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WHY WE RAISED OUR FLAG BANNERS WHEN Santos “TOUR DOWN UNDER” RACED THROUGH WILLUNGA & ALDINGA ON AUSTRALIA DAY 2013

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Australia Day means something different to all of us. Some bake Anzac biscuits, some arrange backyard cricket (GO! Brett Lee and Ricky Ponting!), and other families head to their local beach.

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When Santos Tour Down Under’s Stage 5 raced through Willunga on Australia Day 2013, we chose to go to Aldinga Beach.  Not to avoid the excitement, but to start some of our own.

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Perfect light breeze, slight cloud cover, temperature of 24C anticipated, would make it the ideal day for Australia Day celebrations on Aldinga Beach, which is a drive-on beach.

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Kevin released “Spike” from his travelling bag, who offered mild amusement for some and consternation for others.  “What is it?” and “Why’s he tied to your car?”

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SPIKE, not a kite, not a flag banner, just a... SPIKE!

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We were at the beach by 9:30am to set up our artistic beach flag display, which meant we didn’t encroach on existing family “plots”.  (It’s best to get to the beach early on Australia Day to reserve your area, not forgetting space for the family cricket match.)

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Thirty-two ground stakes were hammered into the sand at one metre intervals.  Ouch!!

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The feather banners came out of the bag in random order; watchers had no idea of the end result until we’d almost completed the assembly.

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Slowly… purples, blues, ochre, red and ruby released our theme of Uluru AND the Opera House.  Adding two Australian Flag banners, completed the patriotic picture.

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Happy Birthday Australia 2013.

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Australia Day waving - G'day to the World watching Santos Tour Down Under 2013

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Total area of our mural art was 160 square metres = 32 metres x 5 metres.  As the sun peeped through, the waving shadows added a 3rd dimension.

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The Tour Down Under peloton was due past our location three times, at approx.. 11:38am, 12:38pm, and 1:38pm. Three chances for possible world TV coverage.

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As we waited, Kevin lofted our three owl kites (from Gomberg Kite Productions).  Most definitely owls, right?

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Is it a duck? Is it a chicken? NO!... they are OWL KITES!

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Overheard from passers-by:  “wonder why there are two owls and one chicken?” and “look at the ducks”… Okay, it was Australia Day; some were definitely in high-gear-party-mode!

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Seeing the peloton race past for the last time (Simon Gerrans ultimately the winner of Stage 5 – GO! Australia) was our signal to pack up the flag and banner display.

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15 kgs of fabric plus 3 kg bag, 8½ kg of ground stakes, 16kgs of telescoping fibreglass banner poles, a 3kg mallet, and some kites… thank goodness we were able to drive the equipment onto the beach!

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Hauling ourselves AND an additional 50 kgs would have been a job for Superman!

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PS

The Advertiser/Sunday Mail’s Sports Photographer, Sarah Reed, snapped the perfect image of the cyclists with our scenic beach flags in the background, earning her the Award, “Photo of the Day”.

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Congrats to Sarah, and if you still have your Sunday Mail, check out Page 77!

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We’ve since heard that SkyTV, UK showed clear race footage with shots of the gorgeous beach (great for tourism), and positive TV coverage was seen in Queensland and Northern Territory.

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Shame, we never actually set our own TV to record the live coverage…  Maybe in 2014?