Australia Day

Australia Day

About Australia Day 

Australia Day is observed every year on 26th January According to historical accounts it was on this day the first fleet carrying the first generation settlers anchored at Jackson Port, Sydney in 1788. Since then the Australians have celebrated it as the foundation day of their country. It is a moment of pride for every Australian and they celebrate the event with great fervor. The Australia Day is a national holiday as well. 

Celebration of Australia Day

Celebration of Australia Day
  • Nonetheless, Australia Day is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over Australia. It is currently the largest public event in the country. The number of people participating in organized Australia Day celebration grew steadily since 1988. Almost 27.6% of the Australian population is known to participate in these celebrations. 

  • Parades, concerts, sports events, community barbeques, fares, firework shows are organized in many places in Australia and these have seen enthusiastic participation of people from every walk of life.

  • The official Australia Day celebrations are organized by the National Australia Day Council. The Australian of the Year Awards are also given out on this day to Australians who have made significant contributions to the country. Another important official event of the day is citizenship ceremonies. 


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Events on Australia Day

Celebration of Australia Day
GIO Oz Day 10K Wheelchair Road Race

Friday 26 January 2018, The Rocks


Every Man and His Dog - Stand Up Paddling Event

Friday 26 January 2018, Watsons Bay


Australia Day Sydney

Friday 26 January 2018, City Centre


HSBC Sydney 7s

Friday 26 January to Sunday 28 January 2018, Moore Park


Live at the Quay Cruise

Friday 26 January 2018, Darling Harbour


Wugulora Indigenous Morning Ceremony

Friday 26 January 2018, Barangaroo


Ryde Australia Day Family Concert and Fireworks

Friday 26 January 2018, Sydney North


Luxury Australia Day Lunch Cruise on Silver Spirit

Friday 26 January 2018, City Centre


Australia Day Parramatta

Friday 26 January 2018, Parramatta


Australia Day Fireworks

Australia Day Fireworks
  • Most cities and towns organize for extravagant fireworks in the evening.

  • Do not miss to head towards a good vantage point and get dazzled watching the bursts of fireworks with beating of drums.It's a bet that you can’t get enough of it. Tune into radio shows timed to the fireworks happening simultaneously in other parts of the country.


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Australia Day Food

Australia Day Food
  • For young Aussies, 'Citizenship Day' is incomplete without barbecue gatherings. Baked passionfruit pavlova, grilled flamingtons, roasted meat pies, deep-fried pork ribs and koala shaped biscuits & cakes accompanied by strong-flavored beers are quintessential Aussie treats.

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Celebrations in Sydney

Australia Day
  • In Sydney, major celebrations are organized around the Sydney Harbor. Sports events, mainly boat races, are conducted on the day. Ferrython is a very popular event and in it boats race from Circular Quay to Shark Island and finish the race at Harbour Bridge.

  • Come and explore the Sydneyians' love for the harbour by joining the crowd celebrating the Citizenship Day festivities at Ferrython.


  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Farm Cove: Around 8 am, both old and young Sydneyians gather to pay homage to age-old traditions at the spectacular “Woggan-ma-gule Morning Ceremony” organized by the Royal Botanic Gardens Trust.


  • Hyde Park: It is an extremely popular venue with children. On Aussie Day, the great place becomes too lively with sensational entertainments being staged throughout the day. 


  • Sydney Opera House, Farm Cove: On Australian Day, the shallow bay of Sydney Harbor buzzes with hundreds of amateur and professional swimmers. There is more to explore. Now, the”Ferrython Ferry Race” has evolved as one of Sydney’s most adored annual events. Thousands of sightseers in fancy dresses flock along the harbour to cheer on various sized colourful catamarans. The challenge begins at 11.00 am at Fort Denison. The competing ferries round around the Shark Island and finish the race right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The winner is recognized with much coveted Lord Mayor’s Trophy. There is a prize for the “best dressed ferry” too. After the race, you can catch any of the ferries to enjoy a romantic cruise all afternoon. End the hectic day by gazing at the amazing, colorful explosion of fireworks in the dark sky of Sydney.

