Proclamation Day, as it’s officially known in SA, commemorates the founding of South Australia as a British Province on December 28, 1836. On this day, the British governor John Hindmarsh read the proclamation that formally established the colony of SA.

The proclamation was read under the Old Gum Tree in Glenelg North, and the site has since become a historic landmark that hosts the anniversary ceremony each year (the public holiday moves to coincide with the day after the Christmas Day holiday). Thousands of South Australians gather by the tree, which was encased in concrete in 1963, to pay homage to their forefathers and reflect on what it means to be a South Australian or ‘croweater’, as residents are colloquially known. The governor re-enacts the proclamation, reading the historic document before a crowd of dignitaries, families and other proud South Australians.

After the formalities, the celebrations continue on in Glenelg, as beachgoers flock to the golden sands of one of Adelaide’s most famous beaches to take advantage of the summer heat. Picnics, bathers and aquatic toys are the order of the day as crowds soak up the public holiday atmosphere in true Australian style.

Glenelg Beach, Proclamation Day

For those with energy to burn, the Bay Sheffield foot race is another Proclamation Day tradition that sees hundreds of athletes and amateur runners battle it out for finish line honours at Colley Reserve. The two-day carnival has been held every year since 1837, with many Australian Rules footballers among those to win the title event – the coveted 120-metre Open Bay Sheffield Gift, Australia’s second-richest foot race. Thousands of sports fans flock to watch the race, which is free for spectators. Go along and join them – you just might witness the next Usain Bolt take out the top prize.

Elsewhere in South Australia, locals celebrate the public holiday much like the rest of the nation marks Boxing Day – with barbecues and leftovers feasts with friends and family, and in front of the TV to watch our cricket champions vie for glory in the Boxing Day Test, played at the MCG in Melbourne.

If the Christmas retail rush hasn’t left you fatigued, join the throng of shoppers taking advantage of the bargains in the famous Boxing Day sales. Rundle Mall in the city centre is the sales mecca, where department stores Myer and David Jones do a thriving trade in the post-Christmas shopping frenzy. You can also give your credit card a workout at select stores in Harbour Town and, after the initial Proclamation Day rush, at suburban shopping centres across Adelaide, which are closed on the public holiday.