Australia Day 2023


Wingecarribee's 2023 Australia Day celebrations began with a Citizenship Ceremony outside the historic Berrima Courthouse Museum to welcome more than 50 new citizens who are residents to the region.

Residents, friends and families made the most of a stunning Summer’s day, loving the variety of venue pop-ups,  picnicking in the park, sipping local cool climate wines, and cooling off with cups of iced teas over a chat with Council. The heat made it timely for our local RFS to talk with people about planning and preparing their property in case of bushfires. 

The celebrations were an all-new experience this year. A village trail was created to encourage people to stroll from one end of Berrima to the other, immersing in the heritage village atmosphere and pop-up activations along the way. The whole of Berrima Village became one big gathering place from early in the day.

John Creighton named 2023 Citizen of the Year

Wingecarribee Shire 2023 Australia Day Citizen of the Year John Creighton Wombat Care Bundanoon.jpg

2023 Citizen of the Year John Creighton.

A local legend is affectionately known as ‘The Wombat Man’ was recognised as the 2023 Citizen of the Year during a Citizenship Ceremony at historic Berrima Courthouse on 26 January 2023.

Wombat Care Bundanoon founder John Creighton was named Wingecarribee Shire's 2023 Citizen of the Year during Council's Australia Day event at at historic Berrima Courthouse on 26 January 2023. 

It was love that lured New Orleans-born John to Australia, where his love of Highlands wildlife has since led to decades of devoted care for wombats across Wingecarribee Shire.

Humbled to have been recognised by his community at this year’s Australia Day celebrations in Berrima Village, John said he didn't see his award coming.

"It’s heartening for me to know that the wombats I work to save matter to my community too. It makes the work I do all the more meaningful for me.”

John works tirelessly to save our local wombat population from mange and other factors that threaten their survival. Heading out at a moment’s notice in the middle of the night for rescues comes with the territory, and in his time-out from caring for wombats, John visits schools to share his knowledge with the next generation. 


The Citizen of the Year Awards recognise people who have made a significant contribution to the Wingecarribee Shire Community, with recipients announced each year on Australia Day. 

Wingecarribee Australia Day Ambassador 2023

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Wingecarribee's 2023 Australia Day Ambassador Mel Thomas.

Domestic violence campaigner, journalist, and founder and CEO of KYUP! Project Mel Thomas was Wingecarribee Shire’s Australia Day Ambassador for 2023.

Each year, more than 100 remarkable Australia Day Ambassadors participate in Australia Day activities around NSW, sharing meaningful stories and connecting with communities. Ms Thomas will attend Wingecarribee's 2023 Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony to be held at Berrima village on 26 January 2023.

Ms Thomas’ work has involved moving beyond awareness campaigns into strong-hearted action to break the cycle of family and domestic violence at the grassroots. The award-winning martial artist, speaker, writer, and mother of two founded KYUP! Project - pronounced KEY-UP and named after the martial arts power shout - based on the principles of self-worth and the basics of self-defence.

Photo gallery: Australia Day 2023


  • Thursday, 26 January 2023 | 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM


Berrima Village, Argyle St, Berrima, 2577, View Map

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