Colourful Australia Day celebrations by the Myall River

Colourful Australia Day celebrations by the Myall River

 “Everyone being together and having a good time” is how Peter Webb the President of the Tea Gardens Lions Club, described Australia Day 2020. The Lions Club cooked up a fantastic breakfast served to upbeat music from the country band J&J. The proceeds support their humanitarian efforts locally, nationally, and internationally.


Dawn on Australia Day Flag.

At 9.00am the band played the national anthem for the flag raising by Barry Whiteman, President of the RSL Sub Branch, followed by official awards. Citizen of the Year was awarded to the long-term President of the Red Cross in Tea Gardens, Jennifer Wenham. Red Cross supports communities impacted by disasters such as the recent bushfires.  



Australia Day Flag raising ceremony.

The festivities continued with children’s games, including sack racing, replete with ice cream and lamingtons. The morning attracted over 600 people to the grassy riverside Moira Parade Reserve.



Regular weekenders from Greystanes – Sydney West, Elijah and Michelangelo Nassau dressed in OZ Day colours.

The Tea Gardens Hawks Nest Family Research Group displayed stories about national disasters over the years and how communities respond and recover. There was also an update on their successful News Of The Area (NOTA) to Trove project. Trove is an Australian online library now spanning the years for NOTA articles from April 1970.



The Family Research Group, Roslyn Bridger, Shirley Cox, Karl Lackman and Jenny Little with convict and relative, William Crofts, who was transported for life to Australia.

The Tea Gardens Hawks Nest Historical Society displayed stories from the local past, with tales from the old shark processing factory at Pindimar. Lots of sharks, with around 25,000 killed between 1927 and 1933.  Today only stories remain about the factory which burned to the ground. Sharks are now a protected part of our productive and healthy local marine environment. David Benson, the president of the Society, also spoke about rediscovering Aboriginal names for the area, some from the Gathang language of the Worimi people, the traditional owners of these lands and waterways.



Jan Winn with scary shark stories from Pindimar (the place of black possums).

One hundred years ago in 1920, the then Prime Minister was Bill Hughes and Australia Day was called First Landing, Anniversary or Foundation Day. Tea Gardens and surrounds were being logged for hardwood, and Jimmy’s Beach was a secret campsite for local miners and their families. The long Australia Day weekend really started 15 years later in 1935. Since then the day’s meaning has and continues to change over time, a journey of recognising and respecting traditions, culture and history – together.


By Sandra MURRAY

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