Australia Day Address 2014 by Rod Halpin

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Feb 052014

Mayor Simon Richardson, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I would also like to acknowledge the original Custodians of this land.

Thank you to the Council’s Australia Day committee who has given me the opportunity to speak to you today. I have been asked to give a short address about “What Australia Day means to me”. In a word it would be the “Volunteers.

My story begins as a born and bred Byron Shire local. I was born at Bangalow, lived at Myocum & Tyagarah (the site of the Blues Festival was my grandfather’s property where I spent 20 years of my life) and Brunswick Heads. Suffolk Park is now my local community.

… but firstly,

Australia Day is the official national day of Australia. It is celebrated annually on the 26 January and marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove. The day has become an annual reminder of how fortunate we are to live in this multi-cultural, tolerant and open society.

It was not until 1935 that all Australian states and territories had adopted use of the term “Australia Day” and not until 1994 that the date was marked by an official public holiday. (That’s only 20 years ago). Australia Day is an opportunity to come together, to celebrate what it means to be an Australian.

In present-day Australia, the holiday is marked by the presentation of Australian of the Year Awards, announcement of the Australia Day Honor’s list and addresses from the Governor-General and Prime Minister. It has become the biggest annual CIVIC event in Australia.

The day is celebrated in large and small communities and cities around the nation with community festivals, concerts, citizenship ceremonies and official award presentations.

In 2004 I was honored to be recognized at these Australia Day awards as Byron Shire Citizen of the Year for dedicating 22 voluntary years service to the Byron Bay Rural Fire Brigade and Apex.

I would like to acknowledge and congratulate those of you who are about to receive an award today. Congratulations are also extended to our new citizens.

Australia Day would not be what it is today without the thousands and thousands of volunteers who give up their time to help on this day. As a local volunteer, I have spent the past fourteen years with the Byron Bay Rural Fire Brigade hosting Australia Day for our community of Suffolk Park.

I believe, it is the volunteers of this nation who have helped shape this day into the great event it has become across the country.

Australia Day means different things to different people. To me it means recognising a community that works together for a common cause – my focus is the community of Suffolk Park.

I am now going to give acknowledgement of how Suffolk Park has grown as a community over the years to a point of now having its own identity. It is also fitting to give praise to its Australia Day celebrations.

The township was named after George Suffolk who dedicated a large parcel of land to the Byron Shire Council for recreational community use in 1922, hence, the name Suffolk Park. A plaque in recognition of George Suffolk has been placed in the grounds of the Suffolk Park Caravan Park. (Actually, I placed the large rock in the park on which this plaque is attached).

The late Mrs Ailsa Gaggin worked tirelessly as a volunteer for the Suffolk Park community over many years. She always expressed her wish to see the ‘coming together’ of the community. ‘Gaggin Park’ is named after Ailsa and Ron Gaggin. Ron (also a volunteer) was the 2nd Captain of the Brigade. Our Australia Day celebrations have always been held in Gaggin Park.

On Australia Day in 2001, the Centenary of Federation, Suffolk Park had its very own flag pole erected at the local fire station with a flag raising ceremony by the Byron Bay Scouts and a time capsule similar to the one placed at the Council Chambers at Mullumbimby. A number of photos were taken from various locations on the day, the visitor’s book from the grand opening of the Suffolk Park Hall, memorabilia from the Brigade & local pre-school and some community items were placed into the time capsule. This capsule has been placed in the Brigade station in Alcorn Street and will be opened in 2051.

The Suffolk Park Progress Association that was formed in 1959 has played a major role in the development of the township by representing residents and providing advice to council regarding the needs of the community and its environment.

Maureen Fernandez was a member of the progress association from 1991 to 2003 and was involved in several milestones as a volunteer in the development of Suffolk Park community. She was also the local committee representative for the Council’s Australia Day Project that started Australia Day celebrations in Suffolk Park.

As Captain of the Rural Fire Brigade, I was approached by Maureen in the year 2000 to assist the progress association in keeping Australia Day running in Suffolk Park.

