Council hosts citizenship and awards ceremony to mark Australia Day

Kyneton Town Hall was adorned with flags and excitement on Wednesday January 26, as Macedon Ranges Council held its Australia Day citizenship and awards ceremony.

Although held with limited attendance to align with COVID-19 health and safety protocol, the hall was regularly filled with applause as the community celebrated its newest and most impressive residents.

Speaking ahead of the county’s three new residents signing up to the Australian Citizenship Pledge, the Mayor of Macedon Ranges Council led a reconnaissance of the country and said she was keen to see how those who become citizens would contribute to the community in their own way.

“By becoming an Australian citizen, we have to remember that it doesn’t mean you forget where you come from, your own culture or your own background,” said Cr Anderson.

“It means you can bring that with you, embrace it again and also take on some of what it means to be an Aussie.”

Attendees were also treated to a keynote address by Richard Rozen OAM, a Polish Holocaust survivor who emigrated to Australia in 1951.

Mr. Rozen and his family spent 13 months hiding in a closet during World War II to escape persecution.

After surviving the war, Mr Rozen arrived in Melbourne and has since become a successful businessman, grandmaster of bridge and national chess master.

Macedonian MP Mary-Anne Thomas said Mr Rozen’s story was a timely reminder to cherish the relative safety of our community.

The afternoon then proceeded to the Citizenship Awards which this year included three new categories.

Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group (MRSG) Chairman Dr David Gormley O’Brien has been named Citizen of the Year.

Since taking office as President four years ago, Dr Gormley O’Brien has more than doubled the membership base of MRSG, across a plethora of community action groups and has been one of founders of the Woodend Bee-Friendly Society.

Dr. Gormley O’Brien said he was “deeply touched” to receive the award.

“What really pleases me about this is the recognition that the board and the public have given to the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group, and for the wonderful work they have done across all the ranges in Macedon,” said- he declared.

In new award categories, Newham resident Luke Spielvogel received the Connecting Communities award.

Passionate about the county’s native environment, Mr. Spielvogel founded a group dedicated to scouting Hanging Rock, which has a population of 6,000. He also founded the non-profit Rock & Ranges brewing cooperative which aims to provide social opportunities to the community.

Kyneton District Soccer Club have been named winners of the Healthy People and Environment Award, adding another trophy to their cabinet after being named Football Victoria’s Regional Club of the Year for 2021.

Led by chairman Ron Cole, the club improved its female player participation to 42%.

And the business and tourism award went to owner of Braeside Mt Macedon, Andrew Towner.

As chairman of the Macedon Ranges Accommodation Association, Mr Towner has championed local businesses and tourism operators in the area since moving to the county in 2014.

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