Australia Day is a national public holiday celebrated by Aussies on January 26. The festivities mark the day when Captain Arthur Philip led a fleet of 11 British ships to New South Wales in 1787 to establish a new colony for ex-prisoners. The colonies were set up so prisoners could work to pay off their debts through farming.
But conditions were tough so it did not seem like they would survive for many years to start.
Despite this, the workers took a certain pride in their new land and within a few years had begun to do well.
They later classed January 26 as their official day of founding.
Festivities soon followed with the date becoming an official public day of celebration on January 26, 1818, then the 30th anniversary of the colony.
How to celebrate Australia Day
Australians nowadays turn out in droves to celebrate Australia Day.
People tend to get together with friends and family at community events such as barbecues and cricket matches.
The day has also become very popular with people hoping to become Australia citizens so citizenship ceremonies are common.
There are no officials greetings but it’s very common to wish people ‘Happy Australia Day’.
Smoking ceremonies are also held as a mark of respect for aboriginal cultures.
Burning the plants are believed to ward off bad spirits as they said to have cleansing properties.
In New South Wales, a massive fireworks display will illuminate the skies over Sydney Harbour Bridge – the day officially starts with the raising of Aboriginal and Australian flags.
‘First Fleet’ ferries in honour of the first British arriving ships also race one another under the famous landmark.
What about the heatwave?
This year, health authorities are warning people to take things easier as an ongoing heatwave continues to roast the country.
Sydney is expected to hit 43C on Australia Day and NSW health official Richard Broome has urged people to keep their plans as early as possible.
He told reporters: “Perhaps think about having a breakfast BBQ rather than an afternoon BBQ, or even postpone your activities until after it gets dark.
“We understand people do like to enjoy a beer, but please do it in moderation.”