Cool weather brings big crowd

Southern Riverina news - - AUSTRALIA DAY AWARDS 2019 -

Re­liev­ing cooler weather helped bring more than 250 peo­ple to the wharf at Tocumwal for the an­nual Ber­ri­gan Shire Aus­tralia Day awards on Satur­day morn­ing.

The event started with the crack of an egg, siz­zling ba­con and freshly squeezed or­ange juice served by Aus­tralia Day or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee and Tocumwal Cham­ber of Com­merce vol­un­teers.

Of­fi­cial pro­ceed­ings started with rais­ing the flag by the four cap­tains of the two Tocumwal schools.

At­ten­dees were treated to a dif­fer­ent style of Aus­tralia Day Awards with or­gan­is­ers stray­ing from a tra­di­tional guest speaker, opt­ing in­stead for a shear­ing demon­stra­tion and bush poetry.

Five ewes were shorn by 17-time Vic­to­rian shear­ing cham­pion Ja­son Wing­field, while lo­cal ex­pert Mark Bald­win ex­plained about shear­ing in Aus­tralia and dif­fer­ent shear­ing meth­ods.

In his open­ing to the crowd, Ber­ri­gan Shire Mayor Matt Han­nan shared a per­sonal story about what makes Aus­tralia the luck­i­est coun­try in the world.

‘‘Some­thing re­ally touched me the other day when I went to visit a work col­league who had a spinal cord in­jury be­fore Christ­mas,’’ he said.

‘‘Whilst in the wait­ing room go­ing to visit him, there was a lady who I said ‘hello’ to and she started ask­ing me a few ques­tions.

‘‘She was a Pak­istani lady who had been in the coun­try for six weeks and she was there be­cause her son had a spinal cord in­jury.

‘‘She and her hus­band had never been to Aus­tralia be­fore but she was there be­side her 30 year-old son.

‘‘It re­in­forced to me how lucky we are in Aus­tralia; the de­bate shouldn’t be about the day or why we cel­e­brate, but be­cause of how lucky we are in this coun­try and that we get to live in the Ber­ri­gan Shire.’’

The main at­trac­tion of the morn­ing was the Ber­ri­gan Shire Aus­tralia Day awards with Ber­ri­gan car me­chanic David ‘Woody’ Wood­ward an­nounced as the Cit­i­zen of the Year.

Af­ter the cer­e­mony, lo­cals and vis­i­tors gath­ered along the wharf to watch a yel­low rub­ber duck race along the Mur­ray River.

Luck was on the side of 11 year-old Tay­lor Wal­dron, with her duck cross­ing the line first and tak­ing out the $1000 prize.

She told the SOUTH­ERN RIVE­RINA NEWS she picked the duck num­bered 912 be­cause it had the num­ber 12. She plans to spend her win­nings on a new bas­ket­ball ring.

Molly, Matt (back), Lyn­dall and An­nie McLeod.

Jack and Gabby Wiles.

(From left) Liam, Adam, Kate and Michelle Pur­till.

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