Australia Day was a time to reflect, respect and celebrate for around 100 people who gathered at Lucindale last Friday.
The day fired up with the Lucindale Scouts raising the Australian Flag.
Event emcees Domonic Carter and Logan Whitford of Lucindale Area School then introduced a previous Citizen of the Year winner, Naracoorte Lucindale Council mayor Patrick Ross.
“Australia Day is an opportunity for all Australians to come together as a nation to reflect, respect and celebrate,” Mr Ross said.
“We reflect on our complete and complex history. And we respect the stories of others.
“We celebrate our nation, its achievements and most of all its people. And we also celebrate living in a nation where everyone’s views, beliefs and contributions are valued.”
Australia Day guest speaker James Darling AM of Duck Island was introduced as a farmer, artist, conversationalist, and conservationist.
Mr Darling delivered a thought-provoking speech which highlighted the day in 1949 that, via legislation, all Australians, regardless of their colour, age, race, gender, history, or background, became Australian citizens rather than British subjects.
Lucindale’s 2024 Citizen of the Year, Erin McWaters, was praised for her outstanding contribution to the community “particularly her volunteer work and fundraising contributions”. That included helping to raise the highest amount ever in the history of the Cancer Council’s national fundraiser, The Shitbox Rally.
Mr Ross said since her arrival to Lucindale, “she just hasn’t stopped”.
“She quickly became very involved in the community, helping Andrew Wilks and Rowan Giles with their fundraising for the Cancer Council’s national fundraiser, the shitbox rally.”
Since then, Ms McWaters had also helped raise the highest amount ever in the history of the rally.
Thanking the council for hosting the ceremony, and Nutrien Ag Solutions manager Sam Graetz for employing her three years ago, Ms McWaters also congratulated other Australia Day award recipients.
“If you are young or old, or mature, or new to town or have some time – volunteer somewhere. There are so many places you can volunteer in Lucindale,” she said.
“CFS, Ambulance, sporting groups, scouts, field days, Linc, everywhere. Give back to our wonderful community.
“It is so rewarding. You will get far more back than you put in, I promise.
“On behalf of all the amazing volunteers that I work alongside, I’m proud to call Lucindale and Australia home,”
The Active Citizens Award was presented to Erin McWaters and Shannon Burdett.
The duo raised $105,000, the highest amount ever for The Shitbox Rally. Additionally, Ms Burdett was heavily involved with the Lucindale Football Club while Ms McWaters was a big contributor for the netball club.
Ms Burdett thanked the Lucindale community for supporting their fundraising efforts.
Mr Ross presented the Young Citizen of the Year award to Micaela Baker for her establishment of the Lucindale Playgroup at the Lucindale Community Hub.
“She willingly volunteers her time, knowledge and energy wherever she can see a need in the community,” he said and highlighted her instigation of the very successful Lucindale Playgroup.
Ms Baker praised all those who volunteered their time to help provide opportunities “for all of us, everyday”,
She especially thanked the Linc group for its support, enabling the playgroup to have a venue, and the community for getting involved.
“We’re very lucky we’ve got so many kids in the town, so it’s a great thing,” she said.
The Community Event of the Year was awarded to the Lucindale Country Club for hosting Tennis SA’s State League Allstars.
Club president Angus McTaggart said it was an honour on behalf of the club to accept the award.
“The credit goes to Eliza Handbury for organising this right from the start and pushing it, and also Micaela and Mitch (Baker) and the country club committee and tennis members in general,” Mr McTaggart said.
The presentations were followed by an Australian citizenship affirmation ceremony.
The close-knit community then gathered around the rotunda for a barbecue lunch provided by the community and development board, known as the Linc committee.
It was coordinated by Christa Mlaker and included a delicious dessert – Eton Mess – made by Margaret Qualmann.
See all the pictures in the issue.
This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News.