Children urged to celebrate tradition, heritage and freedom

July 22, 2008

Bingara children were urged by the Gwydir Shire Mayor, Peter Caskey, to respect and guard the orange trees in Finch Street.

Speaking at the 49th Annual Orange Picking ceremony recently, Cr. Caskey said the day was a special day in Bingara’s cultural calendar.

"It is a day when we remember the men from Bingara and district who died in the service of their country in the first and second World Wars, Cr. Caskey said.

"Whilst this year is 90 years since the end of WWI, time does not diminish the horrific scale of lives lost due to war. A total of 100,000 Australian servicemen died in both world wars. With 60,000 lives lost in the first world war and 40,000 lost in the second world war.

"Bingara’s loss of 72 lives would have caused great sadness and left gaping holes in many families lives. We do well to honour them today.

"I commend the RSL and the Bingara community for their participation, and celebration of this unique tradition. Not only does it honour our fallen war dead, but it encourages our children to be respectful and self disciplined, as well as having pride in their town.

"These Orange trees before you are indeed special trees. They are a memorial candle which is never extinguished. They stand as sentinels ever watchful and ready to remind us of the great sacrifice made by Bingara’s young men. They also remind us of mankind’s most prized possession, that of freedom.

"Nothing on this earth is worth having if one is not free. People all over the world struggle and die on a daily basis in their quest for freedom.

The people of Burma and Zimbabwe, Cr. Caskey told the assembled children, are good examples of countries crying out to be free.

"Freedom is much like these orange trees," he said. "It needs to be nurtured and protected."

"So, children, be happy, enjoy the day and remember they are your orange trees, your tradition and heritage. Respect and guard them well," Cr. Caskey concluded.