A punishing sun baked Koshigaya Park on Australia Day, keeping crowd numbers down until the cool of the evening.
Some of flag-draped families who braved the afternoon blast furnace told the Advertiser they were just being “extra patriotic”.
“It’s not a proper Australia Day unless your skin turns beetroot red,” joked one old resident, from Bradbury – as his daughter replied, “oh, dad”, and applied sunscreen to her own tribe of kids.
Campbelltown mayor George Brticevic alluded to climate earlier in the morning, at the official Australia Day ceremony at Ingleburn, recalling his childhood days of backyard cricket.
“Days like this, when its 42 degrees, just remind you that we are in Australia in summer,” the mayor told a nodding crowd.
Campbelltown’s Australia Day ambassador Nicholas Gleeson won applause for his ability to convey a serious message with humour and honesty.
The athlete and adventurer lost his sight at age seven when an electronic swinging supermarket door hit him on the side of his head, causing a retinal detachment.
Nicholas likened his experiences to January 26, saying the differences between Australians enrich our community.
“These days, we hear that word – inclusivity – thrown around,” he said.
“But I strongly believe it is one of the most important words in our lives.
“To be inclusive is to remember that there are people, often at the fringe, who can often be overthought and forgotten… and on Australia Day I encourage you to look about and keep others in mind and do the little things that can make a big difference.”
As well as the official address and annual awards – Ricardo Lonza of Help Save The Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown named as Citizen of the Year – there was a large crowd of new citizens from across the globe swearing allegiance to Australia.
At the Koshigaya celebrations afterwards, under the sweltering sun, host Brooke Manzione rallied the brave early crowds, entertained by local music acts, free kids entertainment, rides and food stalls.
A fireworks display topped off a big day.