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Meeniyan show Aussie spirit

THE small community of Meeniyan was packed with Aussie pride last Saturday, with a full house celebrating the day at the MDU clubrooms.

Meeniyan Progress Association president Kathryn Smith welcomed special guests at the event, including Australia Day Ambassador Stan Alves and Victorian Deputy Premier, Member for Gippsland South and Minister “for just about everything”, Peter Ryan.

Tarwin Valley Primary School students Grace Thorson and Hugh Collins raised the Australian flag and opened the ceremony with an important reminder of acceptance: “Whether born here or moved here, Gippsland, like Australia, is home”.

Former AFL player and coach, Mr Alves, was thrilled to be invited back to the town after visiting in 2011.

He also acknowledged those becoming Australian on the day.

“Australia Day is one of those most treasured and emotional events, and that is the citizenship ceremony,” he said.

“Many I know around this great country will be taking part in this today, and all who have ever attended these citizenship ceremonies will remember the pride and sense of achievement that marks these special events.”

Mr Alves also asked the crowd to take the time to step back and ask themselves “What does Australia Day mean to me?”

“Sometimes you can just get caught up in this busy treadmill of going and going; to take a breath and reflect on who and what I am, I think, is important.”

Ms Smith presented Mr Alves with a red Meeniyan shirt to thank him for his words of wisdom.

Those dedicated to their local community were recognised on the day, with awards presented to South Gippsland Shire Council Citizen of the Year nominee Ethel Hanks, and Youth Community Contribution nominees Ben Thomas and Emily Wilson.

Awards were also presented to Bill Pratt and Neil Cope on behalf of the Stony Creek Rodeo, for its nomination as Community Event of the Year.

The event was concluded with a performance by the Meeniyan Ecumenical Choir, a crowd favourite and unofficial anthem I am Australian, seeing dozens of flags waved in the air in time to the music.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=6350

Posted by on Jan 30 2013. Filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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