“We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We’ll share a dream and sing with one voice
I am, you are, we are Australian.”

AUSTRALIAN’S across the region proudly displayed their patriotism as they celebrated Australia Day on Friday, January 26.

Communities gathered together in multiple towns to celebrate the day.



MANY locals stepped out in the finest Aussie-themed attire last Friday to attend the 2024 Moe Australia Day celebrations held at Old Gippstown.

The Moe Lion’s Club and the team at Old Gippstown Heritage Park worked hard to organise the event. Cadets from TS Latrobe stood in line ready to raise the flag as the national anthem sang.

Friends: Judith van Beek and Suzanne Pinchen embraced the Australian flag colours. Photograph: Zaida Glibanovic

Everyone waited in anticipation to honour the Moe Senior and Young Citizen of the Year.

Sixteen-year-old Lowanna College student Noah Parkinson was recognised for his unwavering commitment to the community.

Described as an ‘enthusiastic volunteer’ and student leader Noah was awarded the Lions Club of Moe, Moe Young Citizen of the Year award.

A natural helper, Noah volunteers much of his time as a sustainability leader and you will often see him helping out the community at events like Clean Up Australia Day.

Moe’s Senior Citizen of the year went to a very special woman who goes ‘above and beyond’ for her community.

Valerie Hemmings said she was overwhelmed when she received her award but this writer highly doubts that anyone was surprised.

Ms Hemmings is well known for her love for community – organising the Moe Carols by Candlelight, her passion has taken the event from strength to strength.

Always eager to lend a helping hand it is no wonder that Ms Hemmings would be named Moe’s Citizen of the Year.

Pride: Councillor Sharon Gibson pictured with Moe Lions Senior Citizen Award winner Valerie Hemmings, sponsor Rosanna Colli, Moe Young Citizen of the Year awardee Noah Parkinson and Cr Brad Law. Photograph: Zaida Glibanovic

The Lions Club of Moe awards were sponsored by Colli’s Hair Design, owner Rosanna Colli presented the awards.

And as the rain held off, attendees were treated with classic hits from the 350’s Blues Band.



LOCALS were seen coming and going in Traralgon throughout the morning of Australia Day.

Kay Street was filled with people as they celebrated the day, and they were popularly catered by the Traralgon Lions Club.

The flags were raised to the tune of the Advance Australia Fair, provided by the City of Traralgon Band as the crowd began to circle around.

Trying to stay warm, it proved difficult for locals to dress up predominantly in Australian colours, but flags were omnipresent throughout the morning, handed out to all in attendance, while kids kept warm with a handball competition.

The Traralgon Walking group prepared the Heart Walk for the Heart Foundation, easily noticeable in their red attire.

Gather: The Traralgon Walking group gets ready for their Heart Foundation walk. Photograph: Tom Hayes

After recently celebrating 15 years of Traralgon Walking, the group was eager to get their steps in.

Celebrations continued in Traralgon later in the day, with the Latrobe City Council Australia Day Awards Ceremony.

Individuals and groups were up for nominations in a number of categories including Citizen of the Year, Senior of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Community Event of the Year, Community Service of the Year, and the Latrobe City Recognition Awards.



THE Italian Australian Club held Morwell”s Australia Day events.

It was a blast with a car show, market, musicians, and kids’ entertainment.

Vroom: The car show at Morwell’s Australia Day event was a popular attraction. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

About 350 people attended the events by 1pm, with plenty of time left in the day.

The car show was a hoot with cars of all different styles on display.

Even the market flourished with excitement. Stalls included plants, clothes, jewelery, drink bottles, snacks, Italian sweets, and wooden signs.

While people perused, they enjoyed the music provided by Colin and Jenny Balbo with JEC Music. The set they played was traditional and popular songs from Australian, Italian and Italian-Australian backgrounds.

When the children weren’t playing games or watching programs set up for the young ones, they danced along to songs such as ‘The Chicken Dance’.

While there was no flag raising, people were happy to be able to take cover from the weather that drenched them in the morning.



