With our outdoors lifestyle it may seem like Australians are always on holiday. In fact, Australians have a relatively strong work culture which we will discuss in a later blog.
But while we work hard and take our careers seriously, a work-life balance is considered not just important but an entitlement! We place significant importance on spending time with family and enjoying our summer holidays.
Australian workers are legally entitled to 4 weeks’ annual leave per year, and there are around 10 extra public holidays depending on which State you are living in.
A two-day public holiday for the traditional Easter celebration gives Australians a four-day weekend. Generally in March or April, the mild autumn weather means that this is a good time to take a full weeks’ break. There is usually a two-week school and university break during this time.
During the year, we also have Anzac day (April 25), and the Queen’s Birthday (2nd Monday in June), and Labour Day, which both vary between states.
Anzac Day (from Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) commemorates Australian returned soldiers in general and remembers a famous but ultimately disastrous campaign fought during World War I in particular. There are quasi-military parades including marching bands through the streets of most towns and cities following a dawn service at the local War Memorial. The rest of the day is taken up by a BBQ and a visit to the local pub or hotel to drink and partake in the unusual cultural phenomenon of Two-Up. This is a gambling game – legal for just one day – in which punters bet on either heads or tails landing after two coins are thrown into the air.
Labour Day is celebrated because Australia is a mildly socialist country with emphasis on workers. The Queen’s Birthday holiday – which is not in fact the Queen’s actual birthday – is celebrated because we are still a constitutional Monarchy with the British Queen as our head of state.
There are also a number of State-based holidays:
Western Australia – Western Australian Day
Australian Capital Territory – Canberra Day
South Australia – Adelaide Cup Day
Victoria – Melbourne Cup Day
Northern Territory – Picnic Day
Victoria used to be the only place in the world to have a public holiday for a horse race until South Australians demanded a day off for their less famous race.
Three full public holidays in the middle of summer mean that the majority of Australians take a good proportion of their annual leave at this time.
Christmas Day, Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) and New Years’ Day are all official public holidays. Schools generally have around 7 weeks holiday from December through January.
A further public holiday at the end of January – for Australia Day – is usually the last day off before everyone goes back to work.
Many Australians recall long drives to endless camping trips, sand, sunburn, swimming and BBQs filling our childhood days. This nostalgia makes our summer holidays sacrosanct and an important part of living in Australia, no matter where you reside.
For more information on Australia on how to get here and popular holidays when you arrive, get in touch with Hub Migration.