Aussies, one and all
Tuesday January 28th 2014
A good mixture of about 190 Port Douglas and Mossman residents crowded into the Port Douglas Community Hall on Sunday morning for the Douglas Shire Council's Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony.
Also in attendance were Interim DSC CEO and event MC Jeff Tate, Mayor Julia Leu and Douglas Shire Councillors, Senator Jan McLucas, and Member for Cook, David Kempton.
Brendan Leishman opened the ceremony by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land, which was enthusiastically received by the audience with fervent applause. Mr Leishman's behind-the-scenes efforts as catering organiser were also appreciated.
In her opening address, Mayor Leu welcomed attendees and reminding the audience that there was "something special" about this year's Australia Day celebrations - the first celebration under a Douglas Shire Council since 2008.
She spoke positively about expecting a bright future, safe in the knowledge that the Shire's destiny was back in the hands of its residents.
Senator Jan McLucas represented the Hon Scott Morrison MP and delivered his message welcoming the new Australian citizens.
Mayor Leu welcomed six new citizens, comprising the Denison and Wray families, who recited the Citizenship pledge and received their Citizenship certificates.
All attendees then stoord and recited the Australian Citizenship Affirmation. Mossman State High School, led by keyboard player and teacher Jenny Guyatt and student singer Stephanie Byrne, led the audience in song for the Australian National Anthem.
The MSHS band, with lead vocalist Stephanie Byrne and audience, then sang 'I am Australian', composed by Bruce Woodley and Dobe Newton.
The inaugural Douglas Civic Recognition Award was presented to Robert Hanan for his six tireless years spearheading the de-amalgamation effort. Mr Hanan named and acknowledged the work of his team, especially Michael Gabour.
There were two categories of Australia Day Awards, each with four nominees. Mayor Leu presented the Volunteer of the Year Award to Elizabeth O'Shea and the Citizen of the Year Awrd to Ron Schild; both were popular choices.
The Mossman State School band, with Stephanie Byrne leading the singing, then sang Peter Allen's song, "I Still Call Australia Home", with many audience members joining in.
A sumptuous morning tea then followed, with local dignatories and guests joining in congratulations for award winners.