Australia Day, celebrated annually on 26 January, is the official national day of Australia, commemorating the establishment of the first European settlement on the continent of Australia. The date is that of the foundation of a British penal colony at Sydney Cove on Port Jackson, New South Wales, by Captain Arthur Phillip, who was to become the first Governor. Australia Day is an official public holiday in all states and territories of Australia, and has also been known as Anniversary Day or Foundation Day.
On Australia Day each year, the Prime Minister announces the winner of the Australian of the Year award, presented to an Australian citizen who has shown a “significant contribution to the Australian community and nation”, and is an “inspirational role model for the Australian community”. Subcategories of the award include “Young” and “Senior Australian of the Year”, and an award for the “Australian Local Hero”.
Records of the celebration of Australia Day date back to 1808, and in 1818, Governor Lachlan Macquarie held the first official celebration of Australia Day. In 2004, an estimated 7.5 million people attended Australia Day celebrations and functions across the country.
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