Australia Day around the world in 2025

  How long until Australia Day?
Australia Day
  Dates of Australia Day around the world
2025 AustraliaJan 27
Australia Mon, Jan 27National Holiday
2024 AustraliaJan 26
Australia Fri, Jan 26National Holiday
2023 AustraliaJan 26
Australia Thu, Jan 26National Holiday
2022 AustraliaJan 26
Australia Wed, Jan 26National Holiday
2021 AustraliaJan 26
Australia Tue, Jan 26National Holiday

On January 26th 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip became the first Governor of the colony of New South Wales

When is Australia Day?

Australia Day a public holiday on January 26th and is Australia's National Day.

It marks the arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales on that date in 1788, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain by Captain Arthur Phillip.

In each State and Territory, when January 26th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the date of the public holiday is moved to the following Monday. 

History of Australia Day

Captain Arthur Phillip became the first Governor of the colony of New South Wales and the fledgeling colony soon began to celebrate the anniversary of their arrival.

During the early nineteenth century, the anniversary was called 'Foundation Day' and was marked by sporting events. In the 1820s, Horseracing was popular but by the 1830s regattas had become popular.

Fifty years after Phillip landed, Australia's first public holiday was announced to celebrate Foundation Day 1838. The inaugural holiday became an annual event and has continued to be held on or around January 26th. In Sydney, January 26th was referred to as "First Landing Day", and celebrated with anniversary dinners and later an annual regatta on the harbour.

By 1888, all the colonial capitals, except Adelaide, proclaimed 'Anniversary Day' a public holiday and celebrations took place throughout the individual colonies.

The 150th anniversary of white settlement in 1938 was marked with official ceremonies around the nation celebrating the arrival of Captain Phillip.

In 1946, the Commonwealth Government, States, and Territories agreed that there should be one national day -  'Australia Day' - under one banner and on the same day.

However, the Australia Day public holiday was still held on the Monday closest to January 26th.

In the bi-centenary year, 1988, Australia Day was held around the nation on January 26th. The highlight of the many celebrations was a re-enactment of the First Fleet's trip which departed from Portsmouth on May 13th 1987 and arrived in Australia in early January.

It was not until 1994 that all the states and territories endorsed the celebration of Australia Day on the actual day, instead of the nearest Monday. united Australia Day celebrations have been held on January 26th or the following Monday ever since.

Australia Day consists of formal ceremonies around the nation along with local fun events.

A Controversial Holiday

The choice of January 26th has faced increasing criticism since its establishment as the national holiday in 1994.

Debate about its appropriateness as a national day of celebration stems from the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788, is seen as a date that marked the beginning of British colonisation of Aboriginal land.

The day usually sees protests in cities across Australia. Protests against the day date back well before the adoption of the national holiday in 1994. A Day of Mourning and Protest was held in Sydney in 1938, organised by the Aborigines Progressive Association.

Indigenous groups refer to the date as Invasion Day with some Australians from various cultural backgrounds choosing to opt out of celebrating the occasion.

Did you know?

Three facts about Australia Day

The Australian Alps get more snow than the Swiss Alps.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms.

If all the sails of the Sydney Opera House were arranged in their totality, they would create a sphere.

More facts about Australia Day

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