Public holidays in Australia are declared on a state and territory basis.
Traditionally, Australians in employment (whether in the public or private sector) have had the right to take a public holiday off work with regular pay. In recent years this tradition has changed somewhat. For example, businesses that normally open on a public holiday may request employees to work on that day. Employers can deny employees a holiday only on reasonable business grounds.
From 2006, WorkChoices entirely eliminated the entitlement to penalty rates in many workplaces; however since the implementation of the Fair Work Act 2009 and the modern awards in 2010, most public-holiday penalty rates have increased dramatically. As of 2018 employees generally receive pay at a penalty rate—usually 2.5 times (known as "double time and a half") the base rate of pay—when they work on a public holiday.
Besides designating days as public holidays, Australian authorities also designate some of these days as restricted trading days.
Public holidays are determined by a combination of:
If a standard public holiday falls on a weekend, a substitute public holiday will sometimes be observed on the first non-weekend day (usually Monday) after the weekend, whether by virtue of the public holiday legislation or by ad hoc proclamation. Workers required to work on a public holiday or substituted public holiday will usually be entitled to remuneration at a holiday penalty rate.
All states have their own public holidays in addition to national public holidays, and in some states public holidays, such as Melbourne Cup Day, are provided on a local basis.
Alcohol licences in several states prevent sale of alcohol on certain public holidays, such as Good Friday.
|1 January||New Year's Day|
|26 January||Australia Day|
|2nd Monday in February||No||No||No||No||No||H Royal Hobart Regatta||No||No|
|1st Monday in March||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Labour Day|
|2nd Monday in March||Canberra Day||No||No||No||March Public Holiday (Adelaide Cup)*||Eight Hours Day||Labour Day||No|
|variable date||Good Friday|
|Easter Saturday||The day after Good Friday||No ||Saturday before Easter Sunday||No |
|Easter Sunday||No||Easter Sunday||No||No||Easter Sunday||No|
|No||No||No||No||No||C Easter Tuesday||No||No|
|25 April||ANZAC Day|
|1st Monday in May||No||No||May Day||Labour Day||No||No||No||No|
|1st Monday after or on 27 May||Reconciliation Day||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|1st Monday in June||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Western Australia Day|
|2nd Monday in June||Queen's Birthday||No||Queen's Birthday||No|
|1st Monday in August||No||No||Picnic Day||No||No||No||No||No|
|variable date||No||No||No||B Royal Queensland Show||No||No||No||No|
|As proclaimed by the Governor of Western Australia (September/October)||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Queen's Birthday|
|Day before the last Saturday in September or first Saturday in October||No||No||No||No||No||No||Friday before the Australian Football League Grand Final||No|
|1st Monday in October||Labour Day||No||Queen's Birthday||Labour Day||No||No||No|
|1st Monday in November||No||No||No||No||No||NH Recreation Day||No||No|
|1st Tuesday of November||No||No||No||No||No||No||Melbourne Cup†||No|
|24 December||No||No**||P Christmas Eve||No||P Christmas Eve||No||No||No|
|25 December||Christmas Day|
|26 December||Boxing Day||Proclamation Day||Boxing Day|
|31 December||No||No||P New Year's Eve||No||P New Year's Eve||No||No||No|
|Total holidays||13||11||11 + 2 part days||11||11 + 2 part days||12||13||10|
When a public holiday falls on a weekend, the following work day may be considered a public holiday depending on the state/territory and the holiday in question.
|New Year's Day||Yes|
|Easter Monday||Not applicable (always on a Monday)||Yes (when another public holiday coincides)|
|Boxing Day/Proclamation Day||Yes||Yes||Yes||Sunday only||Yes|
|New Year's Eve||Not applicable (not a holiday)||Sunday only||Not applicable (not a holiday)|
Note: Holidays that always fall on a particular day of the week are not listed in this table. Prior to 2008, Victorian law only specified substitute holidays for New Year and Boxing Day, and only if they fell on a Sunday. From 2008, Victorian law specifies the substitute holidays in the table above.
Since Easter Monday can occur as late as 26 April (see Date of Easter) it is possible for the Easter Monday holiday to coincide with Anzac Day, as occurred in 2011. State Acts do not give a provision to separate the days when this occurs, so no additional public holiday is given by law. However an extra day is usually proclaimed by the minister, so as to have a steady number of public holidays each year. In the year 2038, Anzac Day will coincide with Easter Sunday.
