Australia Day to recognise local legends

January 25, 2020

Australia Day is being celebrated across the region this coming weekend with locals being recognised for their community contribution on Sunday 26th January 2020. The community is welcome to join in on the celebrations with two events happening in the Shire, one in Bingara and one in Warialda.

In Bingara, locals are welcome to attend the breakfast at the Roxy Theatre from 7:30am, generously provided by Bingara Lions Club followed by the presentation of the Australia Day awards at 9am.

In Warialda, everyone is welcome to the Warialda Showground to attend the breakfast generously provided by Warialda Rotary from 7:30am, with the Australia Day Awards presentation at 9am followed by morning tea, catered by Warialda CWA.

The Awards provide all Australians with the opportunity to recognise someone who makes them proud in the community. In both Bingara and Warialda, the awards are categorized in the following: Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Community Event of the Year.

In Bingara, they will also be recognising an Environmental Citizen of the Year whilst in Warialda, they will also be awarding Senior Citizen of the Year.

The guest speaker for the Bingara Australia Day ceremony is Peter Ford, a former farm boy from Queensland with a passion in bionics and robotics after being inspired by the potential to help free one of the world’s great minds, Stephen Hawking. Peter Ford is an Australian CEO of Control Bionics as well as an avid bionics software developer inventing NeuroSwitch: a device that restores a voice to people silenced by neurone damage, spinal cord injuries and other immobilising conditions including Locked in Syndrome. He met Stephen Hawking twice, who beta-trialed his device and is now working with Anybots, a Silicon Valley robotic company to project human presence into other areas, including space and onto the surface of Mars. Mr Ford has also been a CNN anchor, an avid journalist including chasing bin Laden and has written a novel.

Whilst in Warialda, the guest speaker for 2020 is Dr Yvonne McMaster OAM who is the instigator behind Push for Palliative. Dr Yvonne McMaster is one of Australia’s first palliative care specialists and didn’t slow down once she retired. Learning that funding for palliative care had been cut, Yvonne became one of the country’s most formidable health advocates.

Yvonne started Push for Palliative to advocate for better access to palliative care across Australia, especially in rural and regional New South Wales. The recent $100 million enhancement for palliative care in NSW in 2017 and $42 million in 2019 owes much to her fulltime commitment to the cause. NSW Australia Day Council Chairman, Andrew Parker says, the Ambassador Program is truly remarkable and unique, and this year’s group is determined to gather with communities.

“Australia Day is a day to reflect on what’s great about our country and our people – particularly our strong sense of community in times of crisis,” Mr Parker said. “Now in its 29th year, the NSW Ambassador Program aims to spread the message of national pride and inclusion, whether it’s in our cities, regions or remote country towns. I would like to thank our 2020 Ambassadors for volunteering their time and sharing their stories,” he said.

Nominees for Bingara Australia Day Awards include the following
Citizen of the Year:
• Wendy Reading
• Richard Pankhurst
• Peter O’Brien
• Paul Moulton
• Ian Grieve
• Elizabeth Kakoschke
• Darryl Burling
Young Citizen of the Year:
• Lachlan Starr
Event of the Year:
• Pulse of the Earth Festival
• Bingara Show Society
Environmental Champion:
• Gwydir Group CWA of NSW
• Elizabeth Kakoschke
• Bingara Anglers Club