The following is blatant plagiarism from Wikipedia. While I know most of this info from studying three Unit History in High school. I'm too lazy to type it out and well Wikipedia made it sound 'nice' so I just mixed it up a little, (I grabbed some bits, copied and pasted them, and then got other bits and mixed it throughout! (So kinda blatant plagiarism with a slice of 'Sal' thrown in.) You can skip the italics bit if you don't want to read about the history of Australia Day.
On 13 May 1787, a fleet of 11 ships, which came to be known as the First Fleet, was sent by the British Admiralty from England to Australia. Under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, the fleet sought to establish a penal colony at Botany Bay on the coast of New South Wales, which had been explored and claimed by Captain James Cook in 1770. The settlement was seen as necessary because of the loss of the colonies in North America. The Fleet arrived between 18 and 20 January 1788, but it was immediately apparent that Botany Bay was unsuitable.
On 21 January, Philip and a few officers travelled to Port Jackson, 12 kilometres to the north, to see if it would be a better location for a settlement. They stayed there till 23 January; Philip named the site of their landing Sydney Cove
They returned to Botany Bay on the evening of 23 January, when Philip gave orders to move the fleet to Sydney Cove the next morning, 24 January. That day, there was a huge gale blowing, making it impossible to leave Botany Bay, so they decided to wait till the next day, 25 January. However, during 24 January, they spotted the ships Astrolabe and Boussole, flying the French flag, at the entrance to Botany Bay; they were having as much trouble getting into the bay as the First Fleet was having getting out.
On 25 January, the gale was still blowing; the fleet tried to leave Botany Bay, but only the HMS Supply made it out, carrying Arthur Philip, Philip Gidley King, some marines and about 40 convicts; they anchored in Sydney Cove in the afternoon.
On 26 January, early in the morning, Philip along with a few dozen marines, officers and oarsmen, rowed ashore and took possession of the land in the name of King George III. The remainder of the ship's company and the convicts watched from on-board the Supply.
Australia Day (previously known as Anniversary Day and Foundation Day), is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, the day commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788, the hoisting of the British flag there, and the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia.
Australia Day is an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia, and is marked by the Order of Australia and Australian of the Year awards, along with an address from the Prime Minister.
Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on 26 January date back to 1808, with Governor Lachlan Macquarie having held the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales in 1818. In 2004, an estimated 7.5 million people attended Australia Day celebrations and functions across the country.
So now that you're all historied (is that a word?) up.... Leads me into the national holiday. When I was a kid, Australia day meant the end was coming to the school holidays. It wasn't a public holiday to school kids in NSW especially. It meant that school would resume either the following week, or the next day!
As a working adult, it meant a day off, which was grabbed with both hands, and held onto tightly, if you planned ahead you could swing an RDO on the day either side of the public holiday, depending on what day it fell onto so could manage a four day long weekend.
I'm once again a student, and now the day off is well just another blur into the three months I get off over summer while Uni is not on. I didn't do anything special today (We did the family BBQ thin at the weekend). If anything the afternoon was quiet as the influx of relatives left! (Woohoo) I'm heading home myself tomorrow. So the 'my own company' will seem a little foreign after a week of others around.
If you're an Australian I hope you had a nice day off. If you're not Australian. Rejoice in the fact that your opposition leader isn't a fuck-wit who believes all women should be virgins until their married (Tony lives in the twilight zone. I've got a $10 bet non of his daughters are virgins!) Long story - Google 'Australian's opposition leader' I'm sure you'll get a news report on anti-abortion Tony!
That's all I've got.