Australia Day across the Rural City

Published on 24 January 2023

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Rural City of Wangaratta will host an Australia Day ceremony in the King George V Memorial Gardens this Thursday 26 January from 8am.

The coveted Rural City of Wangaratta community awards for Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, and Event/Project of the Year will be presented at the ceremony by Mayor Dean Rees.

“Australia Day is a community event highlighting the importance of reflecting on history and culture, respecting the diversity of people and views, and celebrating our community and our future,” said Cr Rees.

“As has been an important tradition since 2017, our Citizen of the Year will receive the honour of having their handprint carved onto the Marmungun Rock providing an enduring tribute to outstanding individuals in our community.”

The Marmungun Rock concept was conceived by respected Elder Wally Cooper whose pride in his aboriginal heritage and message of hope for the future inspired many. His ability to connect with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people has helped build respect, understanding and reconciliation. 

The unveiling of the handprint and accompanying cultural ceremony is held during National Reconciliation Week.

Following the award presentations, Cr Rees with Councillor Ashlee Fitzpatrick and Dr Helen Haines MP, Federal Member for Indi, will conduct a citizenship ceremony for the newest citizens in our community.

This year there will be ten people making the Australian Citizenship pledge and they are from across the globe: India, Mauritius, Nepal, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom.

“We are so happy to be welcoming new citizens into our community,” said Cr Rees.

“We welcome people from a diverse range of ethnicity, race and geography and this ceremony will be no exception, our communities are all the richer for this diversity.”

“Citizenship ceremonies are important occasions in the lives of individuals and families involved, and in the communities in which they are held. To be able to conduct this in one of our beautiful parks is always very special.”

There will also be 15 rural community events marking Australia Day taking place across the municipality:

Hamilton Park















From 11am on Thursday 26 January the community is invited to the Wangaratta Sports and Aquatic Centre to cool off and enjoy a pool party! There will be free entry between 11am-3pm, fun and games for all ages, with a DJ and loads of entertainment.

Australia Day will be a day to celebrate, enjoy and connect with the community.