Australia Day – 26th January 2011




A U S T R A L I A    D A Y
– more events than you have energy to attend, but mostly free – so even if you run out of puff, you wouldn’t run out of money…

[ Note: This is the lineup for a past Australia Day program – but the 2011 version is likely to follow very closely with a few variations ]

Australia Day [ January 26th ] is a National Celebration of all things Australian and over the years it has become the largest event in the nation. This day is also a public holiday much loved by all Australians when they choose to spend most of their day on public activities all around the nation. In Sydney, the harbour in summer serves as a stunning backdrop to the numerous events.

Besides the officially listed events was the colour, gaeity and flag-waving patriotism of Australians, with visitors and tourists joing in – albeit sometimes with accompanying flags/caps/insignia of their own countries. And the kids, with painted faces and sing-song voices of innocence adding to the “happy-making” atmosphere of the day.

These were the events of 2006:

Woggan ma gule – Morning Ceremony
8.00am – 8.20am
Royal Botanic Gardens, Farm Cove, by the Main Pond

Each year, Australia Day begins with the Woggan-ma-gule Morning Ceremony. Performed in the Royal Botanic Gardens, sacred country of the indigenous Gadigal people, the ceremony honours the past and celebrates the future inclusion of all Australians.

Woggan-ma-gule voices all people’s dreams. Bringing to life a sense of community through celebration, the traditional ceremony entertains, engages and challenges us to think about what Australia Day means to us – personally, socially and culturally.

Supported by the Australia Day Council, the ceremony is created through artistic collaboration between indigenous elders, performers and artists of the Gadigal lands.

Woggan-ma-gule or Farm Cove, is the meeting place of the waters; where fresh water meets the sea. It honours all elements of harbour life.

As a young nation, Australia has grown and reaped many rewards from these ancient lands. Sadly, this growth has come at some cost to our environment, witnessed through recent droughts and climatic changes.

In earlier times, ancestral creation sprits were revered and honored as the safe keepers of our lands. Through the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony we awaken, cleanse and honor the spirits of past inhabitants of this land. We acknowledge their ancient footprints on which our nation has grown. We speak with a new voice of inclusiveness.

This year, the ceremony will combine the soulful language calls of the Gadigal people with the voices of song woman Emma Donovan and song man Ceil McLeod Along accompanied by the rhythm of ‘Wicked Beat Sound System’.

As well as honouring our past, Woggan-ma-gule aims to tell a story. Many cultures have stories about the mystical women of the sea, or mermaids. The Eora nation was no exception.

This year the ceremony will include a contemporary story of the mermaid based on ancient dance and choreographed by Wiradjuri woman Kerry Johnson.

We invite you share in this ceremonial beginning to Australia Day. Experience song and dance performances and the warmth of a traditional smoking ritual. Connect to a spiritual path and start your Australia Day celebrations in a meaningful way.

The Queen’s Baton commences its Australia Day journey at this Indigenous morning ceremony.


Surfboard Challenge presented by TAB
8.45am – 11:30am
Man O War Steps at Sydney Opera House to Blues Point Reserve, McMahons Point

When you live in one of the most amazing cities in the world you have to host one of the most unique races in the world. Spectators appear in droves as paddlers race across the harbour and under the Harbour Bridge.

The race begins at Sydney Opera House as men and women, pros and amateurs alike all enter the water. The exciting finish takes place at Blues Point Reserve, McMahon’s Point. Spectators can greet the winners at the finish line where they can also enjoy a cold drink and a sausage sizzle. Participants that enter the 3.5km Australia Day Surfboard Challenge before 18 January 2006 will be eligible to paddle for a total of $13,000 in cash.

In 2006 there are two courses. There’s a new 2km ‘Short Cut’ course for those wanting to enter for fun
and to experience paddling on Sydney Harbour.

The Queen’s Baton Relay overtake the splashes of the paddlers and continue across Sydney Harbour where it will disembark at McMahon’s Point Ferry Wharf.

NAB Ferrython
11.00am – 11.45 am
Fort Denison around Shark Island and back to the Harbour Bridge

They’re flashy, fast and festive. Catch them if you can as the NAB Ferrython race past and marvel the crowds. The four decorated Sydney First Fleet catamarans celebrate their glory with over a million people on the foreshore. In their 30th year the ferries will race across the Harbour from Circular Quay, around Shark Island, and then back to the Bridge for the coveted line and trophy honours. There is a 50 metre exclusion zone from each competing ferry.

