Australia Day celebrated across the shire

Shannon Mills and Braden McKinley, from Sale, at Golden Beach.

Shannon Mills and Braden McKinley, from Sale, at Golden Beach.

AUSTRALIA Day was celebrated in dozens of locations across Wellington Shire at official and private gatherings.

Numerous sausages were sizzled, and inspirational local people were recognised for their contributions.

At Sale's official celebration, after a Welcome to Country from Gavin O'Shanassy, Gippsland MHR Darren Chester spoke about finding the positives in the community.

"It's easy to become negative and pessimistic about the future, as we seem to be perhaps overwhelmed by what may be regarded as insurmountable problems," he said.

"But I have a very different view, and it's an approach I've tried to take as your local member of parliament, and it's that we need to look for the best in people.

"If you look for the best in people, or the worst in the people, either way, you will find it, and we need to try, as a community, to be positive about the future of our great region."

Wellington Shire mayor Carolyn Crossley (front right) with 15 new Australian citizens who took the Oath of Allegiance on Australia Day in Sale.

Wellington Shire mayor Carolyn Crossley (front right) with 15 new Australian citizens who took the Oath of Allegiance on Australia Day in Sale.

Mayor Carolyn Crossley said Australia Day meant different things to different people.

"I recognise that this date is somewhat difficult for some members of our community, but this is the date we currently have, and we're here today to celebrate the bonds we share, and to welcome our newest citizens," she said.

The flag was raised by Scouts, and 15 new citizens recited the oath to become Wellington Shire's newest Australians.

Wellington Shire's Citizen of the Year, Mark Thorpe, and community group of the year, Sale Central Rotary Club's Monday Tucker program, represented by Michael Page, OAM, also spoke about their work in the community.

Mr Thorpe, who has the rare neurodegenerative disorder ataxia-telangiectasia, campaigns for accessibility.

He has won a bronze medal in sailing at the Special Olympics, as well as having been named Victorian Sailor of the Year with a Disability.

The Monday Tucker program feeds more than 70 people every week, from disadvantaged youths and young families, to elderly people looking to make friends, and has been operating for four years.

"It's an amazing service that Sale Central Rotary Club has done for the community," Cr Crossley said.

Mr Page said the organisation worked with the police and Youth InSearch to help people, and encouraged volunteers to get involved.

"We found, dealing with the Sale police, that there were a lot of issues in our community, a lot of them hidden . . . but we get a lot of support from the community" he said.

"We're looking at extensions to the program, including . . . a community garden, and hopefully we can use the food out of that garden in meal preparation."

Sale City Band and the Briagolong Bush Band entertained the crowd in perfect sunny weather.

In Seaspray, Wellington Shire councillor Scott Rossetti hosted celebrations at the town's surf life saving club, and hundreds of people took advantage of the conditions to head out for a swim.

There was applause for the Seaspray Centenary Celebration committee, which won community event of the year.

"It took two years to organise this three-day event," representative Sue Kennedy said.

"It certainly had an historical bent to it, it was a reunion for a lot of people, and I know people travelled from all over Australia and overseas to come to the centenary, which was quite a wonderful thing for our little town."

 Mauricio and Allison Yiannis with their children Emilio, Estelle, Vida and Claudia at the Australia Day celebrations in Sale.

Mauricio and Allison Yiannis with their children Emilio, Estelle, Vida and Claudia at the Australia Day celebrations in Sale.

Gippsland Senior
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