It is fitting that Mat Campbell has been chosen as Wollongong City Council’s Australia Day Ambassador.
Having played a major role in saving his beloved Wollongong Hawks from being punted from the National Basketball League, the former Hawks captain was presented with the Key to the City in 2012.
On Saturday the father of two will kick off his busy celebrations when he delivers the Australia Day Ambassador address at Wollongong Town Hall, as more than 50 people become Australian citizens.
Later on January 26 Campbell will head to WIN Entertainment Centre to cheer on his former team as the Hawks take on the New Zealand Breakers.
Following the game he will head back to Lang Park to introduce the Australia Day Award Winners as part of the evening celebrations.
But the highlight for Campbell will be meeting Wollongong’s newest Australian citizens.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said Campbell was a champion on and off the basketball court.
He added that this year’s festivities catered for the whole family.
‘‘[The] council has plenty of family-friendly activities and entertainment to enjoy around the Wollongong Harbour foreshore,’’ he said.
‘‘New for 2013 is the Gong Factor talent competition. I’m really excited to see the 10 finalists in action. I know Wollongong is home to a lot of very talented and creative people and this competition will showcase this. I think this is one of the Australia Day 2013 events no one should miss.’’
Cr Bradbery asked people to remember this was an alcohol-free event.
‘‘I’d like to take this opportunity to remind people this is an alcohol-free event.
‘‘[The] council will be working with the NSW Police at this event and we will not tolerate drinking of alcohol or antisocial behaviour.’’
Revellers are encouraged to take the free bus running every 15 minutes from noon until 11pm between JJ Kelly Park and the WEC.