Australia Day in NSW: What’s happening around the state

Outdoor concerts, barbecues and fireworks are some of the many events that are happening around the state on Australia Day.

Sydneysiders are encouraged to come together to respect, reflect and unite with renewed passion and optimism on Australia Day. 

The 2022 program will be rich in culture and heritage, with the NSW Government and The Australia Day Council of NSW committed to hosting a Covid-safe day for everyone. 

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said this Australia Day is an opportunity to celebrate the resilience, strength, and compassion of all Australians. 

“Australia Day is a time for inclusion, understanding and reconciliation,” he said. “We respect the contributions of all Australians and we celebrate our combined achievements by coming together and reconnecting with family, friends, and the community.”

WugulOra smoking ceremony. Picture: Courtesy of Australia Day Council of NSW.

As the sun rises and early morning swimmers make a splash, the Sydney Opera House sails will be illuminated with First Nations artwork by Pitjantjatjara artist David Miller. 

Recognise the world’s oldest living culture, WugulOra, at Barangaroo Reserve and witness this timeless morning ceremony of cleansing, reflecting and connecting with First Nations people. 

The annual GIO Oz Day 10K race will see some of the world’s finest wheelchair athletes race around the The Rocks with incredible strength and endurance. 

Around the corner, settle in for lunch with mouth-watering flavours from outdoor food trucks while kicking back at the Overseas Passenger Terminal. 

The much-loved Ferrython will see ferries dressed and decorated in honour of their namesakes – May Gibbs, Catherine Hamlin, Victor Chang and Pemulwuy – as they make waves before the dash to the finish line under the Harbour Bridge.

Artist Rhonda Sampson with the Pemulwuy ferry. Picture: Courtesy of Australia Day Council of NSW.

As the Ferrython winds down, it will then be time for the Australian Defence Force to play its part with a tri-service salute from the Army, Navy and Airforce. 

This includes an address from the Governor of NSW, a 21-gun salute and an aerial flyover and manoeuvring display by a RAAF Fast Jet. 

In the afternoon, the Tall Ships Race will see majestic boats compete from Bradleys Head to the Harbour Bridge, followed by the world’s oldest annually conducted sailing event, the 186th Australia Day Regatta. 

The Opera House will once again host some of Australia’s most talented artists on the forecourt combined with a spectacular land and water show spanning Circular Quay and the Harbour.

Australia Day Live. Picture: Courtesy of Australia Day Council of NSW.

An all-star line-up includes Delta Goodrem, Casey Donovan, Isaiah Firebrace, country singers Amber Lawrence and Kirsty Lee Akers and more. 

“It’s wonderful to have the Australia Day program return across the state, as we look forward to a positive and optimistic future,” Australia Day Council of NSW Chair Andrew Parker said. 

“This year we want to bring people together to celebrate the Australian spirit and support those who are facing hardship.”

Sydneysiders are encouraged to get in early, physically distance and plan ahead.

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*Get set for a fireworks bonanza, dazzling acrobatics of jetskiers and a line-up of the nation’s best talent at the 2022 Australia Day Live concert. 

Hosted at the Sydney Opera House by John Foreman, Jeremy Fernandez, Casey Donovan and Delta Goodrem, the two-hour show features up to 150 performers and 17 different acts showcasing diversity, storytelling and First Nations culture. 

“We are bringing together some of our best and most successful artists, each with their own unique story and experience to share with the nation,” Australia Day Council of NSW creative director John Foreman OAM said.

Casey Donovan

“I’m excited that William Barton, Australia’s leading didgeridoo player and a huge name in the classical music world, will be performing as part of the line-up again.” 

Incredible artists including Delta Goodrem, William Barton, Shane Howard, Casey Donovan, Isaiah Firebrace, INXS founding member Andrew Farriss, country singers Amber Lawrence, Hayley Jensen, Kirsty Lee Akers and Aleyce Simmonds, tenor Mark Vincent and opera artist Josh Piterman will unite in this uplifting show celebrating the Australian spirit. 

“I’ll be performing and presenting which is always such a treat,” said Casey Donovan, who will sing ‘In The Summertime’. “When times are tough, we come together and celebrate – and we celebrate with the only thing we know how to do … through music and the arts.

“We uplift people when they’re feeling down, we embrace the joy when people are happy and we get to do that doing the one thing that we love. We sing and create our hearts out so that our country can come together and celebrate some happiness.”

Isaiah Firebrace

Isaiah Firebrace and Djakapurra Munyarryun will perform ‘Djapana – Sunset Dreaming’ supported by William Barton and the Koomurri dancers with a dazzling jet-ski eel circling Circular Quay.

“We have had such a tough few years it’s important to celebrate everything we can and support the community,” Isaiah Firebrace said. 

“I’m representing my people, my family and the incredible amount of history that is behind me. I stand up and perform with that behind me to showcase my culture and to show Australia that we are still here and we can do great things no matter what has happened in the past.” 

For Shane Howard, this year marks 40 years since his Aussie rock band Goanna released its smash hit, Solid Rock, in 1982, with its powerful lyrics just as meaningful and significant today. 

It will be brought to life in a multi-artist collaboration, including soul singer Emma Donovan, for today’s generation to connect with our past.

