Australia Day - barbecues to fireworks

FROM barbecues around the region to citizenship ceremonies and thousands flocking to Tamworth’s mainstreet on the final day of the country music festival, Australia Day was celebrated in style around the region.

Throughout the Tamworth Regional Council area, there was more fun than you could poke a stick at. 

Tamworth mayor Col Murray said the excellent behaviour and good fun was evident wherever he and council staff went yesterday.

“(My wife) Carol and I went up to Bendemeer this morning and we had a beautiful Australia Day ceremony ... really, really strong community spirit,” Cr Murray said yesterday.

“I think the commitment to Australia Day has certainly ramped up in the past 10 years or so.”

Bendemeer had a billy-boiling competition, cricket match and thong throwing. 

Barraba RSL hall hosted councillor Mark Rodda and featured an Australia Day ambassador address from Michael Crossland, a successful businessman and inspirational speaker. 

Barraba Australia Day Committee chairman Will Rixon said Mr Crossland gave an “impassioned” speech which brought tears to many people’s eyes when he spoke of a sick young boy.

Manilla hosted Tamworth deputy mayor Russell Webb and councillor Juanita Wilson. The address was given by Australia Day Council of NSW ambassador Matthew Donovan.

After Manilla’s civic awards presentation, the Australia Day cake was cut and there was a lolly scramble, damper-cooking competition and a golden flipper relay.

Australia Day Council of NSW ambassador Joe Snell, architect and television program House Rules judge, gave the address at Nundle.

There were children’s activities and a shearing demonstration, with official guests including councillor Helen Tickle.

Bicentennial Park set the scene for much of the day’s activities in Tamworth, with children’s activities including jumping castles, an animal farm and camel rides. The day rounded off with the spectacular, annual free Australia Day concert and fireworks display by award-winning Chris Corbee of Queensland-based Spectrum Fireworks.

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