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Just had a long weekend – or are you from Qld or WA?

June 13, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

If you’ve just enjoyed a long weekend, chances are you don’t live in Queensland or Western Australia. Even though knowing when public holidays fall is important for tourists, coordinating holidays seems too complicated for Australia to manage.

As demonstrated by the Queen’s Birthday weekend you’ve just had (or not had, depending on which state you live in), Australia finds holidays tricky to synchronise.

Queen Elizabeth was born on 21 April 1926, but public celebrations for her birthday traditionally happen in June.

Queen Elizabeth II meets Marilyn Monroe, 1956. 

Ironically, although Queen’s Birthday is a public holiday throughout Australia, it’s not a public holiday in Britain.

Most Australian states observe the Queen’s Birthday holiday on the second Monday of June (yesterday). Schools, post offices, and other organisations close in most parts of the country.

New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania all celebrated the Queen’s Birthday with a public holiday yesterday (Monday 12 June 2017), making it a long weekend.

So what about Queensland and Western Australia? No public holiday for you! Not on Monday 12 June, anyway.

Queensland won’t have its Queen’s Birthday holiday until Monday 2 October 2017. Queensland moved the holiday in 2015, aiming to balance holidays in the first six months of the year with those in the second six months – which puts the state out of step with the rest of eastern Australia.

In Western Australia, the situation is even more peculiar. WA celebrates the Queen’s Birthday on a different date again. There are no hard rules about when it falls in WA but it is often on the last Monday of September or the first Monday of October. The WA governor makes the call. This year, Monday 25 September is the go. At least WA will get in before Queensland.

New Zealand also celebrates the Queen’s Birthday as a public holiday, on the first Monday of June each year. It sticks to that day and applies the holiday throughout the whole country – smart move.

Written by Peter Needham

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