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January 26 is Australia Day!

26. January 2010 by Michelle 0 Comments

Australia Day fireworks

Australia Day is celebrated each year on January 26th and commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet of Great Britain to Sydney Cove in 1788. Millions of Australians celebrate the founding of their nation with family gatherings, picnics, barbeques, and fireworks, and concerts. There are festivals, parades, carnivals, and various events all over the country today. Since it’s summer in Australia, many citizens party on the beautiful beaches.

 

The Australian of the Year award is presented on this day, rewarding someone who has a consistent record of excellence, has made outstanding achievements in their field, and contributes to the nation. Winners of this award are honored on plaques of the Australian of the Year Walk, which is a series of small columns that are placed along the shoreline of Lake Burley Griffin, between the National Library of Australia and the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, in Canberra.

 

This year the recipient of Australian of the Year is Patrick McGorry, a psychiatrist who is currently the Professor of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. Other awards are given as well, such as the Young Australian of the Year, Senior Australian, and Australia’s Local Hero.

 

The prime minister also gives his Australia Day address, which discusses national topics like population, climate change, and economics.

 

However, this national holiday isn’t all fun and games for everyone. Australia Day is seen as very controversial by some Australians, who call the holiday “Invasion Day”. They feel it celebrates the destruction of the Indigenous culture by British colonialism. There have been significant protests since 1988.

 

The Founding of Australia, January 26, 1788