SBS AFRICAN

Australia Day - What is it and how has it changed over the years?

Indigenous Australians mark 'Survival Day' in Melbourne. Source: SBS

Australia's national day has its roots in the country's colonial past. It marks the day when the First Fleet of 11 British ships sailed into Port Jackson with Governor Arthur Phillip raising the British flag in Sydney Cove on 26 January, 1788. Many Indigenous Australians regard it as 'Invasion' or 'Survival' Day. How has the meaning of Australia Day changed over time?

'Australia Day' was first celebrated at a small gathering in Sydney in the early 19th century.

Darwin-based historian Dr Elizabeth Kwan is the author of the essay "Celebrating Australia: a history of Australia Day".

She explains the original purpose of January 26.

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