Queensland Day – the festival that wasn’t

YESTERDAY was Queensland Day. Happy birthday Queensland!

Not that anyone seemed to care.

I looked it up on the State Government website. It wasn’t there. I even searched “Queensland Day” and it came up with Queensland Day 2001.

It does have Queensland Week.

Just for the record, it was exactly 144 years ago yesterday that Queen Victoria cut the cord between NSW and Queensland. In a display of regal humility she decided she liked the name Queensland, and dumped ideas to call the place Cooksland, after the bloke who found it.

Cooksland might have had a lot more going for it. I mean, think how easy it would have been to promote Townsville’s fine dining in a place called Cooksland.

Queensland, though, presents certain promotional difficulties…

But back to Queensland Day.

I even searched the Townsville City Council website. Nothing. In what I read as a desperate attempt to please, it came up with a plaintive little message: “Search for something else”, but I was too depressed.

Same story at Thuringowa. True, the Northern Beaches Festival runs for two weeks across Queensland Day, but that’s an accident. And anyway, if you look on the festival calendar on the Thuringowa City Council website, Queensland Day was the one day nothing was happening!

And no matter what the websites say there’s no denying we did actually have stuff happening. There was the cook-off in Flinders Mall (see… Cooksland would have been much smarter) and the announcement of the Senior of the Year.

But officially there seems to be a deafening silence on the subject. Or at least a barely discernible whisper.

How come!

We live in the best state in Australia and we don’t care?

I don’t believe that.

I reckon it’s because the State Government invented Queensland Week. They tried to turn a special day into a special week and all that happened was they stretched the cloth so thin you can see right through it.

Not only was there nothing happening in Townsville or Thuringowa on Queensland Day (not according to the city council websites) but there were only three things happening in the State capital.

I looked it up. Brisbane had a celebratory business breakfast, and a guided tour of the law courts.


That’ll pull ’em in. The streets would have been log-jammed with eager revellers all wanting to be part of the festivities.

To be fair I have to divulge that they also had a free barbecue lunch — served by parliament’s ministers. Cooksland would probably have suited them better, too.

But that’s it. A day of celebration that would have made a funeral look like a party.

We’ve got the Queen’s birthday, of course, but that’s on Monday, it has nothing to do with Queensland and it’s the wrong Queen (It was Victoria who set us free from NSW).

Well… not in my house. Queensland is alive and well where I live. We made a cake and stuck candles in it. Not 144, which would have set the house ablaze, but a dozen. One for every dozen years.

That’s a gross, for those of you who didn’t know — 12 dozen. A significant number for those old enough to have learned to count up to 12 instead of ten.

They could have used it in the Queensland Day promotions: Have a Gross Queensland Day! Maybe not.

On the other hand it sounds to me like most people did.