Attitudes to Australia Day are changing. The Australia Day Council of South Australia is listening to all views about not just the day, but what Australia is now and will become in the future. We are part of that conversation. As Australia wrestles with our national day, we recognise this is a time to reflect on our shared history.
For Australia Day 2023 we are bringing together all parts of our national story our First Nations’ ancestral heritage, Australia’s connection to our colonial history and our multicultural and refugee stories. We will acknowledge all of these aspects of our nation’s story.
In curating the Australia Day program we commence on the evening of 25 January with a sunset ceremony. We follow this with a gathering at 7.00am on 26 January for a Smoking Ceremony at Tarntanya Wama (Elder Park). This profound ceremony shaped by First Nations leaders is a time for truth telling of our history and provides a genuine opportunity for reconciliation. These are significant dates as they reflect when Australia past and future was changed forever. The pace of change that followed these key dates were unstoppable.
26 January is a chance for all of us to reflect on what being Australian really means and how we connect with this great continent and its peoples. It also provides a moment to ask ourselves how do we belong to country and connect with our natural environment?
On the evenings of 25 and 26 January, Aus Lights on the River will provide an opportunity for all of us to experience the life of the River Redgum illuminated in the Rotunda at Elder Park. As the tree grows it changes its form and function to maintain a robust symbiosis with all creatures that engage with it on its journey of growth and change. This provides an opportunity for us to reflect more fully on the importance of the spaces inside trees as habitats and the role they play in biodiversity.
The evening events of the 26 January kicks off with the Respecting Country Parade. Over 60 community and cultural groups celebrate what living in Australia means to them. In the official ceremony we continue to celebrate our diversity with stories from some of our newly arrived communities adjusting to a new life in Australia. We in particular acknowledge the resilience of our river communities who are doing it tough right now. Finally, we join in song with a large orchestra and multiple choirs led by Julian Ferraretto. The sun sets and the light installation Aus lights comes alive. The captivating colours, rhythms and seasons of our expansive landscape, will be expressed through an original synchronised music, moving image and fireworks composition created especially for Aus Lights on the River 2023.
This Australia Day we invite you to reflect, respect and connect with your family, friends and community. Go to the Australia Day Council South Australia website for more information about the free community events.
Jan Chorley, Chief Executive Officer