Australia Day provided an opportunity for Eaglehawk’s residents to express gratitude for their community and the country at large at the Borough’s celebrations on Friday.
Eaglehawk’s Citizen of the Year Margaret Ashman shared the story of her time since arriving 60 years ago.
“The Eaglehawk area is a very friendly place, everybody will tell you that,” Mrs Ashman said.
She also reminded those gathered that they were lucky to live in this “beautiful” country.
Young Citizen of the Year, Billy Nikkelson, shared his experience of volunteering within Eaglehawk.
“Volunteering gives me the opportunity to help this wonderful community,” he said.
“It also gives me the opportunity to talk to people I otherwise normally would not talk to.”
It is not only Eaglehawk’s familiar faces that sing its praises: Rod, Belinda and Emma Goodwin moved to Eaglehawk from Romsey just six months ago, but have already fallen in love with the community.
“Everyone’s good to deal with, pleasant and helpful,” Mr Goodwin said.
It is a sentiment the Australia Day committee chairman Colin Anderson shares.
“It’s a great little community here, very community-minded,” Mr Anderson said.
Australia Day ambassador David Mann, on his first visit to Eaglehawk, said the area had a “lovely feeling” about it.
He said he was proud to be an Australian.
“We live in the best country in the world,” Mr Mann said.
City of Greater Bendigo councillor Andrea Metcalf acknowledged that Australia Day for some Indigenous people was a day of mourning, for others it represented the need for reconciliation, and for others it was a celebration of progress, and said it was important going forward to strive for reconciliation of differences.
She also spoke of the multicultural nature of Australia and increasingly Bendigo.
“However you celebrate, I hope you take a moment to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in Australia and Greater Bendigo,” she said.
Residents turn out for Eaglehawk event
A balmy morning welcomed residents on Friday morning at Eaglehawk’s Australia Day celebrations in Canterbury Park.
People enjoyed a free breakfast provided by the Rotary Club of Eaglehawk before settling in for the music and speeches.
For some, Australia Day was a day of celebrating the country. For others, like Shelley Marshall and Natasha Kalms-Taylor, it was an opportunity to enjoy the company of family and friends.
Rod Goodwin said it was a day to celebrate the nation’s heritage and reflect on where we had come from.
His wife Belinda said that for her, it held similar meaning to Anzac Day: it was a chance to reflect on those who served for their country so its citizens could enjoy all they had.