Sunday, June 9, 2024



The second Monday in June is a public holiday in most Australian States, including New South Wales.

For most of us it is JAH – Just Another Holiday – with double demerit points for traffic offences.

However, here is some information as to why the day is a day off work,


Most Commonwealth realms also observe the occasion on which the birthday of the monarch is officially celebrated.

The following states and territories will have a public holiday on the second Monday in June:
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Northern Territory
South Australia

It won't be a public holiday for:
Western Australia
For these states, the day is pushed back to accommodate a better spread of public holidays throughout the year. Most of WA will mark the King's Birthday with a public holiday on September 23, but some regional areas in the state might hold it on a different date. Queensland's public holiday for the King's Birthday isn't until October 7.

The holiday does not necessarily correspond to the date of the monarch's actual birth. Charles Arthur Philip George Mountbatten-Windsor, aka King Charles 111, was born on 14 November 1948 and will therefore turn 76 on November 14.

The day has been celebrated in Australia since 1788, when Governor Arthur Phillip declared a holiday to mark the birthday of the king of Great Britain. Until 1936, it was held on the actual birthday of the monarch, but, after King George V died, it was decided to keep the date on the second Monday in June. 

Whilst George V's successor, Edward VIII, also celebrated his birthday in June, the three sovereigns since have not: George VI's birthday was in December, very close to public holidays for Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year’s; Elizabeth II's birthday fell shortly after holidays for Good Friday and Easter and very close to ANZAC Day, while Charles III's birthday is in November, shortly after Remembrance Day.

The King's Birthday Honours List, in which new members of the Order of Australia and other Australian honours are named, is released on the King's Birthday weekend each June.

The date most of the country observes is chosen to align with the UK's annual celebration on the second weekend of June each year. The UK has marked the "official" birthday of the British monarchs in June for more than 260 years with an annual parade called Trooping the Colour.

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 viceroy, or by statute laws passed by the local parliament.

A bread ticket from the 1859 Toronto celebrations entitling the bearer to a loaf of bread in celebration of the birthday of Queen Victoria

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 Australia the governor-general gives out honours and awards on the King's Birthday weekend, which isn't as weather-dependant as the UK’s celebration, which includes the Trooping of the Colour in front of Buckingham Palace.

Trooping of the Colour

His Maj in last year’s Trooping of the Colour,  that's not a fox hat he is weariing, by the way. This year His Maj will do it by carriage

No one does spectacle, pomp and ceremony like the Brits.

So most states and territories just align the holiday with the UK.

In most cases, it is an official public holiday, sometimes aligning with the celebration of other events. Most Commonwealth realms release a Birthday Honours list at this time.

The King's Birthday weekend and Empire Day (24 May) were the traditional times for public fireworks displays in Australia. The sale of fireworks to the public was banned in various states through the 1980s and by the Australian Capital Territory on 24 August 2009. Only Tasmania and the Northern Territory allow the sale of fireworks to the public.

Some childhood memories in that regard:
- Cracker Night, aka Bonfire Night
- Setting off fireworks and crackers, some as big as sticks of dynamite (“tuppeny bungers”)
- Building the bonfire
- Barbeque

Some Cracker Night pics:

I remember all the above fireworks and their names - Penny bungers, Tuppency bungers, Happy Jacks, Tom Thumbs, throwdown. . .

How  did we survive childhood?

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