A special day there down under

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 January, 2011, 12:00am

G'day! Today Australians celebrate their national day. Australia Day is a holiday across the country.

Big party

Most Australians like to celebrate the day by having a barbecue with their families.

After the barbeque, they watch the firework displays which are held all over the country.

The nation also remembers its heroes with flag ceremonies.

Survival Day

The Aborigines were the first people to live in Australia. They moved there from Southeast Asia around 40,000 years ago.

They remember January 26 as Survival Day or Invasion Day. This is because they lost their rights to their homeland on January 26, 1788.

Land down under

The British refer to Australia as 'down under' because the country is in the southern hemisphere.

Australia is the only country that covers a whole continent. It has lots of natural resources, from iron to gold, and very fertile land. But the centre is a giant desert that takes up about one third of the country.


Captain James Cook claimed Australia for Britain in 1770. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Britain sent large numbers of convicted criminals to its Australian colonies to populate the continent. In 1901, the colonies united to form the commonwealth of Australia. Today, Australia is a multicultural democracy with the queen of England as its official head of state.


Australia has no official language. But the majority of people speak English. Australian English has several unique words, such as 'Crikey!' - an exclamation of surprise. Can you speak Australian English? Link up these terms with their meanings:

1 Clobber

2 Chips

3 Lollies

4 Tucker

5 Ankle biter

6 Chook

7 G'day

8 Dunny

9 Sickie

10 Whinge

A Sweets or candy

B Food

C A chicken

D French fries

E To complain

F Hello!

G Clothes

H Take a day off because you're sick

I Toilet

J A child