Cool weather brings big crowd
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.