THOUSANDS of Bendigonians celebrated Australia Day at Bendigo’s Lake Weeroona.
The crowd basked in sunshine as City of Greater Bendigo mayor Lisa Ruffell welcomed 36 new Australian citizens and presented awards to Citizen of the Year Linda Beilharz and Young Citizen of the Year Amethyst Downing.
The official proceedings got underway at 10.30am when Sing Australia Bendigo performed I am Australian during the flag-raising ceremony.
Rotary Club of Bendigo Sandhurst president Doug Lougoon joined City of Greater Bendigo mayor Lisa Ruffell and Rotary Club of Bendigo Sandhurst Australia Day Ambassador Luke Owens to welcome the crowd.
“We live in one of the most fortunate countries in the world,” Mr Lougoon said.
“We have been doing this for the past 20 years and this is the biggest event we run all year.”
Mayor Ruffell said we lived in the best country in the world.
“Australia Day is an important tradition and is a day we honour the achievements of people in our community,” she said.
“We are a tolerant society.
“We can publicly express ourselves and celebrate what this day means to all of us.
Mayor Ruffell acknowledged the contributions Ms Beilharz and Miss Downing had made to the Bendigo community.
Ms Beilharz was awarded an Order of Australia medal for her contributions to the community and her polar exploration.
Ms Beilharz encouraged fellow citizens to get involved in their communities.
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