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“What do you mean, twenty-eighth of December? Proccie Day is the twenty-sixth, right?”

“Wrong. You’ve been cheated out of a holiday,” I replied.

Proclamation Day ceremony at the Old Gum Tree, Glenelg

Proclamation Day ceremony at the Old Gum Tree, Glenelg

As a fresh-off-the boat immigrant and UK ex-pat, it astonishes me how many South Australians do not know the date of their State’s establishment. They are immensely proud of their history as a free, non-convict State, and their traditions of progressive social policy and tolerance-a paradise of dissent as Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard put it. Adelaide’s dubious moniker city of churches seems more related to South Australians’ tolerance than their religiosity. City of pubs would be a more apt strapline, in my experience at least.

More of that later, I’m sure. For now we are in Glenelg, at the Old Gum Tree, the colony’s primary historical site. The dignitaries are lined up: Governor General (representing Her Madge), State Premier, the jolly Mayor, the Chief Cop, the Chief Firie etc, etc. The aboriginal silent protest is proceeding silently, dignified. There’s a lot of dignity going around today. The tea urns are urning, the biscuits baked, the snags (sausages) sizzling on the Rotary Club’s barbie. It’s so Australian, it’s almost more British than Britain. It’s my new home.

Ask any South Aussie about Proccie Day and watch them launch into a yarn about Captain Hindmarsh, HMS Buffalo, Colonel Light, Holdfast Bay and the Gum Tree. Just don’t ask them what they’re doing Boxing Day.