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Australia Day festival

 Australia Day festival

Sunday, 26 January 2014, 10am – 2pm

The 2014 Australia Day festival at the National Museum of Australia is inspired by the exhibitions Old Masters: Australia's Great Bark Artists and On Country: Connect, Work, Celebrate.

Come along for an exciting day out for the whole family. Free, donations welcome. 

Entry to the Old Masters exhibition is FREE on Australia Day.

What's happening?

Demonstrations, activities, talks and tours, including some deadly hip-hop dance workshops with Move it Mob Style, back by popular demand. Sing and dance with best friends Yamba the Honeyant and Jacinta, as seen on the children's television program Yamba's Playtime.

Yamba the Honeyant and Jacinta Price.
Yamba the Honeyant and Jacinta Price. Photo: Imparja Television.

Be brave and handle a scaly critter with the Canberra Reptile Zoo. See an Australian icon rise from the ground as it's built by our sand sculpture artists. Or learn about bush tucker with celebrity chef Mark Olive, as he cooks up a storm with his signature fusion of native ingredients and contemporary cuisine.

For more details follow the links below:

Demonstrations and activities

Bush tucker

Learn about bush tucker and native plants with Lee Burgess. Lee will have plant cuttings from the Australian National Botanic Gardens, a display of traditional objects and implements for gathering and preparing bush tucker, and some bush tucker fare on offer. Main Hall.

A lizard.
A lizard from the Canberra Reptile Zoo.

Reptile handling

Inspired by the reptiles depicted by the artists in Old Masters exhibition, the Canberra Reptile Zoo is showing off some of its reptiles and amphibians.

See a juvenile crocodile, blue tongue lizards, goannas, pythons, turtles and frogs.

Handle a scaly critter and learn more about these amazing creatures. Museum forecourt.

Sand sculpture

Watch a gigantic sand sculpture come to life in front of your eyes, created by the amazing artists from Sand in your Eyes.

What Australian icon will be made during the course of the day? Learn how to make a sand sculpture, or bring a rug and have a picnic in our Amphitheatre while you watch. Museum amphitheatre.

Chalk art mural

What does being an Australian mean to you? Express yourself by contributing to our chalk art mural. Museum forecourt.

Summer symbols printmaking

What patterns represent summer in Australia to you? Is it watermelon pips, the patterns on a cicada’s wings, the brick paving under your barbeque? Maybe it’s the way the waves leave imprints in the sand, or is the mowed pattern on the cricket field? Make an abstract summer patterns print to remind you of your great Australian summer, with help from the Megalo Print Studio staff. Bay Window

Bookmark scratchings

Scratch back your own scaly reptile bookmark and reveal a pattern underneath. Great for the littlies in the family, who may have been awestruck by the reptiles on show – both live and in the Old Masters exhibition. Bay window.

A drawing of a crocodile with the words 'Croc!' and 'Crickey!'
Scratchy scaly crocodile.

Exhibition talks

Enjoy insightful curator’s talks on our exhibitions Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists and On Country: Connect, Work, Celebrate. 

11.00am – 11.30am: Old Masters with curator Dr Gretchen Stolte. Meet at the exhibition entry in the Main Hall.

11.45am – 12.15pm: On Country with curator Barbara Paulson. Meet in the Focus Gallery, First Australians Gallery. 

1.00pm – 1.30pm: Old Masters with curator Dr Gretchen Stolte. Meet at the exhibition entry in the Main Hall.


Move It Mob Style

Get involved, get dancing and get fit with Move it Mob Style. Dancers from this popular group visited the Museum for NAIDOC Day in July and their exuberant performances expanded their already huge fan base, delighting kids and adults with interactive and fun dance. Move it Mob Style’s TV show has gained enormous popularity, with Series 4 on the way. We are excited to have the host of Series 3, Shari Togo, and choreographer and dancer for the first three series, Milika Blackie-Smith, here at the Museum for the festival. Shari and Milika will host three action-packed workshops throughout the day. 

Shari Togo and Milika Blackie-Smith.
Shari Togo (left) and Milika Blackie-Smith (right) from Move it Mob Style. Photos: Cornel Ozies.

Yamba the Honeyant

Come and sing along with Yamba the Honeyant and best friend Jacinta, from the hit preschool television series Yamba’s Playtime, which screens on GO and NITV. Yamba and Jacinta have recently toured their roadshow throughout the Northern Territory, Queensland and the Torres Strait, spreading healthy living messages while singing and dancing with children. Yamba and Jacinta were finalists in the last three Deadly Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health and Education. Join them as they continue sharing ways to ‘stay healthy and strong’.

Mark Olive.

Mark Olive

Mark Olive, otherwise known as the Black Olive, is a celebrity Indigenous chef who has his own program, The Outback Cafe, on NITV.

Meet Mark and be entertained by his innovative cooking style, using bush tucker ingredients. Mark will cook up a storm on our main stage and talk about bush tucker.

Mark is appearing as a guest of Peter Rowland Catering.

Jacinta Price

Jacinta Price
Jacinta Price. Photo: Hannah Millerick.

Jacinta Price has made a name for herself as a singer-songwriter, known for the soulful voice that won her Artist of the Year at the 2011 NAIDOC Awards, and saw her nominated for Most Promising New Talent in Music in the 2012 Deadly Awards.

She was known as Sassy-J when collaborating with hip-hop group Catch the Fly and still mentors young Indigenous musicians through the Desert Divas program run by MusicNT. 

Jacinta recently released her debut album Dry River and is teaming up with Scots soul man Colin Lillie to perform a special segment for us on Australia Day.

Performance schedule – main stage Museum Hall

10.00am – 10.30am: Yamba the Honey Ant

10.40am – 11.00am: Move it Mob Style

11.10am – 11.30am: Bush tucker talk with Mark Olive

11.40am – 12.00pm: Move it Mob Style

12.15pm – 12.45pm: Mark Olive cooking up a storm

1.00pm – 1.20pm: Move it Mob Style

1.30pm – 2.00pm: Jacinta Price and Colin Lillie

Please note: all performances and timings are subject to change.


A variety of food and beverages will be available at the Museum Cafe throughout the day. As a special treat there will be a range of à la carte bush tucker offered in collaboration with Indigenous chef Mark Olive. Head outside to our deck to enjoy your bush tucker, or be tempted by the sizzling Aussie BBQ.

If a picnic lunch is more your style, the friendly Museum Cafe staff can do the hard work for you. Simply choose your picnic items and we will pack them, complete with a picnic blanket, ready for you to find the perfect spot to sit and enjoy. We highly recommend the grassy lawns, where you will be able to watch the sand sculpture come to life.

Try one of our cool drinks, a traditional ice cream or a freshly home-made fruit ice block, for something refreshing.

Transport and parking

Help the environment and catch a bus to the Museum for Australia Day. Route 934 will be running regularly throughout the day. Check the Action Buses website.

Limited parking is available at the National Museum’s car park. You can also park on London Circuit at the end of Edinburgh Avenue, which is only a short walk to the Museum.


Tweet your photograph with the hashtag #AustraliaDay.