The definition of 26 January is different for different sectors of the population in Australia. This day marks the national day for Australia as on 26 January Australia was found. However, this day is also called as Invasion day and Day of mourning by aboriginal people. Let’s find out our answers from the past events.
Before the year 1770:
Aboriginal community has been living for more than 60,000 years on the continent which is now known as Australia. Records say at least 1600 generations of people have lived and died on this continent. In the 13th century Europeans were excited in the details from Asia about this earth surface to the south. And from the 16th century many European land surveyors, navigators referred to this continent with names such as New Holland, Southern Land.
- During 1770 Captain James Cook and his crew members took their first voyage and raised Union jack to demand rights over eastern half of the continent as New South Wales for Great Britain.
- During 1778 Captain Arthur Phillip, a royal navy officer and the first governor of New South Wales dropped anchor at Sydney Cove on 26 January and found the colony that later became the city of Sydney, Australia
Calendars and the Sydney Gazette started referring 26 January as the First Landing Day/ Foundation Day. The celebration too began with drinking and anniversary dinners and became the tradition among emancipists.
- Later in 1818 Governor Lachlan Macquarie (British Army officer and colonial administrator) acknowledged the day and declared as ‘Public Holiday’ on the 13th anniversary. Later the continent was called “Australia” as the governor accepted the suggestions from Captain Matthew Flinders who was an English navigator and cartographer.
- The year 1838, 26 January was marked as the Jubilee of British occupation of New South Wales.
- In 1871 An affectionate society was formed by natives of Australia to provide medical benefits, sickness and funeral benefits to the native-born of European descents.
- 1888, representatives from New Zealand, Western Australia, Victoria Queensland joined to celebrate centenary in Sydney. The day was known as Foundation Day.
- Commonwealth of Australia was formed by Australian colonies.
- In the year 1908, The Australian Capital Territory was created out of New South Wales.
- 1913, the federal capital was named as Canberra.
- The year 1930 The Australian Natives association: started a campaign in Victoria to celebrate 26 January across Australia on a Monday to mark LONG WEEKEND. The government agreed to the proposal in 1931 and by 1935 other states too followed.
- 1938, Aboriginal leaders protested against the mistreatment by white Australians. The aboriginals wanted full citizenship rights and Day of Mourning was followed.
- In 1946 the association of Australian Native’s promoted in Melbourne to form a committee on Australia Day Celebrations. The motto was to educate people about the significance of Australia Day (later known as the Australia Day Council) later this spread on other parts and further acted as Federal Australia Day Council.
In 1948 a symbolic Australian citizenship was created under The Nationality and Citizenship Act. Australians remained as British subjects.
- 1954: Australian blue ensign was designated to be Australian National Flag. And Australian red ensign was continued to be commercial shipping ensign.
- 1979: National Australia Day committee was established in Canberra for further celebrations with a motto “Truly National and throughout Australia”
- In 1984 Australians were no more under British subjects. God Save the Queen was declared as the national anthem replacing Advanced Australia Fair.
- 26 January 1988: State and territories agreed for the celebration of Australia Day. Aborigines renamed Australia Day as Invasion Day.
- The year 1994 established to celebrate Australia Day on 26 January.
Events, Activities, and Celebration of Australia Day:
From 2000’s 26 January is important and established as Australia Day, it is further celebrated with joy and wonderful activities. It is a day with full of amusement with food and drink and lots of children games. There are paid events which are conducted in many places in Australia for people to choose and enjoy the most
There are events of National flag raising and Citizenship Ceremony on 26 January. This event is followed by a Citizenship ceremony by the Prime Minister to welcome the new Australian citizens. There are many more events such as Australia Day quiz, Australia Day Awards which is open to all at New South Wales.
This year there is an event happening “Australia Day Lucheon 2018” where speakers and the performer’s offer an enjoyable Australia Day for attendees with wonderful lunch, wherein the business community and the leaders support the importance of Australia Day. This event would happen in South Australia.
Melbourne’s Historic Town Hall is open for people to acquire architectural, political significance from the 19th-century building. On Australia Day it offers free tours and the Government House is open to Public. Visitors can enjoy live music or plan a picnic and children can take part in fun activities. There would be people all around Australia who would probably fire up the barbeque with their loved ones and there are people who would participate in gumboot throwing competition or Ferret races. Other occasions such as street parade are also conducted.
Activities planned especially for kids on Australia day are sack races, tug of war, jumping castles to giant outdoor games at Victoria Park. Families can also enjoy the kid’s playground with food and drinks. There are also freebies for kids such as free Aussie stickers and soft serve ice-cream. Kids can also enjoy the spectacular fireworks on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. There are other craft activities planned by families/ group of people for kids such as Australia map puzzle, Australian flag collage and many more. Kids just love these fun-filled activities which will also teach them about Australia’s history.
As mentioned earlier Australia Day has a different meaning to the different set of people, it is not only about Celebrations. For some, it is only about chilling at the beach with family and friends and for some group of people, it is a day of mourning and remembrance. While for some group of people marks the day they become the Citizens of Australia.