AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE: Chairperson of the Ballina Bowling and Recreation Club’s centenary committee, Ann Steele (right), and bowling club receptionist Kelly Butler, are ready to celebrate Australia Day on January 26, and the bowling club’s centenary later this year.
AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE: Chairperson of the Ballina Bowling and Recreation Club’s centenary committee, Ann Steele (right), and bowling club receptionist Kelly Butler, are ready to celebrate Australia Day on January 26, and the bowling club’s centenary later this year.

A double celebration!

ANN Steele said the Ballina Bowling and Recreation Club is like one ‘big family’.

And that family is this year celebrating its centenary, with the Ballina men’s bowling club formed in September 1909.

Ann, the chairperson of the club’s centenary committee, said the club has been a big part of the Ballina community, providing both a sporting and social outlet for the people of Ballina.

Today, she said the club particularly provided a place for those in the community who had lost a partner to come and make new friends.

And what more Aussie thing is there than to look out for mates.

It’s within that theme that Ballina Shire Council has agreed this year to hold the Australia Day celebrations on January 26 at Hampton Park, next to the Ballina Bowling and Recreation Club on Moon Street, so the day will provide a double celebration – Aussie Day and the start of what will be a year-long series of events to mark the bowling club’s centenary.

The ceremony begins at 9am with a performance by the Ballina Shire Concert Band, followed by the official flag-raising ceremony at 10am.

The Australia Day awards and citizenship to new Aussies will be presented after that.

Steven Bradbury, the speed skater who won Australia’s first Winter Olympics gold medal after the other four finalists in his event fell over, will be the Australia Day guest.

Ballina mayor, Cr Phillip Silver, said Australia Day was a great way to get together as a community to celebrate what’s great about Australia and being an Australian.

“It’s a day to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can be proud of in our great nation and to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for the future,” he said.

“So make sure you come along and join in the celebrations.”

The formal part of the day will finish around lunchtime. Then it will be an afternoon of family fun with games, activities, live entertainment and music.

There will be face painting, a merry-go-round, Harley rides, chocolate wheels, tug-o-war games, gum boot throwing, Old MacDonald’s farm animals and Crocs and Dragons reptile park.

You can enjoy live entertainment from Fossil Rock and didgeridoo player Rory Close, plus performances by rock ’n’ roll dancers and boot scooters, while the East Ballina Lions Club will spark up the barbecue.

There will be a licensed drink tent.

And in a mark of Australians’ love of sport, there will be a Sports and Fitness Expo including demonstrations, exhibitions and activities of tai chi, baseball, Australian Rules football, fishing, croquet and, of course, bowls.

The Ballina Tennis Club will host free tennis for all on Monday commencing at noon. Balls will be available at the clubhouse. The celebrations will end will draw to a close at about 5pm.

On Australia Day Eve, January 25, the Ballina RSL Club has sponsored a fireworks display on the Richmond River.

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