A WOMAN who has made a major contribution to Newcastle’s cultural and performing arts scene was among the residents named Citizen of the Year at Australia Day ceremonies today.
Colleen Potts was named Newcastle’s Citizen of the Year this morning at a special ceremony at City Hall.
She joined other Hunter Citizens of the Year including Melinda Brown (Lake Macquarie), Max Ray (Maitland), Graeme Jordan (Port Stephens/Raymond Terrace), Penny Holt (Williamtown) and Nell Basham (Great Lakes).
Colleen was one of a small group of people to initiate Opera Hunter and has staged 22 opera productions.
She was responsible for developing a HSC course in Entertainment (Stage Management) and continues to work with non-profit organisation University of the Third Age.
The Citizen of the Year awards are among the Australia Day traditions at local government festivities.
More than 200 migrants today became Australian citizens at ceremonies around the region.
Iconic Australian film Red Dog helped punctuate the patriotic mood at Speers Point Park.
Lake Macquarie City Council cultural development and events officer Rebecca Prince said the scout canoe race was one of their event’s highlights.
They had about 3000 residents in the park during the day and expect more than 20,000 tonight for the concert and fireworks, if the weather is co-operative.
Further west, Maitland residents showed their solidarity with their stomachs in both Jatz and pie-eating competitions.
In Muswellbrook and Cessnock events kicked off early with Oz Day breakfasts.
In the Upper Hunter admission to council pools was free and highlights included a grand parade and markets in Murrurundi alongside official events in Scone.