William Barton

“Solid Rock was inspired by Shane Howard visiting our Sacred Rock, Uluru, and resonates as a modern-day canvas, painting a picture of what happened when European settlers first came to the country,” William Barton said. 

“I’ve known Shane since I was 11 when he came to my country (Kalkadungu) at Mt Isa. He asked me to get up and play Solid Rock as a young kid.” 

For those enjoying the waterfront festivities, there will be screens around the foreshore.

Many restaurants and venues are taking bookings so make a night of it.

Spectators are encouraged to arrive early, physically distance and plan ahead, noting there will be entry checkpoints around the Circular Quay foreshore precinct. 

Tune in at 7.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.

7.30pm – Solid Rock opening segment with Shane Howard and Welcome to Country – featuring William Barton, Emma Donovan and the KARI singers

7.45pm – ‘Run to Paradise’ by Delta Goodrem

7.52pm – Casey Donovan ‘In The Summertime’ accompanied by jet skis and fly-boarders, and from the sky parachutes descending into the quay

8.10pm – Tug & Yacht Ballet featuring maritime vessels including jet skis and fly-boarders

8.30pm – ‘Djapana – Sunset Dreaming’ by William Barton and Isaiah Firebrace and Djakapurra Munyarryun supported by the Koomurri dancers

8.36pm – ‘The Power’ by Delta Goodrem

8.44pm – ‘Nessun Dorma’ tribute to Opera sung by Mark Vincent and Josh Piterman accompanied by stunning lit vessels and aerial kite ballet

8.49pm – ‘Take me Back’ by Jon Stevens

9.02pm – INXS medley by Jon Stevens and Andrew Farriss

9.14pm – Live musical medley including Advance Australia Fair sung in English and Eora, with jet skis, flyboards and fireworks display

9.30pm – Show ends


Whether you’re in the city, on the coast or in a regional area, there are lots of events to enjoy. See your local council website for updates. Here’s what’s on offer.



Procession starts at 11am from the corner of Bridge and Park streets and goes to Alma Park, followed by a Citizenship Ceremony, awards and Ambassador address. 



Start your day with the Citizenship & Award Ceremony at 9.30am at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre. Enjoy free entry to the Manning Aquatic Centre between 11am and 5.30pm. 


January 26 & 27, 5pm-10pm

Running over two days, the event will feature Liverpool’s favourite restaurants and food stalls, outdoor cinema, plenty of free family fun (below) and a pop-up bar selling exclusive cocktail and mocktail creations.



Community breakfast and entertainment including the official ceremony where the mayor will present the cities Australia Day Awards and preside the Citizenship Ceremony.  



Community breakfast and entertainment including the official ceremony where the deputy mayor will present the cities Australia Day Awards and preside the Citizenship Ceremony.


Here are some of the Ambassadors who are participating in local events on January 26.

Narelle Campbell

Narelle Campbell

Antarctic station leader, 2015 NSW Australian of the Year Finalist
Armidale Regional Council
What will you be doing this Australia Day?

I’ve been invited to participate in celebrations in Guyra and Armidale. It’s been many years since my last visit to both communities, so I’ve decided to make the most of my time away and do a little road trip. I’ll participate in a full day of celebrations in Armidale starting with a picnic in the park, followed by a citizenship ceremony. 

What does Reflect, Respect, Celebrate mean to you on Australia Day?

When I reflect on what Australia Day means, I think of our history, our beautiful country and all our communities (big and small) across our nation. I also think of our defence force teams and those supporting humanitarian and environmental projects. 

Tiffany Thomas Kane OAM

Tiffany Thomas Kane OAM

Paralympic Medallist – Swimming
Bathurst Regional Council
What will you be doing this Australia Day?

I will be heading to regional Bathurst to be the ambassador and to welcome the new citizens into our country. I take it to tell my story but tell people about what Australia means to us and why this day is so special. 

What does Reflect, Respect, Celebrate mean to you on Australia Day?

To reflect is to take the time to look over our country and see what it means to be an Australian. It’s important to acknowledge and respect our history and celebrate our great country and what we have. 

Keith Potger and dog Ming. Picture: Elizabeth Hawkes.
Keith Potger AO
Founding member of The Seekers
Uralla Shire Council
What will you be doing this Australia Day?

I’ll be in the wonderful town of Uralla as an ambassador. Over the past several years I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to attend these events based around Australia Day. Each venue has been memorable and I’ve made some great friendships so I’m looking forward to this one very much. 

What does Reflect, Respect, Celebrate mean to you on Australia Day?

Each Australia Day brings us all closer to the reality that there was a significant culture here for many millennia before British colonisation. It’s incumbent on everyone to reflect on this with a desire to acknowledge the wrongs of the past and to recognise the unique value that indigenous culture brings to the nation.

Original Article

Pemulwuy Ferry Ready for the 2022 Ferrython

In 2022, each of the four Sydney Harbour Ferrython vessels that are named after inspirational Australians will be dressed in designs that capture the ferry’s namesake and tell their incredible stories. Ferrython vessels will include: May Gibbs, Catherine Hamlin, Victor Chang and Pemulwuy. The storyline for the Pemulwuy ferry is a tribute to Australia’s First Aboriginal resistance leader and Bidjigal man Pemulwuy, whose story is embedded into the nation’s history and legacy still stands strong.

2020 NSW Training Awards – Regional Winner

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