Australia Day: January 26
Australia celebrates 26th January as Australia Day which marks the landing of the First Fleet, a convoy of 11 ships carrying convicts, at Port Jackson in 1788. It also marks the founding of the colony New South Wales.
How the Australia Day came into being?
On the 30th anniversary of the founding of the colony in 1818, the Governor of New South Wales celebrated the day with a 30-gun salute and a holiday for all government employees.
Initially, the celebrations were confined to New South Wales. The first founding day was celebrated on 1838, 50 years after the First Fleet arrived in New South Wales. By 1926, almost all states of Australia were celebrating the Australia Day and it was being referred to as Anniversary Day in New South Wales.
From 1946, January 26 was celebrated as Australia Day all over the country with the public holiday.
January 26 is also a day of Mourning
It is said that there are two Australia’s, one is the land occupied for more than 50,000 years by Indigenous people before the arrival of the First Fleet, and second is the Australia that was colonised in 1788.
The colonisation of Australia led to disastrous consequences for the indigenous population. On 26th January 1938 Aboriginal people gathered in Sydney to mark a ‘Day of Mourning’ to protest against the callous treatment of our people by the white men during the past 150 years.
In 2008 then-prime minister Kevin Rudd formally apologised to Australia’s Indigenous communities over historic government policies of forced child removal and Indigenous assimilation. There are now demands to change the date since the Australia Day should bring the country together not divide Australia.