Friday, 6 June 2014

Australia Day: A Look Back At History

If you are planning an immigration to Australia, then you better be familiar with the country's holidays. And one such holiday that you ought to know more about is Australia Day. This will not only add more to your knowledge of Australia, but will also give you a better appreciation of the country as well.

Australia Day, celebrated every 26th of January, is basically the country's foundation day. It commemorates the arrival of of the British First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 that also marked the start of European colonization of the Australian continent. The event is made even more memorable by the fact that the fleet almost never made it ashore, as several of the ships encountered difficulties before they were finally able to land.

During the first few years of the Australian colonies, the date was never officially recognized by the government as n anniversary. However, many of the new settlers, especially the convicts (who made majority of the Fleet's civilian passengers), held informal celebrations on this day, declaring their love for the land. Eventually, many prominent officials joined in on the celebrations during this day.

By the start of the 1800's the celebrations in the colonies had become so widespread that the newspapers have began referring to the 26th of January as Foundation day. Eventually, in 1818, then Governor Lachlan Macqurie finally declared the celebration of Foundation Day in the colonies to be an official holiday. The announcement was befitting, as that year coincides with the 30th anniversary of the colonies.

It is interesting to note that Foundation Day is initially considered more of a New South Wales celebration, as the other colonies actually have their own commemoration dates for their foundation. It was not until the centenary of the colonies that all of them agreed to a single Foundation Day. The holiday also took on several different names, starting from Foundation Day, to Anniversary Day, and even ANA Day. With the establishment of the Federation in the early years of the 1900's, the days has since been officially recognized as Australia Day.

However, while there are a lot of parties and celebrations on this day, not all groups are on a joyful mood on this one. In particular, some Australian Aboriginal communities often referred to this one as Invasion Day, the day that white settlers have driven them out of their lands. But the Australian government has been on an effort to use this day to mark reconciliation between the two parties. And with the increased Aboriginal participation in the celebrations in the last few years. This is definitely a good sign for the country.

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