Australia Day

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Australia Day is a national holiday in Australia. It commemorates the day that most historians say was the first official recognition of the new British colony. This was in 1788, and it was called New South Wales.

January 26 has been celebrated as "First Landing" or "Foundation Day" in previous years. It was celebrated this way as early as 1804. Government workers were given the day off to celebrate in 1818. The first official Australia Day, as approved by the Australian government, was not celebrated until 1946. And even then, not all of the states and territories celebrated on January 26. It wasn't until 1994 that all of the country banded together and made it a countrywide official holiday. Since then, the celebration has been bigger evey year.

Fireworks punctuate celebrations in many cities around the country. Many cities give out Order of Australia and Australian of the Year awards on this day. Smaller-scale events take place in parks and back yards.

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