Mayoral Column 25 August 2014

Published on 25 August 2014

Anzac centenary plans firming

Recent commemorations around Australia of the beginnings of World War I have heightened the focus on next year’s centenary of our nation’s landmark Anzac campaign.

Here in Loddon Shire, plans are continuing to take shape for how Council and our diverse communities will mark this unique occasion.

Today (25 Aug.), I will be chairing a meeting at Serpentine of the Shire’s Anzac Centenary Organising Committee, made up of representatives of our RSL groups and local historical societies.

Council CEO John McLinden and Executive Assistant Lynne Habner are also members, while Council’s Manager Community Planning, Tim Jenkyn, has been co-opted as a key contact.

Already in place is a planned Shire-wide celebration at Serpentine on 24 April next year, featuring an address by former National Party Deputy Prime Minister and Australia's first residential ambassador to the Holy See Tim Fischer.
 
Representatives from all communities across the municipality will be among the 330 people invited, along with 300 school students from Boort, Bridgewater, East Loddon, Inglewood, Pyramid Hill, Tarnagulla and Wedderburn.

Also present will be RSL members from Inglewood-Bridgewater, Pyramid Hill, Wedderburn-Korong Vale and Mitiamo-East Loddon, plus historical society representatives from Inglewood and District, East Loddon, Pyramid Hill and Korong-Wedderburn and Army Reserve members from Bendigo.

Both the Goldfields Choir and Eaglehawk Citizens Brass Band have already agreed to take part and a meeting is planned for next week with school principals across the Shire to discuss their schools’ potential involvement.

Other ideas being considered include statues of Victoria Cross winners Albert Jacka and Albert Borella, a memorial stone sourced from Pyramid Hill, a commemorative plaque, an exhibition of World War I items in Serpentine Hall and an audio-visual display.

Gala a great night

Some 160 people from around the Shire gathered at Pyramid Hill last Wednesday night for Council’s first-ever Sports Gala, a high-profile social event designed to honour Loddon’s top sportspeople.

That was as good a crowd as we have ever had at such an occasion and it was pleasing to see 21 local clubs represented.

Special guest Max Walker held his audience in the palm of his hand as he relayed stories of his cricketing days and outlined some of his motivations and life observations.

There were 11 awards announced chosen from the 30 worthy finalists, whose sporting successes have been achieved both locally and on the international stage and all of whom are highly significant contributors to their communities and their sports.

We heartily congratulate them all.

Joint winners of the administrator award were Julie Gould, from Wedderburn Netball Club and Marie Scott, from the Pyramid Hill Bowling Club and Pyramid Hill Football Club.

Other individual winners were tennis coach Peter Bewley (coach), frisbee player Alyce Falls (junior sportswoman), judo champion Bryan Jolly (junior sportsman), Kathy Vellely, from Boort Hockey Club (sportswoman), Brendan Reeves, from Cerberus Car Club (sportsman), Jill Millie, from Wedderburn Golf Club (master sportswoman) and Gordon Addlem, from Bears lagoon/Serpentine Football Club (master sportsman).

Brendan was later announced as the Shire’s Ultimate Sportsperson.

The group awards went to Wedderburn’s A-Grade Netball Club side (top team) and Wedderburn Hockey Club (top club).

Councillors and Council staff who attended were delighted with how the evening ran and we thank Christine Coombes, as head of the organising team, for her exemplary effort.

Council will now review the event with a view to next year and would sincerely welcome any feedback the community might care to offer.

Views sought on economic planning

Council has started work on developing an economic development strategy to guide the Shire’s economy and stimulate employment opportunities up to 2018.

Funding for the project has come from the state government’s Regional Growth Fund ($45,000) and Council’s own reserves ($15,000).

The idea is to identify opportunities to boost local business and attract new investment, leading to an implementation plan with clear recommendations for action.

Melbourne-based consultancy Geografia, engaged to steer the project, has created an online survey to gather input from community members and business operators.

To find the survey, go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LoddonEDS

Salute to excellence

Nominations close soon for the 2015 Victorian Honour Roll of Women, continuing a program which has paid tribute to 538 outstanding community contributors over the past 10 years.

It’s an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Victorian women who have excelled in a diverse range of fields, including research, health, the arts, community services, science, business, environment, education, volunteering and disability services.

Merna Curnow, of Laanecoorie, was named on last year’s list of inductees, honoured as a leader and agent for change in the farm, grains and natural resources sectors.

Nominations for the 2015 Honour Roll close on Friday week, 5 September, and successful nominees will be inducted during the International Women’s Day celebrations in March 2015.

Nomination forms can be found at www.dhs.vic.gov.au/womenshonourroll