Whether you are in the water during the Aquathon, competing in the thong race, listening to musicians or watching fireworks – there is something for everyone at Wollongong City Council’s Australia Day event.
There are activities, performances, rides and stalls to keep the whole family entertained from 8am to 9pm around Wollongong Harbour, Osborne Park, Lang Park and Flagstaff Hill on January 26.
This year’s theme is ‘under the sea’ and there will be large inflatable sea creatures along the harbour.
Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said more than 50,000 people were expected from across the Illawarra and Sydney.
“This year, I’m excited to announce our musical line-up for Australia Day includes; London-born singer Pearl Noire, lead singer of the Vanns, James Vann, local band The Groove and many more,” he said.
“Our Australia Day event isn’t just about great live music and fireworks. Check out the Ozzy Doggy Show, hire a paddleboard, bust some dance moves at the Global Dance Stage, play backyard cricket, take part in our lantern parade or even go for a joy flight in a helicopter and take in the great views of Wollongong Harbour.”
Revellers can also see the Roller Hawks in action and have a go for themselves or chill out on beanbags. Young musicians will compete in a new activity, Battle of the Bands. There will also be dances from different cultures.
This year Nicole Bowman is the city’s Australia Day Ambassador. Ms Bowman is a professional speaker who proudly based her national and global career in Wollongong, where she was born and raised.
“I absolutely love Wollongong,” she said. “I want to encourage all of us to do something to make our city better.
“It could be starting a big charity like I did with Dress for Success or as small as picking up litter.”
Ms Bowman encouraged people volunteer or contribute to a cause they are passionate about.
Ms Bowman encouraged residents to attend the event because there was always a great vibe and laid back atmosphere.
“The day is a chance to reflect on how lucky we are to live in Australia,” she said.
Wollongong Police District crime manager Brad Ainsworth said there would be a large police presence at the event to ensure everyone was safe and well behaved.
“Have fun, be safe and look after your mates,” he said.
Cr Bradbery said he enjoyed talking with residents during the ‘street party’ and another highlight was welcoming new citizens to Wollongong.
“It is important to recognise what we have in Australia but that it came at a great cost whether that was Indigenous lives or lives lost in World War I protecting our country,” he said. “We should also remember the contribution of unsung heroes.
“The public should reflect on the fact we are a free country that provides opportunities and that we live in a prosperous land.”
Albion Park resident Kim Halley said she would be entering her well-behaved pooch, Paddington, in the Ozzy Dog Show competition.
“He loves dressing up but I will have to keep his outfit under wraps until the day,” she said.