Official national days are always an occasion for great celebrations. Ireland has St. Patrick’s Day, America has Independence Day, France has Bastille Day. The Australian equivalent is Australia Day celebrated on 26 January to commemorate the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788.
This biggest civic event in Australia is marked by the presentation of the annual Australian of the Year Award, an official address from the Governor-General and Prime Minister, and more notably numerous concerts, festivals, barbecues and impressive firework displays all over the country. This year the program of this exciting events is waiting for Australian locals and visitors.
Australian Capital Territory
The celebrations in Australia’s capital city, Canberra will include an Australian of the Year awards ceremony, a flag raising ceremony with a 21 gun salute and aerial flyover. Australia’s newest citizens will be welcomed into the country in the oath giving ceremony on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin before the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce. Around 17,000 people from 145 countries will become Australian citizens in 2013 Australian Day ceremony, with 99 people set to become Aussies in ACT.
You can enjoy a Great Aussie Day Breakfast in the morning at a Commonwealth Park. During the day feature film and short drama screenings will be held at the National Film and Sound Archive. In the evening Lake Burley Griffin will become a perfect spot to enjoy a fireworks display and a live concert starting at 7.30pm. Cold Chisel front-man Barnes will headline the concert, alongside a highly anticipated duo of Aussie rock icon Jimmy Barnes with The Presets, followed by Guy Sebastian and urban pop sensation Timomatic.
New South Wales
In Berry, New South Wales a free Australia Day BYO Picnic Breakfast is organised to run from 7am to 11am with free bacon rolls, sausage sandwiches, tea, coffee and soft drinks available from the Rotary BBQ and Grill. In Sussex Inlet a parade of traditional wooden boats will cruise up the Reserve Sussex Inlet River.
In Queensland you will get a chance to meet 39 inspirational Queenslanders such as a world champion swimmer Lisa Curry, who will tour the state as part of an Australia Day Ambassador program. The state’s main party will be in South Bank Parklands part of Brisbane where performances from Evermore, Busby Marou and local indie group Art of Sleeping will take place. To add spice to the celebration, you can also take part in the annual wife carrying championship or Australia Day Cockroach Races held in the Kangaroo Point pub.
However for many Australians and visitors to this beautiful country the day will be spent at home with a barbecue and a game of backyard cricket, while listening to Triple J’s iconic Hottest 100 Countdown.
Australia Day celebrations in Perth are expected to be bigger than ever. Last year the crown numbers were down to about 250,000 due to extreme heat and a thunderstorm. This year the temperature is expected to be around 35 degrees, attracting larger crowds to the free activities at Langley Park. The list of Langley Park’s activities will include circus shows, motor cross displays, bouncy castles, mini-gold, face painting, and a laser and water show. The highlight of the city’s biggest annual event is expected to be a 30 minute Skyworks pyrotechnics display on the Swan River. Other local councils will also host events including the Cities of Fremantle and Cockburn that will host the Indian Ocean Skyshow at Bathers Bay.
After a disastrous 2012 Australia Day celebrations in Darwin, hindered by extreme rain and winds, 2013 celebration promises to be a success. You can start the celebrations early with a 7am 2km or 4.5km fun run along The Esplanade in Darwin. It will be followed by dragon boat races, numerous public barbecues and rugby sevens action during the day. The Oz Fusion concert will be held at Marrara and will include different dancers showing off Aboriginal, Irish, Chinese and African dance styles.
However, in our opinion the highlight of the day will be the cane toad racing and Ute Run, where people decorate their cars and sometimes their dogs in Australia Day themes and drive them to Darwin’s Greyhound Club.
Melbourne’s second Piers Festival will include music, dance, food, arts and crafts, photo and historical exhibitions, boat display, kid’s activities. In Brighton more than 2,000 swimmers are expected to participate in the Australian Unity Great Australia Day Swim is hosted by the Brighton Rotary, raising funds for disadvantaged children in the state. In Belgrave children and adults alike can enjoy a picturesque 40km journey on a Puffing Billy Steam Train – a century old steam train on one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world. A highly anticipated Throng Throwing Competition will take place in Wallington.
In Adelaide, South Australia the Australia Day Music Festival in the Alberton Oval, will be a fundraising event to raise funds for children with cancer.
In Tamania the centre of the Australia Day 2013 celebrations will be a town worst hit by the bushfires of January 2013.The Dunalley pub, which provided refuge from the fires that tore through the town will host a Falls Festival concert to raise the money for the recovery with up to 5,000 people expected to turn up. Seven local bands and a high-profile mystery guest are expected to play at the concert.
Whatever you plans are for Australia Day this year – stay safe, be careful not to start any fires and enjoy all the fun activities, be it a public concert or a family barbecue.
Happy Australia Day from the Immigration Agency!