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Australia Day or Neighbour Day?

We asked: “Will you have a BBQ with your neighbours on Australia Day?” and a surprising 58.5% of people said Yes. Just 4.9% said they didn’t know, while 36.6% said No, they’d be doing something else.

So it seems we’re keen on finding ways to connect and get together, and we still want to know our neighbours.

Given there is a common perception that community is shrinking and we’re getting more disconnected, we  found the results intriguing. It seems that for many of us Australia Day is really Neighbour Day.


Why celebrate Australia Day with your neighbours?

We found some people who are planning on celebrating this Australia Day with their neighbours and asked them why, and what their neighbours and Australia Day mean to them.

“Our next door neighbour is having a BBQ to show everyone his new BBQ and backyard renos,” Beck Jull from Artarmon told us.

Our next door neighbour is having a BBQ to show everyone his new BBQ and backyard renos

“Our neighbours mean a lot to us, we are really lucky to have some fantastic neighbours who are now good friends. Australia Day is all about celebrating how lucky we are to live in this fantastic country. Celebrating with neighbours brings everyone together so you can get to know everyone rather than just saying hello in passing.”

Trish Rowlandson and her family have recently moved to Killara to a street where it’s customary to have a big BBQ every summer on Australia Day. She says she loves the idea and is looking forward to meeting more of her neighbours.

“We love our neighbours, they are like family, which is great for us as we don’t have family close by,” Trish says.

“My husband is Canadian, so days like Australia Day give me the chance to take him and my boys out and celebrate what is so great about living in Australia and being Australian,” Trish says. “For me it’s about the friendly people and the great weather, and outdoor lifestyle – our street party BBQ encapsulates everything that is good about being an Australian!”

Read more: 9 ways to learn a new neighbourhood



She also hopes the Australia Day BBQ will be a way to meet more of the people she shares her area with.

“Great friendships with your neighbours makes life so much more enjoyable, and the fact you can just go next door for a tub of butter or borrow a lawnmower when yours is out of action makes life that little bit easier too,” Trish says.

Our street party BBQ encapsulates everything that is good about being an Australian

Patriotism alive & well

It’s not only the neighbours that are popular on Australia Day. While you might imagine the U.S. as the biggest flag flying country, patriotism is alive and well here too.

In fact, more than half of those we polled said they’d fly the Aussie flag on Australia Day.

When we asked: “Would you raise an Australian flag on your property on Australia Day?” 51.9% of people said Yes. Less than half, or 46.8%, said No.

So keep an eye out for those flags. Are you raising one?


Ideas for celebrating Australia Day at home

If you’re staying close to home this Australia Day weekend, here’s some ideas:

  • Throw a BBQ with the neighbours
  • Hold a street party
  • Host or participate in a game of backyard cricket
  • Check out your local council celebrations, which often include live entertainment, food stalls, kids activities, fireworks and more
  • Catch up on your reading
  • Hit the kitchen and cook up pavlova, or some lamingtons
  • Or get out and about

And if you’re on a mission to be more neighbourly this year, have a gander at the country’s official Neighbour Day, running Sunday 30 March 2014.

Emma Sorensen