Community events set to mark January 26

Amy Johnson with her daughters Audrey and Evelyn, with William and Teddy, as well as Kusuma a local creative stallholder from Forever Scrunch

The City of Ballarat will present a range of community events this week to mark January 26. 

On Tuesday, the 2022 Community Awards will be held to acknowledge the achievements of our outstanding residents.  

The Wednesday public holiday will begin with the Koorie Engagement Action Group (KEAG) presenting the Survival Day Dawn Ceremony at 5.30am at View Point, Lake Wendouree. 

The day will also feature the market style Picnic in the Park at Victoria Park from 11.30am-3.30pm and the Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony. 

The Community Awards will celebrate the Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Community Event of the Year. The Awards recognise and celebrate individuals and organisations which give up their time to make our community a more vibrant place to live. 

Picnic in the Park, the latest addition to the City of Ballarat summer event calendar will take place at Victoria Park. Residents and visitors can take their own picnic or enjoy the delicious food and drink offerings from a variety of local food trucks, including juice, coffee and ice cream. The event will also feature a range of market stalls, entertainment and children’s activities, including giant garden games. 

The Citizenship Ceremony will welcome 35 new citizens to Ballarat from countries including Ireland, New Zealand, India, Canada, Iraq, United Kingdon, Sri Lanka, United States, Pakistan, Greece, Nepal, Philipines, Afghanistan, France, Togo, Columbia and Iran. 

Victorian Government Australia Day Ambassador Dr Yvonne Ho AM will make a speech at the event. A businesswoman, educator, musician and medical specialist, Dr Ho is the first woman in Victoria and the first Australian woman of Asian heritage to be dually qualified as a radiologist and nuclear medicine specialist, both male-dominated medical specialties. Dr Ho is also the first woman radiologist - ever - to be Director of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR). 

Due to COVID restrictions, the Community Awards and the Citizenship Ceremony will be invitation only. 

City of Ballarat Deputy Mayor, Cr Amy Johnson said January 26 will be marked with a range of community events, including Picnic in the Park. 

“Our new Picnic in the Park community event provides a fantastic opportunity for residents to gather with family and friends, enjoy great food and family-friendly activities in Ballarat’s beautiful Victoria Park,” she said. 

“We also have our Australia Day citizenship ceremony. It is always a great privilege for Ballarat to welcome our new Australian citizens.  

“And of course, we also have our Community Awards the night before, where we celebrate the achievements of residents who make Ballarat the incredible city that it is. 

“We acknowledge that January 26 is a tough day for some in our community, and with this in mind we’re hosting our third Survival Day Dawn Ceremony at Lake Wendouree. This ceremony is designed to bring the community together to start the day on a meaningful, healing and respectful journey. 

“There is still a heated debate around the date of Australia Day; however, while it remains our national public holiday, as a local council we must continue to provide a range of options for our residents to celebrate the day and what it means to be Australian. We encourage everyone to be respectful of other’s opinions – that’s what makes this country such a great place to live.”