Tuesday, January 14, 2014

All About Australia Day

Australia Day, the official national day of Australia is celebrated annually on January 26th. The date marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Sydney Cove, New South Wales and raising of the Flag of Great Britain at that side by Governor Arthur Phillip. In contemporary Australia, celebrations reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation, and are marked by community and family events, similar to the 4th of July, which is celebrated in the United States. There are also reflections of Australian history, official community awards, and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new immigrants into the Australian community.

The meaning and significance of Australia Day have evolved over time. Unofficially, or historically, the date has also been variously names “Anniversary Day”, “Invasion Day”, “Foundation Day”, and “ANA Day”. The 26th of January 1788 marked the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia (known then as New Holland). The day itself wasn’t actually known as Australia Day until over a century later, with records of celebrations on the 26th of January dating back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. On New Years Day in 1901, the British colonies of Australia formed a Federation, marking the birth of modern Australia. A national day of unity and celebration was looked for, however, it was not until 1935 that all states and territories adopted the use of the term “Australia Day” to mark the date. In 1994, the date was marked as a public holiday for all states and territories.

Today, Australia Day is marked primarily with the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, with the announcement of the Australia Day Honors list and addresses from the Governor-General and Prime Minister. It is an official public holiday of every state and territory of Australia, unless it falls on a weekend, in which case the following Monday is a public holiday instead. With community festivals, concerts and citizenship ceremonies, the day is celebrated heavily throughout the entire nation. It has now become the biggest annual civic event in Australia. For more information on Australia Day, please visit the official website at

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