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Celebrations in Canberra

Canberra
  • The Nation’s Capital boasts spectacular Australia Day Fireworks synchronized with truly Aussie soundtracks.

  • From 7 pm onwards, the lawns of the National Library, Regatta Point, and Rond Terrace get busy with live performance, Aussie Day dinner parties and great kid entertainment shows.?

  • At 9 pm, grab a spot on the shores Lake Burley Griffin and watch out for the mesmerizing fireworks that set the sky ablaze with colorful sparks. Definitely, you will be spell-bounded!

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Celebration in Melbourne

Melbourne
  • The major events of Melbour’s Australia celebrations are People’s March and the Voyages Concert. Aside from these, sports events, luncheons, live concerts are organized across the state to celebrate the day. The 2018 Australia Day celebration events in Melbourne are listed as below: 

    • Australia Day Luncheon
    • Australia Day Flag Raising Ceremony
    • Australia Day - Our Day, Our March
    • Australia Day Fireworks
    • Australia Day Concert
    • James Morrison concert
    • RACV Australia Day Picnic and Federation Vehicle Display

    Year-on-year, the cultural capital’s Australia Day program committees organize free, fun-filled, family-friendly activities. There is something for everyone to enjoy.

  • Docklands: Flag hoisting followed by People's March down Swanston Street is a major event in the Melbourne Australia Day program. The program kicks off 11 am and continues till 4 pm. Docklands Fishing Experience is a great event not to miss. Fishing experts are on hand for novice fish-hunters. Moreover, rods, tackle and bait are available for loan. Australian Centre for the Moving Image: If you mostly prefer to stay indoors, catch up best of Australian cinema at ACMI. It commences at 11am and runs until 8pm.

  • Federation Square: It is a permanent exhibition ground located in the Atrium Balcony. Melburnians participate amongst many special events right from hanging around a book fair to watching live broadcast on the Big Screen at the square.

  • Alexandra Gardens: The annual food festival has become new rage among localities. The event runs from 8 am to 10 am. It’s an ideal option to enjoy a hearty breakfast with friends and family. Indeed, a great way to start Australia Day celebration. For adrenaline junkies, there is another feat. A wood chopping competition from both male and female running between 10 am and 4 pm. 

  • Government House Open Day: On Australia Day, the Government House remains accessible to the public from 10 am to 3 pm. A walking tour of the state rooms, gardens and grounds are conducted. Civilians are welcomed to have family luncheons or picnics at the gardens. 

  • Altona Beach: Live entertainment programs, sand sculpting competitions, Aussie BBQs and much, much more events run at Altona Beach, Logan Reserve and Weaver Reserve from 10 am - 5 pm. Entry

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History of Australia Day 

  • The first fleet sailed from Britain on May 13th, 1787.

  • The captain of the ship was Arthur Phillip and he had 11 ships under his command. There were 759 convicts among whom there were 191 women and 13 children. Apart from them there were also 211 marines, 46 wives and children of the marines and the crew of the ship.

  • Upon landing in Jackson Port in 1788 the captain named the establishment as Sydney after Lord Sydney who was the British Home Secretary of that time. Since then the settlers built great cities in and around Sydney.

  • The famous Sydney Opera House of Australia now stands at the place of Sydney cove where the settlers first landed.

  • The first celebration of Australia Day took place in 1808 and it became an official event in 1818 with the formation of New South Wales.

  • The event of British arrival in Australia however wasn’t celebrated by all. Some aboriginal communities of the continent, who lived there for over 50,000 years, looked at it as British invasion on their land and many of them still mention the day as ‘Invasion Day’. Even now demonstrations and protests are organized in many places of Australia by aborigine organizations.

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Australia Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Thu Jan 26 2017 Australia Day National Holiday
Fri Jan 26 2018 Australia Day National Holiday
Sat Jan 26 2019 Australia Day National Holiday
Mon Jan 28 2019 Australia Day observed National Holiday
Sun Jan 26 2020 Australia Day National Holiday
Mon Jan 27 2020 Australia Day observed National Holiday

Last Updated: 12th January, 2018