MILDURA’S annual Australia Day event was held at Nowingi Place on Wednesday where the Mildura Rural City Council’s three Australia Day Award winners were announced as well as welcoming 40 residents to be our community’s newest Australian citizens.

Mildura Mayor Liam Wood said the Australia Day Awards presentations and Citizenship ceremony were among the highlights of each year’s Australia Day event.

“Celebrating achievements of local residents and welcoming our newest Australians is what Australia Day is all about,” Cr Wood said.

“It’s about celebrating what it means to be Australians, achievements we can be so proud of, and embracing our latest Australian citizens.

“It’s also about remembering how fortunate we are to enjoy our way of life.”

The Australia Day Awards highlight the selfless and amazing contributions local residents and groups make within our region and this year’s recipients are: Citizen of the Year: Carly Heintze Young Citizen of the Year: Lily Milsom and Community Event or Project of the Year: Mildura Eisteddfod Society Inc. for the 42nd Mildura Eisteddfod.

The Mayor presided over the Citizenship ceremony where 40 people from 14 different nations became Australians.

The new citizens hail from countries including India, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Bangladesh and Romania.

Councillor Wood said he was delighted to see Australia Day celebrations return to Nowingi Place this year following it’s cancellation in 2021 due to the pandemic.

“For the last two years we have gone through some tough times and we will continue to go through them but I think it’s time now that we continue put on events regardless of what they are,” he said.

“As long as we are COVID safe I think we need to give people the choice.

“If they want to stay home because they don’t feel safe that’s fine, but we will continue to stage events for council and the community.

“Today has been an awesome day.

“It really pulls on the heart strings when people so badly want to come to Australia.

“The new citizens we welcomed today you can’t wipe the smiles off their faces and it is the same for the people like myself presenting the citizenship certificates it brings a smile to your face for sure.”

Member for Mallee Anne Webster who was also was present at the Citizenship ceremony told those in attendance that Australia Day provides us with an opportunity to celebrate everything that makes us all Australian.

“We are all part of the story of Australia,” she said.

“Australia Day is a day for us to listen to each other, to respect each others stories and contributions and to celebrate.

“It is a day to celebrate the best of us all and give thanks for the selfless and courageous sacrifice of thousands of front line and emergency health workers including in our own area who have contributed so much over the past two years.

“Whatever our experience and background is, we are all Australians together.

“Today we also reflect on our history, which began and continues today with the world’s oldest living culture.

“To respect and learn about the history traditions and cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples.”

The Australia Day celebrations started at 8am and included a free Lions Club breakfast and live entertainment, which was enjoyed by the large crowd who attended.