When Is Father’s Day In Australia? Date, History, Traditions & More

Sunday is Father's Day.

When Is Father’s Day In Australia? Date, History, Traditions & More

Image: @chrishemsworth

Father’s Day is an annual celebration of dads, grandfathers and the paternal bond between father and children. However, Father’s Day is celebrated later in the year compared to the rest of the world, so don’t worry if you see friends in other countries wishing their dad’s a happy Father’s Day on social media in June.

And, because Father’s Day in Australia is celebrated later in the year than the rest of the Western world, it means you have plenty of time to plan events and buy some great Father’s Day gifts. Here’s everything you need to know about Father’s Day in Australia.

When is Father’s Day in Australia 2022?

  • Sunday 4th September 2022

Father’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of September in Australia, which also happens to be the first Sunday of spring. In 2022, this means Father’s Day will be celebrated on Sunday 4th September.

This is much later in the year compared to the USA and UK, for example, which both celebrate on the third Sunday of June.

If you’re not particularly great at keeping a reminder in your calendar, make sure to note down the following dates to remember Father’s Day for the next few years.

Father’s Day Dates in Australia 2022 – 2026

  • 2022 – Sunday 4th September
  • 2023 – Sunday 3rd September
  • 2024 – Sunday 1st September
  • 2025 – Sunday 7th September
  • 2026 – Sunday 6th September

History of Father’s Day Australia

Father’s Day was introduced to Australia in the early 1900s, although for the first couple of decades, it wasn’t exactly the annual spectacle we celebrate today. It was deemed unnecessary because fathers were already viewed as ‘ruling’ figures because traditionally, they were already the head of the household.

Father’s Day in Australia was initially celebrated in June to coincide with the dates viewed by the USA and UK, and it wasn’t until a newspaper article published on 21st May 1911, that the idea of holding the event in September instead was introduced.

It read, “‘Mother’s Day was voted a success last Sunday, and the question now arises, what about a day for father?”

At the time, Mother’s Day had its own emblem, a white carnation, and as the newspaper article continued, “a cynical lady correspondent suggests we should have the choice of three flowers emblematic of father – the scarlet geranium, because it resembles the bloom of his nose; the cornflower, to match the hue of his language when his liver is bad; or the mignonette, in sweet remembrance of his Saturday night breath…”

“She adds that September should be the month in which to hail him king, for, under the Southern Cross, it is in that month’s Dad’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”

Image: Trove: National Library of Australia

Newspaper articles continued to show a lack of excitement for Father’s Day into the late 1910s, with another clipping reading, “We asked a lady we know was it true that there was a movement on foot to institute a day ‘Father’s Day?’ she said, ‘No! Certainly not!…Father had a day whenever he felt inclined.”

It wasn’t until June 1925 that Janet Heyden, a woman from Sydney (who also happened to be the driving force behind introducing Mother’s Day to Australia), started to collect donations of small gifts to be given to elderly men in nursing homes. It was Janet’s work that proved to be the catalyst for Australia to recognise an official Father’s Day.

Why is Father’s Day Different In Australia?

While Father’s Day had been viewed in June to coincide with the same date as the USA and UK, there was increasing traction for it to be moved to September.

It was a newspaper article from The Newcastle Sun, published in 1936 that seemingly confirmed Australia was to formally recognise Father’s Day as an official celebratory event and was to be held on the first Sunday in September.

The article read, “A new day for the calendar is ‘Father’s Day,’ September 6. Mother’s Day has become very popular, and maybe ‘Father’s Day’ will also become so, too!”

We admit, however, that this still doesn’t actually confirm why the date was changed and so the real reason has never been known. Holding the annual event on the first Sunday of spring does, of course, have a greater chance of benefitting from more clement weather conditions. With the sun shining, it means more families can get outdoors to have barbecues, play games and go on trips.

Today, the Father’s Day Council of Australia (which was founded in 1957) continues to honour fathers with an Australian Father of the Year Award.

Father’s Day Australia Traditions

Soon after Australia formally recognised Father’s Day, traditions started to be set. Many of these continue today and include the following:

  • Handmade Gifts & Cards – School children are encouraged to craft handmade gifts and cards to give to their dad on Father’s Day
  • BBQ – While not specific to Father’s Day, it is common practice for families to gather at home for a BBQ and a variety of outdoor games. 
  • Gift-giving – Many Australian retailers use Father’s Day as prime time to hold sales events and offers, all of which are aimed at dads. Father’s Day is a perfect time to buy your dad some underwear, socks and other small accessories such as ties and cufflinks. 
  • Church going – Many Australian families use both Father’s Day and the day of Sunday as a time to visit places of worship, including churches, synagogues and mosques.

Father’s Day Australia FAQ