Connect . Explore . Learn | Studying and Working Indians in Australia
Australia Day (previously known as Anniversary Day, Foundation Day, and ANA Day) is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, the date commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the proclamation at that time of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of New Holland.
Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on 26 January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. It is presently an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia and is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, announcement of the Honours List for the Order of Australiaand addresses from the Governor-General and Prime Minister. With community festivals, concerts and citizenship ceremonies the day is celebrated in large and small communities and cities around the nation. Australia Day has become the biggest annual civic event in Australia.
In Sydney the harbour is a focus and races are held, such as a ferry race and the tall ships race. Featuring the People’s March and the Voyages Concert, Melbourne’s events focus strongly on the celebration of multi-culturalism. Major celebrations are not confined to the East coast capitals. Despite a drop in attendance in 2010, but still with audiences estimated at 400,000, the Perth Skyworks is the largest single event presented each Australia Day.
Citizenship ceremonies are also commonly held with Australia Day now the largest occasion for the acquisition of Australian citizenship. On 26 January 2011, more than 300 Citizenship Ceremonies took place and 13,000 people from 143 countries took Australian Citizenship. In recent years many citizenship ceremonies have included an affirmation by existing citizens. Research conducted in 2007 reported that 78.6% of respondents thought that citizenship ceremonies were an important feature of the day.