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Australia Day In Ballarat

Once again Australia Day celebrations will culminate around Lake Wendouree with BCC's fireworks spectacular.

The City of Ballarat will hold its annual fireworks display on January 26, taking the opportunity to raise much-needed funds to aid the Victorian bushfire recovery.

Mayor, Cr Ben Taylor stressed the fireworks at Lake Wendouree would be subject to weather conditions and any fire restrictions in place.

“We will monitor the situation closely and take advice from the CFA and other relevant authorities leading up to and on the day of January 26,” he said.

If the fireworks are unable to go ahead because of fire restrictions or unsafe weather conditions, we will postpone them to another time and event,” he said.

Council has already paid the company engaged to deliver the fireworks display.

“Rather than forfeiting this monetary outlay, we will take the opportunity to transform the event into a major fundraising effort for all those bushfire victims who need it the most," the Mayor said.

 A Victorian Bushfire Appeal has been established to provide practical support to Victorians impacted by the state’s devastating fires, including in East Gippsland and North East Victoria.

The Victorian Government has partnered with Bendigo Bank and The Salvation Army to establish the Appeal, with 100% of donated funds going directly to communities in need as they begin to rebuild their lives.

Council has donated $20,000 to assist fire victims and is continuing to raise money through its summer events program. It has also offered plant and equipment and key emergency response personnel to the East Gippsland and Towong Councils.

Cr Taylor said Ballarat had proven itself to be a generous, caring community, when it comes to helping people in time of need and was confident the thousands of visitors to the January 26 fireworks display would help boost the appeal total.

Australia Day Awards honour Ballarat’s outstanding residents

The City of Ballarat will recognise its 2020 Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Community Event of the Year at a special ceremony on Friday 24 January, 2020, from 5-7pm.

The Australia Day Awards recognise and celebrate individuals and organisations which give up their time to make our community a more vibrant place to live in. 

Nominees for the Citizen of the Year include –  

  • Gary William Browning (posthumous nomination) for his contribution to Ballarat tourism and community 

  • Dennis Collins for his contribution to recycling, establishing the PVC Seperation recycling solution 

  • Nick Locandro, founder of not-for-profit organisation This is Dementia, for his contribution to awareness of early onset dementia 

  • Merle Hathaway for her volunteer work to preserve heritage buildings and fundraising for refugees, the homeless and those with mental health illness 

  • Paul Beechey for his contribution to the Burrumbeet community and region, including 47 years with the CFA and 39 years with the Learmonth Bowling Club 

  • Desley Beechey for helping others in the local, regional and international community, including Timor Leste, and 

  • Ballarat Roller Skate Fit Club founder and artist Marcia King for promoting fitness and inclusion. 

Nominees for Young Citizen of the Year include –  

  • Samuel McColl for providing leadership in organisations including the Young Rural Leaders Program, CFA and St John’s Ambulance 

  • Shelby Sherritt for promoting art therapy in the recovery from serious illness 

  • April O’Neill for empowering disconnected young people in the community 

  • Josha-Lyn Gibson for promoting the work and positive outcomes of the Clemente program to improve the lives of others 

  • Aleasha Kelly for participation and leadership in the LARF program to help vulnerable young people 

  • Rory Taylor for her commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) projects 

  • Tobias Soul for commitment to the Pathways in Technology program, developing projects and games with CAFS 

  • Keeley’s Cause founder Keeley Johnson for supporting educational opportunities for children with autism or intellectual disability 

  • Ethan Sculley for raising funds for children with special needs and from various cultural backgrounds, and providing socks for the homeless 

  • Gabriel Gervasoni for commitment to the Pathways in Technology program and running workshops for Vision Australia, and 

  • Evie Crawford for leadership and mentoring in the Empower to Play program, captaining her school’s energy breakthrough challenge and through the Western Bulldogs Leadership Project. 

Nominees for Community Event of the Year include – 

  • Ballarat Repair Cafe (Mary Duff) for its contribution to the environment and circular economy, and 

  • Roller Skate Fit Club (Marcia King and Haylee Hartley) for its contribution to fitness for people of all levels and supporting the development of social networks and inclusion through fun and fitness. 

The Awards are open to the public and free to attend, with refreshments and nibbles to follow. 

The City of Ballarat will conduct all events on and leading up to 26 January in line with the recommendations from Reconciliation Victoria to mark the day respectfully, to recognise the honoured place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in our nation’s history, to be sensitive to the feelings of Aboriginal people who may see the day as one of mourning, and to see the day as an opportunity to promote understanding, respect and reconciliation. 

Alongside the Australia Day Awards, events being held in Ballarat to mark 26 January include –  

  • Survival Day Dawn Gathering at View Point, Lake Wendouree, on Sunday 26 January at 5.30am 

  • Citizenship Ceremony, Town Hall, Trench Room, on Sunday 26 January at 10.30am 

  • Ringing of the bells (short peal), Town Hall, following the Citizenship Ceremony, on Sunday 26 January, and 

  • Lake Wendouree fireworks on Sunday 26 January at 9.30pm

  • Celebrate Australia Day in the Central Goldfields Shire

  • Residents are invited to celebrate Australia Day on Sunday 26 January at the Central Goldfields Shire Council Australia Day free, family event at the Station Domain, Maryborough.

    A free breakfast and children’s activities will commence at 8.30am followed by official proceedings at 9.15am. The Australia Day Awards – including Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Community Award of the Year – will also be announced.

    The event will also include a Citizenship Ceremony where 13 residents will become Australian Citizens.

    Medallions will also be presented to all babies born during 2019. Books will also be presented to all four-year-old children starting kindergarten. 

    Across the Shire, various community groups and organisations will also host Australia Day events at the following locations:


    8am: Talbot RSL Park (across from the Town Hall). Free breakfast. BYO plate, knife, fork, mug and chair. For more information contact Greg or Heather on 0427 090 172.


    8.30am: Station Domain, Maryborough. Free breakfast provided, including a sausage sizzle, pancakes and cereal. All served by local community groups. Event also includes Citizenship Ceremony and Australia Day Awards announcement. Official proceedings begin at 9.15am.


    10.30am: Market Reserve, Carisbrook. Sausage sizzle and commemorative presentations. Australia Day Ambassador Mr Vedran Drakulic OAM will address the crowd. For more information contact George on 0437 977 237.


    10am: Rene Fox Gardens on Broadway, Dunolly. Live music and free sausage sizzle.

    11am: Official address by Australia Day Ambassador Mr Grant Monks. BYO chairs. For more information contact Marion on 0438 168 634.


    11am: Bealiba Town Hall. Flag raising followed by an address by a guest speaker. Local entertainment and a free barbecue lunch. For more information contact Pam on 5469 1310.

    Daisy Hill                                                                        

    11am: Daisy Hill Community Centre. Free barbecue lunch for attendees. Guest speaker is John Gault. For more information contact Neil Auger on 0412 821 198.

  • Photos Supplied