TRACING through Churchill on Australia Day, you may have noticed the live music coming from Churchill Place on Phillip Parade – that was the sound of Churchill’s celebration towards Australia Day.

Honour: Churchill First Scouts Group raising the flags on Australia Day. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

Roughly 150 people were in attendance, including Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron.

Mr Cameron said that he couldn’t be happier that he was there to celebrate it with them.

Crowd: Churchill was a hive of energy on Australia Day. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

“Today is important to me, and I would like to congratulate those who are being awarded today,” Mr Cameron said.

“Australia Day means different things to other people, but for me, it is important.”

Following Mr Cameron, the Churchill Scout Group stepped in to raise the flags in honour of the day.

The Lion’s Club president Reg Grisotto presented the Australia Day awards.

Local stars: Churchill’s 2024 Australia Day Award winners with Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron.
Photograph: Katrina Brandon

Those awarded include Graham (Grub) Harvey (Churchill Citizen of the Year), William Bonnici (Churchill Young Citizen of the Year) and Isla Godfrey (Churchill PS), Thane Allen (Churchill North PS), Hudson Amos (Hazelwood North PS) and Addison Russell (Lumen Christi PS) who were awarded with school awards.

“We have a very talented group here in Churchill and a hard-working group,” Mr Grisotto said.



YINNAR’S celebration of Australia Day was short but sweet.

Sixty people were in attendance, including Yinnar Primary School students, a local musician, Yinnar Scouts and Latrobe City Mayor, Darren Howe.

“It is a pleasure to be here today. Today is a day to reflect on our national journey,” the Mayor said.

“Today also shows the connection within our community and reflects our resilience through fires and floods. It really makes me appreciate this place that we call home.”

Well done: Australian Defence Force army veteran Luke Townsend, Latrobe City Mayor Darren Howe, Yinnar Senior Citizen of the Year Jan Smith, Yinnar Community Society member Kevin Young and previous recipient Sandy Hegarty. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

Moving the ceremony on quickly, the Yinnar Scouts began raising the flags, and school captains from Yinnar Primary School started by sharing their speech on ‘What is Australia Day?’

Then Cr Howe and Yinnar Community Society member Kevin Young presented the Yinnar Citizen of the Year to Jan Smith, who is well known within the Yinnar community as the owner of the General Store.



AUSTRALIA Day was unique in Boolarra for many reasons.

Friday marked the unveiling of the new centenary sign and the placement of the new time capsule, with the 1984 time capsule going back into the ground.

Tick tock: The placing of the new and old time capsules, which are to be opened in years to come. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

The updated centennial sign had some vertical timbers added to the sign as a feature.

For those who enjoy a bit of history, the vertical timbers were once part of one of the original railway bridges between Boolarra and Yinnar.

Mike Gleeson had initially removed these timbers as part of a demolition contract in the 1970s. He later sold these timbers to Dennis Cook, where they sat in a paddock just waiting for the perfect use for them.

Looking closely, you can still see some of the original Roman Numerals inscribed into some timbers.

Cheer: Australia Day award recipients for Boolarra, with Councillor Dan Clancey. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

Up to 40 people, including Latrobe City Councillor, Dan Clancey, attended the celebration.

Those there braved the rain under the trees in the park during their presentation and trivia.



TOONGABBIE celebrated Australia day with gusto.

The ceremony started at 9am with the raising of the flags by the Glengarry Cubs/Scouts, which have done this task for many years.

Immediately after the flag raising, the Australian National Anthem was sung, led by Latrobe Choir, with a past Toongabbie Citizen of the Year, Mark Woods, on the organ.

Full stomachs: The Lions Club keeping everyone well-fed on Australia Day morning in Toongabbie. Photograph supplied

Councillor Kellie O’Callaghan delivered her address and announced that Susan and Phillip O’Malley were the Toongabbie Citizens of the Year.

Cr O’Callaghan spoke at some length on the many years of community service both Susan and Phillip have contributed to the community.

The formalities continued with the Latrobe Choir presenting a couple of items and ending by reciting the Australia Day affirmation.

