The second Monday in June in most of Australia is a public holiday known as the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend.
The quirky thing is, the actual Queen’s birthday isn’t in June at all, it’s April 21st! The origins of the public holiday date all the way back to 1788 when Australia was settled by the British and Governor Arthur Phillip gave the convicts three days off to celebrate the birthday of King George III.
We continued to celebrate the reigning King or Queens birthday until 1936 when the states decided to have an annual holiday closest to the late King’s birthday (King George V) on June 3rd.
Oddly enough, although Australia has a public holiday to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday, the UK does not. I guess us Aussies are always looking for an excuse to have a day off work and celebrate!
Growing up, the Queen’s birthday long weekend was always our firecracker / fireworks night before the safety laws came in requiring a license to handle them. All I can remember is being taken to one of our relatives houses while we had a bonfire or fireworks display in the backyard. Back then, every second or third backyard seemed to have their own fireworks being set off – it certainly was a colourful night around the neighbourhood!
Now the Queen’s birthday holiday means a weekend trip away, maybe a picnic or BBQ on Monday with the family or in our case, a restful day off work.