Australia Day, Australia’s national holiday, is celebrated every January 26th. It’s a public holiday across Australia, and when it comes to a weekend like this year, the following Monday won’t work. Celebrations abound across the country (concerts, fireworks, naturalization festivities, Australian Awards of the Year …). Australian colors and flags will be displayed everywhere.
Behind this date, like everyone who remembers a national holiday, there is an important part of Australia’s history.
This date has been celebrated since the 19th century. This corresponds to the arrival of the first European navy, led by Captain Arthur Philip, to Sydney on January 26, 1788. In the days that followed, the crown flag was planted and the British sovereign announced on the beach what was then known as the “New Holland”.
This date commemorates the beginning of colonialism and the establishment of the penal colony, hence the date for the natives, the beginning of the Europeans’ occupation of their native lands. They also renamed it “Invasion Day”.
Each year, the discussion about updating the name of this date or its celebration day is updated.
For many Australian historians, January 1, 1901 should have been a national holiday when Australia truly became a nation.
Today, Australia Day is celebrated less as a “holiday” and as a patriotic day. For some, the historical significance of this date is somewhat lost.