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Three ambassadors looking forward to Australia Day in our region

Published: 14th January 2020

Three Australia Day Ambassadors have been assigned the Longreach Regional Council area this year, to visit the communities of Ilfracombe, Longreach, and Isisford.

The Australia Day Ambassador Program, coordinated by the National Australia Day Council, aims to capture the true spirit of Australia Day by sending high achieving Australians to communities across Australia to come together and support the celebration of this important national day.

Ambassadors to our region this year are Author and Illustrator Kate Knapp, visiting Longreach; Horticulturalist Ross McKinnon, visiting Isisford; and Rescue Worker Alistair McCooke, visiting Ilfracombe.

Longreach Regional Council Mayor, Cr Ed Warren, says he wants residents to stay and celebrate the outback lifestyle at one of the Australia Day events being held in the region rather than go away for the weekend.

“It’s tempting to go away on a long weekend like this, but I think Australia Day should be celebrated where we live” he explained. “There’s a lot of differing opinions about the significance of the day, but one thing I think we can all agree on is that we enjoy a lifestyle in our region that is second to none.”

“We should celebrate that lifestyle within our community with family and friends – if nothing else, Australia Day gives us an opportunity to do that.”

He says residents in the region have some great events to choose from on the day.

“Isisford have an Australia Day breakfast each year that brings the entire community together at Whitman’s Memorial Park. We’ll have games and activities plus a waterslide for the kids – it’s a great way to start the day.

“In Longreach we’ll be holding a ceremony in Edkins Park to recognise our Australia Day award winners, followed by a citizenship ceremony.

“In Ilfracombe we’ve got the T20 cricket match, cockies versus townies, at the rec centre as usual. It’s a great way to see out Australia Day, under lights at the Wayne Taylor Oval.”

Mayor Warren will officiate in Longreach, while the Deputy Mayor, Leonie Nunn, will officiate in Isisford and Ilfracombe, joined by Councillor Tony Martin. At each event the Australia Day Ambassadors will deliver an Australia Day Address and present the community’s Australia Day awards.

Cr Warren said the awards are about acknowledging outstanding achievements within each community.

“At each event we’ll be presenting our Australia Day Awards, recognising outstanding individuals and groups who have achieved great things for our community.

“These award winners are nominated by locals and I think it’s really fitting that they’re presented at these community events – where everyone can celebrate with them.”

In addition to the celebrations in Ilfracombe, Isisford, and Longreach – Yaraka will host a celebration this year with a community barbecue at the Yaraka Hotel.

The three Australia Day Ambassadors will also engage with relevant community groups while in-region.

Kate Knapp will deliver a book reading at the Longreach Library. Ross McKinnon will meet with local gardeners and green-thumbs, while Alistair McCooke will speak with local emergency services representatives.

Ross McKinnon is looking forward to swapping stories with local gardeners. 

“I have a real affinity with the bush and the trials of having a garden in an arid land” he said.

“My family are on the land and quite frankly are presently more concerned with the bush fire threat than even keeping a garden alive but a green oasis is so important.”

He said the ambassador program was a great opportunity to interact with communities all over the state.

“Australia Day” is an opportunity to reflect on our lives, to realise our good fortunes and to lend a helping hand in our local community. It’s also an opportunity for our local community to acknowledge those who have contributed to the fabric of our communities.”

For more information on official Australia Day events in the region contact Council on (07) 4658 4111.

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