Former Olympic swimmer Shane Gould will be Ballina’s Australia Day ambassador.
Former Olympic swimmer Shane Gould will be Ballina’s Australia Day ambassador.

Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi

On the 26th of January 1888, the First Fleet landed at Port Jackson to establish a permanent British colony in Australia, despite no consultation or negotiation with the existing inhabitants. Governor Phillip had rejected Botany Bay as the preferred site and named the new site Sydney Cove after Lord Sydney, the British Secretary of State for Colonies. The 11 ships arrived with 1373 passengers including 754 convicts and their children. There were also 500 farm animals including a bull, cows, sheep and poultry as well as crop material for coffee, cocoa, cotton, banana, orange, lemon, guava, tamarind, prickly pear, eugenia and the ipecacuanha.

To celebrate this monumental event the federal government have taken out ads encouraging people to “barbecue like you’ve never barbecued before”.

Local councils are getting in on the act too, with Australia Day activities across the region.

In Lismore celebrations will be held at the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre from 8.30 to 10.30am. A welcome to country will be done by Bundjalung elder Hazel Rhodes and 20 people will be taking part in a citizenship ceremony. The Girl Guides will raise the flag and local soccer legend Craig Foster will present Australia Day awards recognising people who have done good work in the community.

There will be music by Luke Vasella and also a version of I am, You are, We are Australian by the Rainbow International Club.

Refreshments will be provided by the Lismore Lions and everybody is welcome.

In Ballina celebrations will be held in Fawcett Park from 9am-1pm to celebrate all things Oz.

The day kick starts at 9am with the Ballina Shire Concert Band performance and a BBQ courtesy of East Ballina Lions Club.

At 10am the Australia Day official ceremony will get underway with the flag raising ceremony, an Indigenous welcome to country, a welcome by the Mayor Philip Silver, a speech by ambassador Shane Gould, followed by citizenship and awards ceremonies, and performances by local community choirs and Dr Bob.

The Ballina Scope Club will be in the park with the traditional billy tea, scones and damper.

The Ballina RSL Club is also getting on board with their own Australia Day festivities including Australia Day Bingo with free lamingtons. (Eyes down from 9.30am). There is also a kids’ show from 10.30am, face painting from 12-3pm and a free sausage sizzle from 12-2pm plus a free party bags for the kids.

They are also hosting a kids fishing competition. Registration starts at 11am and the competition will run from 12.30-4.15pm.

Kyogle Council are holding their celebrations at the Woodenbong Public Hall from 8am.

There will be billy tea and damper and a flag raising ceremony at 9am. The awards ceremony will be held from 9.30am and the ambassador is 23-year -old singer Krystel Kellar. Lunch will be roast meat on a spit and weather permitting there will be a cricket match at Recreation Oval.

Richmond Valley Council activities are happening in the Ellangowan Hall with the arrival of classic cars and motorbikes from 9.30am. The official ceremony and awards will be presented from 10am by children’s author Libby Hathorn. There will also be the hobby horse invitational race featuring local politicians and identities followed by hobby horse races for all ages. There will also be an Indigenous art exhibition, historical displays, blacksmith demonstrations and plenty of country music all afternoon. There will also be a barbecue, camp oven and Stan’s famous scones.

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