It's a HAPPY day!

AUSSIE: Vann Sayner

AUSSIE: Vann Sayner

The joy of being an Aussie shone through at Solomontown Beach on Sunday.

Hugs, kisses and smiles told the story of Australia Day on the foreshore lawns while many dressed up in patriotic hats and clothes. Up to 2000 revellers gathered from early in the morning to about noon to celebrate the founding of our country.

"It was awesome," said Port Pirie Australia Day Committee secretary Ellei Bone.

"Everyone was happy. I started my report to the Australia Day Council with the words that Port Pirie is sometimes criticised, but we proved that we are happy in our community.

"There was a lot more people who dressed up in their Australia Day gear. It was also emotional with our Australia Day Ambassador Vicky Welgraven's speech bringing a few tears. It was a brilliant and happy day."

About 400 breakfasts were served by the Lions Club of Port Pirie and some were still asking for a meal at 11am.

Children and adults lined up for icecream, ook-ook, face-painting, balloon artistry and the jumping castle.

On the beach, children took part in sandcastle building despite the high tide. The bucket relay, thong-throwing, watermelon-eating and tug-of-war were contested.

Six craft took part in the traditional Jim Mortlock Memorial Raft Race.

Mayor Leon Stephens congratulated Citizen of the Year "Cactus" Martens, Young Citizen of the Year Kyah Dienhoff and :Philip Amato representing Event of the Year, the South Australian Country Junior Soccer Championships. Ambassador and Adnyamathanha community member Ms Welgraven, who is on the Premier's Council for Women, said at a dinner on Saturday that Aboriginal women were 32 times more likely than other women to be hospitalised as a result of domestic violence.

"That was the 'lightbulb' moment for me. This is where I want to put my passion," she said. Ms Welgraven represented Australia at the United Nations in New York for two weeks.

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