News: Aussie spirit shines through

​Triathlon swimmers made a splash on Australia Day as residents woke up to another hot day in January

Posted: Thursday, 31 January 2019

Adults swam 200m, then cyclists and runners trekked 2km around the block with 21 participants competing this year. There was one team of youngsters who tackled the route with a 100m swim, and 1km bike ride and 1km run.

The Shamrockers came first in the team event followed by the Tennant Creek Hospital and Cheeky Dogs. Derek Blacker took out the solo title (men) with John Mathews hot on his heels. The team, Your Fathers, won the kid’s team (mixed).

Locals then headed up to Battery Hill for an outback breakfast and official proceedings with the flag raising, playing of the National Anthem and Council Mayor Steve Edgington conducting the Citizenship Ceremony and Local Government Australia Day Awards.

Ross Williams opened the event with a Welcome to Country, followed by Australia Day addresses from Mayor Steve Edgington and 2019 NT Local Hero nominee Georgina Bracken. Barkly MLA Gerry McCarthy read the Australia Day message from the Federal Minister for Immigration David Coleman.

With Deputy Mayor Kris Civitarese doing an exceptional job as the Master of Ceremonies, awards certificates of nominees and winners were presented by the Mayor.

Girl Guide Tara White presented a coin gift to our newest Aussie citizen Mollen Chivhoko to mark 70 years since Australian citizenship was introduced to law, creating for the first time a legal status of being uniquely Australian. During that time Australia has welcomed more than five million people to its shores.

Highlight of the morning was the cutting of the Australia Day cake by Citizen of the Year Hal Ruger. Created by Jodie Parsons, her masterpiece was the talk of the town for the rest of the day.

Refuelled and ready for some fun, locals then headed out to Lake Mary Ann for an afternoon of novelty Aussie races, including thong throwing, egg catching, leaky bucket race, cold pie eating contest, tug of war and canoe race and free sausage sizzle, manned by Cr Hal Ruger.

Gerry McCarthy, MLA, Member for Barkly, was the MC extraordinaire, keeping the tight-knit crowd entertained and hosting the games along with Cr Sid Vashist.

Hosted by Barkly Regional Council, Mayor Steve Edgington congratulated all the Australia Day Award winners and nominees for their inspiring and outstanding contributions to the community.

“The Australia Day Awards, Welcome to Country and Citizenship ceremony reflect the diverse, multicultural society and landscape of the Barkly and are an integral part of the celebrations. It is important to honour those who have done so much in the past and to welcome newcomers.

“The triathlon and the morning breakfast and official ceremonies, in particular, are becoming increasingly popular, highlighting the strong need to recognise the tireless work of community members.

“It’s also a fun day highlighting a spirit of camaraderie that is unique to here."

There were many different activities on offer, including the triathlon starting at the Tennant Creek swimming pool and afternoon games out at Lake Mary Ann. 

This year Australia Day Coordinator Ktima Heathcote introduced a canoe race with a difference. 

"Participants were not allowed to use oars or paddles, with one crew using their hands and Councillor Jeffrey McLaughlin using a guitar on his team," said the Mayor. "The community has now asked if it can become a regular fixture, along with the leaky bucket race, tug of war and other games.

“I would also like to extend my warmest appreciation to all those volunteers, local businesses and sponsors who contributed either time or money to make Australia Day such a special event in our community.

“Events like Australia Day are a success because the community becomes part of it and if you wish to be involved in Council’s Australia Day for 2020 please let us know."