Mordialloc Writer, Mairi Neil, wins the Kingston Australia Day 2016 Citizen of the Year Award.
At 7.30am on arrival at the Moorabbin Town Hall for the Australia Day 2016 Awards celebratory breakfast we were greeted by members of the Kingston Council, music by the Mordialloc Jazz band, laughter and a hubbub of chatter from over 300 guests .
Lisa Hill of ANZlitlovers wordpress blogging fame is an amazing woman who took the time and trouble to nominate her friend and colleague, Mairi Neil for the main award. Lisa’s blog is for lovers of Australian and New Zealand literary fiction and she is an ambassador for Australian literature. Click the link above to visit her site. You will be delighted with the book reviews featured there.
Many people feel that Australia Day could be celebrated on another day that doesn’t focus on the arrival of white people to this country, but that is a different debate. This Australia day ceremony was about celebrating the many groups and individuals who willingly give of their time and energy over many years to make the City of Kingston a great place to live.
It is a long time since I have seen a Wurlitzer Theatre Organ rising out of the depths and I was delighted to listen to it accompany amazing young voices when Scott Harrison, Leea Nanos and Will Atkinson sang iconic Australian songs. The morning began with the Welcome to Country by Kingston Mayor, Tasmin Bearsley and flag raising ceremony followed by Advance Australia Fair , I am Australian and later, that rollicking popular song, Waltzing Matilda.
New Australian citizens were sworn in and were given a native plant to commemorate the occasion. The award ceremony began with the 4th Mordialloc Sea Scouts winning the Young Community Group of the Year. This was followed by the Young Citizen of the Year, Jenner Shea. Then the Outstanding Citizen of the Year, Greg McMahn, principle of Parkdale Secondary College and the Community Group of the Year awards went to Beach Patrol Australia, Kingston group. At last it was time for the main Kingston Council Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award to be announced.
I rose and aimed my iphone camera, all set to record a video, when the battery died and the iphone closed down. Dimity Pollard of the Chelsea Red Cross Unit came to my rescue and took the following photo with her trusty digital camera of Mairi with Mayor Tasmin Bearsley
Mairi’s list of achievements spans over twenty years of unstinting service to the community and includes producing annual anthologies for the Mordialloc Writers Group, the last one titled Kingston our city. She teaches writing at many Neighbourhood Houses. The list of her involvement in community projects is endless and it is wonderful to see her selfless passion to support all writers and their writing be rewarded.