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1.6 million reasons to celebrate bank’s 20th birthday anniversary

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Jenny PollardThe Buloke Times

It’s hard to believe twenty years have passed since the Charlton and District Community Bank Branch Bendigo Bank celebrated its grand opening.

With iconic Charlton identity, Dr. Brian Walklate, supported by foundation chairman, Peter Whykes, formally cutting the ribbon and declaring the birth of a new bank, that day on 17th October 2003 marked a communal declaration to ensure local banking continuity, with the added benefit of surpluses being reinvested back into the community.

Fast forward to 2023, and it’s clear to see the goods have been delivered.

Celebrating the two-decade milestone last Tuesday, the public was invited to a midday barbeque at the Traveller’s Rest precinct to acknowledge the anniversary. Locals, along with bank staff, Buloke Mayor, Cr. Alan Getley, a number of former bank board members and students from Charlton College and St. Joseph’s Primary School joined in the revelry. Bendigo Bank’s mascot, “Piggy” also joined in the party, creating plenty of fun and interest for the young attendees.

The Charlton Lions Club provided the barbeque luncheon, whilst the centre of attention was the magnificent cup-cake 20th birthday cake, created by Julie Bourke as a fundraising effort for the Charlton College Year 10 work experience students.

Keeping the formalities to a minimum, the chairperson of the Community Bank Board of Directors, Jon Whykes, welcomed the crowd and announced that over the 20 year period of the bank’s operation in excess of $1.6 million had been shared back into local communities. Given the impacts of drought and then floods during the Bank’s formative years, then Covid, this is an especially impressive outcome.

While $500,000 for the Charlton Park Complex development has been the bank’s largest commitment, Jon said the Bank also supports – in equal measure – all the North Central League Junior codes of football, netball and hockey, along with the senior football teams for Birchip, Wycheproof, and Boort where the bank has agencies, as well as the local Charlton team.  Acknowledging the importance of grass-roots support, Jon invited all present to give themselves some applause, saying that “if the community doesn’t support us, we can’t support you”.  

As part of the birthday celebrations, the Bank also ran a competition for clubs or organizations which had previously received either a grant or sponsorship, inviting them to enter in the running for a $500 prize. It was with great pleasure that the Bendigo Bank Area Manager, Shaun Leech then drew the winner from the entries – announcing the lucky recipient to be St. Joseph’s Primary School.

With the cake cutting next on the list, the foundation chairman, Peter Whykes, was then invited to step forward and do the honours. Surrounded by a large circle of students, Peter’s decisive slice was accompanied by resounding cheers and applause.

A group photo of all attendees then recorded the special gathering.

The celebrations continued on into Tuesday evening with a well-attended cocktail party at Charlton Park Complex. Speeches were presented by Chairperson, Jon Whykes, the Bank’s inaugural chairman, Peter Whykes, and former secretary, John Harley, while the cake-cutting honours were undertaken by Tracy Dalrymple and Simon Peck, both of whom have contributed 20 years of service to the organization.

The Buloke Times, 24 October 2023

See all the photos in the issue.

This article appeared in The Buloke Times, 24 October 2023.

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