January 26th is Australia Day – a day to for all Australians to celebrate being Australian. Local communities celebrated this day in a variety of ways.
The Moyne Shire held a special ceremony at Yambuk commencing with a free breakfast. Formal proceedings followed where the Moyne Shire Citizen of the Year, the Young Citizen of the Year and the Community Event of the Year awards were acknowledged and presented. As this ceremony took place, people seated in the hall could look out the windows at the gum trees and watch the large livestock trucks rumbled past reminding us of the nature of the rural area we live in. The cultural diversity of Australian society was evident even in this country community. Our mayor is from Macedonia, the guitarist who led the National Anthem and Aussie singing bore a distinct Scottish accent and the Australia Day Ambassador who addressed the gathering was from Turkey. Five Moyne Shire residents were sworn in as Australian citizens at the ceremony. They came from China, Sth Africa, Ireland and Germany.
The young Moyne Shire citizen of the year was our 2011 Hawkesdale P12 College vice captain. It was with great pride that we listened to Emily Huglin give a great speech on why community involvement is so important and why she wants to make a change. Hawkesdale again was featured, when HADDAC received the Event of the Year award. This was in recognition of the success of the 150th celebrations for 2011.
Celebrations continued back at Port Fairy, with a free lunch, afternoon concert and a celebration cake – lamingtons. At sunset, on the village green, an outdoor theatre featured the Australian movie “Young Einstein”. Many people brought chairs, rugs, and blankets to watch.
The Australia Day Ambassador, Dr Hass Dellal, during his speech referred to the fact that Australians give all people a fair go. Not only do I live in the ‘lucky country’ but I also live and work in a small rural community where there is a sense of belonging, of ownership, where much is given and there is pride in what we have. Australia Day is a day to celebrate for all Australians!