Empire Day BonfiresPrint Page Print this page

Empire Day Bonfires : 20-May-2012
Empire Day Bonfires : 20-May-2012
Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders

A plaque commemorates the Empire Day bonfires.

Originally celebrated on 24 May (Queen Victoria`s birthday), popular observance declined in the postwar period. Renamed (British) Commonwealth Day in the 1950s, and moved in 1966 to 11 June it was more commonly known as Cracker Night and celebrated by bonfires and the lighting of fireworks until stricter government regulation reduced their availability.

Empire Day was observed in state schools from 1905 with a program of addresses, pageants and patriotic songs, with children swearing allegiance to King and Empire with a loyal declaration. Also known as Flag Day, Empire Day saw the city decorated with flags on principal buildings and cable trams.

The Empire Day Movement issued badges and Union Jack cards, with flags and buttons sold to raise money for the Lord Mayor`s Fund, Red Cross and Queen Victoria Hospital. Empire Day was primarily a Protestant celebration, often the subject of sectarian debate and opposed by a Catholic hierarchy whose annual festival equivalent was St Patrick`s Day. The last bonfire was lit in 1988


Address:Parring Road , Beckett Park, Balwyn, 3103
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.810747
Long: 145.092901
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Culture


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 2nd September, 2004
Front Inscription

This plaque commemorates the site of the Empire Day bonfires.

The last bonfire held on this site was in 1988 in celebration of the Australian Bicentennial.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au