The Queen’s Birthday Holiday

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Why are we having the Queen’s Birthday Holiday on Monday 13th June, when Queen Elizabeth II was born on 21st of April 1926? Even more confusingly, why is it that the ACT, NSW, NT, SA, TAS and Victoria celebrate the Queen’s Birthday Holiday on the second Monday of June each year, but in WA & QLD, the holiday is celebrated in October?

It turns out that the holiday has origins long before Queen Elizabeth II. The holiday tradition started in 1788 when Arthur Phillip, the Governor of NSW at the time, established the holiday to celebrate the birthday of King George III, the first European king of Australia.

The birthday was always celebrated on the actual date of the monarch’s birthday until 1936, the year of the death of King George V, Elizabeth’s grandfather. His birthday was 3rd June and the date has since stayed around early June.

WA chooses to forgo the holiday in June since the previous Monday is already set aside for Foundation Day. In Queensland, the Labor Bligh government changed the Queen’s Birthday in 2012 from the traditional June date to the first weekend of October to better spread out the public holidays in the second half of the year.

Honour’s Lists are proclaimed twice a year in Australia. The Australia Day list is on 26 January. The Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List is proclaimed on the June date each year.

The Honour’s List includes people who have received the Order of Australia and other special honours including the Conspicuous Service Cross, Conspicuous Service Medal, the Public Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Medal for Gallantry and, amongst others, commendations for Gallantry and Distinguished Service.

You can access the list to see who has been awarded by going to the Governor General’s website https://www.gg.gov.au/australian-honours-and-awards.

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