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SSC Newspaper : January 2011
It is a day when all Australians come together. This year, though tinged with sadness at the recent Queensland floods, Strathfield’s Australia Day festivities are expected to be a fun-filled family occasion. Some 45 migrants will swear allegiance and receive citizenship certificates in a ceremony which has become linked to one of the nation’s biggest celebrations. Four will be youngsters – children and teens. But alongside the sausage sizzle tent, donation buckets will be there as reminders of those fellow Australians struggling to rebuild their lives in Queensland. Mayor of Strathfield, Councillor Tony Maroun is expected to appeal to those present to put their hands in their pockets. The council has already donated $10,000 to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal. The celebrations begin with breakfast at 8am on Wednesday 26 January at Strathfield Park. The Hitmakers and Loop de Loop will entertain. For the kids there will be an animal petting farm, showbags and free giveaways. Strathfield’s Australia Day Ambassadors, Jonathan Coleman and Ian Rogerson of WSFM’s ‘Jono & Dano Show ’, will present Strathfield’s Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year Awards. Cr Maroun says Australia Day is a great community event to bring people together at the start of the new year. “Australia Day is an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate all that is great about our country, past, present and future. It is also a day that symbolises the importance of community and coming together as one.” The day will commence with a Welcome to Country by the Freedom Dancers and a free barbecue breakfast, thanks to the support of AJ Bush & Sons, which will be cooked by volunteers from the Strathfield SES unit. Council will give away free flags, stickers and visors to keep participants protected from the sun. After the fun at Strathfield Park, lucky Strathfield families can take in the family-friendly Australia Day program at Sydney Olympic Park, which takes place in the afternoon and culminates in a fireworks display once the sun goes down. This year’s program includes sheep- shearing displays, whip-cracking, sheep-dog trial shows, an animal farm, pony rides, face-painting, magic acts, crafts and Indigenous art workshops, amusement rides, modern Aussie rock performances, a bush band and a multicultural concert. Over 5000 people are expected to attend this year’s celebrations, which begin with an Indigenous Welcome to Country service at noon. Main-stage entertainment includes the vocals and acoustic guitar of Danielle Blakey, bush music and dancing by the Tuckitinya Bush Band and performances by the Heritage Dancers, the Brent Street Australiana Dancers and more. Kids will be entertained throughout the day, by acts such as the Wild Aussies Kids Show and a juggling and magic performance. From 8pm, Fallon – The John Farnham Experience will have the crowd dancing along to the ultimate Aussie showman’s greatest hits, and other Aussie rockers will play in the lead-up to the fireworks finale at 9pm. Families can bring a picnic, cook up something on the BBQ or enjoy some of the food that will be available for purchase at Bicentennial Park. And, of course, for those who believe Australia Day should be hip and happening, the annual Big Day Out music festival is on at the Sydney Showground (see back page). Australia Day celebrations at: Strathfield Park, Homebush Road, Strathfield. from 8am to 12 noon. Cost: Free. Visit www.strathfield.nsw. gov.au or phone 9748 9999. Australia Day celebrations at: Sydney Olympic Park. Bicentennial Park, from 12 noon to 9pm ( fireworks). Cost: Free. Visit sydneyolympicpark.com.au, call 9714 7888 or check out the Sydney Olympic Park pages on Facebook and Twitter. Strathfield Scene 7 australia day Queensland on the nation’s mind AmbAssAdor ‘Jono’ At your service Strathfield’S official australia day ambassador for 2011 is the popular radio and television personality Jonathan ‘Jono’ coleman. the funny man, one half of the Jono & dano drive-time show on classic hits WSfM, will be the guest of honour as our australia day ambassador at Strathfield’s australia day celebrations on January 26. coleman and his colleague ian rogerson (‘dano’) will present council’s citizen and Young citizen of the Year awards during the celebrations at Strathfield Park. an australia day ambassador for the past four years, coleman says he is particularly looking forward to meeting those becoming citizens on the day. “i came to australia as a ‘ten Pound Pom’ with my mum and dad in 1965,” he says. “i was seven at the time. i finally became a citizen in 1988, in the australian Bicentenary, so i know just how important the day is to these people. i’ve been there.” having grown up in Sydney’s inner West, the chubby-faced comedian retains strong ties with the area. he has many close friends living in Strathfield and often dines here. “i’m delighted to be coming to Strathfield this year,” he says. “it’s a place that i really love visiting, especially for the food. and it’s a great honour. as a migrant myself and a bath-dodger i feel very proud to be asked.” coleman, who has carved out a successful career on both radio and television in australia and then the UK, says his return to the UK for 16 years reinforced his own sense of australian identity. “the years i spent working in england made me feel even prouder to be an aussie – and that’s exactly how i was introduced wherever i went, even though i’d been born in hackney,” he says. although the recent situation on christmas island has hardened some people’s attitudes to migrants, coleman believes that australia is still a tolerant and welcoming society – but one that sometimes forgets just how lucky it is. “let’s face it, we take it all a bit for granted. the thing about people from overseas is that they’ve made enormous sacrifices to come here. they are often prouder of the country than native-born australians.” despite his reputation for hamming it up in front of the cameras, coleman has promised not to wear anything outrageous on the big day – such as a funny hat with corks – and will be soberly attired. “i did consider it,” he laughs. “But the organisers have asked me to tone it down on australia day and i’ve promised to behave myself.” Strathfield’s australia day celebrations will be held at Strathfield Park from 8am to 12 noon. by mark chipperfield
Strathfield Scene December
SS9 February 2011