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HUNDREDS of Horsham citizens of all ages joined in Australia Day celebrations at the city’s Sawyer Park on Thursday morning.
As the sounds of the Horsham Brass Band and the Sing Australia Choir echoed out from the soundshell, members of Wimmera service clubs served up a breakfast of bacon and eggs.
Master of ceremonies Simon Risson started the day’s official proceedings.
After a welcome to country by Barengi Gadjin Land Council Elder Jennifer Beer, Pastor Geoff Schefe spoke on behalf of the Horsham Christian Ministers Association.
He referred to the lyrics of the Robin Mann song Here We Are as he asked the gathered audience to reflect on the beauty of the country that surrounded the Wimmera, and how they could make it better.
The Australian flag was raised by the Horsham Girl Guides and Horsham Scouts before Claudia Lopez O’Donnell and Bonnie Mellor performed the national anthem.
The Horsham Brass Band performed a medley of songs before children rushed to the front of the stage to listen to Horsham Library manager Mary Dalgleish read Edward the Emu.
Horsham mayor Pam Clarke continued the ceremony and inducted Sabriena Leigh Galati, Barbara Anne Hollis and Keerthic Poulos as new Australian citizens.
Australia Day ambassadors Diane James and Mark Stone then addressed the audience.
Both spoke of their connection to the Wimmera.
“I’m an Australian Day ambassador because I’m proud to be an Aussie,” Mrs James said.
“I don’t particularly remember celebrating Australia Day as a child because we just did not do it.
“It’s most gratifying that its relevance and importance has increased in the past two decades.”
The Australian Day awards were officially handed out by Cr Clarke, but not before she welcomed Order of Australia medallist Jan Morris on stage.
Kingsley Dalgleish spoke about how he arrived in Horsham 28 years ago determined to make it an ever better community and home for his family in his acceptance speech for the Citizen of the Year award.
Young Citizen of the Year Kara Johnson ended her acceptance speech by thanking those she worked alongside and encouraging other young people to be more involved in volunteering and the community.
The Horsham Arts Council was presented with the Community Event of the Year Award for its 50th anniversary spectacular in February.
Risson then closed the ceremony as Claudia Lopez O’Donnell and Bonnie Mellor returned to the stage to sing We Are Australian.