Australians love a public holiday and probably none more than the one dedicated to being Australian, Australia Day.
With parades, Citizen awards, barbies, special events & free concerts, along with Citizenship ceremonies for the newest Australians (16,000 new Australians on this day alone), this is a summer day typically celebrated in the outdoors – at the beach or at a park, gathering in the sun and celebrating the Australian value of mateship, preferably with a masterful array of meats and including friends, family and neighbours.
Over half the population (13 million) participate in specific celebrations, with 75% of Australians believing the day should be a time to recognise and celebrate the country’s cultural diversity.
The day started off as a celebration for emancipated convicts and has now metamorphosed into the modern celebration of Australia’s varied people. The date it is celebrated on is 26th January, which marks the anniversary of the first fleet’s landing at Port Jackson in Sydney Cove, which we now recognise as the world-famous Sydney Harbour. This date only became officially accepted in 1994 as the date for celebration in every state and territory, though 6 years earlier they did reach an agreement to celebrate on the date rather than a long weekend.
This date is not without contention though, as amongst the First Nation people, who had occupied the land for approximately 50,000 years before the fleet’s arrival (at least 1,600 generations), this date marks the start of a rapid and often times sanctioned, destruction of their peoples’ culture, languages and population. For this reason, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders refer to Australia Day as Survival or Invasion Day. This date is treated as a day of mourning and many cities hold complementary events to highlight the issue. There has been a growing call to change the date to reflect something that is inclusive for all of Australia’s people though as yet no single date has emerged as a clear alternative. We would hope that something can be done to make all Australians feel included in a national celebration.
Our Australian office are looking forward to take the opportunity to celebrate Australia and all it has to offer, whether it be attending events in Kings Domain in Melbourne, watching the aerial spectacular of the Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes, throwing another snag on the barbie or even a quick trip to Far North Queensland!
General Manager - Australia