Address: Latrobe City Councillor, Kellie O’Callaghan delivers her Australia Day speech to the town of Toongabbie. Photograph supplied



STICKING with tradition, Trafalgar held its Australia Day breakfast in the town’s public hall.

Attendees gathered for a number of presentations, and heard from guest speakers, including Baw Baw Shire Councillor and Trafalgar local Darren Wallace.

Well-known Trafalgar identity David ‘Wombat’ Lyons again MC’d the event, in keeping with his standing as being an ‘everywhere man’.

Lyons is heavily involved in a number of Trafalgar organisations, such as Scouts, Trafalgar High School, and the Trafalgar Public Hall committee.

This came in handy on Australia Day, as he was able to borrow the high school’s lectern to address the 80 or so gathered last Friday morning.

Turnout: Trafalgar’s Australia Day breakfast in the public hall was well-attended. Photographs: Liam Durkin

Knowing most had come for the barbecue cooked by Trafalgar Lions Club, the MC kept the show moving.

After a rousing rendition of Advance Australia Fair by Kirrily Howden, Trafalgar’s Citizens of the Year were formally presented.

Ms Howden was extremely proud, as her daughter Vanessa Hornby was named the Youth Citizen of the Year.

Ms Hornby was recognised for her work with First Trafalgar Scout Group.

The youngster has come up through the scouting ranks, and still finds time to commute back from studying graphic design in Melbourne to be involved with the group.

Ms Hornby said she was proud to receive the award.

“I feel really honoured, I’m really proud to be someone who the youth of Trafalgar can look up to,” she said.

“I work with all the section’s at Trafalgar, we basically mentor young people into being the best version of themselves, being role models in the community, helping other people … we have some fun along the way.

“My mum is our group leader, it’s pretty amazing being able to work with my entire family, my two younger siblings (Xander and Evie) are also in Scouts.”

The 19-year-old first joined Scouts as a youth member in 2018, and is now a Scout Leader, hoping to attain her Wood Badge – the highest badge given to a leader in Scouts.

“I will be graduating next year, that will be great, and I hope to be a leader until I’m very very old and grey, just like the people who helped me when I was a youth member,” she said.

Ms Hornby might one day be recognised as Trafalgar’s Citizen of the Year, if she continues to serve the community for as long as Patricia Tatterson has.

‘Pat’ Tatterson was awarded the town’s Citizen of the Year, for her amazing contribution across 60 years to the district.

Ms Tatterson was born in Trafalgar, and has been involved in just about every club and organisation since.

These days, her main focuses are with Trafalgar Lions Club, Trafalgar Bowls Club and mentoring youth through local schools.

Following a 55-year career in nursing, Ms Tatterson believed staying involved was important in older life.

“You have to keep yourself active, you met so many people, it’s a very friendly town,” she said of Trafalgar.

When asked what she loved about volunteering, Ms Tatterson said “helping people, making them happy, (and) having a good laugh.”

A life member of the Trafalgar Fire Brigade, Ms Tatterson counted being named Trafalgar Citizen of the Year as an honour.

Leaders: Trafalgar’s Citizens of the Year, Vanessa Hornby (youth) and Patricia Tatterson. Photograph: Liam Durkin

Fittingly, presentations for Citizen of the Year were made by Trafalgar resident Mick Bourke OAM, who himself has dedicated a lifetime of service to various community organisations in town.

Some more light-hearted presentations were also made by Kathy Saleta, who conducted an audience-engagement activity, and Rob Carlesso from the Trafalgar Holden Museum.

Mr Carlesso held a Holden-related quiz, with tickets to the museum’s Australia Day event later in the day up for grabs.

The event at the Holden Museum proved to be a hit, with traffic along Waterloo Road banked up toward the recreation reserve.

Trafalgar Scouts also spoke about the new Container Deposit Scheme, and their work helping the community recycle their cans and bottles.

All this saw the clock tick closer and closer to bacon and eggs, which was promptly enjoyed by all.