Less than perfect conditions for Australia Day celebrations on the Cairns Esplanade, did not dampen the true blue Aussie spirit of the crowd “What’s not to love about Australia Day, where else would you get a free burger overlooking a lagoon?” quipped Emelie Hobbs.

The aroma of a sizzling snags on the barbie lingered while enthusiastic sports fans enjoyed the theme of the day. Cairns locals, visitors and their mates enjoyed games of soccer, AFL, ruby and cricket in the rain, one bare foot participant had lost a plugger in the soggy ground, a first world problem when you compare that to the week Harry Mehtta had endured: “I have had a bit of a rough week, someone stealing my car, phone and wallet. I have only met these guys today (some guys on the esplanade) and they offered to take me fishing and keep me company before I fly back to Sydney.”

The highlight of my day though was bumping in to Cairns local Rhys Payne, Australia’s first body building circuit entrant with down syndrome. Sporting a six pack Rhys expressed his love for Australian sport particularly cricket and AFL. His beaming face said it all “AUSSIE! AUSSIE! AUSSIE! OI! OI! OI!”