Ahlam Price and her sons Liam and Adam.
Ahlam Price and her sons Liam and Adam. Jacklyn Wagner

Cane toads, gumboots and new citizens

A WHIP-CRACKING demonstration at Casino, gumboot- and mullet-throwing competitions at Murwillumbah and New Brighton, a man lifting a 1100kg rock at Lismore, and cane toad races at Ballina and Knockrow are among the many quirky ways Australia Day will be celebrated on the Northern Rivers.

On the serious side, local council areas will hold citizenship cere- monies, with Byron Shire swearing in 15 new residents from around the globe - Brazil, the UK, USA, Germany, Belgium and Greece; Lismore welcoming 11 new Australians, Kyogle three and Tweed Shire a whopping 46 from 16 different countries, including Hungary, Russia, Peru, Brazil, France and South Africa.

In Byron Bay, the other face of Australia Day - the survival of indigenous culture - will be held at Main Beach, while the shire's main ceremony is at Mullumbimby's Civic Hall from 11am. Details from www.byron.nsw.gov.au.

Each local government area has invited an Australia Day ambassador to attend events around the district.

There'll be plenty of games and stories to tell when Benita Collings, of Play School fame from 1969-2007, makes her way around the Tweed area, giving a talk at 11am at Tyalgum Hall, where the main events are being held. Full details at www.tweed.nsw.gov.au.

Kyogle Shire Council is holding a ceremony at Kyogle with ambassador Libby Hathorn, author of more than 50 books for children and young adults; at Woodenbong, where Page MP Janelle Saffin will be at the flag-raising ceremony just after 10am; and at Bonalbo with ambassador, anti-violence campaigner Nina Funnell, who was the Young Australian of the Year in 2010. More details from kyogle.nsw.gov.au.

Ballina will be welcoming in 10 new citizens and holding its cele- brations at the Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre and Williams Reserve from 8am to 1pm. Their ambassador is Dr Ross Walker, a cardiologist, author and public speaker, who will be part of the official ceremony between 9am and 10.30am. There are also fun activi- ties at the Ballina RSL Club all day, ending with a Slim Dusty tribute show on the Boardwalk stage at 8pm. More details at www.ballina australiaday.com.au

Lismore's ambassador, who will attend the ceremony at the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre from 8.30-10.30am, is past president of Surf Life Saving Australia and immediate past world president of International Life Saving, Alan Whelpton. Mr Whelpton was involved with setting up Australian rescue helicopter services, including Lismore's. Events continue from noon-5pm with Aussie Battlers Survival Day activities including dance, games and skating. Australia Day details are at www.lismore.nsw.gov.au.

At 11.30am, Gold Coast-based strongman Derek Boyer will attempt to break the his own world record, set last year, by lifting a rock weighing 1100kg, which will have been placed by a crane outside Oakes Oval in Lismore.

Whip-cracking legend Russell Adcock will be the Australia Day ambassador at Richmond Valley Council's ceremonies at the Casino Showground (rain or shine). The farmer-carries-the-wife races should be a lot of fun, or there's a cricket match between the Casino Show Society President's 11 and the legendary Casino Cavaliers.

Australia Day ceremonies

Ballina: Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre 8am-1pm

Byron Bay: Mullumbimby Civic hall, Dalley St, 11am-1pm

Kyogle: Memorial Pool;, Wyangarie St, 8-10am

Lismore: Goonellabah Sport and Aquatic Centre, 8.30am

Richmond Valley: Casino Showground, 8.30am

Tenterfield: Memorial Hall, Molesworth St 9am

Tweed: Tyalgum Hall, 11am-12.30pm

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