Today, this voluntary Brigade still hosts in conjunction with Byron Shire Council our Family Fun Day in Gaggin Park. You are all invited to in join in our 2014 Australia Day celebrations that the whole family can enjoy and the good thing is … it’s free. These celebrations have grown into a major event for Suffolk Park.

This event would not have been possible without donations from our local businesses and some from Byron Bay who support the cause by donating prizes for raffles, sausages and bread for the BBQ and drinks. Their generously is very much appreciated.

Gregg Miller, Captain of the Byron Bay Fire Brigade, has dedicated so much energy and committment to organising the very successful Family Fun Day over the past 4 years, supported by the members of the Brigade. Gregg is also the Suffolk Park representative on the present-day Council Australia Day Committee.

In closing, I again would like to acknowledge the many volunteers, businesses and community minded people who have made these Australia Day celebrations to in what it is today.

I wish you all a happy Australia Day.

Rodney Halpin – Mobile: 0428621189

Australia Day 2014 – Ocean Shores

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Jan 162014




Australia Day



Competitions Start at 4pm



Concert Starts at 6pm


Australia Day Concert

Location: School Hall, Ocean Shores Public School

Program from 6.00pm: Compere/MC ‐ Stan Ceglinski

  • 6.00pm: Welcome to Country
  • 6.15pm: Kim Bannfy – Singer, songwriter, guitar
  • 6.45pm: Ivan Perger – Songwriter, guitar, vocals, solo or duo
  • 7.15pm: Harry Baird – Guitarist, vocals, solo
  • 8.00pm: John Duffy Band
    • John Duffy – guitar, banjo, vocals
    • Donny Mc Cormack ‐ Drums
    • Jerry D’Mungo ‐ lap steel slide guitar
  • 8.30pm: Big Stan & the Music Factory
    • Stan Ceglinski ‐ ukelele, biscuit tin, guitar, slide guitar, vocals
    • Dave Kolb ‐ Blues Harp
    • Gary Thornton ‐ Drums & lagerphone Anando Bharti ‐ Bass
    • Richard Baker ‐ lead & guitar
    • Grant Robertson ‐ Keyboards

Prizes for Audience: Best Dressed, Best Dancing, Having Most Fun!

*Ocean Shores was founded in 1969.
For enquiries please contact the Ocean Shores Community Association (OSCA) at 0431 477 445.

Download PDF Australia Day Ocean Shores Flyer

byron shire councilOcean Shores Community AssociationOcean Shores Public Schoollions internationalMarine Rescue NSW

Australia Day Celebrations 2013

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Feb 142013

At The Ocean Shores Primary School – Sunday February 3rd 2013 from 4pm

Australia Day

Our postponed Australia Event was at the Ocean Shores School yesterday.  We had a great afternoon which was enjoyed by all.  Numbers were down from previous years, but participants still had to fight hard for their titles.

Brother and sister James and Sophie Ward took out the under 5’s and girl’s mullet throw. 

Sophie Ward

Sophie Ward

The boy’s winner was Aaron Mizzi. Women’s champion is Mary Ashton.

Women’s champion is Mary Ashton

Women’s champion is Mary Ashton

The men’s winner Jason Lasky broke last year’s record throw by 30 cm to make the new record 40.30 metres.

Nick Ward, 2012 winner and 2013 winner Jason Lasky

Nick Ward, 2012 winner and 2013 winner Jason Lasky

The Inaugural Australia Day Marbles competition winner is Lee Dowling.

A puppet show and puppet making classes were popular with all the pre schoolers.

Stan Ceglinsky and his band

Stan Ceglinsky and his band

Stan Ceglinsky and his band entertained with their wonderful brand of bush and folk music.

A big thank you to all who contributed to the day.

Ocean Shores Australia Day World Mullet Throwing Championship Goes International

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Jan 302012

Visitor to Ocean Shores, Natasha Nozdrina of Ivanavo, Russia took out the 2012 Australia Day World Mullet Throwing Championship in the Women’s section with a 15m 70cm throw against a strong field. Natasha who is delighted with her win is hoping to return to defend her title next year. Natasha and her daughter Marsha flew back to Russia on Saturday, with the trophy in her luggage.


