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Berrigan Shire's community helpers rewarded at Australia Day ceremony

Berrigan Shire welcomed back former Finley boy Wayne Rowlands on Sunday, with the physicist appearing as the guest speaker at the Australia Day ceremony.

January 30, 2014 4:19am

Young Citizen of the Year, Zoe Richardson.


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Mr Rowlands, son of well known Finley residents Bill and Lyn Rowlands, made and impressive speech and even made a guest appearance playing with local band Mulberry St who entertained the crowd.

Mr Rowlands studied at Finley High School and became a leading scientist – with highlights including establishing the first laser-cooled molecules lab in Australia and setting up a Bachelor of Science degree in Photonics – and imparted some wisdom on the gathered crowd.

‘‘Follow what you want to do,’’ he said.

‘‘I think the hard things in life are the best – why would you do only easy things all the time and not try any hard things?

‘‘I try to impress upon people that doing those hard things is what’s important. It is what you make of it.’’

At the Finley ceremony, a group of very proud Berrigan Shire citizens were recognised for their contributions to the community at Sunday’s Australia Day ceremony.

The coveted Citizen of the Year was chosen from a selection of nine hardworking Berrigan Shire residents.

Dawn Huxtable, Henry Matheson, Jim and Barbara Cullen, John Dickins, Robyn Mott, Valda Cole, Ian Dickins, John Milne and Geoff Boscombe were all nominated, with Mrs Mott announced the winner.

Finley’s Zoe Richardson, who enters into Year 12 at Finley High School today, was announced as the Young Citizen of the Year.

Zoe said she was proud to receive the award from a community she loves living in and being a part of.

‘‘I just hope I can give back to the community that has given so much to me,’’ she said.

Zoe’s nomination read that she is a ‘‘strong, enthusiastic and dedicated member of the community’’.

She is heavily involved in a number of community activities and groups including her school student representative council and the regional and state student representative councils.

The Finley High School student actively participates in both the swimming and netball clubs as an athlete as well as in a fundraising and volunteer capacity.

She has committed a great deal of her time helping organise and run youth based activities and events – all whilst completing her education at the high school.

Up and coming promising junior netballer Chelsea McDonald was named Junior Sportsperson of the Year.

Unable to attend Sunday’s ceremony her award was collected by her grandfather Brian Gale.

Chelsea, a regular in the Finley Cats uniform, was named Finley A grade Best and Fairest in 2013 and Murray League Best and Fairest in her first year of playing senior netball.

She also received the prestigious honour of being named the Murray League’s Rookie of the Year.

The 15 year-old was named in the regional State Under 17s League side, Murray Netball League representative side for Under 17s and was selected in Finley High’s open netball side and for the Victorian Netball Academy.

‘‘She is an asset to her club and not only is she a phenomenally talented player, she is an outstanding representative of her club and league,’’ the nomination read.

Community Organisation of the Year was awarded to the Berrigan Amateur Dramatic Society, commonly known as BADS.

Accepting the award on behalf of the group was Malcolm Dickie.

‘‘BADS has been a big part of Berrigan since 1923,’’ he said.

‘‘When you walk around the town, every family I know has had some sort of connection with BADS.’’

Each year BADS work tirelessly to put on a theatrical performance to both showcase the local talent in the community and to entertain the residents of Berrigan and beyond.

In its 90 years, BADS has generally hosted at least three performances each year to sell-out crowds.

‘‘However, the show isn’t just about the performances, four months of work go into each show with rehearsals, set building, organising props and costumes etc – often on very cold July nights,’’ the nomination read.

‘‘They put on a show for the local community which brings joy, hope and lots of laughter to all those who attend the performances.

‘‘From fundraising to pay for the cost of the production to such roles as the director, cast, sound and light, ushers, waiters, kitchen staff, hair and makeup, costume designers and set builders – 100 per cent of BADS members volunteer their own time, effort and energy to ensure a successful production each year.’’

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