January 28, 2015
What could be Aussie than eating a pie? Perhaps scoffing a lamington, or damper and golden syrup? How about reciting bush poetry, watching dog jumping, playing bush cricket or even “betting” on cane toad racing …
These were some of the activities that South Burnett residents enjoyed on Monday as Australia Day celebrations erupted in just about every town in the region.
There were breakfasts aplenty as well multiple chances to sing “Advance Australia Fair” in bursts of patriotic spirit.
With a State Election less than a week away, there were also plenty of opportunities to “spot the candidate” …
In Kingaroy, the traditional cane toad race was dubbed the “Nanango Cup” in honour of the State poll. Each toad was named after one of the candidates standing in the seat of Nanango.
There was “Fireworks Frecklington”, “Hopper Stomper”, “Labor Of Liz”, “Government Grant”, “Leap Of Love” and “Ford-ward March”.
Compere Cr Damien Tessmann reminded the crowd that “Fireworks Frecklington” had won the 2012 Cup, which was followed by Deb Frecklington going on to win the seat – so he suggested the result of the 2015 race could also be used as a prediction.
If so, the ALP’s Liz Hollens-Riley is about to record a shock victory in a traditionally conservative seat …
“Labor Of Liz” hopped away to a clear win over “Hopper Stomper”.
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Kingaroy’s celebrations were held in the Town Hall Forecourt and featured a range of whacky activities organised by Deputy Mayor Keith Campbell and the Taabinga Rotary Club.
A hot breakfast was available from 7:00am, followed by bush poetry, a flag-raising ceremony and a talk by guest speaker Fr Nigel Sequeira, who recently was granted his Permanent Resident status in Australia.
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The Nanango Historical Society’s Australia Day celebrations – which shifted to the Nanango Showgrounds two years ago because they had grown too big for Ringsfield House – continued to grow this year.
Society president Ros Gregor said 450 people had turned up for the breakfast which was available for a gold coin donation.
“It just keeps on growing,” Ros said. “We work closely with the Show Society on this event.”
Also popular were the tug-o-war and dog races, not to mention the morning tea of pancakes and watermelon.
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A good crowd turned out at Wondai Town Hall for the traditional Australia Day celebrations.
This year the program included a flag-raising ceremony and citizenship affirmations.
A free community breakfast was available from 7:00am.
The Wondai & District Band then took to the stage to entertain with popular songs.
Wondai’s Local Achiever, gallery curator Elaine Madill, was invited to cut the Australia Day cake with local councillor Ros Heit.
A bus was available later in the day to take Wondai residents out to Boondooma Homestead to continue their Australia Day celebrations (see below).
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At Yarraman, the town’s Australia Day celebrations began with a traditional brekkie of bacon, eggs and sausages which attracted about 100 citizens.
The Yarraman Progress Association hosted activities in the Community Hall. Toowoomba councillor John Gouldson had the honour of presenting the town’s Australia Day awards.
A party was also held at the swimming pool but was cut short by the threat of an approaching storm.
[Yarraman photos: Jim Bond]
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Proston celebrated Australia Day with a traditional get-together at the Scouts Den in Rodney Street on Monday afternoon, but this year it was slightly more special than usual.
Proston scout leaders Zig and Sharon Zoldak were honoured with a Local Achiever Award in this year’s South Burnett Australia Day Awards for their 14 years of service to the troop.
Zig and Sharon told guests that they loved their work with Proston’s youth, and were very proud of their new Scout Den which was erected two years ago.
The troop currently has 19 members.
Guests were treated to a traditional Australia Day afternoon tea of coffee or tea, damper, jam and golden syrup while Cr Kathy Duff acknowledged other award nominees and winners from the Proston-Hivesvile area.
They included Del Blanch, who won Volunteer Of The Year for her many years of service to the Proston Show Society, Proston Sports Ground Committee and Proston Lions Club; and Proston Lions Club president Raymond Dionysius and Hivesville Markets organiser Greg Craig, who were both nominated as outstanding local achievers in the area.
Towards the end of the get-together a hail storm erupted over the Scout Den, providing welcome relief from heat.
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Guests who travelled to Boondooma Homestead on Monday night enjoyed a taste of the real Australia.
The start of this year’s event was upset slightly by short, sharp thunderstorms which passed over western parts of the South Burnett in the late afternoon.
One caused a temporary power outage about 5:00pm, and another delayed a charter bus ferrying guests from Murgon and Wondai by almost an hour while South Burnett Regional Council workers cleared fallen trees from roads.
Homestead volunteers weren’t worried, though, saying the afternoon’s storms were nothing compared with the deluge that fell two years ago.
That night’s torrential rainfall had ushered in the 2013 floods and led to the Homestead and surrounding areas being isolated for almost a fortnight.
But as the evening progressed the rains returned and by around 9:00pm – after enjoying a relaxing Aussie dinner whipped up by Homestead volunteers, followed by some lively country music – many guests departed earlier than originally planned in case creek levels rose overnight.
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The Blackbutt Benarkin Lions Club hosted a fun day at the Blackbutt Showgrounds, including a cricket “bash” on the oval, live music and licensed bar.