AUSTRALIA DAY has arrived, with Aussies everywhere celebrating their national holiday.
Every year on January 26, Australia marks the day of Captain Arthur Philip arriving in the country with a fleet of British ships – here’s how they celebrate.
When is Australia Day?
This year, Australia Day, also referred to as Straya Day, is being celebrated on Wednesday, January 26 2022.
It is a public holiday, and is about national pride and achievements.
The holiday is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve (January 25), the Australia Day Honours list, and speeches from the Governor-General and Prime Minister.
In 2022 for the first time, a person with disability was named the 2022 Australian of the Year – Paralympian tennis champion Dylan Alcott.
In the capital of Australia, Canberra, the day is marked by a coronavirus restrictions-compliant food, music and firework displays, National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony.
What is Australia Day commemorating?
Australia Day is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships, sent from Britain.
On this day, in 1788, commander Captain Arthur Phillip famously raised the Union Jack in Sydney Cove – to signal their arrival.
The celebration has evolved and today people tend to celebrate the diverse society of Australia, its national history and community parties.
Why is Australia Day controversial?
Australia’s national day isn’t all beer and BBQs – for many it’s a painful reminder of death, disease and an almost eradicated culture.
The country’s indigenous population mourn on January 26, because tens of thousands of people were killed during the colonisation of Australia – due to disease, starvation and massacres.
Because of this, there are often protests on the streets of Australia’s major cities.
A growing number of people are boycotting the celebration, and asking for another date to be chosen for Australia’s national day.
Despite Australia’s strict Covid restrictions, 2021 was no different – thousands took part in protests against the celebration, wearing face masks and social distancing.
In 2019 Australian Labour politician Mark Latham created an advertising campaign comparing the future of the country to a dystopian hell where people aren’t allowed to be proud of their national identity in fear of offending someone.
SBS reports: “In the ad, a girl is seen running over to her mother with a hand-drawn “Happy Australia Day” card.
“Her mother is shocked and asks: ‘Have you shown anyone else this, darling?’
“The daughter responds: ‘No, I just made it.’
“In the next scene, the mother is seen putting the card through the shredder.”
It’s a hotly debated topic, with some indigenous groups arguing for a new day and new holiday, and others insisting it should stay as it is.
Every year, Meat and Livestock Australia release an advert encouraging people to eat lamb on Australia Day, which adds further tension between animal rights activists.
How is Australia Day celebrated in the UK?
Most of the UK’s celebrations take part in London – where tens of thousands of Aussies now live.
Several events have been planned for the day in London, with wine tastings and Aussie food bottomless brunches dominating the celebrations.
More events for Australia Day 2022 are available here.