Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson

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    Western Australia's Centenary of Federation celebrations begin

    31/12/2000 7:00 AM
     
    31/12/00

    History, entertainment and the ringing of bells will combine to kick-start Western Australia’s year-long Centenary of Federation party tomorrow.

    All Western Australians are invited to the Swan Bells from midday to celebrate the creation of the Australian Commonwealth exactly 100 years ago.

    At 12.55pm (WST), the Swan Bells - and bells all over Australia - will ring simultaneously for five minutes.

    Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Rob Johnson, who is also the Minister responsible for the Centenary of Federation, said the bell-ringing was timed to coincide with the start of the Journey of a Nation Federation Parade in Sydney.

    The parade parallels the huge procession that marched through the streets of Sydney just prior to Australia becoming a Commonwealth on January 1, 1901.

    A WA float, featuring four sections representing each major region in the State, will play a key role in the parade.

    In Perth, people are asked to bring a bell and congregate at the Swan Bells from midday for entertainment, food and to hear the bells of St Martin-in-the-Fields ring out to mark a major moment in Australia’s history.

    People who cannot be there - particularly those in country areas - are asked to ring bells or chimes of any kind at 12.55pm.

    Mr Johnson said January 1 would be a momentous day but represented only the beginning of a huge range of celebrations and projects planned for the Centenary year.

    The WA Government has committed $3.5 million to 201 Centenary projects and events throughout the State.

    These ‘icon’ projects, which have attracted major funding, are:
    • the construction of an elevated walkway through the canopy of trees in King’s Park;
    • the creation of the Centenary of Federation Southern Cross Cosmos Centre at Gingin;
    • a major festival in Albany featuring a range of Federation-related events; and -
    • the restoration of historic railway carriages, which date back to the start of the Trans-Australian railway.

    There are also two centrepiece events funded by the Commonwealth Government but managed by the Centenary of Federation Western Australia committee.

    The first is a major Youth Festival, which will run from September 21 to 29, 2001, and includes a youth conference, extreme sports festival and the best young musical talent Western Australia has to offer.

    The second is Tracks to Federation: The East West Rail Commemoration Journey from Adelaide to Perth in October.

    The journey celebrates one of the greatest engineering feats of the last century - the railway linking WA to the Eastern States.

    The Centenary of Federation WA committee has also lent its support to this year’s Australia Day Skyworks, which has a Centenary of Federation theme.

    A specially commissioned soundtrack by Gangajang songwriter Robert James will form the backdrop to Skyworks.

    The soundtrack, which charts the history of Australia over the past 100 years, will be played on the WA float during the Journey of a Nation Federation Parade in Sydney.

    Western Australia also has 12 young people representing the State as Youth Envoys.

    All 12 are participating in major Centenary events throughout the year and will record their experiences for the National Archives.

    Mr Johnson said the Centenary of Federation represented an unprecedented opportunity to come together as a nation.

    “Thousands of Western Australians will benefit from the major community projects - and the many more community projects which have secured funding,” he said.

    “They will form lasting reminders to a period of vital historical importance to Australia - the birth of our nation.”

    Media contact: Fran Hodge (08) 9215 4800