Spreading the Aussie love

COOL OFF: A free community day at the Whyalla Lesiure Centre will coincide with Australia Day. Pictured are Declan and Molly Flack in the centre's swimming pool.
COOL OFF: A free community day at the Whyalla Lesiure Centre will coincide with Australia Day. Pictured are Declan and Molly Flack in the centre's swimming pool.

The Whyalla City Council have broken tradition in order to create a more accessible and less costly alternative for Australia Day this year, spreading the celebrations all around the town.

Usually the Whyalla Foreshore is Australia Day central, but this year's event will see a free community day at the Whyalla Recreation Centre from 12-5pm, including jumping castles, an inflatable maze, kite making, the swimming pool, and gym classes.

The day will kick off with the Whyalla Harriers Fun Run beginning at 8am in the Ada Ryan Gardens featuring a course which includes the iconic Whyalla Jetty.

Following the end of the run will be the Australia Day Ceremony in the gardens at 10:30am where the Australia Day Award winners will receive their certificates. Carnival rides will also be available.

But that's not all, if you can't get down to the gardens for the ceremony, free sausage sizzles will be spread around town from 10am-12pm so you can still get involved in the Aussie tradition.

Snags will be available at the foreshore, Wilson Park, Onestop, Mitre 10, Essington Lewis Foodland and Norton Park, so make sure you stop by during the day.

Carnival rides, food vans and entertainment will be along the foreshore from 10am-4pm, so if the weather suits you can still spend an afternoon at the beach.

So all residents can make the most of the day, a free community bus service will be running from 9:30am-6pm, with one ride every half an hour. Check the Whyalla City Council website for more information on routes.

Deputy Mayor Phil Stone said the main reason for the change to the Australia Day proceedings was to combat the threat of poor weather ruining the day.

"Unfortunately over the years our Australia Day weather hasn't always been the greatest, the foreshore is magnificent but the weather often plays up and the crowd starts to leave," he said.

"We wanted to look at what could be done to still recognise Australia Day, try to be a bit different and combat the weather. The Ada Ryan Gardens were ideal for ceremony because even on a windy day you have protection there."

Mr Stone said the community day was also an opportunity for those who didn't normally take advantage of the recreation centre to get a feel for what it offers.

"We're trying to provide extra fun for the families in a location where they're not going to be buffeted by wind," he said.

"We're also spreading the food throughout Whyalla through the free sausage sizzles." Aother key reason for spreading out the celebrations was the task of meeting COVID-19 restrictions.