Australia celebrates this holiday because it is a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. She was born on 21 April 1926 but her birthday is celebrated on a separate date. She has been Queen since 1952 and is the longest reigning British monarch.
The monarch’s birthday has been celebrated in Australia every year since the First Fleet arrived in 1788. The birthday was always celebrated on the actual date of the monarch’s birthday until 1936 when King George V, Elizabeth’s grandfather, died. His birthday was 3rd June and the date has since remained close to his birthday in early June.
Honour’s Lists are proclaimed twice a year in Australia. The Australia Day list is on 26th January. The Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List is announced on the second Monday in June each year. The Honour’s List contains the names of the new members of the Order of Australia and other honours issued by the Australian government or the Queen. These are generally for exceptional service to Australians, Australia or humanity as a whole.
Football also features on the Queen’s Birthday. Since its first season in 1897, the Victorian Football League (now known as the Australian Football League – AFL) has always played football on the holiday. These include an AFL game played at the Melbourne cricket club between the Collingwood Magpies and the Melbourne Demons. It is also traditionally seen as the official opening weekend of the snow season in the high country regions of New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania, although it is often not possible to really ski for another few weeks.