Australia Day is celebrated each year on January 26.
Australia Day remembers the day in 1788 when the first white people arrived to live in Australia.
Australia Day is a holiday everywhere in Australia.
The First Fleet arrives
On January 26, 1788, a fleet of 11 ships under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip arrived at Sydney Cove. On board the ships, which became known as the First Fleet, were sailors, soldiers and convicts from England. From 1804 onwards, the people of the colony celebrated the day.
Australia Day became a national holiday in 1994. There are flag raising ceremonies all around the country and it is a day when many migrants (people from other countries who want to live in Australia) become Australian citizens at citizenship ceremonies.
Each year a person is named Australian of the Year on January 26.
Read about all of the Australians of the Year
Australia Day is a day to celebrate everything that is good about Australia and to think about what can be done to make life in Australia better for everyone.
Australia Day and Indigenous Australians
Some Indigenous Australians (Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples) do not celebrate Australia Day because they believe that January 26, 1788 was the day when white people invaded their land. Many call the day Survival Day. Because of these feelings some people think that it would be better if Australia Day was celebrated on a different date so that ALL Australians could celebrate with pride and respect.
What do you think?
What about Captain Cook?
The place chosen for the Australian penal colony had been made after a report, made 18 years earlier, by Captain James Cook. Cook had mapped the east coast of Australia and sailed into Sydney Harbour in 1770. Later, when the British government needed to find a place to send convicts, it was Cook’s report that persuaded them that Australia might be a good place to start the colony.
Read about Captain Cook