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Mother's Day in Australia

Many Australians celebrate Mother’s Day by showing their appreciation for the achievements and efforts of mothers and mother figures. It is annually observed in Australia on the second Sunday of May.

Children and mother playing with letters
Many Australians celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May.
Many Australians celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May.

What do people do?

Many people appreciate their mothers or mother figures, which include stepmothers, relatives, guardians (eg. foster mothers), and close family friends. Some organizations have Mother’s Day patrons who work together with the media and general community to raise awareness on Mother’s Day events that aim to raise funds for charitable or non-profit causes.

Mother’s Day events and activities may include:

  • Organized walks or runs to raise money for causes such as breast cancer research.
  • Visits to the zoo, movies, or botanical gardens, or other places of interest.
  • Breakfasts, brunches, lunches, afternoon teas or dinners at restaurants, cafes, or at home.
  • Handmade gifts or cards being presented to mothers or mother figures.
  • Flowers, chocolates, clothing, gift vouchers and other gifts that are given to mothers or mother figures.
  • Mother’s Day poems being printed, broadcast, or presented to mothers and mother figures.
  • Mother’s Day stories being publicized in magazines, newspapers, radio, television or the internet.

Many families may also spend the day having a picnic in the park or the beach on Mother’s Day, if the weather allows it. Father’s Day is also celebrated in Australia on the first Sunday of September to honor fathers and father figures.

Public life

Mother’s Day is not a federal holiday but it is on a Sunday, when many organizations, schools, and government offices are closed. Public transport systems run to their normal Sunday schedules and restaurants or cafes may be busier than usual as some people take their mothers out for a treat. Shops and department stores may also be busy in areas where there is Sunday trading.


Many Australians follow the Mother’s Day traditions that stem from observances in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. The Mother’s Day date in Australia is the same as the date observed in the United States, which is the second Sunday of May each year. However, it is an Australian who is credited with having started the tradition of giving gifts on Mother's Day: Janet Heyden, a resident of Leichhardt Sydney, started a campaign in 1924 to collect gifts for lonely aged mothers.


Flowers, chocolates, and cards are popular gifts to symbolize one’s love and appreciation for their mother or mother figure. The carnation is a type of flower that is particularly symbolic of Mother’s Day for some people.  Its importance as a Mother’s Day symbol is linked to Anna Jarvis, who is believed to have sent white carnations for a Mother’s Day service in West Virginia, in the United States, on May 10, 1908.

About Mother's Day in other countries

Read more about Mother's Day.

Mother's Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
SunMay 131990Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 121991Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 101992Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 91993Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 81994Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 141995Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 121996Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 111997Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 101998Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 91999Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 142000Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 132001Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 122002Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 112003Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 92004Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 82005Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 142006Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 132007Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 112008Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 102009Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 92010Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 82011Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 132012Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 122013Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 112014Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 102015Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 82016Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 142017Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 132018Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 122019Mother's DayObservance 
SunMay 102020Mother's DayObservance 

Quick Facts

Mother’s Day is celebrated in Australia on the second Sunday of May each year.

Mother's Day 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day 2016

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Name in other languages

Mother's DayEnglish
List of dates for other years

Related holiday

Other holidays in May 2015 in Australia

Other calendars

Related links