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Australia Day Most Significant Day on National Calendar - Study

17 January 2012 at 10:35 am
Staff Reporter
Australians consider Australia Day, on 26 January, as the nation's most important yearly event, according to research commissioned by the National Australia Day Council.

Staff Reporter | 17 January 2012 at 10:35 am


Australia Day Most Significant Day on National Calendar - Study
17 January 2012 at 10:35 am
Flickr image AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Nir Sinay

Australians consider Australia Day, on 26 January, as the nation's most important yearly event, according to research commissioned by the National Australia Day Council.

A survey conducted in October 2011 found 93% of Australians named Australia Day as a significant day on the national calendar, more so than any other day.

As a result, 87% of Australians plan to celebrate Australia Day in some way on 26 January and more than five million Australians will attend organised public events around the country. This represents an increase from the 77% who planned to celebrate in 2010.

National Australia Day Council CEO Warren Pearson said the research showed celebrating Australia Day helped fulfil a need for belonging and being part of a national community.

"The research found 80% of Australians believe Australia Day events are important to demonstrate pride in their country," Pearson said.

"Furthermore, 77% think Australia Day events help to bring people together and make us feel more united while 74% said Australia Day makes them proud to be Australian.

"Whether it be through attending major events, taking part in a local community celebration or simply getting your friends and family together, Australia Day plays a significant role in our sense of belonging, unity and identity."

The study found that in terms of what makes Australia a great nation and what we should celebrate on Australia Day, Australians mentioned the following characteristics and attitudes:

  • Freedom (47%)
  • Unique landscape & environment (34%)
  • Cultural diversity (33%)
  • Acceptance of others (32%)
  • Willingness to help others (26%)
  • Independence (25%)
  • Democracy (23%)

The majority of people will celebrate Australia Day in their own suburb or metropolitan area (50%) or in their own town/region (24%).

"People are also increasingly conscious of the role Australia Day can play in uniting many different Australians, with 72% believing it's important to recognise Indigenous people and culture as part of the day and 69% saying it's important to recognise the contribution of ethnic communities,” said Pearson.

The study also looked at how Australians prefer to celebrate Australia Day around the nation:

  • In the ACT, children's events, concerts, fireworks and activities which showcased Australian and Indigenous culture were popular;
  • NSW residents also liked Australian and Indigenous culture, but street and food displays were popular along with concerts and music events;
  • South Australians, Victorians and Tasmanians were above average in their preference for sporting events;
  • Western Australians love their fireworks more than most Australians, but breakfast events and street/food events are also liked;
  • Northern Territorians prefer breakfast and morning events;
  • Queenslanders, Victorians and Tasmanians all like the idea of holding more Australia Day breakfast events.

The research was commissioned by National Australia Day Council and conducted by Horizon Research in October and November 2011. The survey was conducted nationally online among over 2000 Australian participants aged 18 years and over.

The AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR 2012 – Finalists are:

  • New South Wales – Father Chris Riley AM
  • Victoria – Geoffrey Rush
  • Queensland – Bruce and Denise Morcombe
  • Western Australia – Professor Donna Cross
  • South Australia – Robyn Layton QC
  • Tasmania – Robert Pennicott
  • Australian Capital Territory – Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC AFC (Ret’d)
  • Northern Territory – Dr John Boffa

The announcement of the Australian of the Year Awards 2012 will be held on the lawns outside
Parliament House, Canberra from 6pm on Wednesday 25 January 2012.

Visit for more information on Australia Day events around Australia. 

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