You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Christmas in Adelaide hottest in 70 years, Turnbull reminds people to help one another as Aussies celebrate

ABC News logo ABC News 25/12/2016

People soaked up the sun at Glenelg Beach in South Australia. © Instagram: Carolinealt People soaked up the sun at Glenelg Beach in South Australia. Adelaide has sweltered through its hottest Christmas on record since 1945, while temperatures in some parts of Victoria hovered around the 40-degrees-Celsius mark.

The South Australian capital reached its forecast high of 40 degrees at 2:29pm, recording the city's hottest Christmas Day in 70 years.

Fortunately, South Australians will have a boxing day reprieve with "noticeably cooler" conditions and rain forecast for the capital.

In traditional form Australians have taken to the beach to beat the heat and shared the fun on social media.

Emergency crews were on standby across the country as heatwave conditions continued to impact on large parts of southern and eastern Australia in the late afternoon.

In Victoria, a maximum of 39.9 degrees Celsius was recorded at Hopetoun, while Melbourne reached 35.5 degrees at about 3:00pm.

Firefighters are battling a grass fire at Woomelang, north of Birchip in the state's north-west.

The fire at Kellys Road has crossed the Sunraysia Highway and A Watch and Act warning has been issued for Banyan, Curyo, Hopetoun, Marlbed, Watchupga, Willangie, Woomelang.

Bathing in watermelon skins, a zip-lining Santa, and building a tree from empty shells in Syria — these pictures capture the creative and wonderful ways the world is marking Christmas. Emergency services say conditions may change and the fire could get worse.

Thunderstorms and heavy rain were forecast to hit north-western New South Wales during the afternoon, while Brisbane experienced a mostly gloomy morning with some patchy rain.

Severe fire danger warnings remain in place for parts of Western Australia, while a major tropical low pressure system is bringing heavy rain and damaging winds to inland regions.

Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Craig Burke says that low will slowly move east.

"We're going to see a fair amount of cloud and moisture build through South Australia over the coming days," he said.

"Heatwave conditions will continue to affect eastern states until Friday."

Turnbull reminds people to help the vulnerable

As Australia sweltered through a steamy Christmas Day, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has urged people to remember those who are most vulnerable in the community.

Mr Turnbull asked Australians to remember those who find Christmas difficult, including homeless people, and he thanked those who work over the holidays.

"Of course many Australians continue to work very hard over the break including those who keep us safe, our emergency services personnel, the police, fire and ambulance services, our doctors and nurses keep working while most of us relax," he said.

Mr Turnbull and his wife Lucy helped serve lunch at the Wayside Chapel Christmas Party in Sydney's King Cross.

About 800 people, including the homeless, were provided lunch.

"Please have a very happy Christmas, reach out, give the person next to you a hug, this is a time for love, for community for compassion, but above all for that unconditional love that Jesus taught us — Happy Christmas," he said.

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has used his annual Christmas message to promise he will protect penalty rates.

Speaking with his wife Chloe, Mr Shorten also acknowledged the many people who work over the holiday period.

"We think of all those Australians working this holiday season to make our Christmas run smoothly, who get up before the sun rises or work through the night, hard-working people, relying on penalty rates to provide for their families, something I'll always fight for."

Malcolm Turnbull holds a tray of food and shakes hands with an attendee at Christmas Day lunch PHOTO: Malcolm Turnbull and wife Lucy help serve lunch. (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

'Reject tribalism'

In recent days Melbourne's Anglian Archbishop reminded people to reject the growing trend of tribalism which comes in stark contrast to the Christmas message of love and generosity.

Archbishop Phillip Freier said those who define themselves by their nation, race, or religion do so while excluding others as outsiders.

This morning, Brisbane's Anglican Archbishop Phillip Aspinall said the Christmas message was more important than ever with so many tragedies.

"It's a message of the possibility of peace and joy and hope," he said.

More From ABC News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon