January 26 - Australia Day
It was on this day in 1788 that 11 British ships commanded by Governor Arthur Phillip, and carrying convicts, arrived on the banks of Port Jackson in New South Wales. Phillip also raised the Union Jack, and the beginnings of what is now modern-day Australia came to be.
Initially, Australia was designed as a penal colony, as an agricultural working camp for British convicts.
It was rough going early on, but the colony eventually managed to survive.
In 1818, January 26 was honored as the anniversary of the founding of Australia. Once Australia gained independence, this date was recognized as "Australia Day", a national holiday honoring the arrival of Phillip and the British.
Understandably, this holiday is recognized in different ways, particularly along the color lines. While whites in Australia generally celebrate in a similar manner as Americans celebrate Independence Day and the French Celebrate Bastille Day, Aborigines generally recognize it as a day of mourning, not all that dissimilar to native Americans regarding Thanksgiving. For them, the day marks the beginning of the end of their traditional way of life, as the British began the process of spreading out across the continent.