Recorded celebrations of the 26 January date back to 1808 in Australia, and in 1818, Governor Lachlan Macquarie held the first official celebration of Australia Day. 26 January was chosen because it is the day of the establishment of the first British settlement at Port Jackson by Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788. It was made a public holiday in New South Wales in 1836, and Victoria adopted the day as a public holiday in 1931. The 26 January commenced to be recognised by all states and territories as Australia Day in 1946.
Australia Day has been celebrated as a national public holiday on 26 January since 1994.
Labour Day commemorates the achievements of the Australian labour movement. The celebration of Labour Day has its origins in the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. On 21 April 1856 Stonemasons and building workers on building sites around Melbourne, Australia, stopped work and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House to achieve an eight-hour day. Their direct action protest was a success, and they are noted as the first organised workers in the world to achieve an eight-hour day with no loss of pay, which subsequently inspired the celebration of Labour Day and May Day. In Tasmania the public holiday is called Eight Hours Day and in the Northern Territory it is called May Day.
The Labour Day public holiday varies considerably between the various states and territories. It is the first Monday in October in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and South Australia. In Western Australia, it is the first Monday in March. In both Victoria and Tasmania, it is the second Monday in March. In the Northern Territory, and in Queensland it is the first Monday in May.
The days of Easter vary each year depending on the day determined by the Western Christian calendar. Until 1994 Easter Tuesday was a Bank Holiday in Victoria (it retains this status partially in Tasmania). The day after Good Friday and before Easter Sunday is traditionally known as Holy Saturday. However, the states where that day is a public holiday use different terminology – it is officially gazetted as "Easter Saturday" in the ACT, New South Wales, and the Northern Territory; as "the day after Good Friday" in Queensland and South Australia; and as "Saturday before Easter Sunday" in Victoria.
ANZAC Day is a day on which the country remembers those citizens who fell fighting or who served the country in wars. ANZAC Day is commemorated on 25 April every year. The tradition began to remember the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers who landed at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.
ANZAC Day commemoration features marches by veterans and by solemn "Dawn Services", a tradition started in Albany, Western Australia on 25 April 1923 and now held at war memorials around the country, accompanied by thoughts of those lost at war to the ceremonial sounds of The Last Post on the bugle. The fourth stanza of Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen (known as the "Ode of Remembrance") is often recited.
In all states and territories except Queensland and Western Australia, Queen's Birthday is observed on the second Monday in June. Because Western Australia celebrates Western Australia Day (formerly Foundation Day) on the first Monday in June, the Governor of Western Australia proclaims the day on which the state will observe the Queen's Birthday, based on school terms and the Perth Royal Show. There is no firm rule to determine this date before it is proclaimed, though it is typically the last Monday of September or the first Monday of October: in 2011 the Queen's Birthday holiday in Western Australia was moved from Monday, 3 October 2011 to Friday, 28 October 2011 to coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which was held in Perth. In Queensland, it is celebrated on the 1st Monday in October.
The day has been celebrated since 1788, when Governor Arthur Phillip declared a holiday to mark the birthday of King George III. Until 1936 it was held on the actual birthday of the Monarch, but after the death of King George V, it was decided to keep the date at mid-year.
On that day the "Queen's Birthday honours list" is released naming new members of the Order of Australia and other Australian honours. This occurs on the date observed in the Eastern States, not the date observed in Western Australia.
The Queen's Birthday weekend and Empire Day, 24 May, were long the traditional times for public fireworks displays in Australia. Although they still occur, the tradition has recently been overshadowed by larger New Year's Eve fireworks, as the sale of fireworks to the public was banned by the states in the 1980s, and in the ACT as of 24 August 2009.
Christmas is observed on 25 December each year to commemorate the birth of Jesus. In Australia, it was introduced with British settlement in 1788 as the cultural norms were transferred to the new colonies. Though a Christian religious festival, it does not breach the constitution's separation of Church and State provision, because it is declared under State law, which is not subject to the provision.
Boxing Day is on the day after Christmas, i.e. 26 December each year, except in South Australia. In South Australia, the first otherwise working day after Christmas is a public holiday called Proclamation Day.
Boxing Day is noted for the start of the post-Christmas sale season. The day has also become a significant sporting day. Melbourne hosts the Boxing Day Test match; the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race also starts on this day.
The days are set in the "Holidays Act 1983".Holidays Act 1983 Most public holidays include a second public holiday on a week-day if they happen to fall on Saturday or Sunday. In which case, both days are public holidays.
