January 26, 2019
Australia Day is the official national day of Australia and is celebrated on January 26 every year. Australia Day means different things for different people.
January 26 marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Sydney Cove, New South Wales, in 1788. In the early 1880s, the day was known as ‘First Landing’ or ‘Foundation Day’. In 1946, the Commonwealth and state governments agreed to unify their celebrations and call it ‘Australia Day’.
For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, there is little to celebrate on this date. Instead, January 26 is a commemoration of the loss of our First Peoples’ sovereign rights to their land, as well as loss of family and culture. Australia Day is sometimes called Invasion Day, in acknowledgement of this part of Australian history, or Survival Day in celebration of the ongoing history, traditions and cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Australia Day events include ceremonies to welcome new citizens, as well as honouring people for outstanding service to the country. There are also community and family events, parades, marches, performances, fireworks and more.