As Australia Day quickly approaches, it’s time to unite the Canberra community and respect, reflect on and celebrate what it means to be Australian.
To make things different this year, the National Capital Authority (NCA) has announced a spectacular light show that will be projected upon the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.
The free community event, Lights on the Lake, sponsored by the Australian Government through the National Australia Day Council, will include vibrant projections and displays on the water, night markets, food and drink vendors, and projections of the Australian of the Year state and territory finalists for 2023.
Ngunnawal elder Caroline Hughes has joined other members of the Ngunnawal community and worked alongside the NCA to film a Welcome to Country and a water ceremony which will be featured in the live projections.
“As one of many Ngunnawal elders, I was delighted to film a Welcome to Country and water ceremony for the Australia Day events,” Aunty Caroline said.
“Our welcome reflects our desire to invite the community to come together to reflect and enjoy the land and life here in the capital.
“We hope that all contribute to voice, treaty, and truth in the spirit of reconciliation.”
The show creators, Oracle Liquid and The Electric Canvas, will use Lake Burley Griffin as a canvas, and put together a custom light and water show, which will depict images of Australian experiences and stories upon two large-scale water screens.
These projections, to be viewed at Commonwealth Place, will pair with choreographed high-pressure water jets and laser lights synced with music, taking place for 12 minutes at sundown.
As part of the celebrations, the 2023 Australian of the Year winner will also be announced, and the nominees and winner will then be projected upon the National Carillon, on Queen Elizabeth II Island.
Taking place across four evenings, 25 to 28 January, there will also be night markets taking place on the lake offering plenty of gourmet food stalls, multicultural cuisines and dessert vendors.
You will also be able to purchase handmade and locally designed art, jewellery, homeware and more. Vendors will be operating from five to 10 pm each night.
Despite the main event being on 26 January, Lights on the Lake will be held across several days, in the lead-up to Australia Day, and over that weekend.
From Monday 23 to Thursday 26, The National Carillon will also be displaying images of Australia Day celebrations, Australian of the Year award nominees and winners, the Local Hero Award and the Australian of the Year.
NCA chief operating officer Hamid Heydarian said Lights on the Lake had been designed to bring interstate visitors to Canberra to enjoy everything it had to offer.
“One of our strategic objectives is to work with partners to attract visitors to the national capital,” Mr Heydarian said.
“We are committed to showcase Canberra and the nation’s capital to Canberrans and people from out of town, and we’re always looking for opportunities to do so.
“This is one of the reasons why the event is designed to take place over a few days, as we are trying to make it available to as many people as possible, even those wanting to travel to Canberra and have the weekend here.”
Mr Heydarian said the Australia Day event was about reflection, respect, and celebration.
“The theme is reflecting on the fabric of our society, where we’ve come from as a nation, and the thousands of years of rich history of our country,” he said.
“It’s about respecting that we are a multicultural society, and we need to respect and accept that, more importantly, we need to respect the country and the land we live on, as well as the traditional owners of that land.
“The celebration aspect also extends to our heroes – the unsung heroes, the volunteers, the firefighters, the police, the defence forces, those that do their job tirelessly to keep us safe and enable us to go about our daily lives.”
“It is about celebrating and respecting inclusiveness.”
To find out more, visit the NCA’S website.