Honours for community-minded duo
Ray Billings has been awarded Batlow’s Citizen of the Year this Australia Day, while Helmut Stuenkel was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The well-deserved accolades capped a wonderful morning at Memorial Park, with live entertainment, bacon and eggs, and a moving speech on ‘What Australia Means to Me’ by Batlow Technology School principal Greg Hodges.
Of course, Batlow Australia Day wouldn’t be complete without the traditional fire pit manned by the RFS, with freshly cooked damper and boiling hot billy tea. For those looking to cool off, cups of apple juice straight from Mouat’s Orchards did the trick.
Local singer-guitarist Doug Rand performed a number of Australian classics, including ‘Waltzing Matilda,’ ‘No Man’s Land,’ and the rollicking (although slightly unseasonal) ‘Aussie Jingle Bells.’
The flag raising was performed by Diana Droscher, Corinne Jackson, Catriona Jackson, and Zoe Taylor.
The celebrations are organised each year by the Rotary Club, as is the pool party that took place in the afternoon.
Thank you, Annette!
Annette Hassett has organised Adelong’s Australia Day celebrations every year for the past 21 years – but 2017 will be her last.
The View Club, which caters the event with sandwhiches, fresh fruit, and ANZAC bicuits, will also be stepping aside in 2018.
Both Annette and the Club have taken on the significant undertaking entirely voluntarily, and they were surprised with special awards recognising their efforts.
Adelong Progress Association Publicity Officer Bev Dwyer said Annette’s hard work and skill in putting together the fantastic event year after year could not be overstated.
“Annette has been a wonderful ambassador for Australia Day,” she said.
“But not only that, she’s a great volunteer. She’s Secretary of the Adelong View Club, she serves in the op shop, and on numerous other things.
“When I said to the chap at the council that organises Australia Day that Annette was retiring he said ‘Oh my goodness, who is going to take over. Nobody could do it like she does.’
“She’s so wonderful, we’re so proud of her. It’s the end of an era.
“Adelong runs on volunteers the calibre of Annette.”
As for Annette herself, she said she’s loved the experience, but it’s time for her to step down and give someone else a go.
Kevin King of the Adelong S & C Club has put his hand up to take the role.
“I’ve met a lot of lovely people and been to a lot of ambassador dinners, and now it’s time to hand over,” Annette said.
“People enjoy the day, but I don’t think they realise how much organisation goes into it before hand.
“I’m pleased I’m not leaving it in the lurch, I’m delighted that Kevin will be taking over. It’s a lot of responsibility, there’s a lot of double checking and so on … I just thought I was the right person to do it because I’ve been here all my married life, 54 years, and I used to teach here so I know a lot of people. I think you need that local knowledge.”
View Club President Ester Whitley was less understated.
“I’m elated! I’ll come next year but I won’t be making biscuits!” she said.