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Hills Shire Australia Day celebrations reap praise

Ricki-Lee, Alfie Arcuri, convict reenactments and a selfie booth were just some of the activities, events and performances on offer at The Hills Shire Council’s biggest ever Australia Day celebrations on Thursday, January 26.

More than 30,000 residents and visitors to The Hills made their way to historic Bella Vista Farm dressed in their best Australiana themed outfits and armed with their picnics, rugs and chairs to celebrate the national holiday.

Mayor of The Hills Shire, Councillor Yvonne Keane said she was overjoyed to see so many people coming together to enjoy the array of activities on offer including amusement park rides, barnyard animals, face painting, sheep shearing and a fireworks display.

“There was a real warmth and family-friendly atmosphere at our event and I am so ecstatic that so many people chose to celebrate our national day with us in The Hills,” Mayor Keane said.

“Blinky Bill was a big hit with our young festivalgoers, while country-singer Ben Ransom and Ricki-Lee had everyone up and dancing to all their phenomenal songs.

“The day also provided a wonderful opportunity to stop, reflect and acknowledge how fortunate we are to live in this beautiful, vibrant and stunning community,” Mayor Keane added.

To add to the activities, new Australian citizens were welcomed into The Hills community and Australia Day Award winners were recognised and congratulated for everything they do to make The Hills Shire a great place to live.

“On the day, I was honoured to welcome 30 new citizens and their families into The Hills. They have come from all over the world to make our Shire their new home,” Mayor Keane said.

“I would also like to congratulate all our Australia Day Award winners and nominees.

“Our Australia Day Citizens of the Year were Marco Capobianco and Chris Lee from non-profit organisation Conviction Group. These remarkable young men teach teenagers, more specifically males aged 13 to 16, on how to build their emotional resilience, boost positive thinking and how to manage life’s challenges. They are game-changers and commendable individuals.

“The ceremony was also a very emotional time for myself, Deputy Mayor Robyn Preston and many others watching on in the audience who have seen how hard these wonderful people work without wanting or needing any recognition for the jobs they do to improve our spectacular community.

“A big thank you once again to our award winners and nominees. You truly are amazing and deserving of your recognition.

“I also want to thank our staff and many wonderful volunteers for making the day such a special occasion, as well as our many sponsors, particularly Hillsbus, Moove Media, Hills Family Funerals, KIIS 1065, Holden Castle Hill, Wet ‘n’ Wild Sydney, Virgin Active Norwest and Cleanaway.”