Australia Day

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Text on Button AUSTRALIA DAY 1918
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Illustration of two fairies playing among large green leaves on a yellow background.  Brown text and a brown border.

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Celebrations of when the British proclaimed sovereignty over the island of Australia date back to the early 1800s. The term “Australia Day” (a.k. a. Anniversary Day and Founder’s Day) was not accepted by all Australian states and territories until 1935. The date on which festivities would take place was not made consistent until 1935 when 26 January was officially designated as the day the nation would celebrate. Adelaide, South Australia was one of the last capital cities to adopt Australia Day. During World War I, the anniversary was celebrated in July so that funds could be raised for the war. The Adelaide newspaper, The Advertiser, recorded the successful celebration of Australia Day in July 1918. The event was partly a fundraising event for the South Australian Soldiers’ Insurance Fund to provide funds to widows and dependent mothers of those who were lost in the Great War. Activities included an exhibition carnival, band concerts, sports and a buffet. Buttons were one of the many souvenirs available for purchase. Most of these buttons were sold by the “Button Sellers” who were primarily girls and women who stood at stalls all throughout the day to sell their wares.


“Australia Day: A Wonderful Celebration” The Advertiser, Adelaide, South Australia: 27 Jul 1918 p7-8. Retrieved on 16 Jul 2017.

Kwan, Elizabeth Dr. “Celebrating Australia: A History of Australia Day”. (2007) National Australia Day Council. Retrieved on 16 July 2017

Catalog ID EV0360