It was in 1787 when the first 11 ships set sail from England to the coast of New South Wales (known back then as New England).
These ships became known as the First Fleet and were under the captaincy of Arthur Phillip. The fleet arrived in early 1788. They sought to establish a Colony at Botany Bay, the area having been explored and claimed by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770.
In the early morning of the 26th January, Arthur Philip and some of his crew rowed ashore and took possession of the land under the name of King George III.
However, the Colony of New South Wales was formally established on the 7th February 1788 (not the 26th January). It’s this date in February when a formal proclamation of the colony took place and Arthur Philip’s governorship was read out.
Some Indigenous Australians see this date (26th January) as an invasion of their land. Some Indigenous groups or ones sympathetic to their cause, mourn and protest its celebrations. Some advocate that the date should be changed. There are many events throughout the nation to celebrate Australia Day. These events reflect on Australia’s history and diverse society.
There are many citizenship and award ceremonies held on this day welcoming new members to our community and various achievements.
We hope you enjoy Australia Day!