Jan 26 is Australia’s Day
Every year, Australians come together to celebrate the nation’s most important day – January 26. The date marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet from Great Britain, which established the first European settlement in Australia.
This public holiday is an opportunity for all Australians to reflect on our culture and history, and to commemorate those who have contributed so much to the nation. The day is traditionally celebrated with parades, barbecues, and other festive activities around the country. While some people use the day to take a break from the daily grind, others use it as an opportunity to take part in important conversations about our nation’s past, present, and future.
As a public holiday, it often means time with family and friends, but it is also a day to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Indigenous Australians. Australia Day marks the beginning of British settlement in Australia, and as such, it can be difficult for some members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who may view Jan 26 as a day that marks their dispossession. Great resources from services like Australians Together will help you to learn more about this (and teach it to the next generation!).
Whether or not you celebrate Australia Day, it’s a great time to think about our nation, and reflect on where we have been and where we are headed. We can consider what it means to be Australian – the country we live in and its people – as well as appreciate the unique cultures that make up our nation.
We can use this day to consider how we can all work together to create a better and fairer Australia. We can celebrate our unique history, culture, and community spirit while considering how we could build greater understanding and respect between Indigenous Australians and other Australians.
How will you celebrate the day?
So, why do we celebrate Australia Day on January 26? On this day in 1788, the First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove and officially began the British settlement of Australia. This event marks a significant milestone in our nation’s history but it is not without controversy.
Many Indigenous Australians see January 26 as ‘Invasion Day’, because they view the European arrival as the beginning of a long period of dispossession and oppression. For this reason, many people now celebrate Australia Day on another date, such as January 1 or May 27.
When attending a barbecue at a friend’s house, it’s hard to imagine that Australia Day can be so fraught with controversy and emotion. However, it’s important to remember that not everyone celebrates the same way – or even celebrates at all. We need to have a national conversation about what this day means to Australians and how we can best celebrate it while still being respectful of our Indigenous history.
Unfortunately, many indigenous Australians continue to feel unwelcome on Australia Day, and for some, it can be a reminder of the struggle they have gone through. It is important to remember that although we may come from many different backgrounds, we are all part of the same nation.
To make sure everyone can celebrate in harmony, Australia Day provides an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come as a nation, and to discuss the issues we still need to address concerning our Indigenous history. It is also important for us to remember that Australia Day should be about celebrating our unique culture and identity – a day of celebration, not exclusion.
Should the date change? Can we still appreciate what it is to be Australian on a different day?