NATIONAL pride was evident at Leeton shire Australia Day celebrations on Saturday.
Barbecue breakfasts at Yanco, Murrami and Leeton kicked off the day early in the morning before an official ceremony got under way at Mountford Park in Leeton.
This year’s ceremony included the announcement of Leeton shire’s Australia Day awards, with Carl King named citizen of the year and Joeleen Nikoro young citizen of the year.
The lifelong citizen award was presented to Norm Houghton, while Bernie Walsh was recognised for his efforts during last year’s floods when he sacrificed his farming land to ensure Yanco and Leeton were not inundated with further flooding.
Two naturalisation ceremonies were also held as part of official duties on the morning, as well as the Leeton Family and Local History Society launching its centenary book, Leeton: Thanks for the Memories.
Leeton Shire Council mayor Paul Maytom said Australia Day was a time for reflection.
“To me, Australia Day is an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate our society, which is enriched by the diverse cultures, languages and customs of immigrants and refugees who have come here from all parts of the globe,” he said.
“This year, being the centenary year of Leeton shire, it is important to remember our history and forefathers and the significant contributions that have been made by many people over the years in developing Leeton shire as the vibrant area it is today.”
Australia Day ambassador for Leeton this year was artist and aerospace engineer Yianni Johns.
A pool party throughout the afternoon ensured residents were kept cool, while the unveiling of a new pioneer tree at Graham Park and a bush dance on Saturday evening combined Australia Day and Centenary of Leeton celebrations.