Australia Day is a Public Holiday on 26th January.
The 26th January marks the raising of the Union Jack in Sydney Cove in 1788, and the official declaration of British sovereignty on the land that would become Australia.
Should the date of Australia Day be changed?
Almost every year there are calls to change the date of Australia Day, with some suggestions being:
13th February, the anniversary of the apology to the Stolen Generations.
26th May, Sorry Day.
27th May, the anniversary of the 1967 referendum.
The first Sunday in July, being the start of NAIDOC week.
13th September, the anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Some people feel that the 26th January should be renamed “Invasion Day”. A term more in keeping with the 1788 invasion of this land, before being renamed as Australia.
Prior to being known as Australia, the continent was known as New Holland, the name given in 1644 by the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman.
The name “Terra Australis” was used to describe the continent on a hand drawn map in 1804, by the English explorer Matthew Flinders.
Matthew Flinders made the suggestion for the names “Australia” or “Terra Australis”, after being the first to circumnavigate the continent in 1803.
The new name was approved by the British government in 1824, although Western Australia was still called New Holland until 1832.
How many people want to change the date that commemorates the start of the New Australia?
Just 11 per cent of Australians want to change the date of Australia Day and a huge majority think the country has become too Politically Correct, according to a study by the Institute of Public Affairs.
Polling conducted by Research Now reveals that only 10% of Australians think the date of Australia Day should be changed.
Prior to 1915, the day was called “Anniversary Day”. It wasn’t until 1915 that the term “Australia Day” was first used, albeit on 30th July.
The 26th January was first celebrated in 1818, just 30 years after the event, when Governor Macquarie acknowledged the day officially as a public holiday. www.mq.edu.au/…/sydgaz31jan1818.html
In 1988, all of the states and territories of Australia agreed to celebrate Australia Day on 26 January. australiaday.org.au
About 16,000 people choose the 26th January to officially become new Australian citizens each year.