TODAY was a day for Greater Bendigo's record books.
Councillor Margaret O'Rourke became the first person in the council's history to serve as mayor four times in the one council term.
The special meeting, at which the mayor and deputy were elected, was also the first to incorporate the city's traditional owners.
"I hope what we have begun his evening will continue each year as the city installs its mayor," Cr O'Rourke said.
A meeting to remember
IT was a special meeting of council unlike any other in the City of Greater Bendigo's history.
Councillor Margaret O'Rourke set a record, becoming the first person in the history of the City of Greater Bendigo to serve as mayor four times in a single term of council.
And, for the first time, the city's traditional owners were incorporated into the formalities.
A smoking ceremony marked the start of the special meeting to elect a mayor and a deputy.
Attendees walked through the cleansing smoke as they entered the Bendigo Town Hall.
As they approached the council chambers, they were met by the sound of a didgeridoo.
Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation's Rodney Carter hoped it would not be the last time traditional owners played a role in the special meeting.
"We would hope we can contribute to the ceremony in central Victoria and help develop the Dja Dja Wurrung identity with all of community in the local government area," he said.
He spoke of a sense of family, of community and of leadership as he placed a possum skin cloak around the newly elected mayor, Cr Margaret O'Rourke.
The idea was born of a cold night during Bendigo when, while attending the city's White Night, Mr Carter offered Cr O'Rourke his possum skin cloak.
"I thought it was really important as someone that was a bit warmer than Margaret at the time to share with her the wearing of the possum skin cloak," he said.
"It's something that when you care for somebody you place it around them to keep them warm.
"And if we are warm, comfortable and more fortunate than those around us, what we do in our leadership is try and help those that are less fortunate."
Cr O'Rourke used her formal election speech to highlight the need for council to enhance the community's liveability for everyone.
"There are people in our community who are falling behind - who are struggling to care for themselves and their families," she said.
She said data had recently been received saying one in five people in some suburbs within Greater Bendigo were facing food insecurity.
"And we know there are many that are experiencing long-term unemployment," Cr O'Rourke said.
She said council would also focus on the changing climate and the challenges that presented for all.
The mayor reflected on the council's successes and the need, in the final quarter of its term, to lay the groundwork for success for the next council.
Reflecting on the record she had set in being elected mayor again, Cr O'Rourke said she felt very privileged.
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