Opinion | What a difference a day makes

By Greg Blyton
January 26 2018 - 1:00am

When Captain Arthur Phillip raised a Union Jack at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788, he had little idea of the controversy that would follow. In the 19th century, the day varied in importance depending on which state you lived. Names and even dates varied by state, including Foundation Day, Anniversary Day and Proclamation Day.   In the 20th century, debate about the day continued with Empire Day, Australia Day and, in recent years, Invasion Day and Survival Day. When Governor Lachlan Macquarie officially named the continent Australia in 1817, celebrations on 26 January focused on a new and independent country rather than a subsidiary colony of England. In 1888, Australian Natives Association (ANA) made up of the sons of Gold Rush migrants pushed for a national day that embraced allegiance to the Crown as well as an emphasis on nationalism. Celebrations in SA occurred on Proclamation Day on 28 December. In WA,  June 1  marked arrival of European settlers. After World War 2 the name Australia Day gained momentum. Australia Day became the country’s national day after strong lobbying by the ANA replacing Foundation Day and Anniversary Day, but it was not until 1994 that full endorsement of Australia Day nationally as a public holiday occurred.

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