By Mitchell Clarke
A number of Australia Day celebration events will be held across the Cardinia shire on Sunday 26 January.
Starting at the Cardinia Cultural Centre in Pakenham, the shire’s annual Australia Day citizenship ceremony and awards will take place, followed by community activities coordinated by the dedicated Lakeside Residents Group.
Commencing at 11am, 100 new citizens will be welcomed in a special Australia Day citizenship ceremony.
Some of the community’s most deserving will be presented with awards, including the citizen of the year, senior citizen, young citizen and community event of the year.
Cardinia Shire Council mayor Jeff Springfield said the Australia Day activities will provide a “great opportunity” to recognise and honour everyone who calls Cardinia home.
“In Cardinia shire we are blessed to have a vibrant and diverse community – I believe that our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and contributes to making our shire such a welcoming community in which to live,” Cr Springfield said.
“On Australia Day, we acknowledge our Australia Day award nominees and winners for their contribution to our community, and thank them for their continued efforts and community spirit.
“We also welcome our newest Australian citizens and thank them for choosing to call our shire home.”
From 12pm, the fun will spill outside the cultural centre, where a festival-like atmosphere will ensue.
The event, now in its third year, is coordinated by the Lakeside Residents Group (LRG) with the assistance of generous local businesses and organisations who have pledged their time to create a free day of family fun.
The LRG committee, led by president Wendy Andrews and secretary Tony O’Hara, have been planning the 2020 celebrations since the conclusion of last year’s event.
“The parents can come along, bring the kids and not worry about dipping their pockets because almost everything is free,” Mr O’Hara said.
“It’s a very satisfying but tiring event and the best part is watching the smile on everyone’s face.”
Bass MP Jordan Crugnale and La Trobe MP Jason Wood will join officers from Victoria Police and volunteers from the CFA and SES to open stalls for the day.
A trackless Thomas the Tank train will transport the masses from activity to activity and with a range of organisations involved, there’s bound to be something for everyone.
“We’re here welcoming new people into the community, so the multicultural aspect was a large focus for us,” Ms Andrews said.
“We aren’t just Caucasians in our shire, there are a lot of other cultures around and when you start getting involved in different groups you get to meet a lot of people from different backgrounds.
“It’s just good to get everyone to come down and get involved.”
From curry cups to a traditional barbecue, community groups across the shire will descend on the day, including the Officer and Pakenham Sikh communities, Lakeside Scouts, Pakenham Rotary, the Cardinia Environment Coalition and more.
Meanwhile, local talent will take to the outdoor stage where they’ll intend to outshine the Men’s Shed, who is also slated to belt out a tune or two.
If you aren’t able to make it to the Pakenham celebrations, numerous other events will be held across the shire.
From 7.30am on Sunday 26, the Cockatoo Australia Day community breakfast and awards will be held at Alma Treloar Reserve amphitheatre on Pakenham Road.
From 8.15am, Kooweerup will hold their Australia Day ceremony at the community centre on Cochrane Park.
Later that evening, from 7pm till 10.30pm, a family picnic and free movie night, showing The Castle, will be held in Beaconsfield at the Holm Park Recreation Reserve on Beaconsfield-Emerald Road.
For more information on the events, visit the Cardinia Shire Council website.