Kempsey says G’day to a COVID-safe Australia Day Awards

No stone has been left unturned – or unsterilised – in the effort to ensure that the 2021 Australia Day Awards and launch of the Black Summer and Beyond exhibition at its new home will be a huge and healthy success.

The 2021 Australia Day Awards ceremony will take place 26 January at the Slim Dusty Centre with an array of small and large changes made in the interests of public health and best practice.

After receiving advice from the Office of Local Government, NSW Health and Police, Kempsey Shire Council will be asking guests to ensure they check into the venue using the Service NSW app, practice social distancing and to remain seated as much as possible to ensure the health and safety of the community.

Additionally, in line with public health guidelines, those attending the official ceremony will be asked to refrain from joining in the singing of the national anthem Advance Australia Fair but rather to simply stand while the Anthem and I am Australian are performed by Heath Lancaster.

Due to COVID-safe practices, those attending are asked to make sure they arrive early as the check-in process may cause slight delays and numbers on site are limited. It is advised that attendees download the Service NSW application to their phone before leaving home.

Anyone who is feeling unwell, demonstrating flu-like symptoms or who has been asked to self-isolate should stay at home.

The morning will begin with a gold coin donation barbecue breakfast served by the Rotary Clubs of Kempsey and Kempsey West from 9am and an outdoor performance by the Kempsey Silver Band.

From there, the official ceremony, kicking off at 10am, will open with a traditional Welcome to Country and a performance by the Figtree Dancers, followed by an address from the official Australia Day Ambassador Dick Adams, the presentation of the Australia Day awards and a citizenship ceremony.

This year’s event will include the first live citizenship ceremony to take place in the shire in 12 months. Additionally, the awards ceremony will include a Lifetime Achievement award for the first time ever.

While the event may look a little different, Kempsey Shire Mayor, Liz Campbell, said she is looking forward to a memorable morning with the community celebrating the achievements of local citizens and welcoming new citizens to our beautiful and resilient Valley.

“Australia Day is a very emotional day, where we recognise local heroes through the Awards ceremony and welcome our newest citizens,” said Cr Campbell.

“It is one of my greatest honours and favourite duties to host this event as it is such a magical experience every year, full of hope and celebration.”

Guests will also be able to walk through the free Black Summer and Beyond exhibition of bushfire and recovery photos from 9am and after the official proceedings until noon when the centre closes for the public holiday. The exhibition will be free to visit at the Slim Dusty Centre for the months ahead.

Kempsey Mayor, Liz Campbell, said residents and visitors to the area are welcome to attend the Awards ceremony or any of the community celebrations taking place on 26 January including a free sausage sizzle being hosted by the South West Rocks Lions Club from 7:30am to 10am at the Horseshoe Bay Shelter Shed, located at Horseshoe Bay Reserve, Livingstone Street following the flag raising ceremony at 7:20am.

There will also be an Australia Day celebration at the Willawarrin Pub from midday with a lamb and pavlova lunch and the local fishing club running family events including an egg and spoon race.

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