Last week local councils across New South Wales were given the green light to proceed with Australia Day events on January 26, and the Inverell Shire will host six of them.
"All events will be COVID safe and require attendees to check-in via a QR code," said Inverell mayor Paul Harmon. "There will be assistance available for those who are unfamiliar with the check-in process."
In Victoria Park, there will be a barbecue breakfast from 7.30 am followed by a presentation of Australia Day Awards, a citizenship ceremony and live entertainment. The Australia Day ambassador for Inverell, Elysha O'Neill, will also speak about her sporting and charitable achievements.
In the Delungra Sports Ground, the festivities will begin at 10.30 am and feature the presentation of Australia Day awards, an Australia Day parade, a barbecue lamb lunch, a bar and stalls, a vintage car club display, live entertainment, face painting and a jumping castle.
At theTerry Barnes Oval in Yetman from 10 am the annual cricket match of Yetman Yabbies vs The Ferals will occur.
At the Ashford Memorial Pool, a barbecue breakfast will kick off at 8 am followed by the presentation of Australia Day awards. An inflatable challenge for the kids ( and brave adults) will be operating all day.
At the Tingha Sport and Recreation Club, a free two-course meal will be served from 6.00 pm followed by the presentation of Australia Day awards, live music and a fireworks display from 9 pm. Bookings are essential.
There will also be a screening of the newly released Australian thriller, 'The Dry' starring Eric Bana at the Inverell Cinema at 4 pm for youth aged 15-24 years. The free entry includes free popcorn and a free drink. Bookings are essential as there will be no tickets available at the door.
Elysha O'Neill has been part of medal-winning water polo teams at a junior level and involved in Australia's Senior water polo squad for more than 10 years. During her time in the squad, she travelled with the Senior Squad to China and Europe for World league rounds before going off for two years with a hip injury. She returned in 2010 to play National League and work her way back into the senior setup.
For the next six years, she played in Japan and Hungary and in 2016 was part of the Olympic Squad. Following this Elysha was headhunted by Spain, Italy and Hungry to play professionally for their teams. Elysha then coached the National Water Polo teams in both Zimbabwe and South Africa and ran camps for disadvantaged kids.
Elysha's volunteer work includes volunteering as an athlete role model with the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy and raising money for homeless people.
Elysha has worked in several roles that have enabled her to help people, from being a teacher's aide to working with elderly patients with dementia she now works at Macquarie University helping students and community members get involved with sporting clubs and teams to help improve their health.