Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, wearing the Sovereign Badge of the Order of Australia.
Australia is a part of the Commonwealth nations and is ruled by the monarch of the Commonwealth realm. The current ruler is Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen’s birthday is celebrated as the birthday of the Commonwealth realm monarch. It is a public holiday in Australia and most of the businesses, shops, schools etc. are closed. The day is not celebrated on the actual birthdate of the current monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) which happens to be 21st April. It is celebrated on the second Monday of June in all Australian states except for Western Australia (WA). WA celebrates the Queen’s birthday on a date specified by their governor which best suits their calendar. There is no fixed date of the day in WA, but generally, it falls either on the last Monday of September or the first Monday of October.
HistoryThe Queen’s birthday started to be celebrated in Australia after the arrival of the first fleet under the command of Captain Arthur Philip in the year 1788. King George III was the monarch during that time and the then governor Arthur Philip declared a holiday to mark and celebrate the monarch’s birthday. Till the year 1936, the day was celebrated on the actual birthdate of the monarch of the Commonwealth, which was also the year of death of King George V. the birthday of King George V was on June 3rd, and after his death, the day came to be celebrated sometime around early June. King Edward VII, the successor to George V also celebrated his birthday in June. Since then the two successors George VI and the current monarch- Queen Elizabeth II have their birthdays in December and April respectively. Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne on 6th February 1952 and is the longest ruling monarch since then.
CelebrationsThe Queen’s birthday is a public holiday and it marks a long weekend in Australia. It provides an opportunity for the people to take short vacations and also spend time with their friends and family. There are spectacular fireworks on display during this date in Australia. The Queen’s Honor List is released during this time which includes people honored with the Order of Australia, and other special honors and commendations for gallantry and distinguished service. The Queen’s Birthday Parade is conducted each year at Duntroon by The Royal Military Academy, which also includes the trooping of the Queen’s Color.
Any important day in Australia cannot miss to emphasize their sporting history and the Queen’s Birthday is no different. Since its inception in the year 1897, the Australian Football League (AFL) games have been scheduled on this day. The two teams Collingwood Magpies and Melbourne Demons play the matches since the year 2001, on the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground. In addition to sports, many popular festivals are also held during this time. The Cook Time Discovery Festival and the Come Together Music Festival are two of the most popular winter festivals held during the time. The Queen’s Birthday marks the onset of the snow season in Australia, though skiing is possible only after a couple of weeks.