It was the diminutive figure of Blayney's Australia Day ambassador Kumar Pereira who in a short speech rounded up the nature of Australia and those that are fortunate enough to live here.
"This is a great country in which to survive," he said, easily summarising a 12 month period of Australia's place in the world, and simultaneously the entire history of this country.
"This is a country that contends with the harshness of drought, flood, cyclones and has done so for thousands of years," he said.
"Living here, particularly in the country, you need to have survival skills. One of those is getting on with people, to help each out."
That nature of helping each other out was at the forefront of the 2021 Australia Day awards ceremony in Heritage Park in Blayney.
The winners are:
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: IAN TOOKE
Ian first arrived in Blayney in 1973 as an Industrial Arts Teacher at Blayney High School.
After taking on other teaching positions in the Western Region and Broken Hill and completing his Bachelor of Education in Newcastle, Ian then took on the Deputy Principal role at Blayney High School for 21 years.
Ian has been an active member of the Blayney Shire Community over many years through Blayney Rotary, Blayney Apex Club and the Blayney Men's Shed.
He was the inaugural President establishing the Blayney Men's Shed in 2007 and continues in this role.
He is the Zone 4 Volunteer Representative of the Australian Men's Shed Association NSW Branch and has been the Secretary for three years.
Ian has a passion for cars, farm machinery, and motoring and uses his Bathurst Historic Car Club's membership to promote enjoyable and safe motoring.
He can be easily recognised when driving his traditional English-style open sports car, which he doesn't have the time to drive often enough.
In his calm and dedicated manner, Ian provides real leadership, mentoring and an exceptional role model on issues including men's health through his attitude to life, his active involvement in meaningful and tangible service.
Young Citizen of the Year: Fiona Bottom and Alicia Gersbach
Fiona was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 when she was just 2 weeks old.
This condition is progressive, unpredictable and has no cure. Fiona is always shining light to the people she meets with her beautiful smile. As an ambassador for the Children's Tumor Foundation, Fiona assists with fundraising and inspiring others by speaking about her journey.
Fiona is an active member of the Blayney Youth Groups held at Abundant Life Church and is often seen at Blayney Rotary Fundraisers giving assistance where she can.
Alicia Gersbach has been an important member of the Blayney Show Society since joining in 2015.
She has introduced a number of new activities into the annual Blayney Show including the Ute Show, Classic Car Show, Harness Racing and the Quick Shear.
The Blayney Show has continued to grow and succeed with the help and initiative of Alicia.
Volunteer of the Year: Anthony Bright
Anthony Bright or better known as Ampy, is born and bred in Carcoar. He is a member of the RFS and is very involved with Carcoar Primary School and the P&C Committee helping with fundraising, cooking BBQs and setting up equipment.
He is the Vice President of the Carcoar PA & H Society where he takes on the role of caretaker of the showground.
Thanks to Ampy, visitors have a trouble free visit with hot water and clear and tidy facilities.
On Carcoar Show day, Ampy and his family run the kitchen making fresh sandwiches, serving tea and coffee and cakes.
He is a quiet achiever, often performing tasks at the showground no one knows about until the job is fixed. He is always willing to volunteer his time and help others out.
Community Event of the Year: Millthorpe Virtual Garden Ramble
Due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 the Millthorpe Garden Ramble Committee had to think creatively about how to host the event. The committee did something that hasn't been done in the region before and hosted a virtual ramble to keep the event and the village on their followers mind and to thank the gardeners who had been involved over the years.
The virtual event resulted in 8 professionally created videos with interviews from the owners talking about their garden, how they had designed it, what their plans were and the history of their homes. The videos have been viewed an average of 800 times each and with views in the region, all across Australia as well as some international viewers.
The feedback from viewers was very positive, many making comments about how lovely it was to watch the videos and hope there is a virtual aspect to the event next year for those unable to make it in person. The committee did well to pull together this event given it was out of their regular scope, particularly with technology and social media role having a very crucial part to play.
Appreciation Award: Rachel Burke
Rachel Burke is the owner operator of the Blayney Post Office for the past 8 years.
Since taking over the business, Rachel has fulfilled her role with dedication and efficiency. She knows her job inside and out, has worked the post office up to a high standard and cares about the service that she offers.
Rachel continues to provide an excellent service to the community by opening up a Bed and Breakfast upstairs and recently opened a coffee shop inside the post office. She has increased the range of goods for sale and extends her opening hours in December.
CITIZENSHIP CEREMONY: Zhuojia Chen.
As part of the celebrations, an Australian Citizenship Ceremony was conducted with Mr Zhuojia Chen making the Citizenship pledge.
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