|Communities across the country came together on Sunday to mark Australia Day by acknowledging the hard work of local volunteers.
At functions in the four major towns in the Hindmarsh Shire residents assembled to share what it means to be Australian.
In Dimboola the local branch of the Country Women’s Association and the Town Committee hosted the annual morning tea gathering which included addresses by Margaret Menzel, President of the local CWA branch, Hindmarsh Mayor Rob Gersch, DMSC Captains Olivia Lehmann and Bryce Day, and a Welcome to Country by Aunty Nancy Harrison.
”We must remember that no matter where we come from, we are all Australians.” - Aunty Nancy Harrison, with a soft toy Police Dog presented to her by Neil Soullier OAM
The Australian Flag was raised by the DMSC captains and the Mayor, and the national anthem was sung accompanied by music by the Nhill-Dimboola Band.
Hindmarsh Shire Australia Day Ambassador Neil Soullier OAM gave an address highlighting the work of the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation of which he helped to form over 30 years ago.
This foundation has since contributed to 60 new or upgraded medical facilities throughout the state, including the Emergency Department of the Wimmera Base Hospital in Horsham that is now named in honour of Constable George Howell who was kill whilst on duty in Melbourne in 1952.
All speakers paid tribute to our emergency services for their work during the current fire season.
On behalf of the Dimboola Town Committee Cr Debra Nelson announced the local Australia Day award recipients.
Citizens of the Year - Des and Robyn Lardner
Since purchasing the Dimboola Pharmacy in 2000, Des and Robyn Lardner have contributed significantly to the local community through not only providing the services through their business but through their involvement organising Community Health nights and guest speakers highlighting topics such as domestic violence, men’s health, and women’s health.
Des has added his own unique perspective to events such as arriving at the opening of the new pharmacy riding a camel, and his many different costumes paraded at the local Carols by Candlelight events.
Both have contributed generously with support events such as Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and providing sponsorship to many sporting and community groups in the town.
Robyn Lardner (right) and Tammy Brown
Young Citizen of the Year - Jack Kalms
The Young Citizen of the Year award went to Jack Kalms whose achievements have included coming runners up in the Under 17 Best and Fairest at the Dimboola Football Netball Club, receiving a Merit Award at the DMSC when he completed a Certificate II in Building and Construction and being awarded the Student Citizenship Award from the Central Highlands Wimmera Regional Group of the Order of Australia Association.
He has been a form captain in his year level at DMSC and a member of the Student Representative Council and has started his own garden maintenance business.
His contribution within the football club extends beyond playing, in the important area of umpiring where he regular runs the boundary.
This year he has also nominated to be a part of the Hindmarsh Shire Youth Council.
Event of the Year - Recreation of the photograph of the opening of the Dimboola National Bank
While most big events take many months of planning, the opportunity for members of the community to be involved in the recreation of a photo taken in 1909 at the opening of the National Bank building in Lochiel Street was organised at short notice but this did not deter over 200 people from attending and being part of this unique event.
Chan and Jamie opened their home, to the public giving the opportunity to inspect the building that many had not had the chance to view before, and between the hosts and the Dimboola Town Committee provided great hospitality with drinks, nibbles, and a free barbeque.
A presentation was also made by Barry Whitehead on behalf of the Nhill-Dimboola Band recognising 60 years of service by Bob Blackwood for 60 years of service with the band, and acknowledgment was made of Bev Hoffmann’s Order of Australia Medal which was bestowed in the Queen’s Birthday honours list last year.
Chan (right) and Jamie
Rainbow and Jeparit
Earlier in the day the Rainbow Citizen of the Year was presented to Don Fischer, and Mary Anne and Clem Paech were announced as the Citizens of the Year at Jeparit.
Mary Anne and Clem Paech