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Waltzing Australia


Thursday, November 11, 2010

12. Remembrance Day - Armistice Day

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the guns of Western Europe fell silent after four years of hell and bloodshed. The Armistice treaty was signed in a railway carriage in Compi├Ęgne Forest and marked the end of The Great War (now called WWI)

On the first anniversary of the Armistice, in 1919, one minute's silence was instituted as part of the main commemorative ceremony to remember those who had fallen.

The story of the Poppy
Above: Flanders poppy
Red poppies - Flanders Poppies - were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium. In soldiers' folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades drenching the ground. It is for this reason the humble red poppy is worn on Remembrance Day to remember, honour and pay homage to all those who died.

The Great War contributed to the Australian definition of mateship as a shared experience based on mutual respect and the significance of Armistice and Remembrance Day has continued for Australians. Many households were cast into mourning in the face of such terrible losses. Many streets in towns and suburbs across Australia were marked by households bereft of men.

And so, every November, on the 11th hour of the 11th day, we remember those who have fallen and made the ultimate sacrifice in all wars, as we bow our heads in silence while "The Last Post" is played.

The Last Post
In military tradition, the Last Post is the bugle call that signifies the end of the day's activities. The Last Post is the trumpet or bugle call sounded at 10 pm each night to inform soldiers that they should be inside their quarters for the night. It is also sounded at military funerals and commemorative services ... to indicate that the soldier has completed his life's work and has entered into his rest.

Remembrance Day Service
There are four parts ~
The Ode
The "Last Post"
The Silence

The Ode
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

From "For The Fallen" Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)

Remembrance Day 2010
I attended the service today at my local RSL. These photos were taken during the service and I also filmed the ceremony, the videos (in three parts) can be found at the end of this post. The first one is the longest whilst the other two are considerably shorter.

Above: Commemorative plaque

Above: Memorial Cross

Above: The Flag Bearers

Above: Placing a poppy

Above: Paying respects

Above: Two diggers

Above: Lest We Forget

Monday, November 1, 2010

11. Derby Day Deluge

Derby Day
Derby Day is the start of the Spring Racing Carnival and is held the Saturday before Melbourne Cup Day, and like Cup Day, ladies dress up in summery clothing, don fascinators and high heels. It's about looking good it's about looking your best it's about being dressy in your bits and bobs and having a wonderful day at the races ~ as well as having a flutter or two on your favourite horse!

Let's ga back a year to Derby Day 2009 - a lovely warm day with a pleasant breeze, blue sunny skies. What could be better? Below are a few shots from last year.

Above: A Bevy of Beauties

Above: Derby Day Damsels

Above: The Yarra

Derby Day 2010
Let's fast forward to this year's Derby Day on Saturday, 30th October and what a huge difference. The BOM (Beareau of Meteorology) had been predicting we would get a month's rain in two days! Well rain it certainly did. Melbourne received about 53 mm of rain on Saturday and in the north east of Victoria they had 50 - 60 mm rain.

Above Wet

Above: Wetter
That $200 fascinator that looked good in the mirror at 9.00am in hte morning wasn't looking its best by the afternoon and walking around in high heels in slushy, muddy, soggy grass isn't much fun but these gals still looked like they enjoyed the day.

Umbrellas were or course the most popular fashion accessory - and unheard of thing in Melbounre for many years due to the long drought we have been experiencing - as were see-through plastice raincoats. Your fancy dress that you got tizzied up in earlier in the day might leave you shivering but at least it was on show.

Above: Wettest
This young lad wades through the waters in a local street. Fancy a swim?

Rain, Rain, Rain,
The rain made quite a sound as it poured down and here's a short video - listen to the sounds of rain.