Celebrate and stay safe this Australia Day

By Corowa Free Press

The usual large gatherings are expected at local parks and river reserves this year, as people enjoy the hot weather and get out and about to celebrate Australia Day.

Federation Council is encouraging residents and visitors using public areas to enjoy their celebrations, but to remain safe and ensure these areas are left clean and tidy.

The areas inland waterways including rivers, lakes, creeks and channels contain many environments where drowning deaths can occur. 

Federation Council Mayor Councillor Patrick Bourke said Council is wanting to highlight to residents and visitors the potential risks associated with swimming in the Murray River, our lakes and creeks,” he said.

“Currents, undertows or submerged objects – even in seemingly tranquil waterways – can prove to be very dangerous. Lifeguards do not patrol inland waterways, and should someone get into trouble, there may be no one there to assist.

“Tragically, we have already seen one drowning occur in the Murray River at Corowa this season, whilst there was also one at Tocumwal, and also one in the Murrumbidgee at Wagga.”

“Remember that water conditions can change very quickly. What may have appeared safe earlier could become very different a few hours later. Submerged objects, like branches or rocks, are often invisible from above the surface and present a real risk of neck and spinal injuries, especially to divers. Always enter the water slowly, feet first and never dive in. Water can also be deeper than first thought due to steep drop-offs in dams or riverbeds,” he said. 

“Lifejackets are also a great way to further assist and prevent drownings, especially for people who are

not very experienced and fit river swimmers, and of course, avoid entering the water if you have had alcohol, as this only further adds to the risks”.

The Alcohol Free Zone along Bridge Road Corowa (Sanger Street roundabout to John Foord Bridge including car park) and an Alcohol Prohibited Area at Rowers Park Corowa will be in place for a 24 hour period from 6.00am on Australia Day, Sunday 26 January 2020.

Police will be patrolling all parks in Corowa, specifically Rowers Park and the Lagoon area, as well as waterways and a zero tolerance stance to anti-social behaviour and excessive consumption of alcohol will be exercised.

“Council believes by implementing an Alcohol Prohibited Area at Rowers Park from 6am on Australia Day for a 24 hour period that this will be a successful measure towards the prevention of anti-social behaviour caused by some public drinkers at this popular location,” mayor Bourke said.

Some tips for staying safe this Australia Day:

- Drink in moderation, stay safe and look out for your mates.

- Make sure you slip on a shirt, slap on a hat, slop on some sunscreen and slide on some sunnies.

- Keep up your fluids if you are out and about – drink plenty of water, take some with you.

- Try to stay out of the sun in between the hottest part of the day and seek shade where possible.

- Alcohol and swimming are not a good combination, so if you are going to have few drinks please don’t       go into the water.

- Always check depth and the possibility of submerged objects before diving into water.

Residents and visitors are reminded that all parks in the Federation Council area including Rowers Park Corowa and the Corowa lagoon are glass free zones and the community are encouraged to place their rubbish in the bins provided.

Residents, friends, family and visitors are invited to celebrate everything that’s great about living in Australia at this year’s Australia Day celebrations, to be held at the Howlong Memorial Park from 9:00 am on Sunday, 26 January.

Further information is available from Council’s website