Update: Family and Community Day public holiday in the ACT will be replaced with Reconciliation Day from 2018 onwards. The first Reconciliation Day holiday will be celebrated on 28 May 2018 (Monday).
The Family and Community public holiday is for the Australian Capital Territory only. Its purpose is to provide a holiday for people to spend with their family and friends.
Family and Community Day is one of the rarer types of public holidays in that it’s not taken as a memorial or celebration day. Most businesses are closed on the day.
The first Family and Community Day was in 2007. For that year, and in 2008 and 2009, the public holiday was held on Melbourne Cup Day in November. There were problems as the holiday occurred on a Tuesday and many people took a four-day-weekend. People missed being able to do the office sweepstakes for the Melbourne Cup and many catering businesses lost income.
From 2010 the holiday was moved to the first Monday in the September/October school holidays unless it coincided with the Labour Day holiday, in which case it is transferred to the following Monday.
Australians are experts at relaxing and love the idea of a day off. Even though the holiday is only for people in the ACT, they make the most of it. Families deliberately spend time together doing whatever the spring weather will allow… a barbecue, a day at the museum, a paddle on the lake, a hot-air balloon ride or a quiet day watching sport on TV.
Here are some comments from people about the Family and Community Day public holiday:
‘We had a great day – managed a sleep in and then spent the day at home with the family.’
‘I only had 1/2 day off, and due to the cold weather decided to take my family to the National Library for a coffee and cake.’