The 26th of each January marks Australia Day, commemorating the establishment of the first European settlement there in 1788. It’s a national day of celebration in Australia—and here are a few ideas for how you can celebrate with women in your church or community. (Or course you don’t have to do this on Australia Day—you can use this any time of year you like!) Take these ideas and turn this into a simple gathering or a great big hoopla—it’s up to you!

Aussie Lingo

Use these phrases in your conversation, to inspire your menu or activities, or in other fun ways:

  • Lolly water (soft drink)
  • Billy tea (iced tea)
  • Lemon squash (lemonade)
  • Ace! (excellent!)
  • Barbie (barbeque)
  • Fairy floss (cotton candy)
  • G’day (hello!)
  • Good onya (good for you)
  • Sunnies (sunglasses)
  • Bush telly (campfire)
  • Cut lunch (sandwiches)
  • Chokkie (chocolate)

Tucker

(That’s Aussie slang for food!)

  • The most obvious food choice seems to be “barbie,” so if you have the option of setting up for a barbecue, this is the perfect time to do that! Invite women to bring their own meat for grilling, along with a dish to share.
  • Vegemite is a popular spread for sandwiches and crackers. It’s a dark brown paste that’s made from yeast extract. It has a strong aroma and flavor, and not everyone will like it—but you might want to have some available for those who want to give it a try!
  • Check out some of the foods and beverages on the “lingo” list in this article, and serve those with their Aussie names posted beside them.
  • One favorite sweet of Australians that we thought was delicious (and not too hard to make) is Pavlovas. These light and airy meringue treats were named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. Here’s how to make them:

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

1 ½ cups sugar

6 large egg whites at room temperature

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stir cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, whip egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat until soft peaks form. While beating, gradually add the sugar and cornstarch mixture, and then the vanilla extract. Whip at high speed until the mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form.

Spoon the meringue into mounds on the parchment paper. You should have enough to make 8 to 10 mounds. With the back of a spoon, make an indentation in each mound (this will hold filling later).

Bake the meringues for one hour, or until they are crisp and dry to the touch on the outside. Cool completely, and then store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature. Serve these with a filling such as fresh fruit and whipped cream, lemon curd, or fruit sauce.

Makes 8 to 10.

Cobber Quest

Cobber is slang for “friend,” and this game is a fun way to help women connect and make new friends—or learn something new about a friend they’ve known for years. Make copies of the game, and give them to women as they arrive. After about 15 minutes (or longer), go through the list and see who’s found the most interesting info about others. Give a prize (a stuffed crocodile or kangaroo?) to the person who met the most new friends. Invite a few women to tell about the most interesting things they learned about others in the room.

The Game Instructions:

“Cobber” is Aussie slang for “friend.” Use this fun quest to learn something new about the women around you.

  • Find someone wearing closed-toe shoes, and ask her to tell you about the worst thing she’s ever dropped on the floor—and still eaten!
  • Find someone wearing blue, and ask her what her favorite day of the week is and why.
  • Find someone with long hair, and ask her about her most outrageous hairstyle.
  • Go up to anyone in the room and ask her about the last movie she saw that made her cry.
  • Find someone who has eaten a pomegranate and get her tips on how to best approach this adventure.
  • Find someone who has been on a jeep tour or a safari—or another adventurous vacation. Hear all about it!
  • Find someone who has ridden a camel or elephant or other exotic animals. Get the story of how this happened!

To Never Never and Back

“Never never” is slang for the distant outback. There are times when we feel like we’re stuck in the distant outback—far from God and far from affirmation from others. Use this idea and one or more of these verses to encourage women in their relationship with God.

Invite women to get into groups of two or three and share about a time they felt like they were stuck in the “never never.” Perhaps a few women feel like they’re stuck there now! After about 10 minutes of sharing in these smaller groups, read the verses you’ve selected, and encourage women to keep these in mind during those times of discouragement. You might even want to print these on cards and give them to women. Then have women pray in their groups, lifting each other up to God in prayer. Be sure to close with lots of hugs, so everyone feels close and loved—the opposite of never never!

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” —Philippians 4:8

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” —Deuteronomy 31:8

“The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” —Psalm 121:7-8