The Young Witness

Australia DayAdvertising Feature

Story of me, you and usAdvertising Feature

Australia Day: It's the day to reflect on what it means to be Australian, to celebrate contemporary Australia and to acknowledge our history. Photo: Shutterstock

Four in five Australians see Australia Day on January 26 as more meaningful than just a day off.

It's a day to come together to celebrate what we love about being Australian.

Australia Day is one of the most celebrated days in the country, with over half the nation participating or marking the day somehow.

Many people take this day as an opportunity to get together with family and friends, often at hundreds of community-based events around the continent.

Australia Day is the day to reflect on what it means to be Australian, celebrate contemporary Australia, and acknowledge our history.

This includes acknowledgement of our Aboriginal land custodians and their culture.

There has been a shift in the past decade with more Australians recognising the importance of celebrating our national day with people from all walks of life.

"Australia Day is a time for all Australians to reflect, respect and celebrate," Karlie Brand, chief executive officer of National Australia Day Council, said.

"We're all part of the story of Australia - from those whose ancestors walked on Country for tens of thousands of years to those who came in the waves of migration that followed on to our newest citizens.

"On Australia Day, we reflect on the past, present and future, listen to and respect each other's stories, contributions and aspirations and celebrate being Australian together."

We all have a role to play in respecting different views of Australia Day, actively engaging with people of all backgrounds and understanding we all come from different cultures and experiences.

This year there will be more than a nod to First Nation peoples.

History timeline

  • 50,000BC - Aboriginal people arrive on the Australian continent
  • 1642 - Abel Tasman 'discovers' Tasmania and New Zealand
  • 1770 - Captain James Cook explores the east coast of Australia (NSW)
  • 1788 - A penal colony established in Sydney Cove by Britain
  • 1851 - Gold is discovered
  • 1901 - Six colonies federated into the Commonwealth of Australia
  • 1927 - Federal parliament moves from Melbourne to Canberra
  • 1960 - Australia grants citizenship to Aboriginal people
  • 1962 - Aboriginal people can vote in federal elections
  • 1993 - Aboriginal people's land rights are recognised
  • 2008 - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology to Australia's Indigenous peoples

See the website at australiaday.org.au/about or visit Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for ways to get involved.

Reflect, respect, celebrateAdvertising Feature

More than a public holiday: Australians can take pride in their country and celebrate in their local communities. Photo: Shutterstock

On Australia Day, we celebrate all the things we love about Australia: land, sense of a fair go, lifestyle, democracy, the freedoms we enjoy, and particularly our people.

The date of January 26 is controversial because this date acknowledges European discovery and subsequent settlement of the country, but the public holiday is increasingly becoming more inclusive of Indigenous people.

Australia Day aims to acknowledge and celebrate all who contributed to our great country with its diverse cultures and entertain crowds in a family-friendly way.

The National Australia Day Council (NADC) is a not-for-profit, government-owned company based in Canberra.

"In 2022, the NADC is providing more than $11 million in grants to help 534 councils and community organisations deliver Australia Day events," CEO Karlie Brand said. "This includes 194 events that include specific elements that acknowledge, respect and celebrate local Indigenous history and culture.

"The purpose of these events is foster stronger connections between local Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities through joint reflection and respect, and a celebration of culture and country on Australia Day."

With the NADC, the Australia Day National Network promotes the meaning of Australia Day and being Australian, to unite all Australians through celebration and reflection, and to acknowledge active citizenship and achievement.

Celebrations

The events held for Australia Day range from sport, beach and music days to barbecues, fireworks, citizenship and smoking ceremonies.

Many new Australians from all parts of the world will become proud citizens at citizenship ceremonies held around the country on January 26.

Ambassadors

"The nominees are an extraordinary group of people," Ms Brand said. "Scientific technology, advocacy for vulnerable people, grassroots programs which have grown to national status and lifetimes of giving and helping others - they are all to be admired and celebrated."

Australia Day ambassadors are high achieving and proud Australians who attend local Australia Day celebrations across the nation.

They volunteer their time and energy to inspire pride and celebration in local communities.

Ambassadors include community members, sportspeople, scientists, business people, arts workers and former Australian of the Year Awards recipients.

Australian of the Year Awards

These include Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year, Australian of the Year and Australia's Local Hero, announced from several nominees on the eve of Australia Day.

Schools

Even schools are dissecting what Australia Day is really about. Educational resources have been created to connect Australian of the Year Awards and Australia Day activities in an engaging, easy-to-use format.

The resources target three broad age levels and discuss what makes an Australian of the Year candidate, what Australia Day celebrations tell us about our sense of ourselves as Australians, and what the Australian of the Year Awards say about a changing and diverse Australia.

Australia Day is about acknowledging and celebrating every Australian's contribution to our modern and dynamic nation. See australiaday.org.au/events.