Australia Day Long Weekend

Aus Lights on the River spectacular to debut in Adelaide for Australia Day

In a first for Australia Day, Aus Lights on the River brings a stunning immersion of light, sound and vision to Elder Park (Tarntanya Wama). 

In a first for Australia Day, Aus Lights on the River brings a stunning immersion of light, sound and vision to Elder Park (Tarntanya Wama). 

The spectacular will be held over five consecutive nights from Saturday 22 January until Wednesday 26 January.

It is the centrepiece of the free Australia Day 2022 program, presented by the Australia Day Council of South Australia (ADCSA) to enable everyone to explore the theme “We’re All Part of the Story”.

Aus Lights on the River will take participants through a breathtaking journey to explore how they connect to nature and belong to Country:

  • Be among the first in SA to see the AirLume, a giant inflatable shape, which will be illuminated with artwork created by school students in the Adelaide Hills to depict bushfire recovery and community healing. Standing 9.5 metres tall, visitors can walk up to and through the structure.
  • See performances by the Tjarutja dance collective projected onto a water screen on the River Torrens.
  • Swim with virtual fish, see virtual wildlife and learn the traditional story of the River Torrens.
  • Watch “Our Story” on the Adelaide Festival Centre’s iconic shells and hear South Australians talk about what Country means to them.
  • Discover Evelyn Roth’s inflatable Nylon Zoo featuring native animals.

ADCSA Chief Executive Officer Jan Chorley says ADCSA has been working closely with First Nations groups and multicultural communities to create a program of events with meaning for everyone.

“Australia Day is for all South Australians, no matter where our personal stories began, from First Nations peoples to the most recent arrivals, including Afghan refugees, who have come to South Australia to build a better life,” Jan said.

“We invite everyone to reflect and respect our connection to the land, cultural heritage, lifestyle and shared values.”

The program will kick off with Aus Day in the Market, featuring conversations, cooking demonstrations and more, from 20 to 22 January at the Adelaide Central Market. Gawler Place in Rundle Mall will come alive with music, storytelling, and performances from 22 to 26 January for Aus Day in the Mall.

Australia Day will begin with the Smoking Ceremony, from 8 am to 9 am, performed and hosted by Kaurna Elders on Kaurna land at Elder Park/Tarntanya Wama. In this First Nations custom, the burning of native plants produces cleansing smoke, to acknowledge ancestors and pay respect to Country, waters, and seas.

Visitors to Aus Lights on the River will be able to watch the creation of a stunning sand painting by Kaurna and Anangnu artists featuring the Kaurna shield and the five surrounding Aboriginal language groups of South Australia. The final work will be unveiled at the Smoking Ceremony.

“As we embrace a New Year and continue to face various challenges due to the ongoing pandemic, the importance of togetherness as a community has never been more crucial,” Ms Chorley said.

“It’s our people and their achievements who have shaped and continue to contribute to the story of Australia. We encourage South Australians to acknowledge Australia Day in a way that is meaningful to them.”

Adelaide Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor encouraged everyone to join her in celebrating Australia Day in the City of Adelaide.

“On Australia Day we come together to celebrate all the great things about our nation, which includes our many community groups and diverse culture,” she said.

“Aus Lights on the River promises to be a real highlight along with the Smoking Ceremony in Elder Park /Tarntanya Wama. I look forward to seeing the sand painting and paying my respects to the ancestors of the traditional custodians of this great country.”

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