THE whirr of the shears, the flying woodchips and of course the smell of a good old fashioned Aussie barbecue dominated our local celebrations of Australia Day on Saturday.
A good crowd turned out in the heat to enjoy the very first Wool, Wood and Lavender Festival run by the newly formed Australia Day Committee, with a fantastic atmosphere being created.
The shearing and woodchops were of course a traditional feature of the day, and many hours were spent watching our skilled local competitors battle it out amongst themselves and the very best from away.
As the results on Page 14 reveal, there were many local names in the placings of the day, and the quality of the competition in both the shearing and the woodchops was first class.
Our two major industries were also represented in other ways on the day, with enthusiasts enjoying everything from a blade shearing demonstration to testing their skills in a tree falling simulator.
As a very special treat the crowd also welcomed world record holding shearer, Dwayne Black, who spoke briefly of his achievements before proving his skill and impressing everyone by shearing a sheep in under 50 seconds.
Moving onto some new attractions, the lavender industry was also showcased as an important part of the festival on Saturday, with lavender oil distillations proving popular, while information sessions were also well received.
This was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to entertainment, however, with market stalls, a fantastic historic engine and machinery display, and even a furniture making activity all adding interest.
Spectators were also able to enjoy a chainsaw carving demonstration from Bryan Carrick as he whipped up a stunning platypus piece, while down in the Youth Club there was pool and table tennis to get involved in.
This was of course popular with the children, who were also treated to some fantastic face painting, a jumping castle and even a little kite making as the afternoon progressed.
The new competitions of the day were embraced warmly, with a few vehicles kicking off the Ute Show, while over 30 great images were entered into the photography competition.
As winner of the contest, Carol Badewitz will now have her photo entered for judging in the Sydney Royal Easter Show, with photographers being reminded to keep their eye out for good rural shots for next year's competition.
While all of this was certainly enough to keep young and old alike entertained, however, the official proceedings of the day were a natural highlight for which all gathered together.
Here Graham Rumph of the Australia Day Committee offered a series of thankyous, and explained that although Bombala Apex had been forced to wind-up, the future of the Wool, Wood and Lavender Festival is very bright.
It was with much pleasure that Mr Rumph then introduced Australia Day Ambassador, Prashanth Shanmugan, with this visiting humanitarian leader happily taking the stage to deliver the Australia Day Address.
This address was a delight for all to hear, with Prashanth stating his pleasure in staying in the area, and speaking of his travels around regional Australia.
True to his role as an Australia Day Ambassador, Prashanth shared his views on what it means to be an Australian, who we are as one people, and where we are headed as a nation.
He expressed his belief that there is unity in diversity, and explained that being an Aussie is an attitude, and being committed to Australia and its future.
Prashanth's speech was an inspiring one that told of his own troubled beginnings in Sri Lanka, and clearly illustrated his belief that "Australia is the best address on Earth".
The Australia Day Address was of course followed by the presentation of the Citizen, Junior Citizen and Community Event of the Year (please see Page 2), which in turn was followed by the raising of the flag, and the singing of the National Anthem.
This was far from the end of the day, however, with all of the activities and displays still being well utilised right up until it was time for the highly anticipated Bombala Show Ball that evening.
The Australia Day Committee would like to offer its sincerest thanks to the major sponsors of the event on Saturday, including Jemalong Wool, Country Wide Wool, Wiltons, Walkers and Moreings.
Thanks are also expressed to the Rotary, Lions and Football Clubs for refreshments, the actual Australia Day Committee volunteers and other helpers, as well as the Show Ball organisers.