New Year: "New Year's Day is celebrated on 1 January each year in all states and territories."
Australia Day: "Australia Day is Australia's national day celebrated on 26 January annually in all states and territories." "26 January was chosen because it is the day of the establishment of the first English settlement at Port Jackson by Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788." (see Australia Day)
Labour Day: "Labour Day commemorates the achievements of the Australian labour movement." "The celebration of Labour Day has its origins in the eight hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest." "On 21 April 1856 Stonemasons and building workers on building sites around Melbourne, Australia, stopped work and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House to achieve an eight hour day." "Their direct action protest was a success, and they are noted as the first organized workers in the world to achieve an eight hour day with no loss of pay, which subsequently inspired the celebration of Labour Day and May Day."
"The Labour Day public holiday varies considerably between the various states and territories." "It is the first Monday in October in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and South Australia." "In both Victoria and Tasmania, it is the second Monday in March (though the latter calls it Eight Hours Day)." "In Western Australia, Labour Day is the first Monday in March. In both Queensland and the Northern Territory, it is the first Monday in May."
Easter: "The days of Easter vary each year depending on the day determined by the Western Christian religious calendar." "For the basis of how the days are determined see Easter." "Note that "Easter Saturday" in Australia is legally defined to be the day between Good Friday and Easter Day (Sunday), which is different to the terminology used in other countries."
Anzac Day: "Anzac Day is a day on which the country remembers those citizens who fell fighting or who served the country in wars." "Anzac Day is commemorated on 25 April every year. The tradition began to remember the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers who landed at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I."
"Anzac Day commemoration features marches by veterans and by solemn "Dawn Services", a tradition started in Albany, Western Australia on 25 April 1923 and now held at war memorials around the country, accompanied by thoughts of those lost at war to the ceremonial sounds of The Last Post on the bugle. The fourth stanza of Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen (known as the "Ode of Remembrance") is often recited."
Queen's Birthday: "In all states and territories except Western Australia, Queen's Birthday is observed on the second Monday in June. Because Western Australia celebrates its Foundation Day on the first Monday in June, the Governor of Western Australia proclaims the day on which the state will observe the Queen's Birthday, based on school terms and the Perth Royal Show." "There is no firm rule to determine this date before it is proclaimed, though it is typically the last Monday of September or the first Monday of October."
"The day has been celebrated since 1788, when Governor Arthur Phillip declared a holiday to mark the birthday of King George III." "Until 1936 it was held on the actual birthday of the Monarch, but after the death of King George V it was decided to keep the date at mid-year."
"On that day the "Queen's Birthday honours list" is released naming new members of the Order of Australia and other Australian honours." "This occurs on the date observed in the Eastern States, not the date observed in Western Australia."
"The Queen's Birthday weekend and Empire Day, 24 May, were long the traditional times for public fireworks displays in Australia." "Although they still occur, the tradition has recently been overshadowed by larger New Year's Eve fireworks, as the sale of fireworks to the public was progressively banned by the states in the 1980s." "The sale of fireworks in the Australian Capital Territory is only legal during the Queen's Birthday weekend."
Christmas: "Christmas is observed on 25 December each year to commemorate the birth of Jesus. In Australia it was brought over as a matter of course with white English settlement in 1788. "Though a Christian religious festival it does not breach the constitution's separation of Church and State provision, because it is declared under State law, which is not subject to the provision."
Boxing Day: "Boxing Day is on the day after Christmas, ie. 26 December each year, except in South Australia." "In South Australia, the first otherwise working day after Christmas is a public holiday called Proclamation Day."
"Boxing Day is noted for the start of the post-Christmas sale season." "The day has also become a significant sporting day." "Melbourne hosts the Boxing Day Test Match and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race starts on this day."
Other Australian holidays
- Proclamation Day is in December in South Australia only.
- Canberra Day is held on the 3rd Monday in March in the ACT. From 2008, this holiday will be celebrated on the 2nd Monday of March (10 March 2008)
- Melbourne Cup Day is held on the first Tuesday of November - the day of the Melbourne Cup in the Melbourne metropolitan area. From 2007 in ACT Melbourne Cup day is also a holiday called "Family and Community day"
- Recreation Day is the first Monday of November, and celebrated in Northern Tasmania
- Geelong Cup Day is held on the fourth Wednesday of October in the city of Geelong, Victoria
- Tasmania Day: November 24
- Queensland Day is celebrated on 6 June each year, but not with a public holiday.
- Adelaide Cup Day is held on the second Monday in March in South Australia (held in May before 2006)
- Foundation Day in Western Australia in June
- Picnic Day in the Northern Territory in August, and also May Day
- Tasmania has Easter Tuesday as a public holiday which at one stage Victoria acknowledged until 1993.
- Royal Queensland Show Day in Brisbane area in August
If you are new to Australian holidays:
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