Australia Day

Australia Day is officially the national day of Australia. It’s celebrated annually on the 26th January, it marks the arrival of the British First Fleet in 1788 at Port Jackson, New South Wales. It also celebrates the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip. In Australia today, it celebrates our diverse society and landscape of the nation. It is a day for community and family events. It is a day for community and family events. There are official community awards and citizenship ceremonies held on the day to welcome new members to the Australian community. The holiday is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, the announcement of the Australia Day Honours list and addresses to the nation from the Governor-General and the Prime Minister. It is an official public holiday in every state and territory. The public holiday is on a Monday in 2020, so it forms a long weekend which is very popular in Australia. Australia Day is a day for all Australians to say thank you for the great things that Australia has given us. Australia is home to people from all over the world. Some are new to Australia; some have been here longer. But we all have one thing in common, we all appreciate the magical quality of life “downunder”. The opportunities we have here and our way of life are unique in the world and on this day, we say thank you. In recent times there has been some discussion on changing the date of Australia Day, but the majority of Australian’s want the date to remain the same. Outdoor concerts, barbecues, sports events, festivals and fireworks displays are just some of the many celebratory events held across Australia. … Read more

Koala in a tree

Australian bush fire relief

Those of us following the news reports are deeply saddened by the devastating bush fires raging in country regions of our beautiful Australia. The huge loss of life, property and wildlife is something that will take many years to recover from and although it will be difficult, no doubt the great Australian spirit will prevail, and we will recover. Life goes on We, safe Melbourne, far away from the danger and terror of the infernos can only be thankful to those brave firefighters. They are hard at work putting an end to this very common (if atypical) Australian natural disaster. Life goes on in the big centres of Sydney and Melbourne, people study, work and play as always but everyone wants to help and see the end of this terrible situation. The best that we can do from our safe and secure vantage point is to contribute generously to a large variety of bona fide charities, set up to assist people in need. Please feel free to contribute whatever you can to one of these worthy causes assisting people affected both in nationally and the state of Victoria. If former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot (2013 – 2015) is anything to go by, we’ll have the situation under control in no time at all. Mr. Abbot, who has been a reserve fire fighter with the New South Wales reserve fire service for nearly twenty years, was seen battling a house fire in rural town of Bendalong recently. Mr. Abbot, tried to keep a low profile and focused on the Australian Defence Force troops and other 70 000 volunteers pitching in. “Look, [I’m] just along with 70,000 other volunteers,” he told Today News reporter Gabby Boyle. Areas affected are mainly country regions where there is little built up property and a … Read more

aussie snags melbourne english school

Australian comfort food

It’s not 2020 so you don’t have to start your new year’s resolutions just yet. Comfort food is something that you probably don’t want to eat every day, but it makes for the perfect guilty indulgence when you do. And the beauty of it is that you don’t have to share it with anyone. Comfort food provides a nostalgic feeling to most people, and often has a high calorie levels, high carbohydrate levels and simple preparation. One thing that Australia does very well is comfort food. We have all the important comfort food- food groups covered! If you’re craving sweet, salty or meaty snacks, Australia is the country for you! All these snacks and drinks are firm Aussie favourites. And many Aussie’s have been enjoying these since their childhood. Sweet In this category we the Tim Tam at the top of the list. They go perfect with a *cuppa. This is closely followed by the Wagon Wheel. Not usually enjoyed with a cuppa. But, try it out, you might just start a new internet food tasting sensation. Lamingtons can be enjoyed with a cuppa or by themselves. Fantails are both chocolaty and educational. They have movie trivia facts printed on the wrappers. Fairybread is easily prepared at home with a minimum of effort. Use soft white bread, butter or margarine and 100’s and 1000’s sprinkles on top. The Polly Waffle has to be tasted to be believed. It is an Old Aussie classic chocolate bar that blends marshmallow, wafers and chocolate. It dates back to 1947. Salty The King of salty Australian comfort food is Vegemite. It only tastes bad if you’re using too much. It isn’t Nutella, so less is more in terms of taste. Perfect as a sandwich, but it really is at its best when you have … Read more

Christmas tree EC English Melbourne

The Myer Christmas windows

Not only do Melburnians look forward to the tradition of Christmas, but they also look forward to the tradition of the Myer Christmas windows. The windows are a free Christmas event in Melbourne. They’re a Melbourne tradition that is as much a part of Melbourne as trams and football. The Myer Christmas windows have been a tradition in Melbourne for sixty-four years. They attract young and old and people will queue up to see them. Many people have been coming to see them all of their lives. The first Myer Christmas windows were installed in 1956, the very same year that Melbourne hosted the Olympics and that Australia started its first T.V. telecasts. It was a big year for Melbourne and Australia. Not just what’s on sale! In 1956 the head of visual merchandising at Myer convinced management to allow him to create grand Christmas window displays. This was something new, not just Christmas merchandise artfully displayed. These windows would have little if any merchandise in them and would be based on a theme. The theme for 1956 was Santa and the Olympics. The first windows were a huge success and the budget was greatly increased for the following year. Each year the windows became more elaborate and the crowds trying to catch a glimpse of the magical windows grew and grew. The themes for the windows have always been topical. Australian writers and illustrators have had their work celebrated in the Myer Christmas windows. There have been international themes as well. Bringing stories to life The windows often depict fairy tales or popular children’s stories in three dimensions. Many of the windows have animated figures and lighting that are computer controlled. The windows take eleven months to design, make and install, so the window displays are highly detailed and … Read more

