Pride in being Australian and the local community were evident at the Liverpool Plains Shire Australia Day Ceremony, held at the Royal Theatre in Quirindi. The ceremony included an Acknowledgement to Country by Jason Allen, a welcome by Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, the Australia Day address by Ambassador Ben Farinazzo, a Citizenship Ceremony, the singing of the National Anthem led by Molly Owen, Australia Day Awards Ceremony, the announcement of the Sunny-side Up competition winners, and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Ken Cudmore, providing final remarks and thanking attendees to conclude the event.
Councillor Hawkins praised the Australia Day Award nominees and winners who he described as a credit to themselves and the LP Shire.
The winners of the LPS Australia Day Awards are;
- Citizen of the Year – Sally Alden
- Young Citizen of the Year – Faith Green
- Marie Maunder Community Service Award – Madge Martin
- Local Legend – Melissa Stubbs
- Emergency Services Community Award – John Maunder
- Sports Person of the Year – Molly Elford
- Junior Sports Person of the Year – Lucas Percy
Councillor Hawkins said the annual awards ceremony honours and recognised those who give back to the community every day without seeking recognition. He said the awards are grassroots and all involved are nominated by fellow community members.
“While they have all contributed in different ways, the one thing they have in common is that more often than not, they put others ahead of themselves to make things happen,” he said.
“On behalf of LPSC GM, Jo Sangster, my fellow Councillors and the wider LPS community I want to congratulate all our Australia Day Award nominees and the winners. There can only be one winner on the day, but all the nominees are winners all year round. Thank you for what you all contribute to making our Shire a better place to live,” he continued.
During the Australia Day Ceremony three Shire residents participated in a citizenship ceremony where they made the citizenship pledge.
“I was honoured to officiate at the ceremony that saw Dr Robert McEwan, originally from Canada, and Mrs Josmy Joseph and her son Aiden Shinu Dominic, originally from India, become dinki-di Aussies,” he said.
“Australian citizenship is a privilege offering enormous rewards. It is a moving event and an important step in participant’s migration story. Those participating are making an ongoing commitment to Australia and our shared values. It is also the beginning of their formal membership of the Australian community and a step that enables them to proudly say ‘I am Australian',” he continued.
“I’d also like to thank Australia Day Ambassador Ben Farinazzo for joining us on the day. I’m sure everyone in attendance was inspired by his story as an army veteran, husband and father, facing significant mental and physical challenges, then as a survivor winning gold medals at the Invictus Games Sydney in 2018, as well as his many other contributions to society. Ben epitomises everything that is great about being an Australian. Ben and his wife Jodie participated in all the Shire’s Australia day events, mingling and talking with community members and helping to make it a day to remember,” he said.
Councillor Hawkins also extended his thanks to everyone who attended the various events around the Shire with special mention for the organisers and volunteers who facilitated others participating and enjoying themselves.
“Australia Day allows us to celebrate the values and freedoms we enjoy in this great Nation. Whether we celebrate at community events or BBQs in the backyard with family and friends, enjoying a beer with mates and proudly flying the flag it allows us to reflect, respect and celebrate the Australian spirit and the best of this country, our mateship, our sense of community and our resilience. As the Australian flag flutters in the breeze we find optimism and hope as we look to the future. Advance Australia Fair,” he concluded.