AUSTRALIA DAY: Angelina and Clarisa Beraru celebrate in style in Tara last year.
AUSTRALIA DAY: Angelina and Clarisa Beraru celebrate in style in Tara last year. Alana Calvert

Celebrating Australia Day in the Western Downs

DO YOU already know how you will spend Australia Day this year? There are lots of events and celebrations for you to choose from, bringing the communities together.

Celebrate the day with a community breakfast, family fun activities or traditional Aussie pie eating and thong throwing competitions. Not to be forgotten are the ceremonies.

This year's citizenship ceremony will be held in Chinchilla and towns in the region will hold Australia Day Award ceremonies, honouring dedicated locals, taking out this year's awards for their contribution to the community throughout the year.

Events are held by the Western Downs Regional Council and private venues and Chinchilla News has spoken to some of the organisers to give you a taste of what to expect.

SNAG A SNAG: Western Downs Regional Council community development officer Terri Cobb and Susie Nagy dole out the snags as part of the Flavour it Your Way competition on Australia Day.
SNAG A SNAG: Western Downs Regional Council community development officer Terri Cobb and Susie Nagy dole out the snags as part of the Flavour it Your Way competition on Australia Day. Matthew Newton

The Chinchilla Club Hotel will celebrate the day with some great live entertainment and traditional Aussie competitions.

Club Hotel owner Justin Byrne said it was the hotel's seventh year of putting on the competitions and they were a highlight of the day.

"At 2pm we have the annual men's and women's ironman competition,” Mr Byrne said.

"The winner will be the first female and male to complete an obstacle course that involves challenges... traditional Aussie competitions.

"First you have to eat a cold meat pie, followed by a schooner of beer followed by a Weet-Bix, which is crunched up, so it is fairly difficult to get through a dried Weet-Bix, and then it is followed by a raw egg and then another schooner to finish off.

"So it is just a larrikin sort of thing that we put on each year. It is fairly popular, people love to watch it. It is always a good laugh.

"Prior to that we have got games running throughout the day. We do longest thong throw for the day and other games and then there will be live entertainment from 4pm till late.”

The Commercial Hotel in Chinchilla is putting on events on Australia Day for the first time in a while and hotel manager Murray Bradley said he was excited to try something new.

"We decided to put on traditional Australia Day events such as the thong throwing and pie eating competition, we will have a section for the kids as well, so we can make it a fun day for the whole family,” Mr Bradley said.

"Australia Day for me is celebrating everything that is good about our country.”

Lucia, Isla and Oliver Bobson with Flynn Liljegren at the Australia Day Family Fun afternoon.
Lucia, Isla and Oliver Bobson with Flynn Liljegren at the Australia Day Family Fun afternoon. Matthew Newton

If you fancy a game of bowls, Chinchilla Bowls club is playing throughout the day and and don't forget to get your Aussie snag from the free sausage sizzle that is put on.

Chinchilla Board member Julie Jones said Australia Day was usually a pretty busy day at the club.

"It is a happy day, where everyone gets in the spirit of it and dresses up,” she said.

Australia Day is also a day where many locals get recognised for their incredible achievements and contributions to the community.

Western Downs Region Mayor Paul McVeigh said Australia Day was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and recognise the people who had gone above and beyond.

"Joining us at a local Australia Day ceremony is a fantastic way to thank those who make our region a great place to live, work and play,” Cr McVeigh said. "As Mayor of the Western Downs, it's always a great honour to spend Australia Day out and about in our communities, celebrating alongside our residents and recognising the achievements of the past year.”

Councillor for Community and Cultural Development Kaye Maguire said she was very excited to have the opportunity to recognise some of the amazing people in our communities.

"They volunteer thousands of hours of time because they love their community and they are passionate about areas of their community that they want to see improved and see people enjoy themselves and it gives them a great joy in giving back to their community and this is the recognition of it.” Paralympian Chris Scott is this year's ambassador, sharing his inspiring story with the community.

Australia Day ambassador Chris Scott competing for Australia in cycling.
Australia Day ambassador Chris Scott competing for Australia in cycling. Contributed

Cr Kaye Maguire said having an ambassador come to town was a great honour.

"It just helps us all in our journeys in life because we all have our struggles and this just helps us to be inspired to be our better selves.”

New citizens will be celebrated in Chinchilla and Cr McVeigh said it was an incredible privilege as Mayor to be a part of the citizenship ceremonies.

"I'm very excited to be welcoming 32 new citizens to the Western Downs on Australia Day.”


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