Cake Display Hopetoun Tea Room

Hopetoun Tea Rooms

Looking for something a little more special than your regular café? Feeling a bit fancy? Recently binge-watched the historical drama Downton Abbey? Then clear your calendar – it’s time to indulge in an extravagant high afternoon tea. Famous for its elegance and the perpetual queue, the Hopetoun Tea Rooms in the Royal Arcade is the perfect destination for both ladies and gentlemen seeking something a touch decadent.   Say Cheese…cake! Hopetoun Tea Room boasts the most impressive cake display in the entire city of Melbourne. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, one can’t help but hover around the pristine array of goodies trying to immortalise the image on Instagram. Take a moment to gaze upon the cornucopia of sweets sitting behind the window. Cakes. Tarts. Slices. Pies. Biscuits. Scones. You’ll find something to satisfy your sweet tooth’s every craving. The real dilemma is choosing just one! However, if you want to do things right you can’t go past the traditional combination of Earl grey tea with scones, jam and cream. Step Back In Time Whatever time you decide to visit the tea rooms, there is likely to be a long queue outside the front door. Don’t let this deter you. The queue is a part of the Hopetoun experience and it is well worth the wait. You’ll feel like a real life movie star when the smiling waiter politely invites you to take a seat. Setting foot inside the tea rooms is like stepping back in time. With wall-to-ceiling green leafy wallpaper and a canopied roof, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered a living piece of art deco. The Grecian goddesses bordering a giant mirror reflect the origins of the tea rooms as a respectable meeting place for well-to-do ladies in the late nineteenth century. So why not celebrate … Read more

People jogging together

Staying fit for free

Joining a gym is never cheap when you’re working full time and especially when you’re a student! Staying motivated by yourself isn’t easy either. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll go and catch up on your exercise tomorrow or the next day, or the next day. As winter in Melbourne can be cold, that makes setting out for the gym or sport even harder. Imagine being able to connect to sports minded people like yourself easily and for free. You can motivate each other and share your love of fun and fitness. And you can also practice your English with a new group of friends. JetSport is a Melbourne based organization that has been running an online platform and a Facebook page for connecting sporty people for years. What sports can I do? With many varied activities ranging from body and mind activities, combat sports, dance and team sports you’ll be sure to find your favourite sport. Or maybe even a new one. With daylight saving now in place in Melbourne, the spring and summer nights are brighter. The sun doesn’t set in Melbourne until 9pm in Summer. Nicolas D’anna, intern Juillaumi Mauboussin and Jonathan Maury of JetSport. For students by students Jonathan, one of the founders of JetSport explains his motivation for setting up JetSport with his partner Nico. “JETsport is a platform that brings like-minded people together to share fun, sporting activities.” “It has been designed to be the perfect connector between attendees and organisers: efficient and flexible.” “In this sense, JETsport has not only created a new social platform, but also a fabulous tool for anyone to initiate their own activity, whether it is a professional class or a casual sport gathering.” “Thanks to this principle, a wide variety of activities has grown on the platform, … Read more

Christmas Picnic

Christmas Day Picnic

The moment the hype of Melbourne Cup has died down, it’s time to look ahead to the next big holiday. By mid-November yuletide decorations have appeared on Bourke Street. People are eagerly queueing to glimpse the annual Myer Christmas window and the festive anthem ‘Last Christmas’ is being blasted throughout every shopping centre in the city. The countdown until jolly old St. Nick takes flight is officially on. That’s right folks – it’s Christmastime in Melbourne. Merry Christmas, Mates! While you might be accustomed to the idea of a white Christmas with turkey and all the trimmings, you can expect something a little different Down Under. Although Christmas in Australia shares many similarities with its counterparts around the world, it has its own unique feel. Most importantly, the 25th of December is the main event. It starts with the exchanging and opening of presents in the morning and peaks with a feast of a lunch (or dinner). Additionally, Christmas is a summer holiday in the Southern hemisphere, which means fresh seafood, flip-flops and maybe even a quick dip in the pool post-lunch. So, what’s the best way for an international student learning English in Melbourne to celebrate the big day on a small budget? Annual Christmas Day Picnic Lunch The Christmas Day BYO* Picnic is a free annual event held in the Queen Victoria Gardens. The purpose of this celebration is to welcome anyone and everyone to share their Christmas Day experience. This includes (but is not limited to) Australians, migrants, tourists, and of course, international students. Lunch begins at midday and continues well into the afternoon. People are encouraged to bring their own entertainment, whether it be sports equipment or playing cards. All that the event organisers, Newcomers Network, ask is that attendees bring a name tag, a picnic … Read more

