Fireworks will not be lighting up the skies for this year’s Australia Day celebrations in Canberra and Queanbeyan however there will still be an Australia Day concert on Sunday 26 January.
The ACT Government made the decision to cancel the fireworks due to the ongoing impacts of bushfires in the region with a morning concert in Commonwealth Park to raise funds for those impacted by bushfires to be the focus of celebrations this year.
Both St Vincent de Paul and Lifeline will have a presence at the concert. Cash and electronic donations for all the charities will be taken on the day with online donations able to be made at any time.
Barnie van Wyk, CEO of St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn, thanked the community “for their concern and generous assistance of our fellow Australians in crisis so far”.
“Rebuilding from natural disaster relies on the kindness of the people in our community. It has been very heartening to see how the community is coming together in these extraordinary circumstances.”
The fundraising Australia Day concert from 10am to 1pm follows the National Flag Raising Ceremony and Citizenship Ceremonies at Rond Terrace and features Japanese Wallpaper, Nicole Millar and Sistas in Song featuring Monica Moore. In addition to stage performances there will be free amusement rides, a glitter bar and roving entertainment plus food trucks offering tasty treats.
A free Australia Day shuttle bus will run on a loop every 10-15 minutes from the city interchange to Commonwealth Park. Parking is available at the Canberra Centre, National Convention Centre and other city carparks.
Around the region, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) also cancelled their annual fireworks display that concludes Queanbeyan’s Australia Day celebrations with the money likely to be donated to bushfire relief. However, there is still a full range of celebrations planned on Sunday 26 January.
The day kicks off in Captains Flat at 10am with Australia Day awards and a morning tea at the Captains Flat Community Hall. At the same time, Bungendore celebrations start at the Bungendore Council Chambers with awards and a community BBQ. A lunchtime event in Braidwood will start at 12noon and will see more Australia Day awards announced before the major event in Queanbeyan starts at 4pm.
“The Queanbeyan celebrations are the culmination of a great day around our region,” QPRC Mayor Tim Overall said.