Australia Day

Australia Day is a national public holiday that marks the arrival of the British fleet at Port Jackson in 1788.

Celebrated on January 26, it’s only since 1994 that all states and territories have commemorated Australia Day on the same day.

The significance of the national holiday has evolved over time. From its beginnings as a celebration for only a specific sector of the population, it’s now a day where everyone is included in celebrations that reflect the cultural diversity of Australian society.

Community and family events mark the day. You’ll find plenty of traditional Aussie barbecues or ‘sausage sizzles’ taking place in parks, gardens and on beaches across the country.

With celebrations traditionally laced in the red, white and blue of the Australian flag, Australia Day is also a popular day for citizenship ceremonies welcoming new members to the Australian community.

For Indigenous communities and their sympathisers however, the date has darker undertones. Named Invasion Day, Survival Day or National Day of Mourning, Australia’s Indigenous community remembers the day as one where the British settlers disrupted their Indigenous culture.

Protestors against the holiday find it insensitive to have Australia Day celebrated on a date marking the invasion of Australia by foreign people.

Suggestions are that a new date acceptable to all cultures is chosen to celebrate the biggest national civic event in the country. There have even been campaigns to have the day entirely abolished.

Should Australia Day be replaced by a different day of celebration to mark this nation’s inclusive progress? Or do you think that the new format of this national holiday is sufficient to engender a spirit of cooperation and understanding and that it should be celebrated as usual on January 26 each year?