorate the day I thought it might be different to add a series of posts with photos that are typically Australian. Perhaps native to Australia. Or maybe those things that when a person from overseas sees them, they may smile and say “I recognise that, it’s Australian”.

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It will be interesting to see how many icons I can come up with. I haven’t planned this idea out to any great degree at all! I will simply take each day as it comes, leading up to Australia Day, in typical Aussie fashion.

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“She’ll be right mate!” No, I do not speak in that way myself, but again, it is typically Australian, typifying the laid-back Australia style of taking each day as it comes, which is just what I will do.

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First in my series of the typically Australian is the Australian Magpie, or Cracticus tibicen. My particular magpie friend is a black backed magpie and the one who patiently posed today for a photo shoot is a male. His wife didn’t visit with him today, (she must have been cleaning the nest, or some other such magpie activity) so he dined alone on his fresh mince.

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The brown wooden table beyond the magpie is usually regarded as the feeding table as it is really fit to be thrown away, so I have kept it for the birds to use. They seem to enjoy jumping around the table and chairs and I’m not in the least bit concerned that they will dirty it at all. But, the kookaburras really want the feeding table to be exclusively for their use at the beginning and end of the day, when they are around, so I let magpie eat from another newer table occasionally.

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Also typically Australian in some of these photos, if you look carefully in the background, is the weeds that have popped up between the pavers of the patio over the last couple of weeks. Throughout the year we fight a constant battle against the weeds and when the heat of summer arrives, we don’t stand a chance of getting rid of them.

Ah well, this is Australia….

I wonder if you have ever heard the song of a magpie? It is a beautiful chortling sound, one which I am often woken by in the morning, when my magpie visitors are asking for their breakfast.

Click on this link I have found on YouTube and you will hear the song of a magpie…..

“Along the road the magpies walk
with hands in pockets, left and right.
They tilt their heads, and stroll and talk.
In their well-fitted black and white.

They look like certain gentlemen
who seem most nonchalant and wise
until their meal is served — and then
what clashing beaks, what greedy eyes!

But not one man that I have heard
throws back his head in such a song
of grace and praise — no man nor bird.
Their greed is brief; their joy is long.
For each is born with such a throat
as thanks his God with every note.” ~ Magpies, Judith Wright.

They are such tame birds, once they become used to being fed by you they sometimes even come up to the door to meet you. I’ve heard that some magpies have become so tame that they will walk into a house! That hasn’t happened to me, so far they have preferred to dine alfresco, and I do hope that they don’t ever decided to come indoors as my cats may not take too kindly to sharing their home with a magpie!

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Talking about Australian icons would not be complete without some Australian music. Whilst many may have heard the old classics, like “Tie Me Kangaroo Down” and “A Pub With No Beer”, there are so many other songs that scream “Australia” to me. These are the songs that if I were to ever find myself in a far off land and hear these songs, I would long for home.

One such song is “Sounds of Then” by Gangajang.