With so many different nationalities in school we are very lucky to be able to celebrate a huge variety of national days. Australia Day is the first and falls on 26th January each year.
What is Australia Day?
The official national day of Australia is celebrated on 26th January.
On 13th May 1787 the first fleet of European settlers left Portsmouth, England comprising:
- 2 Royal Navy vessels
- 3 store ships
- 6 convict transports
Captain Arthur Phillip steered 1400 people across 24,000Km over 250 days, arriving in Sydney Cove on 26th January 1788.
This day marked the proclamation of British Sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia.
On 1st January 1901 the British Colonies of Australia formed a federation, marking the birth of modern Australia.
Today the 26th January is celebrated by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards, announcement of the Australia Day Honours list and addresses by the governor general and the prime minister. Other festivities include BBQ’s, parades, contests, performances and fireworks.
The Australian flag is made up of 3 elements on a blue background:
- Union Jack - this depicts the history of the British settlement
- Commonwealth Star - this 7 pointed star represents the unity of the 6 states and territories of the Commonwealth of Australia
- Southern Cross - this is a constellation of 5 stars that can only be seen from the southern hemisphere, a reminder of the geography of Australia.
Australia is famous for a number of great inventions!
- BLACK BOX FLIGHT RECORDER
Invented by Dr David Warren, who lost his own Father in an aircraft tragedy 1934.The device is virtually indestructible and records the final moments of a crashed plane’s flight.
- SPRAY ON SKIN
In 1999, Prof Fiona Wood patented her spray-on skin technique. Taking a small patch of a victim's healthy skin, new skin cells are grown in a laboratory. The new skin cells are then sprayed onto the victims skin, reducing recovery time and scarring. This technique played a huge part in treating burn victims from the 2002 Bali bombings.
- ELECTRONIC PACEMAKER
Dr Mark Lidwill and physicist Edgar Booth developed the first artificial pacemaker in the 1920’s. Now more than 3 million people worldwide rely upon pacemakers to keep their hearts beating properly.
- MEDICAL APPLICATION OF PENICILLIN
In 1939, Australian scientist Howard Florey purified penicillin from a special strain of mould. He demonstrated penicillin’s ability to fight bacterial infection. The antibiotic was mass produced and used to aid victims of World War II. Penicillin has been used around the world saving many lives through the combating of infection by common bacteria.
Vegemite was developed by Cyril Callister in 1923, after British imports of yeast extract were disrupted by World War I. Ironically, this became a key addition to soldiers' backpacks in World War II, as a great source of vitamin B1