Australia Day In Harden-Murrumburrah

in General News by

Harden Murrumburrah Australia Day Ambassador Mark Warren with our twin town winners: Les Cameron Citizen of the Year,

Emma James Young Sportsperson,

June Spencer Senior Citizen

and Ken Pearsall recipient of the Special Community Award.

Absent, Narelle White Community Involvement in Sport Award.

 Australia Day in the twin towns dawned sunny and balmy to receive a larger crowd than usual to be part of the festivities. Many of them had travelled to be with family on what was a long weekend.
    They enjoyed breakfast in Newson Park cooked and served by the Masonic Lodge, Line dancers, M-H Rotary Club and Ross Pollock.
Entertainment was provided by Stewart Bruce, David Moorby and Zac
Summer and the sound by Ken McKay and Keith Ward.
Mark Warren, Rita O’Connor and Lorraine Brown.
   Rita O’Connor welcomed Mark Warren, our ambassador for the day. Mark, a dedicated MC and broadcaster was born in Young while his father was working at 2LF and
followed his father into the industry. Mark spent time at 2RG Griffith, 2KY Sydney, 2GB and Network 10 before moving on to the 9 Network calling Schoolboy football, eventually becoming his father’s understudy. They were the only father and son to call grand finals for the same network.
     Mark became Australia’s first national tv boxing host with SKY KO hosting numerous fights including Kostya Tszyu and Geoff Fenech.
   Mark thanked Rita for her introduction and went on to welcome everyone. He said that his father always considered this part of NSW very special. He spoke of how gold discovery and the railways had drawn people to the areas but also how the rich soils kept them to farm fertile lands. He referred to the golden miles they travelled when they turned off the Hume highway through the crops and Canola when they returned to visit
     Mark made special mention of the well-known sportsmen around the town including Eric Kuhn and Bernie McGrath who played football for the now famous Maher Cup teams. Bernie also made a name for himself in boxing . Mark also made mention that young people from the country need encouragement to realise that they can become whatever they want to be in this great land of ours.
Beth Kuhn, Mark Warren and Eric Kuhn.
Mark Warren and Bernie McGrath.
   He concluded by encouraging the crowd to be aware of the R U OK?
initiative which he strongly advocates for and is close to his heart.
   R U OK began in 1995, when much-loved Barry Larkin was far from ok.
   His suicide left family and friends in deep grief and with endless questions. In 2009, his son Gavin Larkin chose to champion just one question to honour his father and to try and protect other families from the pain his endured.
 “Are you ok?”
 While collaborating with Janina Nearn on a documentary to raise awareness, the team quickly realised the documentary alone wouldn’t be enough.
    To genuinely change behaviour Australia-wide, a national campaign was needed. And from this realisation, and with Gavin and Janina’s expertise and passion, R U OK? was born.
    Gavin remained a passionate champion of the fact a conversation could change a life, even as cancer ended his in 2011.
    His and Janina’s legacy is ensuring all Australians realise a little question can make a big difference to those people struggling with life.
Mark received many compliments for his rousing patriotic speech. He then assisted Rita with the award ceremony. Narelle White was the recipient of the Community Involvement in Sport Award. Narelle had been associated with the swimming club, including the Shine Shield. She has been involved with the soccer, cricket, netball, basketball, tennis and little athletics. Narelle was unable to be present to receive her award.
The Young Citizen of the Year went to Emma James who has played soccer since she was 6 years old continuing on to representative and state level. She has played Hawkettes League Tag team for 3 years and was awarded the George Tooke Shield Best & Fairest in 2017. She referees junior rugby league and runs lines for first grade Harden Hawks whilst working part-time for the NRL. She also promotes healthy living to primary school children.
June Spencer was the winner of the Senior Citizen Award. She was acknowledged for her volunteer work at St. Lawrence Galong since 1976. She has delivered meals on wheels for 20 years. She is a member of the hospital auxiliary, CanAssist, President of Harden Ladies Golf and is a member of the Harden line dancers. June received the award in front of members of her extended family who were obviously in the know.
Ross Pollock and Don Geddes.
Ken Pearsall was the recipient of the Special Community Award acknowledging his work with the Historical Society over 25 years. This has included leading the group, roster creation and duty, digitising 15,000 local photographs, setting up displays at the Ag Show and Truck and Tractor Show, Gold Trail etc. He also composes and prints historically oriented tourism leaflets. He has been a member of the SES for 36 years in Harden and is currently the treasurer. He is also involved with the men’s shed. The Citizen of the Year Award went to Les Cameron who was born and raised in Harden. He and wife Sue have 4 daughters and they now have 8 grandchildren, many of whom were present to see him accept his award. Les has always worked in the mechanical area and when he purchased his own garage he mentored many of the local youths in the area.
Alan Sargent and Linda Taylor.
He is currently working with MHS youth to build a fuel efficient vehicle that has low pollution levels. He has volunteered for many organisations including the volunteer fire brigade, ambulance officer, local controller for the SES, member of the Lion’s Club, a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, an officer for the cadets, a member of the Historical Society and the Men’s Shed. He is also a mentor with the community Justice Service and a youth group leader with the local church.
Pauline Randall, Iris Runciman and Joan Rawlins.
Rita wrapped up the morning by thanking all the sponsors including Hilltops Council, Harden Bendigo Community Bank, Sibelco, Jackson’s Hot Bake and Cafe, Harden IGA Supermarket, Twin Town Times and HM Express, P & D Store, Harden Motel, Terracotta Restaurant, West End Gift Shop, Cooper’s Choice Cut Butchery and Martin’s Orchard. The RFS was thanked for their participation. A special thank you must go to Lorraine Brown who has been involved in the Australia Day festivities for 25 years and to Rita O’Connor for her role as MC.