For public holidays in 2017–2019: see 
Because of the variable days of Easter, Anzac day could fall on an Easter holiday. When ANZAC falls on Saturday, there is no week day public holiday. In such situations it is generally expected that the minister will proclaim extra public holidays on week-days to ensure every year has the same number of public holidays on week-days.
The minister of the state may proclaim and adjustments or additions, such as the date of the Brisbane Ekka Show day holiday. This day has historically always been proclaimed for the second Wednesday in August, except if there are 5 Wednesday's in August, in which case the third Wednesday in August. See 
Public holidays generally follow the national pattern, but special cases are resolved by the State Government and advised by proclamation. Details of future holidays can be found on the NSW Industrial Relations website. Public holidays are regulated by the New South Wales Public Holidays Act 2010 No 115, which supersedes the Banks and Bank Holidays Act 1912 No 43.
The first Monday in August is a Bank Holiday, during which banks and financial institutions are closed.
Public holidays in Victoria are regulated by the Victorian Public Holidays Act 1993.
Victorian employees fall under the Workchoices system either as coming within the Commonwealth constitutional power (called "constitutional corporation employees") or because of Victoria's referral of its legislative powers to the Commonwealth for particular workplace relations matters.
Employee entitlements to public holidays and additional pay depend on whether they are covered by a federal award or agreement.
Employees not covered by a federal award or agreement are entitled to public holidays under the Victorian Public Holidays Act 1993. Also, all permanent employees not covered by a federal award or agreement who would normally work on a public holiday (or a substitute public holiday) are entitled to the holiday without loss of pay. Their employers are not required to provide additional payment if they work on a public holiday, but this does not exclude the possibility of employees and employers negotiating for additional pay.
Employees who are covered by a federal award or agreement are entitled to public holidays as provided by the relevant federal award or agreement and the Public Holidays Act 1993. Many federal awards and agreements also provide for additional penalty rates for work performed on a public holiday.
Restricted shop trading laws apply to Good Friday, Christmas Day and before 1 pm on Anzac Day. On these days only exempted businesses are permitted to open for trading. All public holidays and substitute public holidays are bank holidays.
In August 2015, the day before the AFL Grand Final, as well as Easter Sunday, were gazetted as Public Holidays within Victoria. This date of the holiday is as gazetted by the Victorian Government and cannot be accurately predicted.
The Victorian public holidays are as follows:
|New Year||1 January|
|Australia Day||26 January|
|Labour Day||2nd Monday in March|
|Good Friday||Friday before Easter|
|Holy Saturday||Day before Easter|
|Easter Sunday||Day of Easter|
|Easter Monday||Day after Easter|
|Anzac Day||25 April|
|Queen's Birthday||2nd Monday in June|
|Day before Australian Football League Grand Final||Variable date in late September/early October|
|Melbourne Cup Day||1st Tuesday of November*|
|Boxing Day||26 December|
Melbourne Show Day used to be observed on the Thursday in the last full week of September as a half-day public holiday—later changing to full day—until 1994 (abolished by the state government). Easter Tuesday was observed as a Bank Holiday in Victoria until 1994 (also abolished by the state government).
Penalty rates are the rates of pay which an employee is paid higher than their standard base rate for working at times or on days, such as public holidays, which are outside the normal working week. They were introduced in 1947 for workers working on the Sabbath, as most workers were Christian, while today, these rates of pay are set by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
The Adelaide Cup is a South Australian Jockey Club Group 2 Thoroughbred horse race handicap race for three-year-old and older, run over 3,200 metres at Morphettville Racecourse in Adelaide, Australia on the second Monday in March. Total prize money for the race is A$400,000.Australia Day
Australia Day is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip. In present-day Australia, celebrations reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation and are marked by community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new members of the Australian community.The meaning and significance of Australia Day has evolved and been contested over time, and not all states have celebrated the same date as their date of historical significance. Unofficially, or historically, the date has also been variously named "Anniversary Day", "Foundation Day" and "ANA Day". It has also been known as "Invasion Day" and "National Day of Mourning". The date of 26 January 1788 marked the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia (then known as New Holland). Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on 26 January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. On New Year's Day 1901, the British colonies of Australia formed a federation, marking the birth of modern Australia. A national day of unity and celebration was looked for. It was not until 1935 that all Australian states and territories adopted use of the term "Australia Day" to mark the date, and not until 1994 that the date was consistently marked by a public holiday on that day by all states and territories.In contemporary Australia, the holiday is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, announcement of the Australia Day Honours list and addresses from the Governor-General and the Prime Minister. It is an official public holiday in every state and territory. With community festivals, concerts and citizenship ceremonies, the day is celebrated in large and small communities and cities around the nation. Australia Day has become the biggest annual civic event in Australia.Some Indigenous Australian events are now included. However, since at least 1938, the date of Australia Day has also been marked by Indigenous Australians, and those sympathetic to their cause, mourning what they see as the invasion of their land by Europeans and protesting its celebration as a national holiday. These groups sometimes refer to 26 January as Invasion Day, Survival Day, or Day of Mourning and advocate that the date should be changed, or that the holiday should be abolished entirely.Boxing Day
Boxing Day is a secular holiday celebrated the day after Christmas Day. It originated in the United Kingdom and is celebrated in a number of countries that previously formed part of the British Empire. Boxing Day is on 26 December, although the attached bank holiday or public holiday may take place either on that day or two days later.
