Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

President of the Underbool Progress Committee Mrs. Frances Lynch welcomed over 50 people to the Underbool Australia Day evening at Outen Park. Apologies were sent by Cr Greg Brown and Mrs. Dorothy Brown, Rosemary Jackson, Alan and Jenny Stone.

All present joined in the singing of the National Anthem and read the Affirmation for all Australians.

Frances in her opening remarks said how lucky we were to grow up in a land of wide open spaces, such as this Mallee community where people have been able to live and work together for the most part in peace and harmony. And it is the Aussie way of life to lend a hand to others – family, friends and strangers alike. Communities such as ours rely on volunteers to get things done. Working bees, fundraisers, formation of committees, liaison with Council and other government bodies to keep small country towns running smoothly and assist in providing essential services; all need volunteers. We all have talents, gifts and interests to share. Volunteer for your community and see just what can be achieved!

gathering at Outen Parkgathering at Outen Park

Margaret and Jan in Australia Day coloursMargaret and Jan in Australia Day colours


Frances introduced Mrs Sue Gilchrist as guest speaker, and who is a prime example of a volunteer within the community. Sue and husband John are involved with many groups and organisations in our area such as Lions Club and Meals on Wheels. Sue is a member of CWA, Ouyen Show Committee, Ouyen Patchwork Group,President of Mallee Garden Club, and has just started a new group in Ouyen called “Sewing for Charity”.

Mrs Sue GilchristMrs Sue GilchristIn addition to volunteering locally Sue and John and three others had an opportunity to travel overseas to Nepal and do what Australians do – help strangers in their time of need.

In 2015, a 7.8 magnitude Earthquake, then a 7.4, followed by 200 aftershocks hit Nepal, killing 9,000 people with many never found; 23,000 injured and about 8 million homeless. The Nepalese people needed help badly. Money was needed, goods were needed. Landslides and avalanches followed. With the result that Mt Everest base camp was closed, no income for thousands of people. Orphanages were set up for homeless children. Sue and John and friends contacted Chairman of Nepal Helpless Children Education Program offering help and were accepted to go to the village of Dhuskan, north east of Katmandu, high up in the mountains. Sue set to making and accepting donations of 400 beanies, 200 toilet bags, and 200 pencil cases. Footballs, tennis balls, basketballs given by local Mallee sporting clubs were gratefully accepted. Skipping ropes, toiletries, including 100 sanitary kits for young girls and women. Sue a retired nurse was able to be a Health and Hygiene Educator, not only at the orphanage but to the village people as well.  John built a wooden fence with the most basic of materials so the balls would not roll down the hills. Whilst there, their living conditions were less than basic, but despite the people’s hard life and lack of amenities, they were a cheerful, content and seemingly unprejudiced people.

Ouyen and district people gave $2,500.00 for Sue and John to take with them. $100.00 was used for toilets and fencing at the orphanage, $500.00 was enough to buy pigs for the whole village, the remainder to be used in the rebuilding of the orphanage itself. A most rewarding three weeks, with so much accomplished and yet so much more to be done.

Cr Simon ClemenceCr Simon ClemenceCr Simon Clemence and Mrs. Cheryl Clemence were also present at the evening. Cr Clemence was elected to MRCC for the first time in 2016. Cr Clemence, now retired, was a Police Inspector and Local Area Commander for Mildura and District. He spoke on his 39 years in the Police Force, serving as a Detective in the Crime Squad and Homicide Squad in Melbourne areas and a Law Instructor at the Police Academy before serving in the Sunraysia/Mallee areas. Cr Clemence is passionate about the region and his previous work has strong links to the betterment of the community through his work in Ice Education, Family Violence and improving Aboriginal youth training. Of Australia and Australia Day, Cr Clemence said as a nation we are known across the world for our strengths, politically, militarily, inventiveness in medical research, agriculture and technology. He believes Australians are becoming more passionate about their country. The lucky country!

Two most interesting speakers for Australia Day.

A very enjoyable meal of cold meats and salads, followed by the traditional fruit salad and ice-cream was enjoyed through the evening. Underbool Progress Group acknowledge and thank MRCC for financial support towards the event.

Frances concluded the evening by thanking everyone for their help and encouraging support to their local communities. “Those who volunteer even in a small way help to do great things”