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Wollongong celebrates being an Aussie

The golden sands of Brighton Beach Wollongong attracted Australian Day crowds.

The golden sands of Brighton Beach Wollongong attracted Australian Day crowds. ALL PHOTOS: Warren & Diana Ackery

THE national flag was a popular fashion accessory as thousands gathered at Wollongong Harbour today to enjoy Australia’s birthday.

There’s was something for everyone at the Wollongong Australia Day celebrations, which kicked off at 8am when participants aged six to 60 competed in the annual Australia Day Aquathon.

Activities continued through the day along the harbour foreshore area, including the action-packed Illawarra Rotaract Hospital Bed Run, sand sculpting, and a yacht display and regatta.

Jessie Pill from Wollongong was dressed for the occassion.

Jessie Pill from Wollongong was dressed for the occassion.

In Osborne Park amusement rides and novelty stalls entertained children. There was also loads of entertainment for the whole family on two stages in Lang and Osborne Parks.

Council is also encouraging everyone to support the Wollongong NRE Hawks by attending their game against the New Zealand Breakers at WIN Entertainment Centre. Tip-off is at 5pm. After the game, Hawks players join Council’s Australia Day celebrations to sign autographs and meet fans from 7.30pm.

The day’s highlight is the annual fireworks display. Thousands of people are expected to line the foreshore area to watch the impressive show at 9pm tonight.

Drive to JJ Kelly Park and catch a free bus between the park and the WIN Entertainment Centre. The bus will run every 15 minutes from 12 noon until 11pm on 26 January. The free Gong Shuttle will run from 6am-11pm and the bus will be re-routed via Corrimal Street and Georges Place due to road closures.

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What’s Australia Day without a game of beach cricket

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Australian flags became fashion accessories at Belmore Basin

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Plenty of stalls were available for browsing

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The annual aquathon was a feature of the celebrations today

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

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