How to Celebrate Australia Day

"It's the day to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can be proud of in our great nation."[1]

Australia Day is celebrated on the 26th of January every year. It is the biggest nationwide public holiday, and is celebrated across the country. There are no hard and fast rules on how to celebrate the day but it is great if you feel like participating any way you can, be it taking the day off to relax or partying it up.


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    Decide how you'd like to celebrate. There are many ways to celebrate Australia Day and all of them are good because you can catch up with mates. Probably the main "rule", if there are any rules, is just don't celebrate it alone! Get out there and enjoy it with lots of other people. Different ideas include:
    • Attending an official event (concerts, award ceremonies, fireworks, parades etc.)
    • Attending a local event (regattas, community barbecues, sausage sizzles, face painting, musical events etc.)
    • Holding a party or barbecue at home
    • Going to the pub for celebratory drinks
    • Having a celebration at work
    • Spend time at the beach or pool cooling down. Do this before an evening of partying - or make this the party too!
    • Visit museums and learn about Australia's history
    • Other. If you're stumped for ideas, check out the official list at A to Z of Event Ideas
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    Dress up in Aussie colours. Use clothes, face paints, temporary tattoos, sunbrellas, jewellery etc. in a range of styles and colours to suit the occasion. For colours, there is a selection of possible colour schemes here:
    • Red, white and blue to reflect the flag, with some stars thrown in;
    • Wattle yellow and eucalyptus green reflecting past colour schemes and colours of the land;
    • The colours of the Aboriginal flag - black, red (ochre) and yellow;
    • The colours of the Torres Strait Islander flag - green, blue and white. (And perhaps the white dhari (headdress) symbol);
    • A "national costume" of your choosing (hold a competition and award prizes);
    • Anything goes. Provided you get up in time to make the celebrations, wear anything comfortable and a hat.
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    Watch the fireworks. Many cities and towns have fireworks in the evening. Grab a blanket, a picnic basket, some food and drinks and head out at a reasonable hour to get a good vantage point. Take a radio if the radio show follows the fireworks; many stations add music that is timed to the fireworks.
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    Visit another Australian city to discover their celebrations for something different this year.
    • Visit Sydney. See the boats in the Harbour by day and watch the amazing fireworks display at night.
    • Visit the capital. Go and celebrate in Canberra, the heart of the nation. Here you can watch Australia Day awards ceremonies, attend picnics, see fireworks displays, enter a triathlon (or just watch it) or watch the Chief Minister's sailing regatta.
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    Fly the Australian flag. Hoist an Australian flag up in the front yard, hang it from your car or wear it emblazoned across a t-shirt. You can choose from the Australian National flag, the Aboriginal flag, the Torres Strait Islander flag or other Australian flags.
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    Make Australian food. Bake up a feast of lamingtons, pavlova, koala shaped biscuits and meat pies. Make a cake in the shape of Australia. Make a pie floater or two for the 3am munchies.
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    Make Australian crafts. Make craft items with the kids that reflect Australian themes, such as platypus masks, koala stuffed toys, kangaroo cut-outs and gumnut keyrings.
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    Play the didgeridoo. If you know how, play it for your local community (but note that in traditional Aboriginal culture only the men were allowed to play the didgeridoo). Donate funds to a local charity. Give them away as gifts, sell at craft stalls to enthusiastic Aussie celebrators or wear them - whatever takes your fancy.
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    Send an Australia Day e-card to friends and colleagues. Look online for sites that provide this resource and wish your fellow Australians a very happy Australia Day.
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    Get into sport. Play it, watch it or humour those who can't get enough of it. This is the season for cricket and tennis - when too much sport is barely enough. One time-honoured tradition is to catch a cricket game in the day and the fireworks by night.


  • Slip, slop, slap. Don't go outdoors without the hat, the sunscreen and the long-sleeved clothing. Glowing red skin at night is not attractive and ultimately can be health-threatening.
  • Make sure Australia Day is an inclusive day. Australia is a country of great cultural diversity, including Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, varied European, Pacific and Asian backgrounds and newly arrived immigrants from all around the world. If your community lacks this recognition, speak up and be ready to help make sure all Australian voices are included.
  • If you are stuck in the states, the AAA (that's the Australia America Association) holds a celebration at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC. see


  • Drink responsibly - alcohol and driving do not mix. Leave the car at home or get sober friends who are of age to drive.
  • Keep the partying under control.
  • Do not get overexcited by the special occasion.

Things You'll Need

  • Aussie colour clothing
  • Esky (icebox) if you're partying
    • Ice
    • Drinks
    • Food
    • A good bunch of friends

Sources and Citations

  • Australia Day - official online government site on Australia Day celebrations.
  1. Australian Government, Australia Day

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