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Australia Day

From Academic Kids

Australia Day is Australia's official national day, January 26. It commemorates the landing of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove on that day in 1788.

Contents

Celebrations

Australia Day is a national public holiday. For some years the holiday was held on the closest Monday, to provide a long weekend. It is now held on the actual anniversary, however should this happen to fall on a weekend, a public holiday is still held on the following Monday.

Australia Day is marked by civic celebrations around the country, including Order of Australia and Australian of the Year awards for outstanding achievement. Air Force air displays are held in some capital cities. Citizenship ceremonies are also held on Australia Day.

Fireworks celebrations are held in many towns and cities around the country. The Perth Lotterywest Skyworks display is billed as the largest Australia Day celebration in the country, with more than a third of the city's population lining the river foreshore for the display.

Two significant events in the Australian music scene occur on Australia Day - the Triple J Hottest 100, usually celebrated by fans with a barbecue and party, and the Sydney leg of the Big Day Out music festival.

Criticism

Many Australians are indifferent to the celebrations and treat the day as just another holiday. The celebrations arouse dislike in others; some comment on how the arrival of the British to Australia affected the Aboriginal people of the country and some term Australia Day "Invasion Day," regarding it as celebrating Aboriginal subjugation. In recent years, acknowledging the unlikelihood of changing the day to "Invasion Day," some Aboriginal people have also celebrated the day as "Survival Day," thankful that their ancestors were not completely wiped out by the heavily armed marauders.

Suggested changes to the date

Some have suggested making ANZAC Day Australia's national day, or changing to January 1, commemorating 1 January 1901 when Australia's six colonies federated into one nation. Each of the alternatives raised also pose problems — ANZAC Day because many war veterans believe that it is their day, and that it is also a public holiday in New Zealand, Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga, while 1 January is already a public holiday and is in the middle of the Christmas holiday season.

Many supporters of the continued use of Australia Day as Australia's national day point out that 26 January commemorates an actual historical event, similar to ANZAC Day, Bastille Day in France, and July 4 in the United States.

External links

History

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