After the race, the ferries sail around the Harbour for the afternoon and their crews compete for the Best Dressed Ferry Award.

For further information please call 02 8248 6500

Australia Day Parade
Harbour Bridge around Clark Island to Bradley’s Head and back to the Harbour Bridge.

Whether you’re a boat person or not, you’ll be amazed at the sights as the harbour fills up with a colourful display of decorated craft including tall ships, barges, cranes, ferries, tugs, yachts, tour boats and more.

This unique waterborne parade (led by Lady Hopetoun that carries the Queen’s Baton) will sail the length of the Harbour, from Goat Island to Clarke Island and back. If you own a yacht, boat or ship, you can join in the Parade and compete in the Best Dressed Vessels Competition. Don’t be shy when you decorate, because our judges will be on the lookout for the vessels that impress the most. And if your boat stands out, there are trophies and prizes to be won.

If you’re on land, be sure to bring along a picnic and a pair of binoculars, because you don’t want to miss a moment of this great Australia Day event.

Best Dressed Vessels Competition
All Day
Main Harbour

This is an event that’s unique as the city that hosts it and we invite you to dress your vessel in your best Australia Day gear. You can join hundreds of themed boats in the Australia Day Parade and compete for prizes and top honours in the Best Dressed Vessels Competition.

Finalists will be selected throughout the day and winners announced at the Sydney Ports Jazz on the Water concert in the evening. Categories include Best Dressed Overall, Most Original Theme and Best Working Boat, and Best Charter Boat and Best Flag Display.

If you’re taking part in the Best Dressed Vessel Competition, make your way to the exclusion zone in Farm Cove at 2.30pm to give the judging panel an opportunity to view your decorations up close.

For hints & tips on decorating your vessel click here

If you’re there to watch the event, you can come and help and cheer on the finalists and get an up-close view of the decorated boats. Click here to find out about the great prizes you can win.


Various times
On and above Sydney Harbour

Hold onto your seats, because the Australian Defence Force is going to demonstrate their awesome abilities in four spectacular activities on Sydney Harbour. It promises to be something the whole family will enjoy.

21 Gun Salute
Fleet Steps North, The Domain

Kogarah based 23 Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, will fire a 21 gun salute from Fleet Steps North. The regimental band will play during the morning.

RAAF Defence Aerial Display
Above Sydney Harbour

The sky is the limit as the Royal Australian Air Force provides a spectacular aerial display. The Hawks from RAAF Base Williamtown will swoop down the coast and over Sydney Harbour, promising the aerial show of a lifetime that you won’t want to miss.

Search and Rescue Display
2.00pm at Farm Cove and
2.35pm off Milson’s Point

See the Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Search and Rescue Team in action as they perform a thrilling display in Farm Cove at 2pm, and off Milson’s Point near Bradfield Park at 2:35pm.

Red Berets at Circular Quay
Circular Quay

The Army Parachute Training School Red Berets will treat spectators to a professional parachute exhibition as they drop from the sky above Circular Quay.

RAAF Roulettes
Above Sydney Harbour

See the Royal Australian Air Force’s elite aerobatic display team dazzles spectators with incredible precision – executing various death-defying manoeuvres over Sydney Harbour. Look skyward to the six Roulettes, flying PC-9 aircraft at a height of no less than 1,000 feet as they perform aerobatic manoeuvres. The display is sure to attract the attention of all on the Harbour foreshore.

Australia Day Tall Ships Race
3.00pm – 3.30pm
Main Harbour – Bradley’s Head to the Harbour Bridge.

The Tall Ships are back and more glorious than ever. Starting at Bradley’s Head, these majestic Tall Ships will gather to race back up the Harbour finishing under the Sydney Harbour Bridge with a bang!

Sydney Ports Jazz on the Water
5.00pm – 9.00pm
Pyrmont Point Park and Johnstons Bay

Listening to Jazz is sublime, but nothing quite compares to chilling out with Sydney Ports Jazz on the Water this Australia Day where soothing jazz sounds entertain audiences on and off shore. Pyrmont Point Park will be the scene of a terrific line-up of top jazz performers.

Refreshments and licensed bar open from 4pm onwards.

The Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton will sail by as the cool and eclectic beats contribute to the wonderful harbour side atmosphere created by talented jazz performers.

Jazz concert starts at 5pm.

MC – Catherine Hunter
5:00pm – 5:45pm Monsieur Camembert
6:00pm – 7:00pm Royal Australian Air Force Band featuring Catherine Hunter
7:00pm – 7:15pm Sydney Ports Official Welcome
Best Dressed Vessel Finalists Parade
Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton Relay
7:15pm – 7:55pm Swing City featuring Steve Clisby
“Playing the songs of Ray Charles”
8:10pm – 9:00pm Swing City featuring Glenn Shorrock
“From Frank Sinatra to the Little River Band”


Australia Day in the Park and MasterFoods Great Australian BBQ
9.30 am – 7.00 pm
Hyde Park North

If you’re looking for a great way to celebrate Australia Day, there’s no better place to stay cool and kick back and relax than Hyde Park. Once again, the Main Promenade of the park (to the north of Archibald Fountain) will be lined with a huge variety of food stalls. There will be plenty of cold beer and wine for mum and dad, and lots of yummy ice-cream for the kids.

While the kids enjoy their treats, they can go and see all the live events on the Main Stage with ABC for Kids from 9:30 am.

Got a taste for some authentic Aussie fare? Hyde Park has something for everyone. Treat your taste buds to some of Sydney’s favourite foods.

Catch MasterFoods chef Karen Hughes at the MasterFoods Celebrity Chef demonstrations between 10.30am and 4.30pm. Located near the Hyde Park chessboard.

Afterwards, grab a cold beer or wine and relax in the cool shade of the park and listen to some of Australia’s best live music. It’s a great way to spend your day.

As the afternoon continues, you and your family can relax on the grass and listen to live music. It’s fantastic fun for the whole family!

702 ABC Sydney Live Broadcast and Planet Cook
8.30am – 3.00pm
Hyde Park North (opposite St Mary’s Cathedral)

Join 702 ABC Sydney MORNINGS host Virginia Trioli for a very special live Australia Day broadcast across NSW between 8.30am and 11.00am. Come along and be part of our audience in Hyde Park to find out how the rest of the state is celebrating, plus the best in news, sport and entertainment on the day.

From 12.00noon come and watch Planet Cook. Kids love adventure and having fun and on Planet Cook on ABC each afternoon at 4pm that’s just what they get. Planet Cook serves up an environment that allows children to be entertained, creative and truly interactive.

Planet Cook engages with the audience by informing, inspiring and surprising them, whilst promoting a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. The series introduces a whole new way of ‘lookin’ at ‘cookin’. It encourages young people (5-8 years of age) to improvise, to come up with new ideas, to dare to be different.

Join Mike Bailey for his weather report, live from Hyde Park at 7.20pm for ABC TV News – MORE than the headlines.

Hyde Park Main Stage
9.30am – 7.00pm
Hyde Park North, Elizabeth Street Side

There’s always something exciting happening on Australia Day. And to start the day off right, the ABC for Kids shows begin at 9:30 on the Main Stage. At lunchtime, you’ll get the chance to welcome the Queen’s Baton to Hyde Park. After that, you can welcome new citizens to our country at the Lord Mayor’s citizenship ceremony.

But the fun doesn’t end there. In the late afternoon, you and the family can sit back and relax on the grass and listen and see some of Sydney’s most talented musicians. So if it’s a relaxing day in the park you’re after, Hyde Park has it all… all day long.

The Lord Mayor’s Citizenship Ceremony
– presented by the City of Sydney

12.55pm – 1.45pm
Hyde Park Main stage

At lunchtime, the Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore will welcome Sydney’s leg of the epic Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton Relay into Hyde Park. This will be followed by the Citizenship Ceremony – welcoming 16 new citizens into our country.

Message Trees
10.00am – 5.00pm
Nagoya Gardens, Hyde Park North

What’s great about Australia? Now you can express yourself and your national spirit by posting a message for the future on an Australia Day Message Tree.
NRMA Motorfest
10.00am – 5.00pm
Macquarie and College Streets

This should get your engines revving… NRMA Motorfest turns 21 in 2006! Don’t miss this rare display of over 1,000 vintage, veteran and classic vehicles. So take a stroll down Macquarie and College Streets and enjoy a walk through our motoring history. And don’t be shy, because these vintage car owners would be more than happy to answer any questions (they may even let you sit behind the wheel if you’re nice).

