Australia Day is coming up and it’s a day to celebrate Australia and its people and history as well as acknowledge the significance of January 26 to Indigenous Australians. To mark the day, there are family-friendly events happening around Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens and the Hunter.
Come together on the public holiday with COVID-Safe community activities for the whole family across the city – there’s something for everyone with events organised by City of Newcastle.
Ngarrama – to sit, listen and know
The University of Newcastle, in partnership with Awabakal Ltd and with support from the City of Newcastle, is proud to host Ngarrama at King Edward Park on 25 January 2022 from 7pm to 9pm.
This is a free public event to engage the community in meaningful reconciliation through truth telling and historical acceptance.
Ngarrama is an opportunity for the Newcastle community to come together on the eve of Australia Day to reflect on traditional life in Mooloobinba before 1788 and to celebrate the richness and resilience of First Nations culture – in particular the Awabakal and Worimi people, the traditional owners of the land upon which Newcastle now stands.
Ngarrama translates to ‘to sit, listen, and know’. As the name captures, it will be a time for listening and quiet reflection through the sharing of stories, knowledge and culture.
The program will include a smoking ceremony, welcome to country, traditional dance, music, storytelling and knowledge sharing.
Bring your picnic rug to sit on the grass of Newcastle’s spectacular King Edward Park. In this beautiful setting we will connect to country and reflect on the stories we hear but also the stories the land and waters around us hold. More information here.
Make a splash and cool off at your local pool on the public holiday! Beresfield, Lambton, Mayfield, Stockton & Wallsend Pools are open from 10am to 4pm.
Newcastle Harbour Swim
Challenge yourself and join the 25th edition of Newcastle’s most iconic swim on Wednesday 26 January. Jump in for either the Single Crossing (700m) from Stockton to Queens Wharf Quay or the Double Crossing (1400m) from Queens Wharf to Stockton and back. If it’s not on your bucket list, put it there now! This is the only legal swim across our amazing working harbour.
Beach 5’s Rugby
Beach 5s Rugby is coming to Nobbys Beach again this January for a spectacular, fast-paced, and exciting three days. Beach 5s Rugby is a refreshing new beach sport based on modified rules of Rugby Union and Rugby League, offering an off-season recreational summer. Catch all the action at Nobbys Beach on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 January, and don’t miss the pinnacle of the event on Wednesday 26 January with the Rugby League Legends vs Former Wallaby Greats, celebrity and Indigenous challenges, and live entertainment.
For more information about Australia Day in Newcastle, visit the City of Newcastle website.
Australia Day at Miss Porter’s House
Celebrate Australia Day and spend the day reliving early twentieth-century Australia with a visit to Miss Porter’s House, a prominent freestanding Edwardian home built by Herbert Porter and his wife Florence (nee Jolley) that contains a century of household memorabilia including many which reflect the family’s interest in the local area and in all things Australian. Their freestanding Edwardian home is now a National Trust museum containing a century of household memorabilia including many which reflect their interest in the local area and all things Australian. Cost: Adults $10, Concessions $8, Family $25, children under 5 free. For more information, visit National Trust website and book tickets via Eventbrite for session times at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.
Enjoy Australia Day at Club Lambton. The fun includes free children’s face painting, a free petting zoo and barefoot bowls from 4pm to 7pm. Let the kids play while you enjoy food and live music on the green. Visit the Club Lambton Website for more information.
Lake Macquarie City Council
In previous years, the annual Lake Mac Festival has been held on 26 January, but this year it will be held over two days – Saturday 22 January and Sunday 23 January.
The weekend will kick off on Saturday 22 January with a Family Fun Day – a free family breakfast at the new and improved Thomas H Halton Park, Croudace Bay from 8am-noon proudly sponsored by Carlo’s IGA Woodrising.
From 5-9.30pm, live sites and activations at Warners Bay Foreshore, Brooks Parade Reserve Belmont, Rathmines Park, Swansea Bay Beach and the Museum of Art and Culture (MAC) at Booragul will bring fun for the whole family to enjoy. Music, food trucks and exciting activities will be available to all, as well as a fireworks spectacular at 9pm.
