By Peter Douglas

The Cockatoo community enjoyed a rousing Australia Day breakfast at the beautiful Alma Treloar Reserve on Friday 26 January.
With loyal community members heading out in droves to enjoy an early breakfast, a huge audience gathered to enjoy the official ceremonies.
Among those representing the community were members of the local Scouts, Emerald SES and the Cockatoo CFA, with the latter forced into a mid-ceremony exit to attend an emergency call-out.
Community leaders also joined representatives from Cardinia Shire Council, Gembrook MP Brad Battin and La Trobe MP Jason Wood, who led the Affirmation.
During his speech, Mr Battin expressed his passion for the day and his commitment to see Australia Day remain on 26 January.
“Australia Day is important for everyone to celebrate, whether you’re a First Australian or one of our newest Australians; whether you were born here or not,” Mr Battin said.
“However, we’re seeing a bit of a tradition at the moment where some people are saying we shouldn’t be able to celebrate Australia Day the way we want.
“(But) everyone, including the community here at Cockatoo, deserves that place to celebrate; we deserve to celebrate our volunteers … those who’ve been and built our country, whether it was the First Australians or the new Australians who have come through.”
Meanwhile, the first to gain widespread praise was Cockatoo Young Citizen of the Year winner, Blake Howden.
The young winner said volunteering for your community was a great way to give back.
“G’day … thanks for having me,” Blake said.
“I started off with the Cockatoo Conservation Group, which has taught me a lot about plants and the environment, and how you can give back to your community.
“We’re always looking for volunteers and I recommend you give it a go.”
Among Blake’s volunteer work also includes with the local fire-wise garden and the Cockatoo RSL.
Interestingly, Blake’s mother, Rachelle Mechielsen, was the next on stage, accepting her Cockatoo Citizen of the Year award.
Ms Mechielsen said the Cockatoo community had quickly become her home.
“I arrived here, ironically, on Australia Day six years ago, with a young family and a dodgy marriage,” she said.
“But what I found was a community full of opportunity and welcoming smiles. So my kids and I jumped straight in.”
Among Rachelle’s involvements have included with the local tennis club, the Country Market, the Roads Action Group, and with the Cockatoo Primary School and the Emerald Secondary College.
She even started a local fire-guard group.
“Cockatoo feels like a great big family where, sure, people grumble and bicker … but, in truth, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. That’s probably true for many of you here today,” she said.
“Cockatoo is now where my heart calls home.”
The Senior Citizen of the Year honour went to Marilyn ‘Maz’ Golden, who has been involved with upkeep of the community hall, the op shop and offering child-care services over many years.
The RSL Christmas Lunch, and it’s mantra that no-one should be alone at Christmas, was awarded the Community Event of the Year honour.
Steve Utting and Carol Thompson accepted the award on behalf of the RSL.
Musicians Ayden Gadsden and Meaghan Nelson provided entertainment, while ‘Pattsy’ revved up the crowd during a rendition of ‘Waltzing Matilda’.

Comments are closed.

More News

 Hundreds of bargain-hunters gave Mount Evelyn Fire Brigade a helping hand on Saturday 13 October. The CFA crew sold dozens ...

It is the little church steeped in rich history. All Saints Anglican Church in Selby will celebrate 80 years on Tuesday, 30 ...

The Olinda Precinct Plan is moving ahead with councillors approving the planning permit at the council meeting on 9 October. The ...

 Yarra Ranges Council was one of four outer eastern councils who wrote to premier Daniel Andrews to ask the ...

A 43-year-old woman who went missing from a house fire in Upwey has been found. Police report that the woman ...

Not particularly concerned, but unable to get rid of a worried feeling, Jacquie Smith from Monbulk drives to The Angliss ...

Latest Sport

Knox Gardens had a day out against Ferntree Gully, with the Falcons claiming the points chasing a low target in ...

In round two of Saturday pennant on 13 October, Monbulk 1 bounced back from the previous week to record an excellent win ...

Monbulk bowlers Andrew Bell and Eric Markham won the Eastern Region pairs championship. This event was played over three days ...