One of the largest celebrations held throughout the country year after year is Australia Day. Celebrated on January 26th, Australia day is a public holiday that honours the arrival of the first British Fleet on Australian soil.
Visitors to Melbourne often join in the festivities to commemorate the day, with many community events held around the nation each year including barbecues, ceremonies, parades, live entertainment and fireworks.
Australia Day Melbourne 2017 – Parade, Ceremony & Public Holiday
Australia Day recognises that on 26th January 1788, the first British fleet arrived at Port Jackson in Australia. The event is celebrated to reflect the rich history, diverse society and the unique heritage of Australia. In Melbourne, Australia Day is celebrated by all residents and visitors. The Australian of the Year awards are also held on this day where people who have made outstanding contributions to Australia are recognised on this special day.
The Australia Day celebrations in Melbourne feature formal processions as well as family friendly entertainment. There are a number of scheduled events for Melbourne’s celebration of Australia Day including:
The Official Flag Raising Ceremony: 10.30am-11am, Swanston Street. Gather at the front of Melbourne’s Town Hall for the ceremony which marks the beginning of the Australia Day program.
The Australia Day Parade: 11am-12pm, St. Kilda Road and Swanston Street. Commencing straight after the flag raising ceremony, the parade brings more than 100 community and cultural groups together to celebrate Australia Day.
RACV Australia Day Festival in Kings Domain Gardens: 11am-4pm, Kings Domain Gardens. There are numerous free activities and entertainment including performances by children’s entertainers and a variety of food stalls and classic car displays.
Government House Open Day: 9.30am-4.30pm, Government House Drive. Enjoy a self-guided tours of the State Apartments (from 10 am – 3 pm); view the historic State Coach in the stables; take part in children’s activities throughout the 11 hectares of gardens. Free entry.
Flag Lowering Ceremony: 4.15pm – 5.15pm, Shrine of Remembrance, St. Kilda Road. The Ceremony will include the trooping by the Australian Navy Band, and the 401 Air Cadet Squadron from HMAS Cerberus, a wreath laying, the Reading of the Ode to the Fallen, and the Lowering of the Flag.
Australia Day at Docklands: 6pm-10.30pm, NewQuay Piazza Docklands. The main stage will boast a stellar line up of great local talent, food trucks, a design festival and will conclude with fireworks!
If you are travelling into the city, public transport is the most convenient as there are a number of road closures including parts of St. Kilda Road, Flinders Street and Swanston Street. Outside of these community events, the common way to enjoy Australia Day is simply with a BBQ at home or at a local park.
Programs from past years events are attached below. These will be updated when the 2017 celebrations are announced.