A complete guide to Australian public holidays for 2020

australia public holidays

Australia is a large country (in fact, the 6th biggest nation in the world) divided into 6 states. There are many different cultures and religions represented within Australian society.

Although some festivities unite the whole territory, it’s important to remember that public holidays are announced on a state basis. Some days are celebrated nationally, others apply to specific jurisdictions only.

During Australian public holidays, most trades and offices are closed. Workers are usually paid full leave and those who don’t stay at home are paid additional bonus rates.

Some statutory holidays are of religious nature (like Christmas and Easter), others can be described as of cultural or civic importance. Tourists who wish to visit Australia during national celebrations are required to obtain a valid visa before traveling.

What are the public holidays for 2020 in Australia?

Although many festivities are on a fixed date, holidays may slightly shift from year to year. Moreover, when a special day falls on a weekend, the relevant bank holiday is usually declared for the following Monday, effectively causing a “long weekend”.

That’s why it’s important to double-check exactly when public holidays fall each year, even though some dates are as obvious to everyone, such as Christmas.

The following is a comprehensive list of Australian public holidays for 2020, both national and statewide. Official changes may be announced later on in the year:

  • 1st of January: New Year’s Day (national holiday)
  • 27th of January:  Australia Day (national holiday)
  • 2nd of March: Labour Day (Western Australia)
  • 9th of March: Canberra Day (ACT)
  • 9th of March: March Public Holiday (SA)
  • 9th of March: Eight Hours Day (TAS)
  • 9th of March: Labour Day (VIC)
  • 10th of April: Good Friday (national holiday)
  • 11th of April: Day Following Good Friday (national except for TAS and WA)
  • 13th of April: Easter Monday (national holiday)
  • 25th of April: Anzac Day (national holiday)
  • 27th of April: Anzac Day Holiday (ACT and WA)
  • 4th of May: May Day (NT)
  • 4th of May: Labour Day (QLD)
  • 1st of June: Reconciliation Day (ACT)
  • 1st of June: Western Australia Day (WA)
  • 8th of June: Queen’s birthday (national except for QLD and WA)
  • 3rd of August: Picnic Day (NT)
  • 25th of September: AFL Grand Final Friday (VIC)
  • 28th of September: Queen’s birthday (WA)
  • 5th of October: Labour Day (ACT, NSW & SA)
  • 5th of October: Queen’s birthday (QLD)
  • 3rd of November: Melbourne Cup Day (VIC)
  • 25th of December: Christmas Day (national holiday)
  • 28th of December: Boxing Day Holiday (National except SA)
  • 28th of December: Proclamation Day Holiday (SA)

Part-day public holidays are observed in some states and on certain dates. For example, people in South Australia and the Northern Territory stay off work on New Year’s Eve from 7pm to 12pm.

There are also many local festivals and celebrations that see specific municipalities or regions shut down for the day. These stem from the agricultural tradition and are called Show. During a Show day, children stay off school and various activities (from flower exhibitions to parades, food stands, and sports competitions) are organized locally.

Is Anzac Day a public holiday in 2020?

Anzac Day was first established to honor the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War (1914–1918). It’s now a day of commemoration for all Australians and New Zealanders who “served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations”.

In Australia, commemorative services are held at dawn (the time when the first landing happened) on the 25th of April. Throughout the day, marches are organized in cities and towns across the country.

In 2020, Anzac Day will fall on a Saturday. There won’t be a bank holiday day in lieu of the official date, so most Australian employees won’t enjoy a special day off for Anzac. This doesn’t mean, however, that shops and trades normally open on Saturday will have to continue business as usual. Moreover, expect all the events and commemorations for Anzac Day to take place regularly.

What is Australia Day?

Australia Day is the country’s official national celebration. Started as a way to celebrate the arrival of the first colony, it’s now a time to come together as Australians and reflect on the nation’s past and future. It’s intended as a day of joy and hope. However, it has been protested in the past, most famously by Indigenous communities.

If you happen to be in Australia during this day, you can expect plenty of outdoor activities and events since Australia Day falls right in the heart of summer. Firework displays, live concerts, sporting events, and parades are planned by special committees across the nation.

Is Canberra Day a public holiday?

Canberra Day celebrates the official naming ceremony of the Australian capital city, which was held on the 12th of March 1913. Currently, the event is remembered the second Monday of March each year.

Foreigners may be confused about this day, wondering whether it’s of federal or local significance. Canberra Day is a bank holiday in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) only but beside the official Monday celebrations, events take place in the ACT throughout March. Most people in the Australian Capital Territory live in Canberra itself.

What dates are school holidays in 2020?

As with everywhere else in the world, school holidays in Australia are times when pupils and students take time off classes around public holidays and during the summer.

Visitors may want to take these into consideration when planning their trip as school holidays are often considered peak season for tourism. Popular sites and attractions may become crowded and accommodation may book out quickly.

The 2 school holiday periods that Australian families are most likely to choose to travel are Easter and Christmas time.

The best time to discover Australia depends, of course, on many factors. International travelers are invited to keep public holidays in mind when booking their trip.