Saturday, January 24, 2009

What's the Deal with Australia Day?

We all have a bit of a laugh when we see this ad on television, but there is an element of confusion, and even a little embarrassment when it comes to Australia Day.
The 26th January 1788 marked the arrival of The First Fleet of British convicts to the shores of Australia and the beginning of European settlement. Prior to this day, Australian Indigenous people lived in 250 communities or nations each with their own language. For many Indigenous Australians, Australia Day is more rightly described as "Invasion Day". Australia has had a less than admirable history in terms of the treatment of Australian indigenous peoples. On the 12th February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology to Indigenous Australians on behalf of the Federal Government.

So what has Australia Day come to represent?

Australia Day is a public holiday in Australia. Around the country many new Australians are welcomed in at Citizenship Ceremonies. Notable Australians are recognised for their efforts and achievements with Australian of the Year awards. Special events are held in the capital cities including fireworks, concerts, fun runs/walks, and parades. For full details and a cool video about what Australia Day is about go to the official Australia Day website. And of course, as mentioned in the ad, it's a day for watching the cricket or tennis!

UPDATE: 2009 Australian of the Year, Professor Mick Dodson, has requested a national debate about a change of date for Australia Day. Read more here.


  1. Just visiting your blog and felt compelled to say "hello" because I am a teacher, too. I taught 12 years of elementary (6 as a dyslexia specialist), then stayed home for a while having kids. Now I teach preschool art! I'm in the USA, but did get to teach a year-round program for a year- (6weeks on, 2 off)- didn't like it. I guess we like what we are accustomed to.

  2. Happy Australia Day!I hope you had a good time on your holiday!
    Mr. C


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