Men laughing together Melbourne EC English school

International Men’s Day

International Men’s Day is a celebration of all the great men in our lives. Our grandfathers, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, nephews and not forgetting our husbands, boyfriends, mates and work colleagues. The theme for International Men’s Day 2019 is “Making a difference for men and boys.” Making a difference It’s a day to remember all the positive things that men bring into our lives. It’s the ways that men protect, nurture, provide and sacrifice for us in their own unique way. But there is another side to this day. It’s also a day to talk about the life-threatening problems that men in many countries currently face that are overlooked or are considered taboo. Men often take things on the chin and don’t discuss their issues for fear of ridicule. • Men face a series of unique challenges that need to be addressed for our communities to reach their greatest potential. • These challenges include men’s negative health and education outcomes and high suicide rate. Men’s well-being; social, emotional, physical and spiritual needs not being recognised. • To highlight the misandry that men face in the areas of social services access, negative societal attitudes, negative portrayal in the media, unfair expectations, domestic violence against men and biases in the law. This is a day where men also want to improve gender relations and promote gender equality. If you or anyone you know is struggling with the negative issues above, confidential support can be found at Mensline Australia, and History International Men’s Day as we now know it is a relatively new event. It dates back to 1999 and was started by Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, a lecturer of history at University of the West Indies in Trinidad Tobago. It’s now celebrated in over seventy-five countries around the world. International Women’s … Read more

Melbourne alley way

The History of Multicultural Melbourne

One thing that always surprises our students is just how culturally diverse Melbourne is. Indeed, if you’ve ever caught a tram in the CBD, you’ll know that you can expect to hear a symphony of various dialects and languages. So, how did Melbourne become such an international hub? Eureka! We can trace the beginnings of Melbourne’s melting pot community back to the Gold Rush of the 19th century. Many people immigrated to Victoria because they were attracted by the idea of making a fortune in the gold fields. In particular, thousands of Chinese miners made their way to Melbourne during this period. Diligent and hard-working, many of these settlers began the proud Australian-Chinese community we see today. Furthermore, they gave Melbourne its first strong ties to an Asiatic culture. World War II The Australian government introduced strict immigration laws in 1901. Resultantly, the majority of people permitted to immigrate to Australia were white English-speaking Europeans. Namely British citizens. As a result, Australia remained closely tied to the UK in terms of culture and tastes. Statues of British figures began to appear around Melbourne, newspapers focused on the major stories from UK, and Melburnians adopted fashion trends directly from the streets of London. This would only start to change at the end of the Second World War. Australia lost almost an entire generation of young men during World War II. This meant that after the war it was impossible to fill the abundance of vacant jobs. Moreover, there were very few single men of marriageable age to start families. So what could solve this problem? Mass migration seemed to be the perfect answer. Realising this, officials loosened the immigration laws and thousands of Europeans eagerly accepted the chance for a new life. These immigrants, many of Greek and Italian origin, created … Read more

Whale Skeleton Melbourne Musuem

Melbourne Museum

Do you ever imagine what Melbourne looked like twenty years ago? Fifty years ago? A hundred years ago? Does your brain bombard you with questions about Australia? Like who were the first people to live here? What kind of myths and legends do Australian people have? How many unique animals can be found here? If this sounds at all familiar, then a trip to the Melbourne Museum is a must. Fees and Admission The museum is divided into several different permanent and temporary exhibitions. The current featured exhibition has an admission price. However, the rest of the museum is free for students and concession card holders. So, what you can expect to see at the Melbourne Museum? Melbourne Gallery Undoubtedly, one of the main attractions of the museum is the permanent Melbourne Gallery exhibition. This collection offers a crash course in the history and evolution of the city of Melbourne. Here you can step back in time and walk through a typical 19th century city dwelling – outdoor toilet included. You can take a peek at the ancestor of the modern day Melbourne tram. And, of course, you can gaze upon the colossal racehorse Phar Lap, media darling and winner of the 1932 Melbourne Cup. Whether this is your first trip or your fifteenth, you are bound to discover something new and unexpected. Science and Life Gallery Calling all science fans! Be sure to explore the wonders and mysteries of the Science and Life Gallery. Delight your inner-child by rediscovering a love for Dinosaurs. Whether you’re a fan of the gentle giants or the fearsome carnivores, you will ooh and ah before the skeletons of these magnificent giants. Or why not put your bravery to the test in the Bugs Alive! exhibition and surround yourself with all manner of bizarre … Read more