The Royal Family and Kensington Palace posted their Australia Day greetings on social media on Friday, 26 January 2019.

It is also Australia’s National Day and an official public holiday.

A Short History

Australia Day commemorates the landing of the First Fleet (eleven convict ships), with commander Captain Arthur Phillips raised the British flag and took possession of the land in the name of King George III in 1788 at Port Jackson in Sydney.

Captain Arthur Philip raising the British flag at Sydney Cove, 26 January 1788.

The fleet had arrived at Botany Bay a few days earlier, discovered by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770, but it was deemed unsuitable to establish a penal colony.

Meanwhile, two French ships had arrived at Botany Bay as the rest of the First Fleet were leaving for Port Jackson.

Queen Elizabeth II was the first reigning monarch to visit Australia in 1954.

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, 1954, also known as the ‘wattle painting’, by William Dargie. National Museum of Australia

Sir William Dargie painted the Queen’s portrait, which is also known as the Wattle Portrait, which was one of two portraits.

He painted a third after Queen Elizabeth expressed her delight at the original and requested a personal copy.

Australia celebrated its Bicentenary in 1988 with the Prince and Princess of Wales attending the celebrations on Sydney Harbour.

Most Australians celebrate the nation’s diverse society, with reflections on history, with official community awards and citizenship ceremonies.

The Governor-General announces the Australia Day Honours List and the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards the day before.

Both the Governor-General and the Prime Minister give speeches.

The Royal Family

Kensington Palace

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