Back in England, the jails were overflowing with prisoners. Despite the fact that Captain Cook had made contact with the Aborigines, the British declared that New South Wales was uninhabited [no one lived there] and sent 11 ships full of prisoners there to start a colony. These ships are now known as the First Fleet. The First Fleet arrived in Sydney on January 26th, 1788 – 221 years ago today!
January 26th is now celebrated as Australia Day, a national public holiday that is marked by special events around the country. Many towns & cities hold special ceremonies & fireworks displays. The Prime Minister of Australia gives a special address to the nation [a speech that is broadcast on TV & radio stations], and special awards are presented to Australians who have done good things. Also on this day, there is usually a special cricket match, as well as some big outdoor music festivals.
The Australian Flag – The Union Jack [British Flag] represents Australia's connection to Britain; the 7-pointed star, the 7 states of Australia; and the other stars, the Southern Cross [ a group of stars you can usually see from the southern half of the Earth].
Not everyone thinks that Australia Day should be a celebration! Aborigines hold “Invasion Day” and “Survival Day” events, protesting the fact that their country was invaded [taken over by force] by the British and celebrating that their people & culture somehow survived.