As you’ll no doubt be aware, on Thursday, Australia gets a surprise public holiday to signify the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
The ‘National Day of Mourning’ will see official national memorial services take place and a minute’s silence observed.
The Queen’s body was finally laid to rest in Windsor on Tuesday after a 15-hour funeral procession which concluded the UK’s official period of public mourning. In Australia, we didn’t have any official public mourning period, although Parliament did, and flags around the nations were instructed to fly at half mast until Tuesday, September 20.
Here’s what’s happening throughout the country and the answers to all of your burning questions about this historic and somewhat odd day.
What Is the National Day of Mourning?
The Australian government has been undertaking a series of events to mark the passing of the Queen and the ascension of King Charles III. On Friday, September 9, on the day her passing was announced in Australia, a 21-gun salute took place at Parliament House, with one round fired for each year of her life. That’s a lot of ammo, given she lived until 96.
Since then, the ancient gears of tradition have ground on, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announcing the National Day of Mourning on Sunday, September 11.
He said at the time that it will be “a one-off national public holiday to allow people to pay their respects for the passing of Queen Elizabeth.”
So, what does that actually involve? Well, the day is recognised as a national public holiday, so you won’t be called into work for starters. A National Memorial Service will be held at Parliament House which will be live-streamed on TV and online as well as on screens at Federation Hill in Canberra.
ARIA award winner Anthony Callea is slated to perform, having sung at the memorials of Shane Warne and Bert Newton. Melbourne-born Callea performed for the Queen in 2006. Albanese and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton are scheduled to give tributes to Elizabeth as well.
The premiers and chief ministers from all states and territories, as well as all state governors and all High Court Justices, will be in attendance.
At 11 am on Thursday, a national one minute’s silence will be observed.
What Else Is Happening on the National Day of Mourning?
Well, because of the backlash sparked by the snap public holiday, hospitals around the country are being urged to continue routine surgeries if possible.
Schools will be shut in all states and territories so you’ll definitely need to plan something with your little ones if you’ve got them.
If the British Monarchy just isn’t your thing — possibly because of their ongoing profiteering from the perpetration of genocide to Indigenous people across the world and right here at home, who can say — Abolish the Monarchy protests will be taking place as well.
The Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance have announced Thursday as a national day of protest, with demonstrations set to take place in Sydney, Brisbane, and Canberra.
Those looking to cash in on a day off to do some life admin will be pleased to hear that trading hours won’t change for most states and territories, although this varies.
South Australia is treating the day like ANZAC Day, with retailers to remain closed until midday. In Western Australia, public holiday trading hours apply, with retail opening from 11am until 5pm.
In Victoria, Queensland, and New South South Wales the day is being considered a normal trading day. Tasmania is also not restricting trade, although businesses will have to pay penalty rates for their staff.
Pubs and restaurants will also be open as normal, bearing in mind the above restrictions.
Friday is being reported to be a ‘national sickie day‘ as thousands are expected to call in sick and make the most of the potential four-day weekend. Victorians however won’t have to bother lying to their employer as they’ll be getting the day off for Grand Final Day anyway.
And, of course, police are taking the opportunity to drum up some extra cash — uh, we mean ‘enforce public safety’ — by imposing double demerits in NSW. The plan will see drivers hit with twice as many demerit points for speeding and other driving offences from Thursday through to Sunday night. NSW is the only state so far to announce the measures. It’s what she would have wanted.