COMMUNITY spirit was alive and well in Wingham on Saturday when more than 100 people gathered in Wingham Town Hall to reflect with thanks on the opportunity to not only enjoy life in the lucky country of Australia but within the natural beauty and supportive community of Wingham.
For Greater Taree City councillor Brad Christianson, the Wingham Australia Day ceremony marked his first official function as a councillor.
Cr Christianson spoke about this year’s Australia Day theme of 'giving thanks' and referred to Australia as a land of endless opportunities.
Eric Richardson OAM led the Australia Day ceremony as MC.
He was moved by the Wingham Scouts’ unfurling of the flag and admired the group's diligence in
“It’s a wonderful tribute to the community who brought them up,” he said.
The Australia Day ceremony also heard from Reverend Darrell McKeough and Wingham High School leader, Reece Hartveld.
Reece said that although Australia Day is a celebration of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, it has become a celebration of the Australian culture, spirit and nation.
“Regardless of whether you’re in a large city or a small town like Wingham, it’s the people and the lifestyle that makes Australia’s identity what it is.
“Australians are often willing to give others a helping hand when things are hard, but are able to sit back and enjoy it with them when it is good. This unique trait is something that, to me, makes Australia so special,” he said.
The Rotary Club of Wingham was out in force early to serve a sausage sizzle and traditional damper to the local Australia Day revellers, many of whom came proudly dressed for the occasion and waving the Australian flag.
Each year as a part of the Australia Day ceremony in Wingham, and as a part of Rotary’s commitment to the community, the Wingham Rotary Club arranges and sponsors the Australia Day Awards.
Nominations were sought from the general community. The Pride in Workmanship award was presented to Wingham Farm Machinery (formerly known as Wingham Welding) received by Daniel Ney, Sports Person of the Year was Darren Lewis, Young Achiever was Emily Dowswell and the highly coveted Citizen of the Year was Ron Sky.