Australia Day festivities guarantee family-friendly fun

Gunnedah Shire Council

Australia Day is inching closer and preparations are in full swing in Gunnedah Shire.

Gunnedah Shire’s Australia Day Working Group Chair Cr Rob Hooke said it was exciting to see the 2023 program packed full of fun, family-friendly activities.

“We’re gearing up for a fantastic few days of Australia Day festivities in Gunnedah Shire,” he said.

“Events include everything from touch football to a free pool day, chess competitions, cricket, a cake-off, open days and a free movie screening.

“We’re looking forward to seeing families and friends getting together and enjoying everything this year’s program has to offer in Gunnedah and our villages.”

The shire’s events will kick off at The Civic on Wednesday, 25 January with the Australia Day Awards Ceremony which will recognise and honour individuals and groups in the local community who have worked to shape and enrich the Shire.

Canapes and refreshments will be served from 6.30pm and the ceremony will start at 7.15am.

This year’s ambassador is John Anderson AC, a sixth-generation farmer and grazier who spent 19 years in Australian Parliament from 1989.

Mr Anderson served as a senior Cabinet minister in the reformist government led by John Howard (1996 to 2005). This included six years as Leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister.

Mr Anderson was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2011, and a Companion (AC) in 2022. He has been published on topics such as civic freedoms, global food security, modern slavery and the economy and farms on the family property at Mullaley whilst also being active through various directorships, in public speaking and in the not-for-profit sector.

The ambassador will attend the ceremony and Australia Day events, including the church service under the gums near the Dorothea Mackellar statue in ANZAC Park at 9.30am, followed by a citizenship ceremony at 10am.

Australia Day Splash launches at the Gunnedah Memorial Pool Complex from 9am, with free entry. From 9am-1pm, there will be a free jumping castle, snow cones and barbecue from 11am. A DJ will amp up the vibe in the 50m pool from 1pm-6pm.

There will be free bus services running from Curlewis and Carroll for the pool event. Jump on the bus at 10am at the Carroll Store or 10.40am at the bus stop opposite Curlewis General Store. The bus will depart the pool at 2.20pm for Curlewis and 3.20pm for Carroll.

The Australia Day Splash event is funded by the NSW Government’s Reconnecting Regional NSW – Community Events Program.

Aussie Fest is back once again at Donnelly Fields, featuring the popular women’s and men’s Indigenous versus Rest touch football games. There will also be touch shoot-outs and Dash for Cash.

Gunnedah Rural Museum, The Mackellar Centre and Gunnedah Water Tower Museum will also be open on the day.

Pubs in and around Gunnedah will be hosting a variety of activities including an Australia Day Eve cocktail party, car park cricket, live local music, face painting, slip and slide, and family-friendly games.

Other Australia Day activities in Gunnedah will include a trivia quiz, cake-off, table tennis and chess competitions and free screening of Australia at The Civic Theatre.

Council has received funding from the National Australia Day Council to support Australia Day activities.

Caption: Gunnedah Shire’s Australia Day festivities will be packed with fun.

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