Monday, May 31, 2010

The Southern Cross

Sydney, Australia

There are many Australians who admit to not being delighted with their flag. As a rallying point to nationalistic patriotism, the flag does seem to lack the iconic individuality of some nations. The presence of the Union Jack also seems to weigh disproportionate to the British influence on modern Australia. But the flag does hit home in one big way.

The Southern Cross is a constellation that is paramount to the lore and legend of the entire southern hemisphere. As such, Australia is not alone in its celestial celebration as nine other countries feature the constellation on their insigne. But with a 60,000 year old cultural relationship with Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma and Epsilon Crucis, (the constellation’s five stars) Australia is the place to fall under the crux spell.

Follow the gaze of history and look to the Kakadu, Kalbarri and Uluru skies to understand the core influence of aborigine polka dot art. Gaze up from city scapes too, as the radiant southern cross is also a showcase of Sydney nights. Walk along Sydney’s circular quay, quiet and deserted in the dark except for late night ferry goers and the white dust of day-time didgeridoo-ists.

Continue to the tip of Bennelong point and look deeply into the sky to their southern cross, now framed by Opera House arches. In this way, you understand it as a signpost for travelers and the epithet for Australia.

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