Australia Day celebrations are just hours away at community cul-de-sacs, backyard barbecues and poolside parties across the Gunnedah shire.

Gunnedah’s Australia Day awards will be announced tonight alongside 2024 Australia Day ambassador Todd McKenney and special guest Murray Hartin.

McKenney is known for his roles as a TV personality from Dancing with the Stars and stage theatre performer. Hartin, meanwhile, is considered one of the best Australian rhyming poets of the modern era.

Rotary Club of Gunnedah will host the traditional Australia Day breakfast at Anzac Park from about 9am on Friday.

Barbecue bacon and egg rolls are on offer for a modest gold coin donation.

At lunch time, the Rotary club will hand over to its Gunnedah West colleagues for more refreshments inside Gunnedah pool which has free entry all day.

Morning events in Gunnedah also include a citizenship ceremony, sports events at the pool and a historic vehicle display.

The vintage motorcade will proceed alongside Conadilly Street between 8.30-9am and finish at the main pool car park.

“We have a couple of tractors and cars that we’ll run down the street,” Gunnedah Rural Museum president Owen Tydd said.

A few historic machinery pieces from the shearing shed and the wash room will be among other items also on display.

Meanwhile, aprons are being dusted off in preparation for Gunnedah’s Australia Day Cake-Off. Ann Luke was awarded last year’s grand champion honours with her Australiana-themed koala and gum tree cake. In keeping with the Australiana icons, the defending champ is reportedly concentrating on iced vo vo biscuits for this year’s entry.

Australia Day preparations are also underway at shire villages.

At Kelvin Hall, organisers will combine a barbecue lunch with backyard cricket, music and karaoke, as well as water activities and toy car races for the young and young at heart.

Kelvin Hall committee member Brett Waters said the group has been steadily building its events for several years including the annual Christmas party, bonfire and movie nights.

“Generally we get a get good crowd out there,” he said.

Meanwhile the Emerald Hill community will host one of its first Australia Day events.

Progress association chair Rob Witts said the group has been staging a “get-together” on the last Friday of every month for some time. Given Australia Day falls on the same day, Mr Witts said it made sense to combine the two celebrations at the Emerald Hill hall. More events are planned at locations across the Gunnedah shire.

Check out the events hosted in the shire here: LIVE THEATRE & EVENTS, The Civic Cinema I Gunnedah

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