Australia Day is the official National Day of Australia.
Celebrated annually on 26 January, it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at what is now called Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at that site by Arthur Phillip who was to become Governor of a country soon called Australia.
Celebrations each year reflect our diverse multicultural society and landscape of the nation, and is marked by community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards, and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new immigrants into the Australian community.
Australia Day is not always celebrated by Indigenous Australians who had lived in harmony with nature here for more than 40,000 year so they regard this day as Invasion Day.
Muslims are contributing greatly to our country, Australia in so many ways since so many come from the area where civilization began.
My grandfather, Sir George Houstoun Reid who had been Premier of NSW , Prime Minister of Australia and our first High Commissioner in Britain and is known by many as the true Father of Federation was according to his diaries very supportive of the idea of a National Day of unity and a celebration was planned but it was not until 1935 that all Australian states and territories had adopted the use of the term “Australia Day” to mark the date, and not until 1994 that the date was consistently marked by a public holiday on that day by all states and territories. However he was always very concerned for the indigenous people.
In contemporary Australia, the holiday is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards and addresses from the Governor-General and Prime Minister.. It is an official public holiday in Australia. With community festivals, concerts and citizenship ceremonies, the day is celebrated in large and small communities and cities around the nation. Australia Day is indeed the biggest annual civic event in our country.
Outdoor concerts, community barbecues, sports competitions, festivals and fireworks are some of the many events held in communities across Australia. These official events are presented by the National Australia Day Council, an official council or committee in each state and territory, and local committees.
In Sydney the harbor is a focus and boat races are held, such as a ferry race and the tall ships race. Citizenship ceremonies are also commonly held with Australia Day now the largest occasion for the acquisition of Australian citizenship.
The official Australia Day Ambassador Program supports celebrations in communities across the nation by facilitating the participation of high-achieving Australians in local community celebrations. The Order of Australia awards are also a feature of the day. The Australia Day Achievement Medallion is awarded to citizens by local governments based on excellence in both government and non-government organizations. The Governor-General and Prime Minister both address the nation. On the eve of Australia Day each year, the Prime Minister announces the winner of the Australian of the Year award, presented to an Australian citizen who has shown a “significant contribution to the Australian community and nation” and is an “inspirational role model for the Australian community”. Subcategories of the award include Young Australian of the Year and Senior Australian of the Year, and an award for Australia’s Local Hero. Various music festivals are held on Australia Day, such as the Big Day Out, the Triple J Hottest 100, and the Australia Day Live Concert which is televised nationally.
For many years an international cricket match has been held on Australia Day at the Adelaide Oval. These matches have included both Test matches and One Day Internationals.