These days it is hard not to be aware of the controversy surrounding Australia Day. However, the purpose in compiling this list of activities is not to dwell on the negativity of the event (there are so many more learned and informed people than myself able to do this) but to provide you with five suggestions on how you can spend your day celebrating and capturing the positives of being part of a diverse Australian society.
1. Triple J Hottest 100 Party - Parramatta
The Triple J Hottest 100 Party is just one of the many segments making up the massive Australia Day celebrations at Parramatta Park this year. The overall celebrations begin at 6am with Sydney’s biggest hot air balloon display. However, don’t worry about falling out of bed until around 11am if you are a music fan as the Triple J Hottest 100 Countdown does not begin until 12 noon when it will be streamed from Aerial Stage to be interspersed with live band and DJ performances from 12.15pm until 5.15pm. The crazy fun loving Jake Stone, best known for being the good looking half of Bluejuice (sorry Stav but it’s true) will be hosting the Party. Backyard games and cricket are also on offer. Full details of the day can be found at http://www.ausdayparramatta.com.au
2. Outdoor Cinema - two venues to choose from
- St George OpenAir Cinema – located at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, St George OpenAir Cinema is a pure joy to attend to say the least. This Australia Day night you can soak up the harbourside ambience while watching Hacksaw Ridge – a film directed by Mel Gibson (a graduate of Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Arts) that tells a true Australian war story about the first conscientious objector awarded the Medal of Honour, is full of talented Aussie actors (including Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, and Rachel Griffiths) and shot in NSW. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.stgeorgeopenair.com.au
- Moonlight Cinema – located at Centennial Park, Moonlight Cinema is a fitting venue to be on Australia Day given that the Park was built to commemorate Australia’s first 100 years of European settlement. Sit back and relax while you watch the feel good family friendly Aussie film Red Dog: True Blue. Starring Jason Issacs, Bryan Brown and Levi Miller along with Phoenix as Red Dog. It is the prequel to the 2011 film Red Dog and details the early life of a kelpie who became an urban legend in Western Australia’s Pilbara in the 1970s. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.moonlight.com.au/sydney/tickets
3. Harbourside Fun – Sydney Harbour will be awash with loads of festivities, below are a couple that fall into the fun and free category.
- Ferrython – four Sydney Harbour commuter ferries will race against each other to Shark Island, leaving Circular Quay at 10.45am. Spectators can watch the finish from Barangaroo Reserve as the ferries go under the Harbour Bridge at around 11.30am.
The Ferrython has been run as part of Sydney Festival since 1979 and it is one of the most loved and oldest of its events. This year as a first, the ferries are taking passengers on board – make sure you wave to these lucky participants as they race past you from your harbour foreshore vantage point. The ferries will not just be competing for line honours. Each ferry is also being judged for the Best Dressed Award so expect to see them sporting colourful streamers and flags.
- Barangaroo Reserve will be hosting a full day of activities until 4pm. A full itinerary is available at http://www.barangaroo.sydney/whats-on/australia-day-2017 You will, however, not want to miss the day’s morning session which is definitely the day’s highlight when at 7.45am, in celebration of the world’s oldest living culture, indigenous performers greet the arrival of ceremonial fire at Marrinawi Cove. This is to be followed by a procession leading the fire to Walumil lawns for a smoking ceremony in preparation for the Wugulora Morning Ceremony commencing at 8am. You will witness the raising of the Aboriginal and Australian flags on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a dance performance from the NSW Public Schools Dance Company, the Kari Choir singing the national anthem in Dharawal and English, and the reawakening and reforging of Sydney songlines by 250 voices for Country, ancestors and healing.
Roving performers and acoustic live music will be on hand from 11am at Duke’s Pier and Walumil Lawn. Revellers can bring a picnic or buy refreshments from the pop up food trucks on hand or venture to the cafes and restaurants located within the southern dining precinct.
4. Big Breakfast – Dee Why
Fun for everyone in Dee Why from 7am to 2pm. Local community groups will be there until 12 noon with a tasty Big BBQ Breakfast, camel rides, car and bike show, thong throwing competition, face painting and temporary tattoos, and a raffle. All proceeds made will be going right back into these community groups. Between the hours of 8am till 2pm, get involved in experiencing the fun of rides and waterslides ($25 all day pass or $5 per ride or $20 for 5 rides), roving entertainment, and live music. Further details can be found at: http://www.warringah.nsw.gov.au/play/whats/warringah-council-events/australia-day-big-breakfast-dee-why
5. Australia Day Concert and Fireworks – at the Rooty Hill
This event caters to everyone with free kiddie amusement rides, a ute muster, Dave McKenna performing stunts on his Yamaha motorbike, Freestyle Now BMX shows, live music (including Amber Lawrence, Boom Crash Opera, Choir Boys) and fireworks. All the fun begins with gates opening at 3.30pm – Eastern Road, Rooty Hill – a 10 minute walk from Rooty Hill railway station. Limited parking is available. The live music commences at 4pm with the fireworks starting at 9.30pm till closing time of 9.45pm. Further details: http://www.festival.blacktown.nsw.gov.au/Whats_On/Australia_Day_Concert_and_Fireworks.
More Sydney Australia Day celebration ideas can be found at http://www.sydney.com/destinations/sydney/public-holidays/australia-day