History & Culture

History Of Freedom Day In Australia

Australia Day, considered as Australia’s national day, is celebrated yearly on 26th of January. This day is when the First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson, NSW year 1788 and the time that the flag of the country, Great Britain, was raised at Sydney Cove led by Arthur Phillip.

At present, the celebration mirrors the landscape and diverse society of the nation and marked by family and community events, community awards, reflections on the history of Australia and the citizen ceremonies where they welcome new Australian community members.

Other terms they call freedom day:

  • Survival day
  • Invasion day
  • Foundation day

The event is observed by:

  • Residents
  • Australian citizens and
  • Expatriates


  • Barbecues and picnics
  • Fireworks
  • Family gatherings
  • Parades
  • Day Honours
  • Year of presentation
  • Citizenship ceremonies

The significance and meaning of Australia’s Freedom Day has evolved through time, with even some calling the event different names. The declaration of the British sovereignty from Australia’s eastern seaboard was marked 26 January year of 1788, but only announced Australia’s freedom day after more than a century after. The first celebration was held year 1818 for the formation of NSW.

Year 1901, New Year’s Day, the British colony of Australia started a federation, giving birth to the modern Australia. It was only year 1935 when all territories and states in Australia started using the word “Australian Day”. And it was only year of 1944 when all territories and states marked the day of 26 January as a public holiday.

Contemporary celebrations

The participation of the Australian’s Freedom Day increased since 1988, and year 1944 when all territories and states started to commemorate the combined public holiday for the first time. There was a research conducted year 2007 that reported 27.6 percent of Australian s attended a Freedom day celebration organised and 25.6 percent of the people celebrated the event with their friends and families.

Community barbecues, fireworks, sports competitions, outdoor concerts, and festivals are just few of the many events done across the Australian community.

Celebrations in different territories and states

In Sydney, they focus the celebration in harbour with many boat races, like tall ships and ferry races. In Adelaide, they celebrate in the city, concerts, fireworks display, and parades. Their celebration is held more in Elder Park while their traditional game, cricket, is played in the Adelaide Oval.

In Melbourne, they focus more on the multiculturalism. There was a drop in their attendance last 2010, still their audience was estimated at around 400,000.

There were several dates proposed, but as of this date, all the proposals were mooted hence the date sticked to 26 January.

Overall, this celebration is worth being remembered and enjoyed by the present society.