Wednesday, 27th January, 2010
By Stefan Delatovic
The city celebrated Australia Day yesterday morning with the announcement that two locals had been honoured with national awards and by recognising some of the community's selfless workers. Two new citizens were also welcomed at the city's official celebrations at the Entertainment Centre after a barbecue breakfast cooked by the Lions Club.
Local businessman Steve Radford and policeman Dave Gallagher will both receive national awards at special ceremonies later in the year. Mr Radford has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the community and Sergeant Gallagher was awarded the Australian Police Medal for distinguished service.
Former local Suzanne Colbert and Wilcannia man Edward (Ted) Davies were also recognised in the national awards.
Ms Colbert was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to people with disabilities and Mr Davies was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the community of Wilcannia through a range of local government, farming and service organisations.
Yesterday's Master of Ceremonies Andrew Schmidt began local proceedings by introducing Pastor Wayne Lee, who recited a short a prayer.
Mayor Wincen Cuy spoke next. The day was his first official duty in the Mayoral role, and he said it was a humbling experience.
Australia Day meant different things to different people, he said. "To me, it is one of the greatest days for Australia. I believe this community should celebrate hard and strong. We forged this nation," he said.
Yesterday's ceremony was about rewarding those whose hard work sustained Broken Hill, he said, with much of their toil going unnoticed. "Congratulations on your ongoing work and love of this city," he said.
Yesterday's ceremony was about rewarding those whose hard work sustained Broken Hill, he said, with much of their toil going unnoticed.
"Congratulations on your ongoing work and love of this city," he said. "What better opportunity to express yourself and your love for your community, your city, and your country, than Australia Day?" Local Member John Williams said Australia was a different country, whose people enjoyed freedom, democracy and a unique way of life.
"We have accepted migrants from all over the world, who have brought magnificent difference to our communities," he said. "There's no doubt that what we're doing here today is recognising some great people in the spirit of Australia."
After the raising of the Australian flag and the National Anthem, awards were presented in a ceremony punctuated by performances from the BIU Band and Sing Australia choir.
Mayor Cuy welcomed newcomers Janaka Nishantha and Nirosha Rupasinghe, swearing them in as Australian Citizens and inviting them to join the local, and national, community.
Citizenship awards were presented to Daphne Mabel Coffey, Valda Lillian Baxter, Krysten Ann Gers, Ronda June Absalom and John Francis Rogers for their service to the community as detailed in Monday's BDT.
Jusara Jae Caple was recognised as the Young Citizen of the Year and Joyce Valerie Scobie received the day's top honor as Citizen of the Year.
Ms Scobie said she was still "quite stunned" to receive the award."I am a very proud citizen of Broken Hill. I think it is a wonderful place to live," she said.
Ms Scobie said her parents set very high standards, and said one of the most satisfying things in life was to give service to others.
"I have found this to be true." In closing out proceedings, Australia Day Ambassador Prudence Watt encouraged everyone to embrace the spirit of the event.
Ms Watt, whose premature birth left her with retinal scarring and impaired vision, is an accomplished sportswoman and has won a slew of medals for Australia at Paralympic Games.
She said that, growing up, sport had been something she enjoyed that gave her the chance to meet people and set personal goals. This "have a go" attitude, an opportunity provided by the Australian attitude, led her to one sporting achievement after another.
"We all have talents that make us special. It's just a matter of doing our best," she said. "Today is about celebrating the diversity that has made our nation.
"Don't forget to walk up to someone, smile, say g'day mate and celebrate what's great about this country."