Australia Day: “Reflect, Respect and Celebrate” - Hope 103.2

Australia Day: “Reflect, Respect and Celebrate”

It’s a day off for every Australian resident, but for most, Australia Day has a “bigger meaning” beyond a holiday.

By Mike CrooksTuesday 23 Jan 2024NewsReading Time: 3 minutes

While some ceremonies have been controversially cancelled, there will be more than 600 events across the nation on the national day, including a star-studded concert (and fireworks) at Sydney Harbour.

It’s a day off for every Australian resident, but for most, Australia Day has a “bigger meaning” beyond a holiday.

According to the National Australia Day Council, on January 26 more than half of all Australians participate in Australia Day by attending events organised by state governments, local councils, community groups – or by gathering with family and friends.

Indeed, last year “Australians came together at more than 650 events hosted by councils and local community groups to reflect, respect and celebrate with their communities,” read a National Australia Day Council statement.

Dawn ceremony

Just before sunrise at Sydney’s Bennelong Point on January 26, a “Dawn Reflection” ceremony will honour “the strength and resilience” of Indigenous Australians.

At 5.20 AM, the sails of the Sydney Opera House will become the canvas for a piece of First Nations art.

The Dawn Reflection kicks off Australia’s national day and will coincide with the raising of the Australian and Aboriginal flags on the Harbour Bridge.

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“Star-studded” concert

In the evening, the Sydney Opera House forecourt will host a concert that will include some of the nation’s most-treasured performers.

Australia Day Live will see groups and artists such as Ganggajang, Kate Miller-Heidke, Dami Im, Casey Donovan, Chocolate Starfish, and William Barton.

There will also be performances by symphony orchestras from across the country, all backed up by John Foreman’s Aussie Pops Orchestra.

Accompanying the musical performances will be a “land and water show” on Circular Quay that will include projections on the sails of the Opera House, a “lit vessel” parade, acrobatics of jet-skiers – plus, fireworks show.

A day of celebrations

Amongst the NSW celebrations during the day, the Blacktown City Council will host a family-friendly event at the Rooty Hill Park on Eastern Road.

The day kicks off at 4pm with live performances, amusement rides and food stalls.

The alcohol-free event will conclude with fireworks show. Entry is free.

Welcoming new Aussies

Meanwhile, in the ACT, there will be a National Citizenship and Flag Raising Ceremony on Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin at 9am.

Around 16,000 people become Australian citizens on Australia Day and the ceremony will welcome the new citizens.

A Seahawk helicopter flies the Australian flag overhead during the ceremony and will be raised onstage by Australia’s Federation Guard.

The ceremony includes a 21 gun-salute and a RAAF fly past.


Of course, it wouldn’t be Australia Day without there being controversy.

Australia Day acknowledges the start of English colonisation of Australia, which is an ongoing source of a pain to First Nations people.

In light of this, Woolworths Group and Aldi announced in January that their stores would not be stocking Australia Day merchandise. The merchandise includes flags and Australia-themed clothing and items.

Woolworths Group, which owns Woolworths and Big W, announced on January 10 that its stores would not stock the products due to “broader discussions” about Australia Day and, “what it means to different parts of the community.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton reportedly suggested shoppers should “boycott” Woolworths following the move. But Agriculture and Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said it was up to Australians to decide where they want to shop.

“We don’t live in a kind of country where governments dictate what supermarkets have to sell to people,” Mr Watt told Channel 7’s Sunrise.

“No changes here”

Further, 81 local councils throughout Australia have cancelled their traditional Australia Day citizenship ceremonies in what is deemed to be a sympathetic move toward Indigenous Australians.

The cancellations follow Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s changing of the rule that effectively forced local councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

Even so, the Prime Minister has rejected the Opposition’s claim that he was determined to “change the date” of Australia Day.

“I support Australia Day,” he said, according to the Daily Telegraph, adding, “there are no changes here.”

Feature image: Photo supplied