Catholics In Coalition for Justice and Peace

Blog Post

First Australia Day - 30 July 1915

Posted 21 Jan 2018 09:00AM

The original Australia Day, a national event to raise funds for troops wounded at Gallipoli, was held on 30 July 2015. At the time each State celebrated their Foundation Day - only NSW has always ignored 18 January 1788 when the British settlement fleet landed at Botany Bay.

In 1938, while Sydney conducted a week-long celebration for the 150th anniversary of the planting of the British flag in Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788, about 100 Aboriginal people gathered in Sydney for a national day of mourning.

It was the first formal 26 January protest by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and took place eight years before Australia Day was formally recognised as Australia Day in all states and territories.

It wasn’t until 1994 that the Australia Day public holiday was consistently held on 26 January each year across the country.

Fatima Measham, writing in Eureka Street on 17 January 2018 covers the current context for the discussion about the national public holiday on 26 January as Australia Day, including the historic Uluru Statement from the Heart issued to the nation by Indigenous Australians in May 2017: Australia Day has never been unifying: