January 26 is the official national day of Australia. Traditionally Australia Day commemorates the landing of the First Fleet in 1788 marking British colonization. The fleet, commanded by Captain Arthur Philip, consisted of eleven convict ships that arrived at Sydney Cove.
Since this time, Australians have celebrated the anniversary of this day in one form or other however it wasn't until 1994 that all states and territories celebrated Australia Day consistently on January 26.
Australia Day, however, evokes different feelings for different people. For many indigenous Australians, January 26 is remembered as a day of loss and suffering.
Today Australia Day is about embracing being Australian in all its forms and to try to build a society where multiculturalism, diversity and tolerance are what it means to be an Australian.
The national holiday is celebrated in a many ways including concerts, parades, beach parties, barbecues and bake sales.
The official Australia Day website offers a whole host of great ideas for events to mark the occasion including:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance festival
- BBQ-s for breakfast
- Damper cooking
- Food and wine festival
- Historical building tour
- Lamington making
- Meat pie eating competition
- Oz quiz evening
- Republicans vs monarchists cricket match
Find some quintessential Australia Day recipes from traditional to modern-day fare in my Australia Day recipe gallery.