NRMA Jazz Stage
Midday – 8.00pm
Hyde Park North opposite St Mary’s Cathedral

Nothing’s better than chilling out on a hot day with some cool jazz. And the NRMA Jazz stage at Hyde Park is the perfect venue to sit back, relax and take it all in. The stage is set next to the stunning Sydney backdrop of St. Mary’s Cathedral and Motorfest display. So sit back, relax and let the music move you at the NRMA Jazz Stage.

The Australian Great Tyre Changing Challenge
11.00am – 4.00pm
Hyde Park Barracks Forecourt

How fast can you change the tyre on your car? Think you can do it faster than an NRMA Patrolman? Take the challenge and take on the experts at NRMA.

NRMA Plaza
10.00am – 5.00pm
Hyde Park Barracks Forecourt and Queens Square

Pick the brains of NRMA staff who can answer questions on everything from membership, vehicle inspections and batteries to our recently launched Safer Driving program. NRMA Travel will help you plan a holiday, and the historical NRMA Road Service display is a blast from the past, Come and visit the Mobile Member Centre and collect your free Australia Day tattoo and face paint kit.

NRMA Advanced Technology Exhibition
10.00am – 5.00pm
Adjacent to Hyde Park Barracks, Prince Albert Rd

Get the latest information on advanced technology vehicles including alternative fuels and safety advances. This fascinating display also includes the University of NSW’s solar racing car the Sunswift III.

Vintage Bus Service
11.00am – 5.00pm

Stops at specially marked bus stops along George, Alfred, Pitt, Elizabeth, Bathurst, Harbour and Hay Streets

Take a ride through history and view the city as you could have 40 years ago from the top deck of a double-decker bus.

As part of the NRMA Motorfest, a fleet of vintage buses from the Sydney Bus Museum will operate a circular route through the city and Darling Harbour. This ride-by-donation service is a unique and fun opportunity to experience the timeless charm of the old-world transport.

2GB Outside Broadcast
5.30am – 7.00pm
Queen’s Square

This Australia Day 2GB will be broadcasting LIVE from Queen’s Square Macquarie St. Alan Jones, Ray Hadley, Chris Smith and Philip Clark will be launching Australia Day with a FREE Aussie brekkie from 6am till 8am and we’ll be ‘re-uniting’ some lucky listeners LIVE on the day.


Various locations around The Rocks

Presented in partnership with Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, it’s the day The Rocks goes country – when the streets are closed and Australia’s hottest country musicians take over the foreshore.

Country Rocks will be bringing Australia’s finest country music performers to The Rocks on Australia Day for the fourth annual Country Rocks music festival. Country meets city as the best of Australia’s country music artists perform live in The Rocks this Australia Day. Country Rocks will feature some of the nation’s most talented country music artists.

Overseas Passenger Terminal Forecourt – Main Stage
12.00pm – 6.00pm

Come and meet your favourite country music stars after their performance and collect their autographs as they sign CDs and merchandise beside the stage.

First Fleet Park Stage
11.00am – 5.00pm

11.00 – 11.45am Travis Collins & Whiskeytrain
12.00 – 12.45pm Davidson Brothers
1.00 – 1.45pm Southbound
2.00 – 2.45pm Travis Collins & Whiskeytrain
3.00 – 3.45pm Davidson Brothers
4.00 – 4.45pm Southbound

Rocks Square – Unplugged
11.00am – 5.00pm

11.00 – 11.45am Dianna Corcoran
12.00 – 12.45pm Ronnie Rae Rivers
1.00 – 1.45pm Harley Smith
2.00 – 2.45pm Dianna Corcoran
3.00 – 3.45pm Ronnie Rae Rivers
4.00 – 4.45pm Harley Smith

Blues & Roots Stage – George St
12.00pm – 4.00pm

12.00 – 12.35pm Jack Derwin
12.50 – 1.25pm Jan Preston
1.40 – 2.15pm Don Hopkins
2.30 – 3.05pm Jack Derwin
3.40 – 4.15pm Jan Preston
4.30 – 5.05pm Don Hopkins


11.30am – 8.30pm
All around Darling Harbour

Celebrate Australia Day at Darling Harbour
– it’s all FREE!

