The Illawarra celebrates Australia Day so well.
Understandably there is a portion of people who would prefer the date moved because of its historical significance, but those who wish to celebrate Australia Day in this region do so in style.
Australia Day in essence should be – and is at least in the Illawarra - a perfect celebration of togetherness and inclusion.
In performing the Welcome to Country at Wollongong’s official citizenship ceremony at the Town Hall, Dharawal elder Richard Davis made reference to the debate over the January 26 date.
“Lets remember the past, but don’t dwell on the past and move forward,” Mr Davis said.
“Yes, we’ve had our issues and will probably continue to have issues but overall, I think Australia is a great country.
“We need to respect each other from wherever we come from, whatever part of the world and understand each others cultures and get on, and live our lives the best we can.”
Strong and wise words indeed.
Mr Davis also said everyone should participate in Australia Day events to help foster and to understand that sense of community.
Mr Davis is without doubt 110 per cent right.
There are so many wonderful community events right across the Illawarra which encourage thousands of people to come out and celebrate the many things that we appreciate about our country and culture as it is today.
One of the great traditions in Wollongong has always been the recognition of the first baby born in Wollongong.
The lucky parents and their bub are spoiled by Wollongong's Australia Day committee with gifts and flowers in something that is unique to Wollongong.
It further shows the strong sense of community which continues to exist and we should treasure as a region.
Speaking to our reporter Brendan Crabb at Kiama Jamberoo resident Alan Canning summed it up nicely.
“Just like today, everyone gets together, nationalities get together and all that sort of thing,’’ he said.
“(My favourite part of Australia Day) is just the people really.
“It’s not often that you get people to come out together like this for a day.”,
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves Mr Canning, our thoughts exactly.