Australia Day (previously known as Anniversary Day, Foundations Day and ANA Day) is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on January 26th, the day commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788. The hoisting of the British flag there, and the proclamations of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of New Holland.
Australia Day is an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia, and is marked by the Order of Australia and Australian of the Year awards, along with an address from the Prim Minister.
Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on January 26th date back to 1808, with Governor Lachland Macquarie having held the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales in 1818. In 2004, an estimated 7.5 million people attended Australia Day celebrations and functions across the country.
The date is seen as controversial for many Australians, particularly Indigenous Australians, who see commemorating the arrival of the First Fleet as celebrating the destruction of the native Aboriginal culture by British colonists. Dating back to the 1938 Day of Mourning, there have been significant protests from and on behalf of the Aboriginal community, and the birth of the alternative nae Invasion Day. Others have begun to use the name Survival Day to highlight that a people and culture that was expected to die out has survived. In light of these concerns, proposals to change the date of Australia Day have been made, but have failed to gain widespread public support.
Some of things that happen on Australia Day include family meetings, picnics and barbecuses, parades, citizenship ceremonies, Order of Australia honours, and the Australian of the Year presentation.