Australian spirit alive for big day

The Australian spirit was alive and well at Wollongong Harbour yesterday, as Ned Kelly, a pile of lamingtons and a giant flag-emblazoned thong were assembled to launch the city's celebrations for our national day.

About 40,000 people are expected to flock to Belmore Basin and surrounding parks again this year to mark Australia Day on January 26.

Wollongong City Council yesterday revealed its line-up of entertainment and events on the day, which kicks off with the annual Australia Day Aquathon at 8am, and will finish with fireworks at 9pm.

Festivities will be spread across five areas, including Wollongong Harbour, Lang Park, Osborne Park and Flagstaff Hill, with train and Segway rides offered to allow residents to explore the event.

More than 80 of Australia's newest citizens will take their affirmation at Wollongong Town Hall from 10.30am, where they will hear from former Dragon's player and Australia Day ambassador Matt Cooper.

Activities such as thong throwing and dragon boating will take place around the harbour foreshore throughout the day. Osborne Park will have amusement rides, food and novelty stalls, while live entertainment will be at Lang Park.

Launching the events program, Wollongong Deputy Lord Mayor Chris Connor urged residents to get out and enjoy "the biggest day on our city's calendar".

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