COVID has curtailed this week’s (Wednesday 26 January) Australia Day events on the Mornington Peninsula for the second year running.
However, a festival atmosphere will be created in Main Street, Mornington with live music and “family friendly” events organised by Mornington Chamber of Commerce.
The traditional street parade and activities at Mornington Park have again been placed on hold.
The regular community-organised Australia Day events at Rye, Dromana and Rosebud have also been cancelled, although they will go ahead at Mount Eliza, Hastings and Sorrento.
The Briars historic property at Mount Martha will host Our Survival Day 2022 – Reconnection, described by Mornington Peninsula Shire as an “Indigenous-led community event providing a safe and culturally empowering space for First Nations people and their allies to gather on 26 January”.
A news release issued by the shire and quoting the mayor Cr Anthony Marsh, stated that a “community vision” presented to council in July last year, “emphasises honour and respect for the peninsula’s Traditional Owners, the Bunurong people, and the importance of safe, accessible, inclusive spaces for all”. Five months later councillors rejected a move to lower the Aboriginal flag to half-mast on Australia Day (“Shire flags changes for A-Day 2023” The News 10/1/22).
The “all-inclusive family event” at The Briars runs midday to 6pm and attendees are being urged to “bring a picnic blanket, sit back and listen to live music, or join in on our cultural workshops and activities”. Details and tickets: oursurvivalday.com.
The shire says last year’s “reimagined” traditional Mornington Park event was “well-received by locals, visitors and businesses”.
It says the business chamber’s program for Main Street on Wednesday “will feature mostly local artists and musicians and will help support our arts sector through the pandemic”.
“The action will take place along Main Street, which has once again been opened to pedestrians and closed to traffic over summer to enable outdoor dining and help promote the economic recovery of our local food businesses.”
“Australia Day is a time to celebrate all that is good about our great country and reflect on the journey we’ve taken to get where we are today,” Cr Marsh said.
“It’s also time to celebrate and honour the Traditional Owners of our land and learn more about our nation’s past so that we can move forward together.”
Cr Marsh said the shire’s “overall approach” to Australia Day and the financing of events would be reviewed “and a fresh approach to Australia Day is expected to be in place by 2023”.
Details about Australia Day events are at: mornpen.vic.gov.au/australiaday