Australians urged to celebrate Jan 26

The NSW government promises a full-scale program for January 26 to entice Sydneysiders to celebrate Australia Day.

Environment Minister James Griffin acknowledged the day represents mourning for First Nations people but urged communities to come together.

“The celebrations will provide opportunities to reflect with optimism on our successful multicultural society and a bright future in New South Wales,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“Join with me to reflect on what you love about our country, what you hope to change and where we’re heading in the future.”

Truth telling and reconciliation will be at the core of the celebrations, Australia Day Council of NSW deputy chair Yvonne Weldon said.

“It isn’t just about Australia Day,” she told AAP.

“It’s about what we do every other day in between.

“What we’re doing through a truth telling is actually sharing our lived experience so we can truly understand what the date represents.”

The Sydney Opera House sails will be illuminated with First Nations’ artwork as the Australian and Aboriginal flags are raised together.

The WugulOra morning ceremony at Barangaroo will invite everyone to recognise the importance of the world’s oldest continual living culture.

Throughout the day Sydney Harbour and the foreshore will be in the spotlight with a harbour parade, ferrython, tall ships race, salute to Australia and aerial Defence Force displays.

The day will end with a live concert at the Sydney Opera House forecourt, featuring a line-up including Casey Donovan, Dami Im, Christine Anu, William Barton and Isaiah Firebrace.

The concert will be broadcast live on ABC TV and ABC iView from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.


Joanna Guelas
(Australian Associated Press)


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