In some European countries, such as Romania, Hungary, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia, 26 December is celebrated as a Second Christmas Day.Canberra Day
Canberra Day is a public holiday held annually on the second Monday in March in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) to celebrate the official naming of Canberra. Canberra was named at a ceremony on 12 March 1913 by Lady Denman, the wife of the then Governor-General Lord Denman.
On 3 March 2007, the ACT Minister Andrew Barr (now Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory) introduced a bill to change the day of Canberra Day to the second Monday in March so it falls closer more often to the actual birthday of Canberra. Previously it had been held on the third Monday in March. In 2012 Canberra Day fell on 12 March. In 2013 it fell on 11 March, for the Centenary of Canberra.
Annual events associated with Canberra Day include the Canberra Festival, which runs from 11-20 March 2011, the Chief Minister's Canberra Day Awards Ceremony, and the Canberra Festival Balloon Spectacular.Easter Monday
Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is a holiday in some countries. Easter Monday in the Western Christian liturgical calendar is the second day of Eastertide and analogously in the Byzantine Rite is the second day of Bright Week.Eight-hour day
The eight-hour day movement or 40-hour week movement, also known as the short-time movement, was a social movement to regulate the length of a working day, preventing excesses and abuses. It had its origins in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, where industrial production in large factories transformed working life. The use of child labour was common. The working day could range from 10 to 16 hours, and the work week was typically six days a week. Robert Owen had raised the demand for a ten-hour day in 1810, and instituted it in his socialist enterprise at New Lanark. By 1817 he had formulated the goal of the eight-hour day and coined the slogan: "Eight hours' labour, Eight hours' recreation, Eight hours' rest". Women and children in England were granted the ten-hour day in 1847. French workers won the 12-hour day after the February Revolution of 1848. A shorter working day and improved working conditions were part of the general protests and agitation for Chartist reforms and the early organisation of trade unions.
The International Workingmen's Association took up the demand for an eight-hour day at its Congress in Geneva in 1866, declaring "The legal limitation of the working day is a preliminary condition without which all further attempts at improvements and emancipation of the working class must prove abortive", and "The Congress proposes eight hours as the legal limit of the working day."
Karl Marx saw it as of vital importance to the workers' health, writing in Das Kapital (1867): "By extending the working day, therefore, capitalist production...not only produces a deterioration of human labour power by robbing it of its normal moral and physical conditions of development and activity, but also produces the premature exhaustion and death of this labour power itself."Although there were initial successes in achieving an eight-hour day in New Zealand and by the Australian labour movement for skilled workers in the 1840s and 1850s, most employed people had to wait to the early and mid twentieth century for the condition to be widely achieved through the industrialised world through legislative action. The first country to adopt eight-hour working day nationwide was Uruguay. The eight-hour day was introduced on November 17, 1915, in the government of José Batlle y Ordóñez.
The first international treaty to mention it was the Treaty of Versailles in the annex of its thirteen part establishing the International Labour Office, now the International Labour Organization.The eight-hour day was the first topic discussed by the International Labour Organization which resulted in the Hours of Work (Industry) Convention, 1919 ratified by 52 countries as of 2016.