Simultaneous fireworks displays will light up Lake Macquarie from end to end. The displays will ignite from three pontoons and will be seen from all activated sites across the city including Warners Bay, Boorgaul, Belmont, Rathmines and Swansea.
On Sunday 23 January, the community is invited to enjoy an afternoon of relaxed vibes, good food, wine and oz music at Speers Point Park from 11am-5pm.
For more information visit the Lake Macquarie City website.
Enjoy Australia Day at Club Charlestown. The fun includes free children’s face painting, a free petting zoo and barefoot bowls from 4pm to 7pm. Let the kids play while you enjoy food and live music on the green. Visit the Club Charlestown Website for more information.
Maitland River Regatta
What better way to spend a summers day floating than down the river? Head on down to RH Taylor Reserve, Lorn on Wednesday 26 January for a day full of family fun at the Maitland River Regatta! Patrons can purchase a ticket to hire a boat and float down the River to the now famous, Lorn Beach. There will be loads of activities and entertainment on offer at both RH Taylor and Lorn Beach for the whole family to enjoy as well as a delicious selection of food and drinks! With stalls, amusement rides, craft activities, beach activities and more, it’s a perfect day out for the whole family!
You can also spend Australia Day at the pool. Come on down to East Maitland Aquatic Centre for free pool entry from 10am to 4pm. Due to COVID restrictions, please note that all activities on the day are limited to a 500 person capacity. Please practice social distancing and if you’re feeling unwell, get tested and stay at home.
Australia Day Official Ceremony
Due to the construction happening around the Maitland Administration Centre, the Official Ceremony will be held at East Maitland Bowling Club from 10.30am until 12.00pm by invitation only.
Cessnock / Hunter Valley
Cessnock City Council will host a series of COVID safe events as part of its Australia Day celebrations this year, which will run from Tuesday 25 January to Friday 28 January.
The festivities will kick off with a special community concert by the Australian Army Band Newcastle from 7pm on Tuesday 25 January at Cessnock Sportsground. Made up of members from the local community, this revolving group of talented musicians has existed as Newcastle and the Hunter’s own military band since 1861. The gates will open at 6pm and residents are invited to come along to this free event and enjoy what is sure to be a spectacular performance.
On Friday 28 January the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre will host an Aussie Classics Film Festival and residents are invited to come along to one session, or settle in for a movie marathon. Three iconic Australian films will be showcased on the day including:
All films will be free, but bookings are essential. Click the links above to book your tickets or call the Box Office on 4993 4266.
Citizenship Ceremony and Australia Day Awards
Cessnock City Council will host a special Citizenship Ceremony and the Australia Day Awards from 10am to 12noon on Wednesday 26 January at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre. Unfortunately, with capacity limits, the general public will not be able to attend this particular event, however you can watch the highlights of these events via their social media pages.
Stay updated on Cessnock City Council’s Facebook page.
Twilight – Australia Day eve – POSTPONED
Twilight, held on Australia Day eve, celebrates what’s special about our beautiful country. What better way to celebrate being an Australian than kicking back, with plenty of kid’s activities, live music and food trucks.
Face painting, jumping castles, classic car display, a silent disco and inflatable water slides will keep the kids entertained all night long, while Mum and Dad can relax with friends, listen to live music and enjoy delicious food.
The fun continues on Australia Day with a traditional BBQ breakfast, following by the Australia Day Citizen Award ceremony on the Civic Centre stage.
For more information, visit the Singleton City Council website.
Sausage sizzles, sheep shearing and a pool party will be part of a packed lineup of free, family-friendly activities in Port Stephens to celebrate Australia Day on Wednesday January 26.
Festivities on Australia Day will have something for everyone. Council is partnering with the Rotary Club of Raymond Terrace to host a family fun day at Riverside Park from 8am to 1:30pm with a marching band, great Aussie BBQ, demonstrations by NSW Fire and Rescue and the Rural Fire Service, market stalls and lots more.
A Citizenship ceremony will also be held at Raymond Terrace, where they’ll officially welcome the region’s 17 newest Australians as they take the pledge in front of friends and family.
From 10am to 4pm, Lakeside Leisure Centre will be hosting a pool party with a range of kids activities, giveaways and entertainment.
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