Australia Day 2017 ‘one of biggest ever’

(Australian Associated Press)


Organisers are preparing for what could be the biggest Australia Day ever.

More than 800 events have been registered online with the National Australia Day Council – a spike from last year and a new record.

“It looks like it’s definitely going to be one of the biggest that we’ve seen for a long time,” chief executive Chris Kirby told AAP.

Mr Kirby said about two-thirds of Australians get involved in celebrations every year – from backyard barbecues to harbour side concerts.

An indigenous morning ceremony at Barangaroo will kick things off in Sydney, before the Australian and Aboriginal flags are raised on the Harbour Bridge.

They will be followed by the traditional ferry race and annual regatta on the harbour, a free concert at the Sydney Opera House and a fireworks display set to rival New Year’s Eve.

Melbourne will host a parade through the CBD from 11am, with people from over 90 community and cultural groups.

The much-loved Australia Day Festival in Kings Domain Gardens returns, as do family-friendly celebrations and a fireworks spectacular at Docklands.

An evening parade and twilight concert will also be held in Adelaide, while plenty of family-friendly activities are slated for Brisbane and Gold Coast.

Western Australia’s City of Fremantle, though, has cancelled its Australia Day celebrations this year and will host an event on January 28.

“It means different things for different people, and I think that’s why so many people do get involved,” Mr Kirby said.

“More and more local councils and organisers are realising that they do need to work with the local Aboriginal people and I think that, again, is changing the way it’s experienced on the ground.”

More than 16,000 people will also become new citizens at ceremonies across the country, including one led by the prime minister in Canberra.


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