Meeniyan praises volunteers

THE volunteers who shape Meeniyan were honoured at Meeniyan’s Australia Day ceremony on Friday.
An enthusiastic crowd filled the Meeniyan Hall to pay tribute to Meeniyan representatives recognised in South Gippsland Shire Council’s Australia Day awards recently.
They were Citizen of the Year nominee John Hattam, Event of the Year, the 2017 Meeniyan Garlic Festival, and Youth of the Year nominees Jake Waldron of Meeniyan and Natalie Young of Stony Creek.
Mr Hattam is a member of the committees of the Meeniyan Progress Association, The Meeniyan RSL District Men’s Shed, and Meeniyan Tourists and Traders Association.
He has also served the Scouts, Meeniyan Stony Creek CFA and the Meeniyan Garlic Festival.
Jake has used audio visual skills at local events, including the Meeniyan tavern nights and Mary MacKillop College shows, and helped run Auskick and the garlic festival.
Natalie plays for Mt Eccles Netball Club, is a senior member of Meeniyan-Stony Creek CFA and a member of Leongatha Angling Club.
She has participated in the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal as part of the Meeniyan-Stony Creek CFA’s efforts.
Tarwin Valley Primary School principal Brett Smith spoke of the role of a school in society. School captain Sophie Kenny read an Australia-themed poem and fellow captain Burke Vanderzalm gave a humorous rendition of what it means to be an Aussie, from surfers and lawyers to hipsters.
Australia Day ambassador Paul Wheelton AM told the audience how he believed Australia was the best country in the world and noted volunteers play a major role in making it so.
“It would be easy to take these volunteer roles for granted until you realise they are not there,” he said, adding volunteers were like a big Australia Day cake, with the taste dependent on the ingredients.
“Meeniyan has got one of the best tasting cakes in the country. You have got the mix just about right.”
Mr Wheelton owns the Budget rent a car group. He has a property at Fish Creek, and praised the quality and range of Meeniyan businesses. He even spruiked this month’s Meeniyan Garlic Festival to fellow passengers during a recent cruise to Africa.
Ms Waldron presented Mr Wheelton with a Meeniyan t-shirt.
Scarecrows decorated Meeniyan’s main street as part of the Australia Day festivities and will remain for the garlic festival.

First class: from left, Meeniyan’s nominees in the South Gippsland Shire Council Australia Day awards were Citizen of the Year nominee John Hattam and Youth of the Year nominees Natalie Young and Jake Waldron.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=23941

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