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Gunnedah Shire Australia Day celebrations

16 January 2019

With the mercury set to climb over Australia Day weekend, Gunnedah Shire has a lineup of festivities ready to help beat the heat and celebrate everything Aussie.

The jam-packed weekend kicks off on Friday, 25 January, with the Australia Day Awards Dinner starting at 7.00pm at the Gunnedah Town Hall. Two-time world superbike champion Warwick Nowland will be attending the dinner and other Australia Day festivities as Gunnedah’s Australia Day Ambassador.

The Australia Day Triathlon will start the celebrations early on Saturday, 26 January, with competitors taking off from the starting line at 6.00am from the Gunnedah Memorial Pool Complex.

While the annual raft race has been cancelled due to a lack of flow in the river, a number of fun alternatives have been introduced to take its place this year, including an inflatable race at the Gunnedah Pool!

Australia Day Committee Chair and Gunnedah Shire Councillor Rob Hooke said the weekend is about local communities coming together to celebrate.

“Our community is rallying behind each other during this dry time, and the fun will continue despite the ongoing drought,” Cr Hooke said.

“For the first time, a Dry Land Raft and Craft Race will be held at the Gunnedah Rugby Club from 8.30am on Australia Day so get a team together, get crafty with some cardboard and help keep the race going in 2019, then follow it up at the Gunnedah Pool for the inflatable race from 2.30pm.

“It’s gearing up to be one of our biggest Australia Day programs yet.”

Entry to the pool will be free from 9.30am on the day, so pack the sunscreen and get ready to celebrate in the coolest place in town. New addition to the program is the great lilo inflatable race, which will be held from 2.30pm – bring along your inflatable ride and race against your peers to the finish line. Other activities include a jumping castle and rides will be up for action, as well as family fun games such as tug-of-war, gumboot throwing and face painting from 3.00pm. Finish off the day with feel-good movie Happy Feet on the Optus big screen at 7.00pm.

Meanwhile a sporting frenzy will commence at the Gunnedah Rugby Club’s AussieFest with a touch footy competition at 9.30am and a pet parade and dog sprints at 10.30am. The sprints include a title for Working Dogs, Pig Dogs and the Town Mutt, with registrations opening at 10.00am. Then it’s time for the owners to get their running shoes on, with a Dash for Cash and Backyard Cricket at 11.00am, and Gunnedah’s Strongest Man and Woman competition at 1.00pm.

Carroll, Mullaley, Tambar Springs are joining in the Aussie spirit, with celebrations co-ordinated in each village throughout the day (see program for list of events).

A church service will be held under the gums at the Dorothea Mackellar Statue at 9.30am, with seven local residents making the pledge to Australia at a Citizenship Ceremony from 10.00am. The Water Tower Museum and the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Centre will open their doors from 10.00am-2.00pm, and a free movie screening of Kangaroo Jack will show at the Civic Theatre at 12.30pm.

The fun continues on Sunday, with a skills challenge at the Australia Day Chess Tournament at the Smithurst Theatre. Registrations open at 9.00am, with six, 25-minute rounds.

The full program, including business house, village, community and Council events is available at View the Australia Day Program 2019 here.

For tickets to the Australia Day Awards Dinner (25 January), visit 

For more information regarding the 2019 Australia Day events contact Cultural Precinct Team Leader Lauren Mackley on (02) 6740 2100 or

Photo Caption: Australia Day 2019 boasts a jam-packed program, with something for everyone.


Media Contact: Ashley Gardner 6740 2100.