Some events to go ahead on January 26

January 19, 2024 BY

Surf Coast Shire mayor Liz Pattison (left) and Wadawurrung elder Aunty Mary Shuttleworth. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE Surf Coast Shire will continue to not hold any official celebration of Australia Day on Friday January 26, and will instead run a repeat of its Pilk Purriyn event in the early hours of the day.

In its second year, the Pilk Purriyn (“sunrise” in Wadawurrung language) truth-telling event will return to Cosy Corner, welcoming people of all ages, genders, races, religions and backgrounds.

Starting at 5.30am with sun rising on the water, it will include a traditional Welcome to Country, smoking and dance ceremonies.

At its heart, Traditional Owners will share truths seeking to deepen community understanding of the traumas, loss and hurt that colonisation brought upon the First Peoples of the land.

Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation will again present Pilk Purriyn in collaboration with the Surf Coast Shire, and supported by Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority, GeelongPort and Give Where You Live.

“Council recognises that January 26 is a day of sorrow rather than celebration for First Nations people and is proud to support Wadawurrung Traditional Owners and the Pilk Purriyn event, respectfully acknowledging so much loss and hurt,” shire mayor Liz Pattison said last month.

“Our community demonstrated earlier this year [2023] a profound wish to participate in deep listening and to be there as allies for First Nations people.

“We encourage community members to again take this opportunity to recognise truths and a cultural richness spanning over 60,000 years.”

About 2,000 people attended the inaugural Pilk Purriyn event in 2023 and the crowd is expected to be bigger this year, with organisers encouraging attendees to register at surfcoast.vic.gov.au/Experience/Events/Community-Calendar/Pilk-Purriyn

In Anglesea, the Lions Club of Anglesea will present Australia Day celebrations on the bank of the Anglesea River, next to the Tourist Information Shelter.

Breakfast of bacon, egg, sausage, toast, tea and coffee will be available, at a cost of $8 for adults and $5 for children.

The Billy Tea Bush Band will provide music.

Speakers at the event will include Professor Andrew Gunstone, associate deputy vice-chancellor for reconciliation at Federation University, who will talk on the topic of truth-telling; and

Australia Day ambassador Peter Yates, a company director, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

The event, sponsored by Lions Club of Anglesea and Community Bank Surf Coast, will run from 8-10.30am.

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