Play it your way at Sydney’s favourite playground this Australia Day. Darling Harbour’s program is packed with free entertainment and activities for all ages. Enjoy home-grown music, a feast of international food stalls and activities for the kids.

The day culminates in the awesome Darling Harbour Australia Day Spectacular. Don’t forget your voice so you can be a part of the biggest, and loudest, National Anthem ever sung in Australia!


Tumbalong Park and Stage, Midday – 8.30pm
Treat your senses at Tumbalong Park. Thrill your tastebuds with a variety of appetising international cuisines and invigorate your palate with a selection of delicious wines at the food and wine fair.
At the same time you can enjoy some of Australia’s top musical talent who will take to the stage to play a host of Aussie favourites!

Palm Grove Kids’ Stage, 11.30am – 6.15pm
Kids’ entertainers, including singers and animated artists, will amuse the young – and the young at heart – with performances and free face painting all day at Palm Grove!

Cockle Bay Promenades, 11am – 4pm
Cockle Bay promenades will be a spectacle of outdoor entertainment this Australia Day, with roving performers including stilt walkers, jugglers, roving musicians and much more!


Pre-Spectacular Celebration, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Darling Harbour’s Pre-Spectacular Celebration builds the excitement to the Australia Day Spectacular with a packed program of live entertainment, parades and pageantry, on the waters of Cockle Bay.

Starting at 6:30pm, the highlights include the arrival of the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency Marie Bashir, followed by a spectacular welcome to the Queen’s Baton from the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games as it’s journey around the Commonwealth draws to a close on Australia Day.

The 2006 Vessels Parade is a celebration of our maritime past, present and future. The contribution made to the community by the crafts and services that work and play on Sydney Harbour will be showcased. And for the first time, the Parade finishes with a very special guest, the winner of the 2006 NAB Australia Day Ferrython.
If you’re lucky, our hosts will put you on the big screens so you can say Happy Australia Day to the entire crowd.

Darling Harbour Australia Day Fireworks Spectacular
8.45 – 9.30pm
Cockle Bay

The Australia Day Spectacular at Darling Harbour is a wonderful celebration of the Australian identity and a fitting finale to our day long festival of national pride.

On the 26th of January, more than 150,000 people will gather around the sparkling waters of Cockle Bay and celebrate what Australia is all about – our past, our land, and who we’ve come to be.

The Spectacular is a stunning multimedia symphony of pyrotechnics, light, and music, exploring our indigenous heritage, our settler legacy, extraordinary landscapes and our modern, cosmopolitan identity.

Presented from a commanding stage in the centre of Cockle Bay, the program includes an Aboriginal Welcome to Country, live performances, stories from our new citizens and messages from the Premier and Governor; building up to a massive fireworks display.

The 2006 Spectacular has been created for all Australians to share. So get down to Darling Harbour early and pick a prime spot to enjoy all the festivities. Bring your family, friends, and flags … And don’t forget your voice because we want you to be part of the biggest and loudest National Anthem ever sung in Australia.

The entertainment kicks off at 6pm with the breath-taking finale commencing at 8.45pm. And it’s all FREE

Australia Day Lunch

In a special tribute to Australian excellence, the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre will proudly host a VIP corporate luncheon for over 1500 corporate guests. Already in its 22nd year, this sell-out premiere event again promises to be a success.

The exclusive guest list includes business and community leaders, along with eminent representatives from arts, sport, government and media.

The luncheon will form part of an exciting two-hour entertainment program showcasing Australian talent. It’s a fantastic opportunity for corporates to network with other leading executives, as well as show their continued support for Australia Day.

The 2006 ‘Australian Legends’ segment will be launched by Australia Post.

To book a place or receive an information package, please email the Australia Day Lunch Sales Coordinator at or call the Australia Day Council of NSW on (02) 9513 2000.

The 2006 Australia Day Lunch will feature photography from the Oculi Group which was formed in 2001 This group of award-winning photojournalists united by their commitment to documentary-storytelling, formed At the heart of their projects lies a central conviction – to reveal the beauty, wonder and struggle of everyday life; to show the extraordinary in the ordinary. are collaborating with Australia Day this year and their work will be part of the Australia Day Lunch, The Spectacular and Woggan-ma-gule.
To view the work of this exciting group visit

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