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Join us this Australia Day

Colourful crowd and musicians at the 2020 Australia Day community event.

There are many ways to come together with your community on Australia Day.

Monday 18 January 2021

After a year like no other, everyone is invited to join a free community event in Victory Park and a virtual dawn smoking ceremony to acknowledge Australia Day - Survival Day in Mount Alexander Shire.

The annual community event in Mount Alexander Shire will run from 10.00am to 12noon at Victory Park in Castlemaine on Tuesday 26 January.

Come along to be the first to find out the winners of the Mount Alexander Shire Australia Day Awards and welcome our newest Australian citizens in a special citizenship ceremony.

The family-friendly event will feature a Welcome to Country, music from the Castlemaine Highland Pipe Band, and a BBQ lunch by the Rotary Club of Castlemaine.

The theme for this year is The Story of Australia. Reflect. Respect. Celebrate. We are all part of the story.

“Australia Day – Survival Day is a wonderful opportunity for our community to come together to reflect, respect and celebrate after a particularly challenging year,” said Cr Tony Cordy, Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire.

“It’s a day to reflect on our nation’s history which began with the First Australians tens of thousands of years ago, and to respect and share the stories, histories and contributions of all Australians.

“It also gives us the chance to celebrate a modern history that reflects a nation of diverse people and achievements. While acknowledging the highs and the lows, we celebrate the spirit of helping, giving and volunteering that so strongly defines our community.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, registration is required to attend the COVIDSafe event. Book your tickets online at bit.ly/MtAlexBoxOffice or at the Visitor Information Centre in Mostyn Street, Castlemaine. The event will also be live-streamed via YouTube so everyone can participate.

For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Australia Day is recognised as Survival Day or Invasion Day with mixed feelings. While some consider it a day of mourning, many use the day to mark the survival of their ongoing traditions and cultures.

To acknowledge this pain and the ongoing journey towards reconciliation, activities in the shire will start with a dawn ceremony as a culturally safe and respectful way to mark the day.

Everyone is invited to join a live-stream of the smoking ceremony, led by Dja Dja Wurrung Elder Uncle Rick Nelson from the peak of Leanganook (Mount Alexander) at 6.00am.

This ceremony is an acknowledgement of our shared history, and an expression of sorrow for the impacts of colonisation on the Dja Dja Wurrung, and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It provides a platform for education and healing, and allows the community to be part of the living culture of the Dja Dja Wurrung people in the region.

“We hope to bring everyone together in a meaningful and respectful way,” said Mayor Cordy.

“The dawn ceremony is a chance to connect and stand together in solidarity, witness an age old ceremony, and pause in silence to reflect on the strength and resilience of our country’s First Nations people.

“We value our joint approach to planning local Australia Day – Survival Day events and activities each year. By working in partnership with our local First Nations community we can show it is possible for Australia Day to provide a foundation for unity rather than division,” he said.

Event details

What: Australia Day – Survival Day Dawn Ceremony
When: 6.00am, Tuesday 26 January
Where: Join the live stream via Mount Alexander Shire Council’s YouTube channel. Search for Mount Alexander Shire Council on YouTube.

What: Australia Day – Survival Day Community event
When: 10.00am to 12.00 noon, Tuesday 26 January
Where: Victory Park, Mostyn Street, Castlemaine
Watch online via Mount Alexander Shire Council’s YouTube channel.
Bookings: Registration is essential for a COVIDSafe event. Book your free tickets at bit.ly/MtAlexBoxOffice or at the Visitor Information Centre in Mostyn Street, Castlemaine.

Entry to Council’s four outdoor pools in Mount Alexander Shire is also free on Tuesday 26 January to enable everyone to have some fun.

Image: Join your community this Australia Day.

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