Australia Day Facts

Australia Day Facts
Australia's national day is Australia Day, which is celebrated on January 26th each year. The day marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships in New South Wales at Port Jackson in 1788. Governor Arthur Philip raised the Flag of Great Britain that day at Port Jackson. The arrival of the British signified British sovereignty over Australia's eastern seaboard. Some have referred to January 26th as Invasion Day, Anniversary Day, and Foundation Day. It wasn't until 1946 that Australia Day became the uniform name for January 26th. Australia Day is now the largest civic event held in Australia each year.
Interesting Australia Day Facts:
The First Fleet (with approximately 1000 people aboard 11 ships) that arrived from Britain in 1788 carried approximately 700 prisoners from Great Britain. A penal colony was established after they arrived.
On the 30 year anniversary of the First Fleet's arrival the Governor of Australia hosted a 30-gun salute and ball at Government House. This was the beginning of it becoming a work holiday for bank employees and others who worked for various organizations.
For the first 100 years the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet was only celebrated in New South Wales. In other parts of Australia where other colonies had settled they celebrated their own anniversary dates.
By 1888 the only colony not celebrating Anniversary Day on January 26th was Adelaide.
All Australian states called January 26th Anniversary Day by 1935, and it wasn't until 1946 that it was renamed Australia Day.
Most Australians take Australia Day off work as it is a national public holiday.
Common activities on Australia include picnics, beach parties, barbecues, fireworks displays, music festivals, sporting competitions, award ceremonies, and family gatherings.
In Australia it is summer in January so the weather is perfect for outdoor celebrations.
It is common for Australians to fly the Australian National Flag, the Torres Strait Islander Flag or the Aboriginal Flag on Australia Day.
The biggest event held in Australia on Australia Day is the City of Perth Skyworks. This fireworks show is attended by approximately 500,000 people. The fireworks are launched over Perth's Swan River from moving boats, bridges, and from skyscrapers making it one of the most spectacular fireworks displays in the country each year.
Estimates suggest that approximately 10.5 million of Australia's 21 million citizens participate in Australia Day celebrations.
1988 was Australia's Bicentennial Celebration. It is estimated that more than 2.5 million were in Sidney to celebrate.
Australia Day is a popular day for becoming an Australian citizen. About 13,000 people became Australians on January 26th, 2011.
Australia's Indigenous population is not as happy about Australia Day and its celebrations and significance. To this population it signifies the invasion of their country by the British, and has led to the day being called Invasion Day by many.
The Australian of the Year award has been given out on that day since 1960. Past winners include the cricket player Steve Waugh, the painter Arthur Boyd, and the actor Geoffrey Rush.

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