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Boxing Day in Australia

Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas Day, is a public holiday in Australia.

Is Boxing Day a Public Holiday?

Boxing Day is a public holiday in Christmas Island and Cocos and Keeling Islands, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

The Sydney to Hobart yacht race starts on Boxing Day.

©iStockphoto.com/mingis

What Do People Do?

Many important sports events are held on Boxing Day. The Boxing Day test match is a cricket game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The game is between the Australian National cricket team and other national teams touring Australia. The match starts on Boxing Day and may last up to five days. Between 1999 and 2007, the Australian cricket team won all of the Boxing Day Test matches, marking a huge victory for the nation.

Another important sporting event that starts on Boxing Day is the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. This is also known as the Bluewater Classic and covers a distance of 630 nautical miles between Sydney Harbour and Hobart on the island of Tasmania. Traditionally, it took about six days for the yachts to reach Hobart, but now the fastest yacht usually reaches the finish in less than two days. The media interest in these prominent sports mean television programs are dominated by sporting events on Boxing Day. People also spend the day travelling home from their relatives or to an intended destination for their summer holiday, which tends to coincide with the school holiday period.

In some parts of Australia, the post-Christmas sales begin on Boxing Day. Stores offer their excess stock that was not sold before Christmas Day at reduced prices. Many people take advantage of the sales to buy products or services at significantly lower prices.

Public Life

Boxing Day is a public holiday. Schools, other educational establishments and many organizations are closed. In some states, all stores are allowed to open. In others only certain types of stores are open. Many shops are open in tourist areas. Most public transport systems operate a reduced service. However, in some areas, there is no public transport on Boxing Day.

Background

Boxing Day is a holiday in many countries, such as Australia, in the Commonwealth of Nations. It was traditionally a day for employers in England to give bonuses of money, leftover food or old clothing to their employees, or for lords to give agricultural tools and seeds for the coming year to their tenants. These gifts were presented in a box. Some people believe that this is the reason that December 26 is known as Boxing Day. Others think that the origin of the name is related to the box into which parishioners put church donations. In some areas, this box was opened on Boxing Day and the contents were distributed to the poor people of the parish.

Note: Many Australian states and territories state in their holiday legislation that Christmas Day and/or Boxing Day are public holidays on December 25 and 26 unless they fall on a Saturday and/or Sunday, in which the following days (eg. Monday or Tuesday) that are generally working days, are substituted public holidays.

Boxing Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2017TueDec 26Boxing DayNational Holiday 
2018WedDec 26Boxing DayNational Holiday 
2019ThuDec 26Boxing DayNational Holiday 
2020SatDec 26Boxing DayNational Holiday 
2020MonDec 28Boxing Day ObservedState HolidayAll except Heard and McDonald Islands, SA
2021SunDec 26Boxing DayNational Holiday 
2021TueDec 28Boxing Day ObservedState HolidayAll except Heard and McDonald Islands, SA
2022MonDec 26Boxing DayNational Holiday 
2022TueDec 27Boxing Day ObservedState HolidayChristmas Island, Cocos and Keeling Islands
2023TueDec 26Boxing DayNational Holiday 
2024ThuDec 26Boxing DayNational Holiday 
2025FriDec 26Boxing DayNational Holiday 
2026SatDec 26Boxing DayNational Holiday 
2026MonDec 28Boxing Day ObservedState HolidayAll except Heard and McDonald Islands, SA
2027SunDec 26Boxing DayNational Holiday 
2027TueDec 28Boxing Day ObservedState HolidayAll except Heard and McDonald Islands, SA

While we diligently research and update our holiday dates, some of the information in the table above may be preliminary. If you find an error, please let us know.