Australian Bank Holidays – What the!

Tomorrow is the annual Melbourne Cup and for some unknown reason years ago, the state of Victoria in Australia venerated this occasion by declaring it to be a  bank holiday.   Being English and accustomed to prestigious race events being held at the weekend, taking a day off work to celebrate a horse race is unfathomable.  Almost but not quite as odd as Australians declaring the Queen’s birthday a bank holiday when England, who by rights should have a day to celebrate our sovereign’s crowning, don’t.  Obviously Australians take their gambling seriously and appreciate the Queen far more than her loving subjects in her homeland! 

My own theory is that the Aussies just like an excuse to party, break out the Barbie and get drunk.  As much as I love having the day off to veg out, the idea of donating a small fortune to racing organisations (55 – 200 for a ticket depending on the day and race plus gambling money), does not appeal.  Then there is the cost of a  new outfit, matching accessories,  transport food and drink.  I could finance 4 days at the Glastonbury festival with that kind of cash!   But girls will be girls and splash out on fasinators, frocks and five inch heels.  They then spend the day hoiking their shoes out of the earth, fighting off hypothermia, and defrosting the hand that has been glued to their hat in order to prevent it sailing off into the wind and blinding the leading jockey.   

Now if I was serious about time off work the best place to be would be Greece.  14 months pay for 12 months work, bank holidays, long easter and Xmas breaks, saints days and whatever else they have time off for.  Last time I was there and contemplating getting a job I worked out that I would only have to work 9 months of the year thanks to all their public holidays.  Shame the economy crumbled really – although not surprising given that Greeks also have an aversion to paying taxes.     

So tomorrow, following the example of  the Galapagos seal’s art of relaxing, I will chill out and enjoy the day for what it is – a day off work!

18 thoughts on “Australian Bank Holidays – What the!

  1. We Aussies aren’t all thrilled to bits by the national tendency to break off for boozing and gambling, Sue … I posted about this just the other day, commenting on my despair at the way we use any excuse for a holiday. I like to think that all our worser (!) characteristics spring from our origins. So it’s the Poms’ fault! [grin]

  2. I always thought the best way to spend Melbourne Cup (if you live in the city or close that is) is to get yourself a comfy position in a pub/bar with a view of Flinders St station and watch the glammed up crowds arriving for the race in all their finery. Then a few hours later, watch them come back again – sun burnt (if the weather behaved), shoeless, legless and generally devoid of any of the style and sophistication their attire would allude to. Endlessly fun people watching… in a sad kinda way ;)

  3. Love the seals sunning! I had a pen pal as a child who lived in Ballarat, Victoria. I wonder what ever became of Neryl Cocks…
    Thanks for stopping by my Post!

  4. As a born-and-bred Aussie, I think I can say with authority that the day the Melbourne Cup is run (first Tuesday in November) is not a Bank Holiday, but just Melbourne Cup Day (which applies only in Victoria). Even though it’s not a holiday in the other states, pretty much everyone stops work for half an hour or so to watch or listen to the Cup, and then collect their winnings (if any). By the way, Bank Holiday (only for bank employees and a few other hangers on; this year on 5th of August) applies only in NSW. However, if you happen to live in the Northern Territory, you still get a holiday on the 5th of August, but it’s called Picnic Day. It all seems pretty normal to us.

    I like your blog!

  5. Skinny, hey, it’s Morris. I so appreciate your “liking” a recent post on my new blogsite; this blogging thing is fun! You appear to have lived a life I’d like to lead someday: full of travel and discovery! Looking forward to following your posts! Cheers!

  6. Trust me, Aussies will use any excuse to have a day off, drink and relax… The favourite national holiday here being Australia Day! It’s great, we get a long weekend to have a barbie, lounge by the pool or at the beach and drink as much as we like, for no other reason than celebrating Australia!

  7. I’ve never been to Melbourne Cup but I’m always happy to take the day off work. :) Or better yet, take leave on the Monday and get a 4 day weekend to go away somewhere!

    It’s probably not true, but once I heard someone joke that the main reason we voted against turning Australia into a republic at the last referendum was for fear of losing the Queen’s Birthday public holiday. ;)

  8. There’s a simple explanation for all our apparent madnesses. Okay, first, we are descened from UK stock. Anything more need to be said? (Relax all you Poms, Irish and Scottish folk, tongue in cheek, guys!) Nah, seriously. you try hanging upside down for extended periods and see what it does to your head. How do you think we’d behave hanging off the arse end of the world all the time? But we love it and would never swap.

    Coz we get all these holidays which makes life great! Come and see what it’s like.

  9. And Melbourne Cup Day rears its head again!!! Having grown up in Melbourne (mainly)… I have a vastly different opinion of a Bank Holiday in honour of a Horse Race… frankly since I began bouncing about the country and the world I find it rather hard to comprehend a year without a day of frocking, drinking and celebrating the moment when a nation stops for 3 minutes! HAPPY MELBOURNE CUP!!!
    Stay safe, Kazza

    • Being English I can’t understand what all the fuss is about a Horse Race myself – but then again the Australians do celebrate the Queen’s birthday! However as you say it is a day off :)

  10. Having lived in Melbourne the past 3 years, I have yet to experience my first Melbourne Cup. Although I do recall the weather is usually crappy anyway…

  11. Maybe all those Greek holidays didn’t help! Nice writing. I remember being in Melbourne for the Cup one year. I didn’t go, lack of cash, and not really caring about horse racing, but I remember that it rained that day, and I laughed as all these overdressed cold, wet and miserable people returned to the city.

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