Queensland Day is a celebration of Queensland’s birthday and its official separation from New South Wales as an independent colony on 6 June 1859.
Celebrated annually, Queensland Day is an opportunity to commemorate the state’s culture, heritage, people, places and industry.
In 2019, Queensland celebrates its 160th birthday on Thursday 6 June.
Since 1981, Queensland’s birthday has been officially promoted by the Queensland Government and has expanded to include a series of events and celebrations.
A highlight of these activities is the prestigious Queensland Greats Awards.
In celebrating Queensland Day, the community can share a sense of pride in being both Australian and a Queenslander. It is a time to reflect on how lucky we are to be part of such a wonderful, diverse state.
History of Queensland Day
Moves towards statehood began with a public meeting in 1851 to consider separation from New South Wales.
As the push for separation gained momentum, Queen Victoria was approached to consider establishing a separate colony based on Moreton Bay. The Queen gave her approval and signed the Letters Patent on 6 June 1859, now known as Queensland Day. Not surprisingly, she favoured the name Queensland over suggestions to call it Cooksland in honour of Captain James Cook.
The new colony of Queensland had been established. With the word Separation painted on its hull, the ship Clarence sailed into Brisbane on 10 July to be greeted by a jubilant crowd eagerly anticipating the news of separation.
They welcomed Clarence with a 14-gun salute, a ‘blue light’ display and fireworks.
On 20 July, celebrations resumed with the news Sir George Ferguson Bowen would be the state’s first Governor. Fireworks, cannon fire, flag raising and the sound of gunshots expressed the public’s sentiment.
On 10 December of that year, Governor Bowen arrived in Brisbane to a civic reception in the Botanical Gardens.
He officially marked the historic occasion of statehood by reading a proclamation from the veranda of the Deanery of St John’s Cathedral.
Find out more about Queensland’s state flag, emblems and icons.