Australia Day Shellharbour style

Shellharbour City residents recognised

Xavier Andrew, Jacob March and Gabriel Andrew enjoy celebrations. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

SHELLHARBOUR City Council’s Australia Day celebrations have again proved popular, with hundreds of people turning out to mark the occasion.

Australian flags, beach shelters, eskies and folding chairs dotted Reddall Reserve for the annual Breakfast By The Lake, which had everything from motor sports, live music, theatre performances, creative artistic sessions, competitions and games.

The morning also saw the presentation of the council’s Citizen and Young Citizen of The Year Awards and a citizenship ceremony, in which 15 Shellharbour City residents officially become citizens.

Shellharbour’s Australia Day ambassador for 2015, TV and film actor Nicholas Bishop, said Australia Day is an occasion to celebrate what makes-up the Australian persona.

‘‘When I’m asked what these qualities are, I believe that that the Australian persona is one of openness, honesty, charm and certainly dedication to hard work,’’ he said.

‘‘This lies in the heart and soul of all Australians, it is there in the Australian sense of humour which is satiric and full of wit and irony.

‘‘Australia Day means so many things to all of us, but for me it is really about a day to stand up and be proud of not only who we are, but what we have.

‘‘This country is full of culture and diversity and we are full of open minded people, hard working people.’’

Throsby MP Stephen Jones said while Australia Day is an important celebration, it was important to acknowledge Australia’s history past European settlement.

‘‘We belong to a country and a culture of over 40, 000 years, a country and a culture that has existed continuously for longer than any other culture on earth,’’ he said.

‘‘We as European or Australians of non Aboriginal background join with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in sharing their culture and saying we are so very, very proud of it. ‘‘In 2015 we should renew our efforts to ensure we fix up some of the things we didn’t get right 200 years ago when we drafted our first constitution by recognising the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our nation’s founding document.’’

Shellharbour mayor Marrianne Saliba said the day was a special one, especially for those who received their citizenship.

‘‘It’s always great day here and it’s great to see so many people here today,’’ she said.

‘‘One of the things that always moves me is the citizenship ceremony, I received my citizenship in 1974 and it reminds me of that and how big a step it is to be considered a citizen of our country.’’

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