AUSTRALIA DAY: A jumping castle is all we need

ACCORDING to Shara Johnson, Australia Day is all about one thing.

“The jumping castle,” the four-year-old Albury girl smiled shyly, gripping mum’s hand tight.

Well, they say Australia Day means many things to many people, and why shouldn’t play time be one of them?

There were at least 400 at Noreuil Park yesterday morning who agree.

Among them were a lot of teenagers enjoying one of the few days left of their summer holidays before school goes back this week, including 15-year-olds Max Lynch and Matt Davidson.

In their matching green and gold sombreros, they were ready for a day by the river, even if the water was freezing cold.

The pair were waiting for their friends to float down from further up the Murray River.

“It’s the best way to spend Australia Day,” Max said.

The day started with the formalities of Albury Council’s citizenship ceremony and awards, and a Welcome to Country from Wiradjuri elder Nancy Rooke.

“Tribes used to come from all over the country to meet in Albury and we would welcome them, as I do you today,” she said.

“People from both sides of the river would come — and I say river because it was never a border to our people.”

It’s a sentiment with which friends Gina and David Weston and Jim and Sue Giersch would be inclined to agree.

Although the Giersches now live in Kiewa, they chose to cross the river to spend the day with their Albury friends, because for them, celebrating with those closest to them was most important.

The Watsons became Australian citizens more than a decade ago after moving from England in the 1970s.

“When you settle somewhere and make a home and have a family, it becomes your home and you should celebrate that,” Mrs Watson said.

Sport was on the agenda for the rest of the day.

“He wants to watch the Albury Gift, but I’ve got to see Rafa,” she said.

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