Australia Day

Australia Day

Australia Day takes place on 26th January every year in Australia and is the official national day of the country.  26th January marks the anniversary of the arrival at Sydney Cove in New South Wales of the First Fleet of British Ships in 1788 and Governor Arthur Phillip’s raising of the UK flag at that site.

In the Australia of the 21st century, the numerous celebrations are a reflection of the diverse landscape and society of the country, marked by family and community events, official community awards, reflections on Australian history, and citizenship ceremonies to welcome new immigrants into the community.  The significance and meaning of Australia Day has evolved over the years, with the date having both historically and unofficially been known as ANA Day, Invasion Day, Foundation Day, and Anniversary Day.

January 26, 1788 marked the declaration of British sovereignty over Australia’s eastern seaboard, which was known as New Holland at that time.  Although it did not became known as Australia Day until more than 100 years later, there are records of celebrations taking place on this date going back as far as 1808.  The first official celebration was held in 1818 for the foundation of New South Wales.

On 1st January 1901 a Federation was formed by the British colonies in Australia, which marked the birth of Australia as we know it today.  It took until 1935 for all states and territories to mark the date with the adoption of the term Australia Day.