The eight-hour day movement forms part of the early history for the celebration of Labour Day, and May Day in many nations and cultures.Geelong Cup
The Geelong Cup is a Geelong Racing Club Group 3 Thoroughbred horse race, held under handicap conditions for over a distance of 2400 metres at the Geelong Racecourse, Geelong, Victoria, Australia on a Wednesday in late October The prize money for the race is A$300,000, and the race is considered one of the most reliable guides to the result of the Melbourne Cup.Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday (Latin: Sabbatum Sanctum), the Saturday of Holy Week, also known as Holy and Great Saturday, the Great Sabbath, Black Saturday, Joyous Saturday, Hallelujah Saturday (in Portugal) or Easter Eve, and called "Joyous Saturday" or "the Saturday of Light" among Coptic Christians, is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter. It commemorates the day that Jesus' body lay in the tomb and the Harrowing of Hell.New Year's Day
New Year's Day, also simply called New Year or New Year's, is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar.
In pre-Christian Rome under the Julian calendar, the day was dedicated to Janus, god of gateways and beginnings, for whom January is also named. As a date in the Gregorian calendar of Christendom, New Year's Day liturgically marked the Feast of the Naming and Circumcision of Jesus, which is still observed as such in the Anglican Church and Lutheran Church.
In present day, with most countries now using the Gregorian calendar as their de facto calendar, New Year's Day is probably the most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts in each time zone. Other global New Year's Day traditions include making New Year's resolutions and calling one's friends and family.Picnic Day (Australian holiday)
Picnic Day is a public holiday in the Northern Territory of Australia which takes place every year on the first Monday of August.Proclamation Day
Proclamation Day is the name of official or unofficial holidays or other anniversaries which commemorate or mark an important proclamation. In some cases it may be the day of, or the anniversary of, the proclamation of a monarch's accession to the throne. A proclamation day may also celebrate the independence of a country, the end of a war, or the ratification of an important treaty.Public holidays in Christmas Island
This is a list of public holidays in Christmas Island.Public holidays in Norfolk Island
This is a list of public holidays in Norfolk IslandPublic holidays in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands
This is a list of public holidays in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.Queen's Official Birthday
The Queen's Official Birthday, or the King's Official Birthday, is the selected day in some Commonwealth realms on which the birthday of the monarch is officially celebrated in those countries. It does not necessarily correspond to the date of the monarch's actual birth.
The Sovereign's birthday was first officially marked in the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1748, for King George II. Since then, the date of the king or queen's birthday has been determined throughout the British Empire, and later the Commonwealth of Nations, either by Royal Proclamations issued by the Sovereign or Governor, or by statute laws passed by the local parliament. The date of the celebration today varies as adopted by each country and is generally set around the end of May or start of June, to coincide with a higher probability of fine weather in the Northern Hemisphere for outdoor ceremonies. In some cases, it is an official public holiday, sometimes aligning with the celebration of other events. Most Commonwealth realms release a Queen's Birthday Honours list at this time.Reconciliation Day
Reconciliation Day is a public holiday in the Australian Capital Territory marking the start of National Reconciliation Week. It is held on the first Monday after or on 27 May, the anniversary of the 1967 referendum. It was held for the first time on 28 May 2018.Recreation Day holiday
Recreation Day is a public holiday in northern Tasmania. It is held on the first Monday in November, and was instituted to offset Regatta Day in southern Tasmania. It is observed in all parts of Tasmania north of (but not including) Oatlands and Swansea. This area includes Strathgordon, Tarraleah and the West Coast.Royal Hobart Show
The Royal Hobart Show is an annual event held in October at the Royal Showgrounds in Glenorchy, Tasmania, Australia. The event focuses on the rural exploits of Tasmanians with events such as livestock judging and wood chopping. Also popular at the event are show bags and rides.The show runs for four days, Wednesday through to Saturday, ending on the fourth Saturday in October. The Thursday is a public holiday in the south of the Tasmania, known as Hobart Show Day. The Friday night traditionally has fireworks. The Saturday is known as family day and usually involves many discounts and savings on showbags and rides from the other days.
It is the largest of the Royal Shows held in cities and towns around the state by the Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania.
In many ways it can be considered similar (although smaller) to the Sydney Royal Easter Show.Western Australia Day
Western Australia Day (formerly known as Foundation Day) is a public holiday in Western Australia, celebrated on the first Monday in June each year to commemorate the founding of the Swan River Colony in 1829. Because of the celebration of Western Australia Day, WA does not celebrate the Queen's Birthday Holiday in June, as do the other Australian states; it is held in September or October instead.
Public holidays in Oceania
of New Zealand
and other territories