Australia Day was previously known as Anniversary Day and Foundation Day. It is the official national day of Australia. The date commemorates
the arrival of the First Fleet
at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the proclamation at that time of British sovereignty
over the eastern seaboard of New Holland. The First Fleet was a fleet of 11 ships, which was sent by the British Admiralty from England to Australia in 1787 to settle down in Australian territory. One year later in February, the Colony of New South Wales was formally established.
Records of celebrations on January 26 date back to 1808. The first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales was held in 1818. Presently, Austalia Day is an official public holiday in every state and territory of the country.
In 2007, research was conducted
on the observance of Australia Day. It reported that 27.6% of Australians polled
attended an organised Australia Day event and a further 25.6% celebrated with family and friends. This makes Australia Day the largest annual public event in the nation.
Outdoor concerts, community barbecues, sports competitions, music festivals and fireworks are some of the many events presented in communities across Australia. In Sydney, the harbour is a focus and races are held, such as a ferry race and the tall ships race. Melbourne’s events focus strongly on the celebration of multi-culturalism. It is also common to hold citizenship
ceremonies at which people from other countries take Australian Citizenship.