Top 10 free Australia Day events in Victoria

Living Well | RACV | Posted on 21 January 2020

RACV’s Australia Day Festival celebrates our diversity. 

Australia Day is all about getting together, and communities throughout the state have organised free local events to bring neighbours together. From slap-up breakfasts to brass bands, citizenship ceremonies, sausage sizzles and live sounds on stage, here’s a few ways to pass the day without spending a dollar.

Australia Day picnic table with lamingtons, pavlova, pies and flags

Top 10 (free) Australia Day events across Victoria


 

RACV Australia Day Festival 

Kings Domain Gardens, Melbourne, 11am to 4pm 

The much-loved RACV Australia Day Festival returns to the Kings Domain Gardens with something for the whole family. Children’s favourites The Giggle and Hoot Show and Lah-Lah take to the stage while the “great Aussie backyard” area has activities for all ages. Highlights include a 21-gun salute, a flyover by the Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes, a showcase of heritage Australian-made vehicles and food from all over the globe.

Music and more music

Mornington Park, Mornington, from 3pm

The line-up for this event is so impressive you’d pay for it, except it’s free and has something for everyone. Prolific Australian recording artist Kate Ceberano is the headline act for this Mornington's Australia Day festival, while kids will delight in appearances from Marshall, Chase, Skye and Rubble of Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol.

Roving entertainers will keep the crowds amused during the day while on stage the energetic crew of Indigenous Hip Hop Projects will get you moving. There will be old and new on stage, including emerging artist Oskar Proy and ARIA award-winning crowd favourites The Badloves.

For more Australia Day events on the peninsula visit mornpen.vic.gov.au/australiaday.

BYO plate, empty plate that is

Park Lake Reserve, Creswick, from 8am

This community Australia Day Breakfast event is essentially a huge breakfast feast with bacon, eggs and snags on the barbie as well as cereal and toast. It’s free but there’s a catch. You must BYO crockery and cutlery to avoid disposable waste. A few hundred are expected to turn up for the event which includes a flag-raising ceremony and the national anthem performed by the award-winning Creswick Brass Band.

Psst. Watch for men in black sunglasses 

ANZAC Park, Scott Street, Warracknabeal, from 8am 

Keep an eye out for men in dark suits and sunglasses with ear plugs when local lad Josh Gunn addresses the crowd at the Warracknabeal Aus Day celebration. Josh has rubbed shoulders with the United States Secret Service through his work as a professor of forensic toxicology. He returns home to tell the tale of his journey from Warracknabeal to America where he identifies drugs, toxins and poisons to determine the cause of death in such cases as homicides and overdoses.  

Another local, classical singer Sofia Laursen Habel, who won the inaugural 2019 Alex Rathgeber Performing Artist Scholarship, will perform, and there will be a flyover and a flag parade by guides and scouts. 

Sun, surf and fun 

Taylors Park, Torquay, from 10am 

What better location to welcome Australia’s new citizens than next to the nation’s iconic surf beach, Torquay? Surf Coast Shire mayor Rose Hodge will perform a citizenship ceremony while the shire’s Australia Day Ambassador Grant Monks, a kidney health crusader, will address the crowd. There’ll be children’s face painting and music and a barbecue brunch. 

Multicultural brunch 

Queens Gardens, Shepparton, from 8.45am 

Celebrations at Shepparton's Australia Day multicultural lunch will kick off with an official flag raising followed by guest speaker Ann Peacock, and a citizenship ceremony and presentation of Australia Day community awards. Top it all off with a multicultural branch, children’s activities and live music. 

Fun on the foreshore 

Fred Smith Reserve, Hastings, from 9am 

The whole family can enjoy this laidback celebration on the picturesque Hastings foreshore. After a free breakfast there are activities, amusements and face-painting for the kids, as well as workshops, demonstrations, live music and market stalls. 

A cracking event 

Pioneers Park, Berwick , from 10am 

What celebration would be complete without a good old-fashioned display of whip-cracking? The folks in Berwick have it covered, and also offer a wood-chopping event and Cobb and Co horse-and-carriage rides.  Of course, there’s an official flag-raising ceremony as well as music, children’s activities and food stalls. 

Behind the scenes 

Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne, from noon 

There’s not a flag-raising ceremony in sight at this Australia Day event. It’s an excuse to snoop around the 1870s seat of power, perhaps even sit in the lord mayor’s chair. You can even stand on the balcony where the Beatles waved to masses in 1964. The half-hour tours will be popular so make sure you book. 

Barefoot bowls and Devonshire tea 

Sorrento Bowls Club, from 10am 

Slip off your shoes and try your hand at bowls or perhaps go for gold in the egg-and-spoon race at Sorrento’s bowls club. After the official ceremony with speeches and a flag raising, try a very civilised Devonshire tea before a free community barbecue lunch