January the 26th is set aside every year here in Australia as the day we celebrate the founding of Australia. This was the day when Captain Arthur Phillip first claimed this vast Continent in the Southern Hemisphere as an English Colony on the 26th January 1788.
Years earlier, Captain James Cook had discovered the Eastern Coast of this Continent on his voyage of discovery and exploration in 1770.
This vast continent was already populated with indigenous people, but when Phillip claimed the land, this was the first time a foreign Nation had come here to settle this vast land.
I have Posted a series on the discovery and settlement and the early days of Australian settlement, and the links to each of those five separate Posts are at the bottom of this Post.
The image shown is of the Australian Coat Of Arms. It shows a Kangaroo and an Emu, animals native only to Australia. They are holding a shield, and on that shield are the coats of arms of the six States that make up Australia, those States being New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania. As well as those 6 States, there are 2 territories, The Northern Territory, and The Australian Capital Territory.
This is in effect our National Day. It is a declared Public Holiday, and all across the Country there are public celebrations to commemorate the Day.
Each year I have Posted on this special day, explaining what it is all about, and why we have it on this specific day. The links to those previous Posts are as follows.
Also on this day, a number of Australians are honoured for the selfless work that they do for the Community and also the Country. This award is known as the Order Of Australia, and there are three Award dates each year, the largest of which is on Australia Day.
Today, 571 people were honoured with the Award of this Order of Australia, which has four levels, Companion, Officer, Member, and the Medal. (All with the suffix Order of Australia) Members of Australia’s armed forces are also awarded medals on this day as well for their service, as are members of some branches of the Public Service. The following link details some of the most notable people awarded this rare honour for their service to Australia in their designated areas.
Also on this day, the Australian of the year is announced. Each of the six States nominates one person, and from that short list, the Australian of the year is selected.
This year that prestigious honour was bestowed on a famed Australian Ita Buttrose for her many services to Australia, both as one of the most recognised publishing icons in Australia, and in more recent years, for her services for her role in raising awareness about health issues, including Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer. The article concerning this important award is at the following link.
So, while ANZAC Day (April 25th) is perhaps the most solemn day on the Australian calendar, Australia day is the day we, as a collective Nation, celebrate our relatively long heritage.
Links to the five earlier posts on the early settlement of Australia.
Part 1. Australia (Part One) The Genesis
Part 3. Australia (Part Three) Arrival