Bendigo charms crowds on Australia Day

SNAGS were sizzling, Australian flags flying and classic Aussie tunes echoed around Lake Weeroona in honour of Australia Day. 

Bendigo turned on the charm as part of the Australia Day celebrations with perfect weather throughout the day.  

For two-week-old Oliver Scholtz the national celebration was his first. 

Oliver’s dad Igor became an Australian citizen on Saturday, celebrating the momentous occasion with his wife Leanne and two-year-old daughter Isabella. 

Igor who originally called Slovakia home said becoming an Australian citizen on Australia Day in front of his young family was an honour. 

“I am honoured to have the life here that I would not have had otherwise,” he said. 

Leanne was born and raised in Bendigo but said she met her husband while working overseas. 

“We worked together in Ireland and then we lived in the United Kingdom for a few years but we got married in Bendigo,” she said. 

Leanne said Australia Day now held special significance for her family. 

“It is nice to come out with a family on a day like this and actually enjoy the day for what it stands for not just the carnival type thing,” she said. 

Australia Day also had special meaning for old friends Gwen Beecham and Lorraine Day. 

The pair have been celebrating Australia Day for as long as they can remember” Gwen said. 

“I think it is great to come and welcome the new citizens to Bendigo,” Lorraine said. 

“We live in a great country,” she said.

Related coverage: Gallery: Australia Day in Bendigo 2013

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