National Holidays and Descriptions

Some of the best glimpses into Australian history and culture can be seen on public holidays, especially on Australia-specific Australia Day. During holiday periods, accommodation can be hard to come by, train and bus timetables may be altered and banks are closed. Please plan accordingly. Unlike the U.S. or England, Australia doesn�t always celebrate holidays nation-wide. Holidays that are celebrated by a majority of the country are listed below, by dated. States and territories that choose not to observe certain holidays are listed. Note that these are only the 2004 dates; the 2005 schedule is different.

Australia Day, January 26, 2004: The Australian equivalent to Independence Day in the U.S. Australians celebrate the 1788 British settlement by drinking lots of beer and taking off a day of work and school.

Good Friday
, April 9, 2004: Following the Christian calendar, the Friday before Easter is a public holiday.

Easter Monday, April 12, 2004: Following the Christian calendar, the Monday after Easter is a public holiday.

ANZAC Day, April 25, 2004 (In Victoria and Tasmania) and April 26, 2004 (In the rest of the country): A day that honors Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers that were killed in battle, especially those who lost their lies at Gallipoli in World War I. ANZAC soldiers landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey on April 25th, 1915. More than 10,00 ANZAC troops were killed during the subsequent mission.




Queen’s Birthday, June 14, 2004 (Except Western Australia): The actual birthday of the Queen is April 21. When King Edward VII decided to celebrate his birthday in the summer instead of on the actual date in November, official birthdays became separated from actual birthdays. By celebrating the holiday in June, most Australians get a break before winter. Western Australia celebrates the holiday at the end of September.

Christmas Day, December 25, 2004: Following the Christian calendar, the day of Jesus� birth is a public holiday.

Boxing Day, December 26, 2004 (Except South Australia): Observed only in countries part of the British Commonwealth, the holiday�s origins trace back to when gifts were given to those less fortunate. Servants and other household help would receive items from their employers on this day. Today, it is an extension of the Christmas Day festivities: visiting family and eating lots of food.

Labour Day, date varies by state/territory. Originally called Eight Hours Day, the celebration recognizes the union�s achievement of shortening the work day. The date varies because the change occurred at different times in different states.