By Ivor Jones
To many, the last two years may seem to have been eventful, but have they really? A number of what was once regular or annual Eventful events failed to go ahead or were curtailed due to COVID.
Spring, Summer and early Autumn one would normally come across many events from School and Church fete, garden shows, carnivals and the like.
As we are now into January, one regular event has been the Australia Day celebrations. Australia Day has not always been celebrated on January . Other states and territories celebrated on various dates.
In New South Wales the 26th January had been called “Anniversary Day” up to 1866 but also In early colonial times, the 26th was also called ‘First Landing Day’ or ‘Foundation Day’ by some, and would be celebrated by European immigrants (particularly ex-convicts) by holding anniversary dinners.
Other states and territories also had an anniversary or similar days set aside for celebration on the anniversary of the founding of the state or territory. Names for the particular day in those states and territories were “Settlement Day”, “Foundation Day”, “Proclamation Day” and in the case of Tasmania it was the “Hobart Regatta Day” on the 1st December which celebrated the discovery of the island by Abel Tasman in 1642.
The first ever official national day that was actually named Australia Day was July 30 in 1915, and was instigated to raise funds for the World War I effort. It was not until 1994 that all states and territories decided to celebrate what we now call Australia Day on the 26th January.
Some states still maintain their own celebrations for the anniversary of their foundation. Tasmania now celebrates “Hobart Regatta Day” but in January instead of December.
One of the highlights during past years of Australia Day in the Hills and Hawkesbury regions has been the fireworks displays. The venue has also changed for celebrations during recent times.
I can recall when the major celebration for the Hills district was at the Castle Hill Showground, one year it was at the Balcombe Heights sports grounds at Baulkham Hills whereas more recently it has been celebrated at the Historic Bella Vista Farm heritage grounds which has become one of the major showcases for events in the Hills. The major event in the Hawkesbury region is held at Governor Philip Park alongside the river at Windsor, where again one of the major attractions is the fireworks display.
Apart from the fireworks, Australia Day is also the day that showcases the talents of young and old performers in concert and many newer arrivals are confirmed as Australian Citizens with citizenship ceremonies held throughout the land. Prominent citizens also receive Awards for charitable or notable deeds.
At the time of writing this piece I cannot say whether Australia Day celebrations will be either live or on-line due to the Covid situation that we are all forced to live with. Perhaps by the time this article is published on 14th January it maybe clearer as to whatever changing rules and regulations will allow. If not, get in touch with your local council closer to the date either by visiting their website or telephoning them
But whatever you do I wish each and everyone of you a Happy enjoyable “Australia Day” whether you are having a quiet day at home or enjoying a family bar-b-que.