Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Region celebrates Australia Day

All the action from Seymour, Avenel and Nagambie.

CHALPAT SONTI January 30, 2013 4:46am

Avenel and joint Strathbogie Shire citizen of the year Steve Garner with daughter Mackenzie, wife Bev and sons Gus and Tom.

Gallery: See more photos from Australia Day celebrations here.

He’s worn plenty of hats and helped plenty of people but Barry Roworth is typically modest about being named Mitchell Shire citizen of the year.

‘‘She (wife Betty) deserves it more than me for what she does,’’ Mr Roworth said.

‘‘I’m humbled and honoured but I really mean it when I say there’s a lot of other people out there that aren’t in the limelight that should have got it.’’

Mr Roworth, of Whiteheads Creek, was honoured for his work largely with the CFA.

Apart from being a volunteer with the Whiteheads Creek brigade, he has also been a trainer and strike team leader in District 12 and still moves fire appliances around the state regularly.

He has also helped Mrs Roworth with her volunteer work, including at Goulburn Options, the Seymour Goulburn Lions Club’s popular Oaks Day fundraiser, Labor Day market and Meals on Wheels as well as being involved with Landcare.

The couple first came to Seymour to run the outdoor pool.

Like many others, he doesn’t see any easy answers to getting more people to volunteer, but the couple’s motivation seems particularly apt for the award.

‘‘The smile on the faces of the Goulburn Options people when I drive the fire truck in is worth a million awards,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of people don’t do anything for nothing but somewhere along the line you’ve got to put back.’’

Amy Kelly of Heathcote Junction was named the shire’s young citizen of the year and radio station OKR FM in Kilmore won the community event award for a young presenters quest.

Several dozen people attended Seymour’s Australia Day function at Kings Park on Saturday morning.

Apart from speeches from Defence and CFA personnel, they were also particularly entertained by a watermelon-eating competition.

It was a double dose of celebration for one of region’s hardest-working sports coaches and administrators when Avenel held its Australia Day event on Saturday.

Steve Garner, the sports co-ordinator at Seymour College, was firstly named Avenel citizen of the year and then shared the Strathbogie Shire award with Euroa’s Robyn Burke.

Mr Garner wears many hats on our sports fields, and while he might be best known for his work with the Avenel Tennis Club, he is also the town’s Auskick co-ordinator, is involved with Tabilk Junior Football Netball Club, Seymour Little Aths and junior basketball and is a fitness coach with the Murray Bushrangers.

The father of three was cited as a positive role model for young people.

Mr Garner said he loved the town he chose to call home.

‘‘We’d lived in a few different places before we came to Avenel,’’ he said.

‘‘But (here I) certainly felt much more comfortable in my skin.’’

He thanked his children who ‘‘get me out of the house with all the sport they play’’ and wife Bev and others at the clubs he is involved with for their encouragement.

‘‘Certainly I didn’t do this alone,’’ he said.

Mr Garner’s awards were part of a big morning at Jubilee Park, with more than 100 people attending what doubled as Strathbogie Shire’s main event for the day.

Sarah Sidebottom was named Avenel young citizen of the year for her work with the fire brigade, Avenel Football Netball Club and Seymour Field and Game.

The dental nurse said she was shocked to win the award, but ‘‘I just enjoy working with and helping everyone’’.

The Avenel Market won the community award. The event has steadily grown, and the last one in December attracted record numbers.

Marjorie Langford and Ken Kibble won community service awards - Mrs Langford for her work with the Avenel Craft Group Mr Kibble with a variety of organisations.

Other shirewide awards were won by Alison Townsend of Strathbogie (young citizen of the year), Courtney Kelly of Violet Town (junior citizen), Violet Town Mens Shed (organisation) and Euroa Showjumping Classic (event).

Royal Children’s Hospital chairman and Avenel property owner Tony Beddison gave a thought-provoking speech on what made the town so great.

‘‘At Avenel we see what it is to be Australian,’’ he said.

Kirwans Bridge resident Keith Irwin was named Nagambie Australia Day citizen of the year on Saturday evening.

Mr Irwin was honoured for his work helping elderly people, especially well-known Kirwans Bridge resident Alice Thomas.

Helping others in the community also saw Kayla Shepherd win the young citizen of the year.

The cricket-mad 17-year-old has represented Victoria at age-group level and certainly more than holds her own in the Seymour District Cricket Association’s B-grade competition.

She also helped Nagambie Primary School organise its cricket carnival and is a leader among her peers at Euroa Secondary College.

St John’s Church was named community organisation of the year for the variety of events it organised, highlighted by its hugely-succesful 125th anniversary celebration in September, as well as the way it helps many in the community in need.

The Nagambie Lakes Community House fashion parade was named event of the year.

About 80 people attended the event, which took place in fine weather.

One of the highlights was local school students Alice Loughnane and Tasman Taylor-Lloyd reciting their winning entries in a ‘‘Why I Love Nagambie’’ essay competition.

There were also two citizenship ceremonies, for Geun Soon Jeong and Yvette Lachica Demavibas.

Australia Day ambassador Dan Romanis, the chief executive of the Royal District Nursing Service, spoke about the opportunity Australia provided to those who migrate here, as he did 39 years ago, volunteering and community support, as well as what it meant to be Australian.

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