Thank you for the opportunity to share with you the Mornington Peninsula Shire’s activities on Australia Day.
‘The Peninsula’, as it is affectionately known to local residents, contains a diversity of scenic landscapes and is almost surrounded by the sea, with coastal boundaries of over 190 kilometres, a total of approximately 10% of Victoria’s coastline. It is a mixture of urban areas, resort towns, tourist development and rural land and spans 720 square kilometres. Australia Day is part of a wider program with a theme that encompasses many other activities of interest in that particular year. This year the theme was ‘Celebrating 150 years’ – 4 townships in the Shire were gazetted 150 years ago. The Shire manages 7 sites on the day. The townships are Mount Eliza, Mornington, Dromana, Rosebud, Rye, Sorrento and Hastings, with help from local community groups. Without these groups it would be almost impossible to have such a large program on the day. Preparation commences in August each year with the committee being made up of a local Councillor as chairman, a community representative from each site, a publicist and Shire Community & Special Events team members. Each site is provided with a budget from the Shire, that we manage, as well as any sponsorship that may be obtained. All sites have flag raising ceremonies, speeches from Australia Day ambassadors, councillors and sometimes state and federal members, depending on their availability.
Each year a double sided poster is produced. On one side the theme is depicted with a suitable graphic and the other side lists all the sites with their main attractions on the day. These are distributed across the Shire usually by the end of November. Also listed on this poster are all the major sponsors.Another program, single sided, is produced that is site specific. This program goes into more detail of what is happening in their area and also lists the major sponsors as well as site specific sponsors. Some of the co-ordinators are able to gain further sponsorship from local businesses that want to support their program.
Here we have pictures from Mount Eliza. Their event is very family orientated, starting with a free community breakfast, a jumping castle, an animal farm and music from local bands. The event starts at about 9am and concludes at 1pm.
Mornington is an afternoon/evening event. The celebrations start in the park with lots of fun activities for children and families starting at 3pm, with face painting, jumping castle, small carnival rides and food vendors. The celebrations continue with a street parade at 5pm, which attracted 45 entrants this year. The parade is watched by approximately 10,000 people with Main Street Mornington a sea of faces.Once the Parade has finished, Mornington Park becomes the central point of entertainment. There is the flag raising ceremony, speeches and thankyous. Then music entertainment is presented on the stage until approximately 9pm, when a spectacular fireworks display concludes the evening over Mornington harbour. To add to the park’s attractions, the local scouts get involved with their rope bridge and sporting clubs have demonstrations.
Dromana’s day starts nice and early with a free community breakfast at 8am. Their morning is family orientated with lots of craft activities such as mini surf board painting, easel painting, roaming clown, handball competition and a colouring competition. The event takes place on Dromana foreshore and Port Phillip bay is a wonderful backdrop for such a lively fun filled morning. The flag raising ceremony is conducted by the local scout group followed by speeches.
Rosebud is growing every year. Their day starts with a 10km fun run and a 6km fun run/walk. The run commences at Safety Beach and finishes at the Village Green in Rosebud. This is where the main activities are held. The run this year attracted nearly 1,000 people and has become one of the favourites on the fun run calendar.Other attractions on the day are a free community breakfast, ‘Search for a Star’ competition on stage, a pet competition, flag raising ceremony, classic and vintage car display, carnival rides, and roaming entertainment. There is also a separate Citizenship Ceremony in the Rosebud Memorial Hall adjacent to the Village Green in the afternoon.
Rye start off their day late morning with a flag raising ceremony and speeches. A free sausage sizzle is served at lunchtime followed by all day entertainment on stage. Local cover bands entertain the crowds, with a lot of the crowd coming straight off the beach to enjoy. Children’s entertainment such as face painting, a roving clown, and stage entertainment are also on offer. Rye’s stage entertainment usually ends with a big named band. In the past, there have been BABBA, Creedence Clearwater Recycled, The Blues Brothers tribute show and this year the Queen Tribute Show. The foreshore area is crowded as you can see by the photo.To end all the festivities, a huge fireworks display is enjoyed by thousands.
Sorrento’s celebrations are conducted at the Sorrento Portsea RSL. It’s a great venue that caters for approximately 500 people. A more intimate celebration than the other 6 sites but no less fun filled and entertaining.There is the usual flag raising ceremony and speeches followed by a BBQ lunch provided by the local scouts. A jazz band entertains the older crowd for the afternoon.
Hastings is the only celebration on the Western Port side of the Peninsula and is growing in popularity every year.The organisers start the day with a free community breakfast, followed by the flag raising ceremony and speeches. There are carnival rides, children’s games and activities and live music. In the past they have had a family friendly cricket match when their ambassador was Max Walker. Later there is Afternoon Melodies, where everyone can have afternoon tea and join in an old fashioned sing-a-long.
The Mornington Peninsula Shire organise a special local National Anthem competition.The entrants are requested to sing the first two verses of Advance Australia Fair unaccompanied and in traditional fashion in front of 2 judges. To be eligible they must be twenty years or younger on the 26th January and reside on the Mornington Peninsula. Previous winners are not eligible to compete, but they are encouraged to enter directly via the Australia Day committee Victoria website. Our judges choose 6 entrants who are then recorded onto a cd for the Victorian State Competition. The finalists then sing at various flag raising ceremonies on Australia Day across the Mornington Peninsula as well as at the Australia Day launch a week prior to Australia Day.The entrants get great publicity in the local papers, and all the publicity we place around the Shire. It’s well received by entrants and parents alike.
I believe the success of the Shire’s Australia Day program is related to the general interest in Australia Day across the Peninsula.Also, the community feel they have ownership of the day by having representation on the Australia Day committee. They determine their program at their particular sites. The Shire endorses their program and gives financial support through infrastructure, security and publicity. The programs over the year’s have become diverse and quite dynamic as the population changes.Another reason for the success is the continued sponsorship from local companies and businesses. Each year, they are eager to support the Australia Day program with not only money but they also get involved by way of attending the activities at the various sites, put floats in the parade and serve at sausage sizzles.
3 tips I would give other event organisers. Involve the community with program decisions. After all, it’s the community that you are appealing to. Try to have a program that will appeal to the many and varied groups within your community. Look for new ideas, identify what works well and continue with it. Consult the community on how they would like to celebrate Australia Day. Not all the community ideas of entertainment will appeal to you personally, but if that’s what the community is calling for, then go with the idea and keep an open mind. Start advertising early. The sooner you have a basic program put together, start advertising it. Keep publicising the program as it grows, but get the message out in the community early. Especially as Australia Day falls at the end of school holidays, the community need to be informed before they break up for Christmas. For example, the Shire committee has the poster/program signed off by mid November. This way the poster can be out in the community nice and early before Christmas comes. The publicity starts in the local papers in September, usually advertising the local National Anthem competition. Our publicist has a schedule of when to place articles in the local papers as well as the Shire local newspaper, it is then simply a matter of what part of the programme we would like to publicise at that particular time. Usually each site gets a piece placed in the local paper and a double page spread appears in the Shire’s local paper in the issue before Australia Day. Be organised. We commence in August with committee meetings. The committee are given timelines of when we require information from them for publicity purposes as well as infrastructure they might require. In order for us to have a smooth process on Australia Day, it’s essential these timelines are adhered to. With 7 sites to co-ordinate, early organising is paramount.
Once again, thank you. I have enjoyed giving you an insight into the Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Australia Day program.
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA DAY CONFERENCE<br />Presented by<br />Andrea Fox<br />Project Officer<br />Community & Special Events<br />