REMEMBER in years gone by how we used to celebrate Australia Day in Bathurst in the park together in a family atmosphere with a citizenship ceremony under the trees and all the community awards handed out on the beautiful rotunda?
We had performers to entertain us, food stalls, farm animals for the kids to look at and many craft exhibitions.
Well, no more.
In the last couple of years, Bathurst's Australia Day events have been nothing more than a token gesture with a short citizenship ceremony held in the quiet of the auditorium in the entertainment centre, a barbecue breakfast out of the way at Eglinton and, in the afternoon, free admission to the pool (really nothing to do with Australia Day and we had that anyway in previous years).
Many people didn't even know it was on.
After the backlash of last year, the Australia Day Committee called for public input as to how Australia Day should be celebrated.
I attended the forum on March 18 and many people expressed their dissatisfaction on how the event was conducted over the past couple of years and the strong desire to get things back in the park as in previous years, only bigger and better.
But guess what? This year, the committee, for some reason best known to itself, has disregarded all the outdoor in the park suggestions and is doing exactly the same thing as last year ... a subdued ceremony in the auditorium.
I don't know about you, but I'm a proud Australian and wish to celebrate Australia Day in a carnival atmosphere with all my fellow Australians out in the open in our beautiful Machattie Park.
Those who feel the same way should petition our councillors so that next year we have a proper and inclusive celebration of Australia Day.