A large crowd was at Murray Shire’s Australia Day ceremony on Moama.By Ruth Clayton
Hundreds of proud Australians converged on Moama’s Kerrabee Soundshell to celebrate Australia Day on Saturday.
Festivities kicked off at 7.45am with a barbecue breakfast followed by entertainment and children’s activities.
The formalities began around 8.45am, with town crier Judy Campbell formally welcoming guests, Murray Shire representatives and Australia Day ambassador Catriona Rowntree to the event.
Local musician Jefferson Smith led the crowd in the first verse of the Australian national anthem, while Murray Shire deputy mayor John Pocklington raised the Australian flag.
Mayor Tom Weyrich later spoke on being thankful for living in Australia.
‘‘As a nation, we have so much for which to be thankful,’’ he said.
‘‘From our rich and cultural diversity to our snow-capped mountains, wide sandy beaches, hot arid deserts and our river lands.’’
Mrs Rowntree took to the stage shortly after, thanking the audience for allowing her to be Murray Shire’s ambassador.
Mrs Rowntree, well-known Australia-wide for her 18-year stint on the popular television travel show Getaway, spoke briefly on meeting a nine-year-old Moama resident, named Catriona, that morning.
‘‘I’ve already had a beautiful Australia Day, because the first person that I met when I turned up this morning
‘‘Her dad told me that Catriona was named after me, and apparently she smiles a lot.
‘‘Thank you for making my Australia Day, it’s just been lovely to meet you.’’
During her speech, Mrs Rowntree encouraged others to pursue their dreams and passions.
‘‘When I was at school, I was always in trouble for talking,’’ she said.
‘‘I would encourage any parent that is here to encourage the quirks in your child, because even though I had a headmistress that permanently put me on detention for talking, I was lucky enough to eventually
Mrs Rowntree said from her experience travelling for the world for 18 years, she appreciated the ‘‘simple things that we have in our Australian life’’.
‘‘And that is to run around with bare feet,’’ she joked.
‘‘If you went into a supermarket in the United States, that is a law suit waiting to happen.
‘‘You cannot go into a shop without shoes on, because so many people have sued the shop owners or slipped over or whatever.
‘‘You can’t do such a thing.’’
It was Mrs Rowntree’s first time in Moama, despite having travelled the country widely.
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