In 2015, Australia Day will be celebrated on Monday 26th January.
Australia Day is celebrated on January 26 and commemorates the first landing in Australia by Captain Arthur Phillip. Between January 18 and 20, 1788, the First Fleet of 11 ships sailed into Botany Bay to set up a penal colony there but the bay proved to be unsuitable. Captain Phillip took a team north and named the area on the south shore of Port Jackson as Sydney Cove. The formal establishment of the colony occurred two weeks later on February 7.
Most Australians consider January 26 with national pride, flying the Australian flag from businesses, homes, cars and even their babies. They attend festivals, fireworks, community and sporting events or gather for family barbecues at homes, parks or on the beach.
Some indigenous Australians take offence at the celebration of Australia Day and consider it the day that their homeland was invaded.
The public holiday of Australia Day always occurs on January 26 no matter what day of the week it occurs. Many people become citizens of Australia on Australia Day at Citizenship Ceremonies across the nation. It is also the day that the Australian Government awards the Order of Australia to selected Australians, which is ‘an Australian society of honour for according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service’.
Various fundraising events happen on Australia Day. One of the more unusual is the Australia Day Thong Challenge. (In Australia, a thong is a flip-flop worn on the foot.) The challenge raises money for the Nippers branch of the Surf Life Saving Club and involves thousands of people on beaches and in pools, rivers and dams on inflatable thongs.
The spirit of Australia Day is the strength of Australians doing amazing things together.