A look back at Australia Day celebrations
  • Tuesday 27 January 2015

With thousands celebrating Australia Day yesterday take a step back in time to discover how our early settlers celebrated this special day.

The celebrations included the traditional flying of flags, processions and a variety of sporting carnivals and entertainment at different localities throughout the region.

A more serious note in the Australia Day celebrations - and one that reminds readers to consider the history and significance of the occasion - is expressed in the following article titled Founding of Australia – 147th Anniversary, which was published in the Nambour Chronicle on February 1, 1935.

Saturday was the 147th Anniversary of the actual founding of Australia as a British possession, for, on January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip, Australia’s first Governor, landed at Port Jackson and hoisted the British flag – the Union Jack as we now know it did not come into being until 1901 – in the presence of his officials, the military whom he had brought out with him, and a number of convicts, who also formed part of the company of the fleet.

Australia Day, to give its official name since the founding of the Commonwealth or Anniversary Day as it is called in New South Wales, or Foundation Day as it still is frequently referred to, is always observed in New South Wales on the actual day. In all of the other States the holiday was observed on Monday.

As is the case today, many people took advantage of the ‘holiday’ to visit scenic spots or relax on the coastal beaches.

On January 31, 1936 The Nambour Chronicle featured an article entitled Caloundra Popular – Australia Day Visitors and reported favourably about the fine weather and good road which made Caloundra a very popular place.

The influx of visitors was even greater than Christmas with all camping areas fully occupied and fishing boats and launches hired.

The Metropolitan Caloundra Life Savers were present and gave a magnificent display on the surfing beach.

An added attraction on the beach was pony rides for children, something you won’t see today.

Various Australia Day events were advertised in the local papers including the thrilling speedway event at the Nambour Showgrounds held on January 26, 1948 with motor cycle, car and push bike racing followed by a monster dance at night on the world-class floor and seven piece band in the Show Pavilion – with an admission price of 11 pence.

In January 1960 at Maroochy Airport, Mudjimba, the Australia Day weekend celebrations featured an aerial pageant and parachute exhibition with joy flights, an evening ‘barbeque and sacred concert’, as well as beach races, sand garden competition, Surf Girl Quest, fishing and swimming.

Visit council’s library website to view the vast array of heritage resources.