In an extended and at times tense discussion about events held on January 26, several councillors found most common ground on one issue - that the date of Australia's national day should change.
The local elected representatives considered in the council chamber on Wednesday night an officer report about January 26 activities earlier this year.
Cr Amy Johnson said she acknowledged the strongly held feelings among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community about the date.
I love fireworks, I really do. I would love to find another time for [them] to happen.Cr Mark Harris
"It is still our national public holiday. I hope one day that changes," she said.
"While it remains our national public holiday, I think it is appropriate to have a range of events that council put on and celebrate what it is to be Australian."
On the date this year, the first Survival Day Dawn Gathering took place on the banks of Lake Wendouree, an event attended by more than 1,000 people. The Australia Day fireworks took place in the evening of the same day with a crowd of around 15,000.
Cr Mark Harris called the January 26 holiday "a bad idea" and "a constructed national holiday that we should have thought more deeply about." Continuing, he said: "I love fireworks, I really do. I would love to find another time for [them] to happen."
The most controversy revolved around an alternate motion put forward by the deputy mayor Cr Belinda Coates, who had called for the transition of fireworks away from January 26 from next year.
Cr Grant Tillett called the motion "too definite and almost shotgun."
I totally understand [Australia Day] has hurtful feelings for some... However issues over whether that day should be proceeding [are] ultimately for another place to make that decisionCr Des Hudson
When the majority of councillors rejected that motion Cr Coates expressed her "deep disappointment at councillors not accepting the recommendation.. in the spirit of national reconciliation week", saying that some councillor comments showed "a lack of understanding and empathy".
Cr Des Hudson later said in response: " I do take a little bit of offence at the lecture we received.
"The fact we may not all be in the same place does not mean we don't hold value in the stories of the First People."
"I totally understand [Australia Day] has hurtful feelings for some... However issues over whether that day should be proceeding [are] ultimately for another place to make that decision."
The motion councillors eventually voted for included a commitment for council to collaborate with the Koorie Engagement Action Group in its plans for future January 26 activities.
It also acknowledged that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may see the day as one of mourning - and that the day was "an opportunity to promote understanding, respect and reconciliation."
The Federal Government is responsible for the setting of the Australia Day date on January 26. That date became a national public holiday in 1994.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thankyou very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.