The Controversy Surrounding ‘Australia Day’


The Controversy Surrounding ‘Australia Day’

Last Tuesday marked the 233rd anniversary of British settlement on the Australian continent. On 26th January 1788, Captain Arthur Smith sailed a fleet of 11 British ships into what is now called Port Jackson, and established a penal farming colony there called New South Wales.

The 26th of January eventually became known as Australia Day, which became an official public holiday in 1818. Australia Day is now celebrated nationwide: schools, post offices, and most businesses close their doors, and the majority of Australians get a day off work. There are a variety of festive events across the country; in Sydney, there is a boat race, and in Adelaide, there is a parade and a cricket match. Many Australian citizenship ceremonies also take place on this date each year.

However, such celebrations are extremely controversial, because Australia Day marks the date when the continent’s indigenous people began being gradually dispossessed of their land, and became victim to violent white colonization. Many Australian aboriginals therefore refer to the 26th of January as ‘Invasion Day’ or ‘Survival Day’, and organise protest rallies, ceremonies, and other events that take place alongside the traditional Australia Day celebrations. For example, there is a vigil held annually at the Barangaroo Reserve, where a fire is lit from dusk on the 25th until dawn on the 26th, and people can come and reflect on the significance of this time for First Nations people.

Australia Day was described as ‘one of the most polarising dates in the Australian calendar’ in an article by ABC. In recognition of the controversy of the holiday and of the hardships endured by Australia’s indigenous peoples, the aborginal flag has been flown alongside the Australian flag at Sydney harbour on Australia Day since 2013.

Due to the coronavirus, most Australia Day/ Invasion Day events will now be taking place online – but this means people in Japan can check them out too, in order to learn about the history and politics of Australia.


・233rd anniversary・・233年目の記念日
・penal colony・・流刑地
・indigenous people・・先住民
・Invasion Day・・侵略の日(1月26日火曜日)
・protest rallies・・抗議集会
・polarising dates・・偏った日



やがて1月26日はオーストラリア・デー(Australia Day)として知られるようになり、1818年に公式の祝日となりました。現在では、オーストラリア・デーは全国的に祝われるようになり、学校や郵便局、ほとんどの企業が休業し、大多数のオーストラリア人は仕事を休む日となっています。シドニーではボートレース、アデレードではパレードやクリケットの試合が行われます。また、毎年この日には、多くのオーストラリア人の市民権を得るための式典が行われます。

しかし、オーストラリア・デーは、オーストラリア大陸の先住民が徐々に土地を奪われ始め、白人による暴力的な植民地化の犠牲者となった日でもあるため、このような祝賀行事は非常に議論の的となっています。そのため、オーストラリアの原住民の多くは、1月26日を「侵略の日」または「生存の日」と呼び、伝統的なオーストラリア・デー(Australia Day)のお祝いと並行して、抗議集会や式典、その他のイベントを開催しています。例えば、バランガルー保護区では毎年、25日の夕暮れから26日の夜明けまで火を灯し、ファースト・ネーションズの人々にとってのこの時期の意義を振り返ることができるイベントが開催されています。




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