HOW lucky we were! In a rare show of generosity, Bombala’s weather was extremely kind on Saturday, holding its rain back long enough for our Australia Day Celebrations to roll on chiefly unhindered.
True the clouds gathered and there were threatening rumbles from the sky, but it seemed that all welcomed the cooler temperatures at the Exhibition Ground, and there were extremely high spirits for our special Aussie day.
The backbone of the event was once again the excellent shearing and woodchop competitions, with fantastic local and visiting talent being showcased.
While numbers were not at their highest for either contest, competition was fierce and there was gripping entertainment for spectators as our local participants were cheered on. (Results page 13).
The action kept unfolding outside the competitive arena, with a thrilling BMX demonstration seeing visiting Sydney riders wow the crowd as they hit the ramps and took to the air with some incredible moves.
Meanwhile there was plenty of laughter to be heard from the kids as they made the most of the patting paddock, the all new crafts activities, a topsy turvy pushbike, and having their faces painted.
There were also some stalls to peruse, a historic engine display, a great variety of food from the CWA and a lavender oil demonstration to round out the celebrations.
It was the Mini Triathlon that actually kicked the day off, however, with the event being particularly popular with young people this year as the competitors hit the pool, the river track and the recreation ground. (Results page 16).
For those a little less active, a soothing massage was on offer, while the Monaro Rural Health Service was thrilled that its health checks were taken up so keenly – even by the blokes!
A peek at the photography competition was a must, with the Essence of Rural Australia theme providing some great images; the judges deciding that Kath Farrell captured the feel best in her winning shot of her daughter.
As a very welcome addition to the photography display, the Bristle Brush Arts Group also exhibited some of its works, and these wonderful pieces in varying mediums were greatly admired by the crowd.
At lunchtime there was a pause for the presentation of awards, with President of the Australia Day Celebration Committee, Colin Green greeting the crowd, while BJ Cruse gave the Welcome to Country.
Later Mayor Bob Stewart took the stage to present the Citizen of the Year Award to Jody Jones, the Young Citizen of the Year to Tim Yelds, and the Event of the Year to the Bundian Way Gallery opening.
Australia Day Ambassador, Brad Farmer also gave the Australia Day Address, with the author and philanthropist laughing as he spoke of taking part in the morning’s triathlon.
The basis of his address was that we all share the love of Australia, whether from the coast, the bush or the city, and Australia Day is about celebrating how lucky we are to live here.
He spoke of how at home he felt in Bombala, and how he had enjoyed the shearing and woodchopping, which he pointed out were fundamental parts of the essence of Australia.
“It feels like I am in the very heart of Australian culture here in Bombala,” he said.
“It’s inspiring to see that the whole community is engaged in this day.”
Mr Farmer also spoke of how Australia has come a long way in a short time, and that we all need to commit to continue making it a better place for our kids.
He presented Mayor Stewart with a copy of his coastal book for the Bombala Library, and in return was presented with a token of appreciation from the Council in the form of local products and memorabilia.
The official proceedings also saw the winners of the triathlon congratulated, while Mayor Stewart commended the Australia Day Celebration Committee on an excellent event.
The singing of the National Anthem and the flag raising concluded the formalities, with a relaxed afternoon of Australia Day celebrations then being shared amongst the enthusiastic gathering before the wet weather really took hold.
The Australia Day Celebration Committee would like to offer its sincere appreciation to all of those who helped make the event a success, encouraging more members to jump on board and help with the day next year.
For more photographs, stories and event results, please see page 4 and 12 through to 16.