This national holiday means different things to different people. For some Australia Day will always be “Invasion Day”. Others celebrate what they love about Australia, or just enjoy the day off. Whether you celebrate it or commemorate it, there’s a lot going on in Sydney. We’ve rounded up some of the best events happening this Thursday, from music festivals and pub feasts, to celebrations of Indigenous culture.
Invasion Day Rally
The annual January 26 Invasion Day Rally will take place at The Block in Redfern. This year’s rally, marking 229 years since the arrival of the British on Gadigal land, is organised by the coalition Fighting in Resistance Equally (FIRE).
From 11pm–3pm at The Block, corner Caroline and Louis Streets, Redfern
The 15th annual Yabun Festival is taking place in Camperdown’s Victoria Park and will recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culture. There’ll be a lot to do: AFL and NRL games; dance groups; market stalls; and arts-and-crafts workshops. The live-music line-up includes 10-piece Northern Territory ensemble Salt Lake Band. A “Talking Straight” tent will feature panel discussions with community members on a range of current issues affecting Indigenous people.
A mammoth 15-hour celebration is happening at Parramatta Park, and it starts at 6am with a hot air balloon display. There’ll be a Hottest 100 party, a barbeque and rides and activities for kids. Eskimo Joe and Thundamentals are headlining an evening of live music, ending with a fireworks display at 9pm.
The official WugulOra Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo returns, recognising Australia’s Indigenous heritage. Visit Sydney Festival’s The Beach; watch the annual Ferrython cross the harbour; or get an idea of what the new Barangaroo metro station (due in 2024) will be like via a 13-tonne, life-size model train and virtual reality tours. Bring your own picnic or enjoy the food trucks there, including Chrissy’s Cut Sausages, Pizza da Mario, Sundweesh Middle Eastern Street Food, Bar Coco coffee and gelato.
East Village Hotel, Darlinghurst
The newly reopened East Village Hotel is hosting a culinary Australia Day party. A special menu highlighting native Australian produce has been designed for the day. There’s kangaroo carpaccio with heirloom beetroots and native berries, and caramelised scallops with bush-tomato salsa and pepper berries. There will also be a selection of Australian wines, beers and spirits. Enjoy all this on East Village’s rooftop with sweeping city views, or settle into the Public Bar on the ground floor.
The Butcher and the Farmer
The Butcher and the Farmer at the Tramsheds is hosting a special Australia Day feast. You can expect some fine meat from this quality butcher, from spit-roasted lamb, to hot-smoked kangaroo loin and a classic burger. There’s a traditional pavlova to finish.
4Pines BrewPub Manly, and 4Pines Public House Newport
4Pines will celebrate Australia Day across all of its northern-beaches venues. Not only will revelers be counting down to the number-one song of 2017 (according to Triple J listeners), they will also be counting down the GABS (Great Australasian Beer Spectacular) Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers.
Native Food Workshop at Handpicked Cellar Door
Chippendale’s Handpicked Cellar Door is hosting a workshop with the owner of Indigiearth, Sharon Winsor. The workshop will provide information on native ingredients and wild harvesting and its importance to Aboriginal culture. You’ll also learn about its uses in modern-Australian cuisine. The $35 workshop includes a glass of wine.
Manly Wharf Hotel
Ever tried a cheese-and-vegemite pizza? Try it this Thursday on the jetty at the Manly Wharf Hotel. There’ll also be a barbeque on the jetty and $16 jugs of James Squire’s pale ale. After the Hottest 100 countdown, DJ Devola will play until late.
Entry is free 11am–close
Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel
Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel is hosting the Every Man and His Dog Stand Up Paddling competition. The barbeque will be fired up all day serving bacon-and-egg rolls in the morning and “shrimps on the barbie” later on. Try an Australian-themed cocktail and kick back to the sounds of Bag Raiders, Shantan Wantan Ichiban and Purple Sneakers.
The Woollahra will transport guests to a glorious 1970s-inspired pool party. The Terrace will be filled with paddling pools, pool toys and a dunking bar (a machine that will drop you into a tub of water) to keep you cool. Or what about backyard cricket?
Royal Hotel Paddington
Paddington’s The Royal is a perfect choice for a relaxed afternoon. There’ll be pub classics, the Hottest 100 and a local band on the ground floor. Make your way to the rooftop bar for views, or get into the sausage sizzle and VB minibar.
Goat Island Sounds
Party on an island with incredible views and live music. Goat Island Sounds returns to Sydney Harbour’s Goat Island. The line-up features a number of women killing it on the electronic music scene, such as Ngaiire and Nina Las Vegas. Also playing are Basenji and Kuren. Butter will be there frying chicken.
Darlo Country Club Darlinghurst’s Darlo Country Club is hosting an Australia Day Eve party. For $35 you’ll get an Aussie barbeque banquet plus free cocktails. DJs Jimmy2Sox, Alice Q, Jonny Pow and Sam Francisco will play until late.
The Clare Bar at The Old Clare
Spend your afternoon in The Clare Bar. There’ll be DJs from 6pm and custom-designed Australia Day cocktails, including the aptly named Good Morning Australia. It’s a blend of Earl Grey-tea-infused gin, Cointreau, house-made marmalade and fresh lemon.
1 Kensington Street, Chippendale