Australia Day commemorates the creation of the first British settlement in Australia in 1788.
On this day in 1788, Captain Arthur Philip and an advance party from his fleet entered Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour, Australia), which he described as "the finest harbour in the world". A landing party was sent ashore. This was to be the site of the new settlement.
Captain Philip started out for Australia from England on 13 May 1787, with more than 1,000 people aboard 11 ships. There were 736 convicts - 548 men and 188 women. The rest were members of the Royal Marines who were sent to protect the colony from attack. Thirty seven children were on board.
Most Australians take the day off work and all schools are closed. There are many other celebrations across the country, including many spectacular fireworks displays.
Many Aboriginal Australians do not like the idea of a day to celebrate the British landing.
Why do you think they might feel like this?
- Australia Day is an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia
- The capital of Australia is Canberra
- The highest point in Australia is the top of Mt Kosciusko in New South Wales (2230 metres)
- The lowest point in Australia is 15 metres below sea level at Lake Eyre in South Australia
- The Murray River is the longest river in Australia at 2520km, combining with the Darling and Upper Darling Rivers to form the Murray-Darling basin
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Read about a school in Australia