Australia Day celebrations head to suburbs

18 Jan 2018

Powerboat races, a spectacular air show and the transformation of pools across the city into giant inflatable play zones are among the highlights of this year's Australia Day activities.

For the first time ever, Newcastle City Council will take its celebrations to the suburbs, with events in Lambton, Wallsend, Beresfield, Mayfield, Stockton and the CBD.

"This year we wanted to do something bigger and better, providing more opportunities for Novocastrians to get involved, so we're putting on a broader range of activities across the entire city," said Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.

"These local community events will give everyone a chance to get out and celebrate."

Blackbutt Reserve will host a family "bush experience" in its Richley Reserve section, with a water slide and jumping castle, Segway rides, face-painting, DJ, reptile show and sausage sizzle - all free.

A giant book giveaway, wildlife illustration workshop and free street-side sausage sizzle will be on offer from 10am-2pm at Wallsend Library, while swimming centres across Newcastle will feature free live music, entertainment and inflatables.

In the CBD, people from all corners of the globe will make their pledge to Australia at a citizenship ceremony to be held in Newcastle, starting at 9am at City Hall.

The Lord Mayor will also announce recipients of this year's Australia Day Awards, including Newcastle Citizen of the Year.

Newcastle Harbour will come alive from 8am on both Australia Day and Saturday 27 January with the first round of the 2018 Australian Formula Powerboat GP, an extreme sport in which super-powered boats weave through a course at speeds up to 250km/h.

This year's 1.8km course will take drivers past Honeysuckle, with a crucial turn north right in front of the Crowne Plaza.

In the sky above, Paul Bennet - one of Australia's premier aerial performers - will put on a solo aerobatic performance in his Wolf Pitts Pro aircraft from 12.30pm on Australia Day, plunging and twirling to just a few metres above the harbour.

Dinosaur puppets at Newcastle Museum and flower pressing workshops at Newcastle Art Gallery will add further colour to the day, while Fort Scratchley will be open from 10am-4pm and will fire its guns at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

Participants in the annual Newcastle Harbour swim will dive in from Stockton at 10am for a one-way crossing of harbour, and at 11am from Newcastle for the 1400m double crossing.

"With so many activities planned across the whole city, there really is something for everyone," the Lord Mayor said.

Australia Day celebrations

Australian Formula Powerboat GP
Honeysuckle Precinct

26-27 January, 8am-5pm
Five classes of Formula Powerboats racing in a 1.8km course in front of Honeysuckle.

Paul Bennet Airshow
Fort Scratchley & Newcastle Harbour

Solo aerobatic performance by one of Australia's premier aerial performers.

Citizenship Ceremony & Australia Day Awards
Newcastle City Hall

9am -12pm
Naturalisation of new citizens and presentation of Citizen, Young Citizen and Community Group of the Year awards.

Australian Day Bush Experience
Blackbutt Reserve - Richley Reserve

Reptile show, water slide, jumping castle, Segway rides, craft, face-painting, DJ, sausage sizzle.

The Art of Pressing Flowers
Newcastle Art Gallery

Still-life drawing and flower-pressing workshops with guests from Hunter Region Botanic Gardens.

Day of the Dinosaurs
Newcastle Museum

Roving puppet performances by large, lifelike dinosaurs, face-painting, picnic blankets and umbrellas provided.
Giant Book Give Away
Wallsend Library

10am - 2pm
Mural painting, bird and butterfly illustration workshops, giant book giveaway and sausage sizzle.

Fort Scratchley Open Day
Open day with firing of the guns at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

Newcastle Harbour Swim
10am (Stockton) 11am (Newcastle)
700m single crossing from Stockton and 1400m double crossing from Newcastle. Funds raised go to Stockton SLSC.

Swim and Swing

Lambton Swimming Centre
Live music by bands from Rosie's School of Rock, jumping castle, free waterslide and pool inflatables until 2pm.

Beresfield Swimming Centre
Jumping castle, pool inflatables, live music by soloist Sarah Christine.

Mayfield Swimming Centre
Pool inflatables, kids' entertainment from the Willy Doodrop Show with balloon sculptures (12.30pm-2.30pm), volleyball and jumping castle.

Stockton Swimming Centre
Jumping castle, pool inflatables, kids' entertainment from the Willy Doodrop Show with balloon sculptures (12.15pm-2pm).

Wallsend Swimming Centre
Jumping castle, pool inflatables, live music by soloist James Naldo.