History: Alternative dates to celebrate Australia Day

History: Alternative dates to celebrate Australia Day

A round-up of some proposals that have been put forward over the years.

Australia Day, and specifically the date of January 26, has become more and more of a hot-button issue in recent years. While there have long been calls to change the date, both sides seem to have become more entrenched. If you’re going into battle, arm yourself with some of these alternative dates, and why they’ve been pitched as better options over time.


Australia officially became its own nation on January 1, 1901. Which sounds good in theory, but obviously competes with New Year’s Day.


The main arguments in favour of this option are (a) it’s exactly a week earlier than the date we’re all used to, so the weather will be the same, and (b) if you write it out as numbers, it’s 19/01… the year of Federation.


Because it sounds like “mate”, see?

MAY 27

This is the anniversary of Australia’s historic 1967 referendum, which is certainly more inclusive than the current date. It’s also more serious than the previous two entries, isn’t it?


A date with relevance to us all – the day Queen Victoria gave her royal assent to the Constitution of Australia. (Okay, it’s really just to try to snooker those monarchists who love the Royal Family so much why don’t they marry them?)


This is already a thing: Wattle Day. Which, if you’re like most Australians, you’ve probably never heard of. Still, we’ve been repping the green’n’gold of this plant as our national symbol since the early 1800s, so it has potential. Plus it’s the first day of spring, which is a great day for a public holiday.


The events surrounding the Eureka Stockade happened on December 3, and it has some resonance as one of our formative dates as a nation. It should also appeal to anyone with a Southern Cross tattoo, shouldn’t it?

This isn’t every date that’s been proposed as an alternative, but it’s a good example of the thinking different groups have had over the years. If you have an opinion, or another idea, add your voice to the debate!


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