Five public holidays no longer celebrated in Queensland

As anyone living in Queensland over the past few years has noticed, the dates and reasons for public holidays seem to alter each year. During some recent research I discovered some interesting public holidays that have been celebrated over Queensland’s 156 year history. Here are my top five forgotten holidays - which would you like to reinstate?

 

Saints days are no longer public holidays (or Bank Holidays, following the British name).  In 1902 Queenslanders had public holidays for St Patrick on 17 March, St George on 23 April and St Andrew on 30 November – the patron saints of Ireland, England and Scotland (and Greece, Romania, Russia, Poland & Ukraine).  I realise that these are three separate occasions but I am grouping them together because of the common theme. These particular Saint’s days are still enthusiastically celebrated around the world, but they no longer warrant a public holiday here in Queensland.  And what about poor St David, Patron saint of Wales, on 1 March? Personally, St Jerome’s Day on 30 September gets my vote for a day off, as he is the patron saint of librarians.

Pugh's Almanac, 1915. Page 449

Pugh's Almanac, 1915. Page 449

 

Lammas Day on 1 August. Again, a day off in 1902 forgotten in 2015.  With its origins in pagan festivals, Lammas Day was a day to celebrate the first wheat harvest in the Northern Hemisphere.  Relevant to Queensland?  Or just an excuse to have a day off in August?  I prefer Brisbane’s Show Day on the 2nd Wednesday in August.

 

Prince of Wales’ Birthday. I doubt if this is celebrated by any but the most devout monarchist today, but this event warranted a day off in the early part of the 20th Century. As the King’s Birthday was really on 9 December, the Prince of Wales’ Birthday, celebrated in June, was the beginning of the current tradition of the Queen’s Birthday holiday in June.  Not the monarch’s actual birthday? Date moves from one year to the next? Why worry when we can take a long weekend.

 

Prince of Wales’s Birthday and Federal offices will close – as reported in The Brisbane Courier on Monday 27 June 1910, page 5

Prince of Wales’s Birthday and Federal offices will close – as reported in The Brisbane Courier on Monday 27 June 1910, page 5

 

Pugh’s Almanac in 1926 lists September 13 as a Bank Holiday.  No reason was given.  Maybe it was to compensate those overworked folk who had to work on Lammas Day that year!

Pugh’s Almanac, 1926. Page 362

Pugh’s Almanac, 1926. Page 362

 

Separation Day on 10 December. In 1859, on this day, the first Governor of Queensland, Sir George Bowen, and his wife, Lady Diamantina, arrived in Brisbane. The proclamation establishing Queensland as a Colony separate from New South Wales was read. Where would State of Origin Rugby League matches be without this important event?

 

Information about Bank Holidays and other interesting Queensland facts can be found in Pugh’s Almanacs, digitised through Text Queensland at http://www.textqueensland.com.au/

 

The keen observer of public holidays can use SLQ’s One Search catalogue to find a book called Bank and public holidays throughout the world, 1920. This book has been digitised and can be read online.

 

Katy Roberts, Library Technician, Visitor Services.

Comments

View our comments policy.
Your email address will not be published.

Do you know when Australia Day was first a public holiday in Queensland? I am sure we had the day off well before 1994, when it was made a commonwealth public holiday .

Hi Frank. Thank you for reading our blog post. If you are looking for some help in locating further information please go to our Ask Us page, http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/ask-us, and fill in our research enquiry form. One of our staff can then have a search for you and see what they can find.

I found a good reference to the public holidays for Queensland in the following booklet on NLA. Rutlidge, Charles Schaefer, \`Guide to Queensland / compiled from official and private records, with the recognition of the Hon. Sir Horace Tozer, K.C.M.G., Agent-General for Queensland, c 1898. https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-566982388