Commemorating the First Fleet arriving at Sydney Cove in 1788, Australia Day is Australia’s national day, taking place each year on January 26. In every territory and state, Australia Day is an official public holiday.
This is the joy-inspiring day
That gave these blessings to our lot
Then let us share the social rites
Join hands, all malice be forgot!
This little star, once marked by none
Now shines a bright – a BLAZING SUN!
—Charles Tompson, A Song for January 26, 1824
Did You Know?
5 Cool Facts About Australia Day
- While records indicate a form of Australia Day or Foundation Day was celebrated as early as 1808, the first official observation took place in 1818.
- In 1826, the first Anniversary Regatta – later renamed the Australia Day Regatta – was held in Sydney Harbor, and continues to be held annually, making it the world’s oldest continuous regatta.
- Australia Day became the first Australian official public holiday in 1838. However, all capital cities did not declare it as a public holiday until 1888 (with the exception of Adelaide).
- The Australian of the Year Award, presented on Australia Day, was first given to Macfarlane Burnet in 1960. Burnet won the Nobel Prize that year for his physics research.
- In 2002, 7 million people participated in Australia Day
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