What is Australia Day?

As some of you may know, today is Australia Day (26 January). But what actually is Australia Day? Today isn’t just all about having a public holiday (a nice bonus though that was introduced in 1994), but it is a day that we can reflect upon our diverse society and landscape. A day we can think about all of the amazing achievements and what our future may hold for us. And even more exciting, a day for the new Australian citizens who can call themselves Australian after being conferred citizenship.

The 26th of January is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet. To give a bit of background, the First Fleet were 11 convict (a criminal who has been charged) ships sailing over from Great Britain. On this day in 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip (who later became Governor) also raised the Union Jack at Sydney Cove.

Australia Day also has its dark side. This day isn’t as simple as the day we were discovered by the British. Today there is a lot of talk of it being ‘Invaders Day’. Why you may ask? Well before the British arrived the Aboriginal people lived here (they still do today but I would like to keep this simple and as non-controversial as I can) and called this land home. For the Aboriginal people, the British came in and invaded their land and killed their people. Not really a day that you ought to celebrate but a day that is slowly evolving into a more culturally diverse (and celebrating our past) day but it still has a long way to go so that everyone feels wanted and accepted. Today, Australia Day celebrations strive to include more Aboriginal culture in to the day.

I like to think that Australia Day is a day that all Australians come together to celebrate what is great about Australia and being Australian. This is day that we can sit back with our friends and family and reflect on what we have achieved as a nation. This is a day that we can actually be proud of what we have done. It really is a day that we could strive towards making Australia an even better place to live for everyone. And I mean everyone.

Overall, Australia Day is a day for celebration. Celebrating the Australian people (no matter where they are from), the Australian landscape, the Australian way and more importantly, the Australian future.

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22 Comments

  • Lisa

    July 15, 2016

    Great post, wonderful day to celebrate heritage.

    • Through an Aussie's Eyes

      July 16, 2016

      Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed it!

  • Great explanation of Australian Day and the history behind it. I am glad there is a movement to make it a celebration for all no matter where they are from. Thank you for sharing!

    • Through an Aussie's Eyes

      July 16, 2016

      Thank you for your kind comment! I am also glad you agree that we should be celebrating a day that units everyone!

  • Always a touchy subject, and one we deal with in the USA also. But I think you’ve got the right approach – we can’t change the past, and shouldn’t forget it, but we can celebrate today and look forward to the future. Cheers to that!

    • Through an Aussie's Eyes

      July 22, 2016

      Thanks for the message! Agreed, it is a touchy subject and one that should be remembered.

  • Tara

    August 6, 2016

    Australia Day seems like a great time to celebrate a diverse culture that is growing and changing. In America, our Independence Day was definitely created as a remembrance and a celebration of our nation, but it is often looked at as a day off from work with fireworks.

    • Through an Aussie's Eyes

      August 8, 2016

      Thanks for the comment Tara. I would be lying if I didn’t say that some people also do treat it as a day off with some bonus fireworks. Like America, Australia is a diverse culture and they all need to be celebrated together to build one strong nation. Thanks again!

  • Mimi

    August 6, 2016

    There is always something dim in the history wherever you are which contributes in the making of a great nation. Very educational!

    • Through an Aussie's Eyes

      August 8, 2016

      Thanks for the comment Mimi. You are right, I think every country has something dark in their past. But we all have to band together and move forward to make one strong nation. Thanks again for the comment!

  • Travelling Tom

    August 6, 2016

    I loved Australia Day when I was in the country. Everyone seemed to come together and thoroughly enjoyed the day.

    Like you say though, it does have negative connotations that can’t be ignored. I do think the Aboriginals get a fair rap in general in Australia. It’s a shame that there doesn’t appear (to me, at least) to be an acceptance of their culture like there is in New Zealand for the Maori culture.

    Regardless, I enjoyed both of my Australia Days, especially the BBQs!!

    • Through an Aussie's Eyes

      August 8, 2016

      Thanks for the comment Tom. I am glad you enjoyed Australia Day when you were here. I completely agree with you, I don’t think the Aboriginals have been accepted in as well at the Maoris. It really is quite disappointing but hopefully one day (soon) it will all change. Thanks again for the comment!

  • danik the explorer

    August 6, 2016

    Great way to describe Aussie’s national day. A great read 🙂

    • Through an Aussie's Eyes

      August 8, 2016

      Thanks for the comment Danik, glad you enjoyed it!

  • Norbert Micus

    August 8, 2016

    Australia Day seems like a day to celebrate a diverse culture that is changing. We in Germany should have sth else with the influences of the refugees and those from the last 50 years, which we are more or less ignoring in all day live.

    • Through an Aussie's Eyes

      August 15, 2016

      Thank you for your comment. We really do try and celebrate all types of cultures on this day but, like Germany, we still ignore it to an extent. Hopefully one day it will all be better!

  • elisa

    August 8, 2016

    from what I saw, I think there is still much to do with aboriginals . . .

    • Through an Aussie's Eyes

      August 15, 2016

      I completely agree with you Elisa. There is still a lot more that we can do.

  • Carol Colborn

    August 8, 2016

    Thanks for this. I have not heard of Australia Day. But my daughter is migrating next year so we will celebrate this every time from then on!

    • Through an Aussie's Eyes

      August 15, 2016

      Thank for your comment. I am glad to hear that your daughter is migrating over here. Hopefully all of you can enjoy Australia Day!

  • Theresa

    August 9, 2016

    Thank you for educating the public on a touchy subject. I always found Aussie history to be fascinating.

    • Through an Aussie's Eyes

      August 15, 2016

      I am glad you enjoyed the post and Australian history! It is just so different from everywhere else!

Comments are closed.