Twelve citizens sworn in at Emerald ceremony
TWELVE new Australians were affirmed and one Emerald man was named citizen of the year on an overcast day in Emerald on Sunday morning.
Clouds, councillors, and citizens gathered at the McIndoe Park Function Centre for a wet, but cheerful citizenship and Australia Day awards ceremony.
Once attendees had their fill of the barbecue breakfast, Mayor Kerry Hayes opened the proceedings. He thanked councillor Paul Bell, who recently announced he would not stand in the council elections this March, for his service, and addressed the new citizens.
“Australia’s strength lies in its people,” he said.
“By becoming an Australian citizen, you are showing that you want to be a part of Australia’s future.”
He and Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar congratulated the inductees.
During the Australia Day Award presentations that followed, cultural award winner Andrew Doyle made a poignant speech in support of indigenous people. He said he was hesitant to come to the ceremony because January 26 still caused “a lot of hurt and pain”.
“But I’m proud I’ve come,” he said. “It's the best platform to get the conversation started about changing the name.”
Mr Doyle was recognised for forming and running the Nogoa Natives Rugby League Club with his wife and for working with schools and organisations on cultural education.
Selwyn Nutley, who has lived in Emerald since 1968 and last year raised $15,000 for CQ Pet Rescue, was honoured as citizen of the year.
He said the two best things he has ever done were marrying his wife Ethel and volunteering for the pet rescue organisation.
Operation Smile founder and guest speaker Richard Lewandowski spoke about the growth and cohesion of the Central Highlands.
“Whenever things are tough in the country, people just band together,” he said.
“At the end of the day, we have each other.”
The breakfast was provided by the Emerald Lions Club and Emerald Scouts.
Sophie Phillis fill the room with live music, and Gypsi Brunker led the national anthem.
Cake was shared at the ceremony’s end.