Today, January 26, is Australia Day. On this day, Australians commemorate the arrival of the First Fleet, 11 ships that sailed from Great Britain - to establish the first European colony in Australia - into Sydney Cove in 1788.
This national holiday falls in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere summer, and Australians usually celebrate with friends and family in typical Aussie style, at a barbecue or at the beach.
Another popular way to celebrate is at one of the many events arranged by Federal, State and Local Governments across the country. ln 2011, more than half of Australia’s 21 million people attended them.
Looking for activities? The Australia Day Council has its own website listing all official events scheduled for today.
In addition to the fun and festivities, Australia Day also features the “Australian of the Year Awards” which recognizes leading citizens who are role models for the country. This year’s winner is Academy Award winning actor Geoffrey Rush for his contribution to the arts. You can view a list of the past winners here.
It’s a wonderful day to celebrate all the diverse cultures and landscapes that makes up Australia, to reflect on what we’ve achieved as a nation and to contemplate what the future will hold.
Happy Australia Day!