Rain could not dampen spirits at Narooma for the Australia Day breakfast and ceremony at the Narooma Surf Life Saving Club.
Umbrellas and flags were the order of the day as organisers moved tables into the surf club basement. Surf club and Lions club volunteers manned the barbecues under shelter to keep a steady stream of bacon, eggs and toast supplied.
The Australia Day awards ceremony took place upstairs at the surf club. Narooma Public School students Sienna Anderson and Kurtis Carlson raised the flag on the deck as the national anthem was sung inside by the Narooma Community Choir.
The distinguished local guest speaker was Christine Macauley AM, who is vice president of the Montague Arts and Crafts Society and who has mentored small business people in her working career. She has only recently moved to Narooma, a community she has grown to love.
“I love living here, there is so much that the community has done to make we feel welcome,” she said. “This community is built on volunteers and without them the place would not be what it is today.”
Other speakers included the 2015 Narooma Citizen of Year Vivian Wood, who spoke about the work she had done in the community to help the hearing impaired and also with the Montague Arts and Crafts Society.
Rotary exchange student Jui-Da “Radar” Lin from Taiwan gave an entertaining speech about how different Australia was from his home country and how much he loved it.
It was then time for this year’s award presentations with the Narooma Community Event of the Year being the White Ribbon March against domestic violence being organised by the Far South Coast Local Area Command of the NSW Police. Narooma Sgt. Brendan O’Mahoney accepted the award. The other event recipients were the Narooma 100th anniversary of Anzac Day organised by the RSL sub-branch at Club Narooma and also the Summer Safety Expo held at the Rotary markets.
Alicia Bate was named the Narooma Young Citizen of Year, with her accomplishments including being a member of the Dalmeny Kianga RFS brigade, a runner-up Quota Student of the Year, and runner-up Cobargo Showgirl, being a cattle judge for Narooma High School and judging at the Sydney Royal Show. The other nominees were Carmen Andrews, Madison Ker and Samantha Sly.
The 2016 Narooma Citizen of the Year was named as Carol Mead, who is a referee with the Narooma swimming club, a member of Narooma Quota, works with parents and citizens groups at the Preschool, Narooma Public School and Narooma High School and also operates the ABC Bakery since the passing of her husband Barry.
“I feel honoured and humbled,” she said while accepting the award. “I feel I have never done anything that anyone else wouldn’t do.”
The other recipient for the Citizen of the Year Award was Gabe Eichler, who was away on a mercy mission for a sick friend, but her long list of achievements were also read out including being an Australia Day coordinator, and a volunteer with the Narooma AFL Lions, Eurobodalla Animal Welfare League and Narooma Youth Cafe.
Finally in a bit of fun new to the ceremony, the Narooma Quota Club named the best-dressed kids as Jacob Hodge, Rogue Constable and Jet Constable.
The Australia Day fun continued in Narooma with the Rotary Club’s annual duck race set to begin at 1.30pm at the Narooma Bridge.
Rotarian Laurelle Pacey reports it all went well. The winning duck 415, after a late spurt just before the finishing line, discusses race tactics with last place-getter duck 334.
“It was all hands on deck to pick up the ducks at the finish line. Thanks to Narooma Surf Club members, Rotarians and friends doing the pick up and to Maritime NSW for their assistance.”
The Eurobodalla Shire Council awards ceremony in Moruya in the afternoon recognized of two Narooma young people, Lilly-Rose Bennett receiving the Sports Achievement Award and Ben Potter, the Eurobodalla Young Citizen of the Year for the second time.
Lilly-Rose is an exceptional young athlete who excels in a range of fields including athletics, rugby union, rugby league, soccer and Surf Lifesaving. In athletics, she has represented her school at local, Zone and Regional levels and has travelled to Canada with Little Athletics.
In Surf Lifesaving she won gold in beach events at local, Branch, Country and State titles. She plays for Narooma in Group 16 League Tag and was named Player of the Series in the Indigenous Rugby League side at the NSW Championships. Lilly also plays Rugby Union, and was a member of the Brumbies Under 17 side at the Aussie Development Squad 7’s tournament.
Ben Potter meanwhile in the unique position of being named Eurobodalla Young Citizen of the Year for the second time, having previously won this Award in 2014.
Ben continues to show exemplary commitment to his community. He finished Year 12 in Narooma last year and is now planning to take a gap year before commencing university.
Among his many achievements, Ben was a member of the Narooma High Student Representative Council and the Eurobodalla Youth Committee. And as you have just seen, he was part of the organising team for the NSW Youth Committee Conference.
He volunteers at the Narooma Youth Café, where he has become an excellent mentor for the young people at the cafe.
He also volunteers his time teaching senior members of the community how to navigate the intricacies of computers.
Ben is a great team member and shows a wonderful capacity as a leader, happy to give his time to help others. He will go far in the future.