Crowds flocked to Wauchope Showground for Australia Day 2020 in bright sunshine.
Wauchope Rotary put on the traditional Aussie breakfast barbecue which was a roaring success. There was free face painting and children’s games, live music from the very talented acoustic guitarist and singer Nikki Rudge, a community singalong from Sing Australia, food stalls, a coffee van, large vintage cars, classic clipper buses and a fabulous truck and machinery display.
The Hastings District Pipe Band headed the official parade of Lyne MP Dr David Gillespie, Mayor Peta Pinson, Deputy Mayor Cr Lisa Intemann, councillors Peter Alley, Sharon Griffiths, Lee Dixon and Justin Levido, Australia Day ambassador Justin Herald, Wauchope High School captains Chad McGovern and Ellie McKittrick and MC Neville Parsons.
The Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Australia Day award nominees were announced. Each year, our region celebrates our local heroes through the awards and they included the Rotary Club of Wauchope for community group of the year, Greg Cavanagh from Wauchope for senior citizen of the year, Dianne Davison from Wauchope for Environmental Citizen of the Year and Ian Fenton from Wauchope for Citizen of the Year.
Mayor Peta Pinson said Australia Day was a time of reflection and gratitude to live in a country as wonderful as ours. The mayor paid tribute to the great community spirit in Wauchope and to our firefighting heroes.
“Australia Day offers the chance to celebrate our diverse stories, the values we share and our history. We have become one of the most successful multicultural nations in the world,” said the mayor.
“When people choose to call Australia home, they help enrich our society. Multiculturalism is part of our identity.”
Federal member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie told the crowd that Australia day is very special and he acknowledged the Birpai people as traditional custodians of the land for 40,000 years or more.
“They did a good job and we can learn a lot from them. Our culture is a melting pot of many cultures. We have a liberal plural democracy. We have a unique blend of nation,” he said.
Dr Gillespie spoke about the devastating bushfires of 2019 to 2020 and the ongoing drought and paid tribute to Rural Fire Service volunteers,
“The Australian nation is forever grateful for them, and for many other volunteering groups – the SES, the surf lifesavers, trauma rescue, all the service clubs, Rotary, Lions. Where would we be without our volunteer organisations?”
The Australia Day ambassador Justin Herald told the audience how he created a clothing brand called Attitude that became an international licensing success that turned over $20 million a year. He also paid tribute to all the firefighters in Australia.
“It is part of our culture to get beside each other and help each other,” he said.
School captains Chad McGovern and Ellie McKittrick gave the Australia Day address.
“Today we celebrate Australia day but we mourn the mistakes toward Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We respect their culture which is over 65,000 years old and we acknowledge the hardships they have suffered and we must continue to respect their culture.
“It’s a day to reflect on what makes us similar, the common values that bind us as Australians. We should not forget our history, but use it as a guide on our journey into the future,” they said.
Deputy Mayor Cr Lisa Intemann said that something missing in the ceremony was the notion that we have a lot to learn from our history. She said there are wrongs that need to be righted. She said some people refer to January 26 as Invasion Day.
“I love the idea that we truly use this day to bring us together,” added that land management is a major issue.
After the citizenship ceremony came the singing of the Australian National Anthem led by a band and singer from the Australian Defence Force, some of whom are helping BlazeAid build fences for local people affected by the bushfires. They were given a warm welcome by the Wauchope crowd.
Then came the cutting of the traditional Australia Day cake made from lamingtons by Wauchope Rotary, and then everyone had a chance to mingle and catch up with old friends.