Ambassadors - FAQ
What is the Australia Day Ambassador Program?
The Australia Day Ambassador Program is an initiative that sees high achieving and proud Australians attend local Australia Day celebrations in towns and cities across the nation. Australia Day Ambassadors volunteer their time and energy to inspire pride and celebration in hundreds of local communities in cities, regional areas and in the country.
“2011 was my third year of being an Australia Day Ambassador and we had just as much fun this year as we have had in the past. Our host council and its community were extremely warm and welcoming and made us feel very much a part of their Australia Day festivities. It was such a thrill to participate in their concert of Australian songs, singing with their choir and concert band, helping out with their award ceremonies and even helping to cut their special Australia Day cake. There was a great sense of community spirit and it was a great honour and a privilege to be involved.” Greg Moore (Hinchinbrook Shire Council, Qld)
How many Australia Day Ambassadors are there?
In 2008, the Australia Day Ambassador Program became a truly national one for the first time. Around 350 local communities around the country - from Hobart to the Torres Strait, and Jabiru to Esperance - hosted Australia Day Ambassadors on 26 January. The program continues to grow each year; over 380 Australian communities hosted an Australia Day Ambassador in 2011.
What does an Australia Day Ambassador do?
The activities of Australia Day Ambassadors on Australia Day are as diverse as the communities which host them. Ambassadors may officiate in judging competitions, such as a pie eating contest, present Australia Day community awards, help cook a barbeque, or present certificates at citizenship ceremonies. Ambassadors are also asked to give an address that captures the spirit of being Australian. Ambassadors will meet local members of the community, get a flavour of life in a different part of their state or territory, and be inspired by the enthusiasm that communities large and small have for celebrating what's great about Australia.
Image: The ACT Australia Day Ambassador Leo Sayer throws himself into the Australia Day celebrations on Lake Burley Griffin.
How long has the Australia Day Ambassador program been in place?
The Australia Day Ambassador Program began in 1990 in New South Wales with nine Ambassadors. From there it grew steadily, and in 1996 was introduced into Victoria. In 2003, the Australia Day Ambassador Program expanded into Tasmania and the ACT and the first Ambassadors took part in Queensland celebrations in 2005.
26 January 2008 saw the program go fully national, with Ambassadors participating in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. The Australia Day Ambassador Program continues to be one of the most successful initiatives on 26 January each year, thanks to the support and enthusiasm of our Ambassadors, who volunteer their time and energy to bring an extra element of celebration to Australia Day events, as well as to their host communities. The participation of an Australia Day Ambassador in community events is regularly named as one of the highlights of community celebrations.
“Tonia was wonderful, she talked to any and everyone who approached her, Tonia’s speech was inspiring and feedback from the community, Councillors and Awardees have all commented on her Australia Day address, (best ever ambassador, honest and real statements of fact, very down to earth …just some) Tonia stayed and mixed after the official part of the day and greeted the community with great grace and people came away after talking with her feeling encouraged and happy.”Tonia Todman (Derrinallum, VIC)
Who sponsors the Australia Day Ambassador Program?
The Australia Day Ambassador Program and its growth to all Australian states and territories would not be possible without the support of the program sponsor, Woolworths. Woolworths has generously sponsored the Australia Day Ambassador program since 2001, and it is through their ongoing support that local communities are able to enhance their celebrations by hosting an Ambassador. In 2011, over 200 Woolworths local store managers took part in welcoming Ambassadors to their community celebrations.
Image: Ambassador Dr Peter Spitzer (AKA Dr Fruit Loop) with the Mayor,
Cr. Alice Glachan celebrating Australia Day in Albury
How does my community get involved?
The Australia Day Ambassador Program is administered by state and territory Australia Day Council's. Each state and territory maintains a register of their Ambassadors, and asks local councils and community Australia Day committees to express interest in the program in the lead up to Australia Day each year.
For more information about the Australia Day Ambassador Program and/or Ambassadors for Australia Day 2012 contact your state or territory Australia Day Council.