INCLUSION and representation will be among the key themes of Leeton shire's Australia Day celebrations this year.
The day will kick off with a free barbecue breakfast hosted by the Rotary Club of Leeton at Mountford Park from 7.30am with entertainment by the Leeton Town Band.
A breakfast will also be held at the Murrami Community Hall from 7.30am, with a gold coin donation required.
Back in Leeton, official proceedings will then get underway at 9.15am in the park and will include a citizenship ceremony to welcome 20 new Australians to the shire.
Following the ceremony, a tasty bush tucker lunch will be on offer where residents can enjoy emu spring rolls, marinated kangaroo, sample a witchety grub pizza and indulge in lemon myrtle cheesecake and wattle seed ice cream courtesy of Michael Lyons.
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Football lovers can also enjoy a kick around with representatives from the Leeton United Football Club and Australia Day ambassador Andy Paschalidis after the ceremony as well.
In the afternoon, everyone is invited to kick back, relax and cool down at the Leeton pool party to be held at the Leeton Regional Aquatic Centre.
Admission to the pool is free from 2pm to 8pm with activities such as games, inflatable ibis races and more all planned.
The Lions train will be taking people for a ride around town, more bush tucker will be on offier and there will be music, including a set by DJ Ken and a live performance by Wiradjuri music artist Dookie.
Leeton SunRice Festival Ambassador Quest entrant Katelyn Mills will be hosting a sausage sizzle and guessing competition, raising funds for her chosen charity Royal Far West.
The celebrations will culminate in the evening with a special lighting up of the Leeton Museum and Gallery in Chelmsford Place.
All events will be COVID-safe and attendees will need to check in via QR code and maintain social distancing. Australia Day committee chairman, councillor George Weston encouraged residents and visitors to help commemorate the day.
"Australia Day is an opportunity for everyone living in Leeton shire to think about what it means to be Australian and is an opportunity to reconnect with each other," he said.
"It's for everyone to share in - an opportunity to come together to acknowledge our collective contribution to Australia."
In the effort to create events that are more meaningful, reflective, and respectful, and, to work towards changing the focus of Australia Day from a celebration of "nationalism" to a demonstration of togetherness, Leeton Shire Council has taken steps to further engage with the Aboriginal community in the celebrations.
New street banners have been installed across town featuring creative artworks by students and local Aboriginal artists alongside the Wiradjuri translation of the Australia Day themes of reflect, respect and celebrate.
The banners are an important step in engaging and educating the community about the shire's Wiradjuri heritage, which will also be used during other significant Aboriginal celebrations throughout the year.
It's for everyone to share in - an opportunity to come together to acknowledge our collective contribution to Australia.- Leeton Australia Day chairman, councillor George Weston
Council said it acknowledges and thanks the Leeton and District Local Aboriginal Land Council for its consultation and collaboration on these events and the National Australia Day Council for funding the banners.
The funding was awarded through council's successful application for an Australia Day community grant.
A collection of photos of Aboriginal artworks and activities completed by Leeton district schools will also be projected on to the Chelmsford Place water tower in the evenings until January 28.
Queries about the shire's Australia Day events can be directed to council's events officer Fran Macdonald on 6951 3103.
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