By JOYCE MARSH
IN Woodenbong, Australia Day began with damper and billy tea before the flag-raising ceremony where the Australian and Aboriginal flags were both proudly flown.
The large contingent adjourned to the hall where Mayor Daniel Mulholland gave the welcome address.
Then the guest speaker Dave Stace spoke of his life leading to his settling in Woodenbong, while Thomas George MP spoke emotionally about his Australian roots as an immigrant child. He thanked his parents and Australia for his opportunities for a better life.
The Australia Day Address by the Ambassador of the day, Countess Natalie von Faber-Castell, enthralled the audience with the history of her family and upbringing, focusing on how life in Australia is based on freedom, opportunity and the beauty of our environment.
She said she was overwhelmed that Woodenbong locals kept reappearing in different roles on different committees, and the volunteering spirit that abounds.
Ms Faber-Castell presented the Australia Day Award for Citizen of the Year to Judy McKay, who was recognised for her tireless and unselfish volunteering in many facets of Woodenbong’s busy calendar over many years.
She also worked for more than with 20 years with those with disabilities.
Woodenbong Young Citizen is Sasha Geyer; Junior Sportsperson Katelyn Grimmett and the Community Event – Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea Woodenbong-Urbenville Committee.
A special award was also presented to Hilda Mahoney for recognition of her many years of untiring voluntary service to the community.
Official ceremonies over, the fun continued with the City versus Country cricket match with entertainment at the hotel and the famous Woodenbong spit roast.