Hammer DeRoburt Day in Nauru Date in the current year: September 25, 2024

Hammer DeRoburt Day in Nauru Hammer DeRoburt Day is a public holiday in Nauru. Celebrated on September 25, it was established to honor the country’s first president. Prior to 2020 the holiday was named National Youth Day.

Nauru is a microstate in Oceania with a population of slightly over 10,000 (its population is the world’s second smallest after Vatican City). The island of Nauru was first inhabited by Polynesians and Micronesians about 3,000 years ago. They formed 12 traditional tribes (clans) of Nauru.

The first Europeans to visit Nauru were the British in the late 18th century. In 1888, the island was annexed by the German Empire. During World War I, Nauru was captured by Australian troops and eventually became a mandate territory of the League of Nations governed by Australia, with New Zealand and the United Kingdom as co-trustees.

In 1942, Nauru was occupied by Japan. About 1,200 Nauruans were deported to the Chuuk Islands to work as laborers. Among them was Hammer DeRoburt, the future first president of Nauru and a 20-year-old school teacher at the time.

Upon his return to Nauru in 1946, DeRoburt took up a job with the Department of Education. In 1951, he decided to participate in the first elections to the Local Government Council, which had been instituted to replace the traditional council of chiefs, as a representative of the Boe constituency. Unfortunately, DeRoburt was disqualified due to a bureaucratic mistake.

The next elections, which took lace in 1955, were more successful for DeRoburt, and he was elected to the Council. In 1956, members of the Council elected him the Head Chief of Nauru. DeRoburt was the last person to hold the post.

In 1964, the government of Australia proposed to relocate Nauruans to Curtis Island off the coast of Queensland. The proposal was prompted by extensive landscape damage resulting from phosphate mining that had been carried out by Australian, British and New Zealand companies for over two decades. DeRoburt rejected the proposal and even secured a compensation for the damage.

The proposal of resettlement also encouraged Nauruans to seek independence. Nauru became self-governing in 1966 and declared its independence on January 31, 1968. DeRoburt became the country’s first president and remained in power until 1989 (with several interruptions; he was out of office from December 1976 to May 1978 and then again in September and December 1986).

The birthday of Hammer DeRoburt was first declared a public holiday in 2009, but its official name was National Youth Day. It was marked by events and activities aiming to raise awareness of youth-related issues such as youth unemployment and youth obesity. They were primarily organized by the Nauru National Youth Council, which consists of representatives of different NGOs.

In 2020, National Youth Day was renamed Hammer DeRoburt Day, but its celebration still includes a lot of events targeted at young people. Special emphasis is laid upon sports games and competitions such as volleyball, tug of war and relay races to encourage healthy living.

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