Today is Queensland Day, an inoffensive but slightly daft non-holiday that was dreamed up in 1981, during the mad, bad days of the Bjelke-Petersen administration, with its separatist, anti-Canberra agenda. It celebrates the splitting off of the northern part of New South Wales into a separate colony, Queensland in 1859.
It’s an odd date. 6 June was the day on which Queen Victoria signed the Letters Patent, which are still held in Britain at the National Archives, but given communications at the time, nobody in the Australian colonies knew what Victoria was doing that day. If we must celebrate the birth of Queensland – and do we really need to? – then surely 10 December makes more sense. This was the day that Governor Bowen arrived in Brisbane, and the new colony was proclaimed. We usually celebrate birthdays, not the date of conception, after all.