Australia Day celebrations in Tenterfield

AUSTRALIA DAY IN TENTERFIELD: Deputy Mayor Greg Sauer, Mayor Peter Petty, Mrs Lana Rifi, Ambassador Dr Jamal Rifi AM, and Mrs Sue Sauer. Photo provided by Peter Reid.
AUSTRALIA DAY IN TENTERFIELD: Deputy Mayor Greg Sauer, Mayor Peter Petty, Mrs Lana Rifi, Ambassador Dr Jamal Rifi AM, and Mrs Sue Sauer. Photo provided by Peter Reid.

The Tenterfield community turned out on Sunday morning to celebrate Australia Day 2020 at the Tenterfield Memorial Hall. About 200 people attended.

A wonderful morning of celebration in our community began with "Breakfast on the Deck". The Granite Belt Community Band played while the Tenterfield Lions Club served bacon and egg rolls.

The main ceremony began at 9am. Roxanne Bancroft-Stuart gave the Welcome to Country, and lay preacher Hugh McCowen gave an Australia Day blessing.

Congratulations were extended to Col Mann who received the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the 2020 Australia Day Honours List for his contribution to aged care in establishing both Millrace and Haddington for the people of Tenterfield.


Deputy Mayor Cr Greg Sauer emceed the celebration. Mayor Cr Peter Petty provided the welcome address and conducted a citizenship ceremony for Ms Sandra Dobbs, Mr Niti Kocharit, Mr France Dago-oc, and Ms Ayla Venizza Waugh, all warmly welcomed as new Australians.

Our Ambassador, Dr Jamal Rifi AM, indicated his pleasure to be part of the Tenterfield celebrations. He had requested to visit a community that suffered hardship in the drought and bushfires. He and his wife Lana drove to Tenterfield so that he could see, first hand, the devastation caused.

Dr Rifi expressed his desire for all communities to work together. He highlighted the resilience of the Australian people and the need for harmony and understanding. Dr Rifi said the Sydney Muslim community had raised funds to provide hay to drought affected areas, and support for the residents and wildlife of Kangaroo Island in the recent devastating bushfires.

Mayor Petty and Ambassador Dr Rifi AM presented the Australia Day Awards.

Mr Peter Bonner of Liston was declared Citizen of the Year for 2020 for his long history of public involvement. Peter's service includes 33 years as a director of the former Tenterfield Rural Land Board; 60 years as a member and past office bearer of the Liston/Wylie Creek Rural Fire Brigade; 30 years as a trustee of the Liston War Memorial Reserve Trust; and 63 years as a member of the Stanthorpe Show Society.

Nominations for Citizen of the Year were also received for:

  • Ian Unsworth;
  • Carmel Higgins;
  • Rex Holley;
  • John Landers;
  • Yolande & Joel Soper; and
  • Helen Clothier;

Young Citizen of the Year 2020 was presented to Rachel Cowin. She has been dedicated to her school community right through her school years, and made an outstanding contribution as School Leader and School Captain in 2019. For this, she was awarded The Reuben F Scarf Award for Commitment to Education.

While there were no nominations for Sportsperson of the Year, five outstanding athletes were nominated for Young Sportsperson of the Year:

  • Erin Crotty;
  • Isaac Jones (winner of the 2019 Award);
  • Alanna Melling;
  • Jake Murphy (winner of the 2018 Award); and
  • Elly Anne Petrie.

Erin Crotty was presented with the Award for her outstanding career with the Tenterfield Physical Culture Club. She joined the Club in 2008. After years of determination and hard work, Erin was declared the Australian Champion, Second Year, Senior Girl at the National Physical Culture finals at the Sydney Opera House in November 2019.

Karmell Cowin was named Emergency Services Volunteer of the Year for 2020 for her 40 years as Wildlife Co-ordinator, caring for, rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing injured wildlife throughout the Tenterfield Shire area.

Fellow wildlife carer Mr Greg Ambrose accepted Karmell's award on her behalf, as unfortunately she was ill.

Mingoola Rural Fire Brigade was also nominated for this award.

The Community Event of the Year for 2020 was Liston's Cobb & Co Heritage Day in March 2019. Caroline Janssens, chair of the Liston Hall Committee, accepted the award.

In accepting the award, Ms Jansen advised that this was truly a community event. The Hall Committee, Progress Association, and local community members all worked together to ensure a successful event.

The Debutante Ball was also nominated for this award.

At the conclusion of the awards, Mayor Peter Petty requested all present to acknowledge and thank our volunteer firefighters and SES personnel who put their lives and safety on the line to protect their communities during the devastating bushires of 2019.

A minute's silence remembered all those who perished as a result of these terrible fires. The gathering then applauded our local heroes.

To conclude the morning's festivities, Tenterfield's own Dancing DJ, Paul Della, got the audience rocking and rolling to some great Aussie music. The pipes and drums of the Tenterfield Highlanders Pipe Band provided a rousing end to the Tenterfield community Australia Day 2020 celebration.