Nick Ward throwing winning mullet

Natasha and members of her sister’s Anastasia’s family took out three sections in the popular contest. Proud parents Nick and Anastasia Ward of Ocean Shores applauded their daughter Sophia who took out the Under 10 Girls’ with a throw of the junior size 750 gram mullet of 8 m 90 cms.
Then Nick threw the senior 1000 gram wood and rubber “mullet” a record 40 metres to win the Men’s section for the second time.


Nick Natasha and Sophie

The other winners were Under 10 Boys George Russo (12 m), Girls 10-15 years Emily Smith (13.90cm) Boys 10-15 years Omri Ben Harush (21m 70cm). A special prize of the Boxing Kangaroo was awarded in a new category of the under 5’s to Yonatan Lev, who threw 6m 20 cms.
The Ocean Shores Australia Day World Mullet Throwing Championship has been run each year since 2007 when the “mullets” were made of cotton fabric filled with sand. These didn’t last very long! Improved models of rubber and wood were made by Stan Petroff and have been used ever since.

sophie ward

Sophie Ward

Local identity Stan Ciblinsky states it is appropriate for the town to honour the humble mullet. Being a coastal town with many creeks and lakes closely connected to the ocean, mullet can be seen leaping out of the water, especially when the paperbarks are in flower. Stan has seen large mullet leap from the water in a long run of four or five leaps. No-one seems to know the reason for this behaviour. Stan thinks it is sheer exurberance on the part of this marvellous fish. It provides very good eating as well, and is high in omega 3 and essential oils.

The extreme weather with rain and flooding forced the closure of most of the Australia Day functions in the Shire. However, the Mullet Throwing Championship and the Ocean Shores Australia Day celebrations were able to go ahead thanks to the Ocean Shores Primary School whose principal Chris Hauritz made the school hall and undercover open space available. The weather held and the mullet throwing took place in the school grounds, under the supervision of officers of the Brunswick Heads Marine Rescue.

Winner of the Mullet Throwing Under-5s, Yonatan Lev, 4, from Ocean Shores. PHOTO: ALLISON ROGERS

Yonatan Lev, 4, from Ocean Shores.

A concert performed by Slim Pickens, Stan Ciblinski, the Ocean Shores Peace Choir and an Aussie singalong led by David Hall provided wonderful entrainment throughout the evening. A sausage sizzle on the barbie was cooked by members of the Mullumbimby/Brunswick Lions Club. The children took part in facepainting and artwork on the map of Australia. This was provided compliments of the new arts organisation Arts East Inc. and Byron Council.

Ocean Shores’ resident, SES chief and the Byron Shire Volunteer of the Year Noel Macalvinny was applauded by the crowd and presented with a gift of a bottle of red wine. Noel explained the significance of the red wine. A daily glass of red had been recommended by Shirley Nelson OAM in her Australia Day address at the formal celebrations at Mullumbimby, where Noel received his award. Shirley spoke of the sense of community and the many volunteers in the Shire. The mayor Jan Barham told us that the Byron Shire had the highest percentage of volunteers in the state.

Our own Ocean Shores Community Association (OSCA) Citizen of the Year Award, was given to young mum Dr. Orit Ben Harush who gained her PhD through the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. A Press Release was put out by QUT announcing Orit’s award. Orit spoke to us also about the sense of community, the importance of friendships and a welcoming atmosphere as being vital to the wellbeing of a town. She named this seachange town of Ocean Shores as reflecting this ethos and calls Ocean Shores a wonderful place to live. Orit then cut the giant lamington for all to enjoy.

The Ocean Shores Community Association honours a local resident each year on Australia Day. In previous years, Frank Mills OAM, Ted Kabboutt, Athol Compton and others have been honoured. OSCA will be calling for submissions for this award for 2013. There are no age limits or performance categories. All submissions will be judged by an independent panel. The OSCA website gives details on
The OSCA Australia Day raffle first prize of two tickets to Thursday at the 2012 Bluesfest was won by…Second Prize of a convection oven was won by … Other prizes were won by….

For details please go to the OSCA website.

OSCA thanks all of the above and everyone who helped this event to be so successful.