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Australia Day 2015

26 Jan 2015



Australia Day Celebrations were held in the evening of January 26th at Underbool. About 50 residents, visitors and invited guests gathered at the entrance of Outen Park Memorial Gates to sing the National Anthem and recite together the Pledge and Affirmation for all Australians.

The Roy Outen plaque was unveiled by Ray Gloster & Tom Jackson representing Underbool, Ernie Lewis & Jack Lockett representing LingaThe Roy Outen plaque was unveiled by Ray Gloster & Tom Jackson representing Underbool, Ernie Lewis & Jack Lockett representing LingaFour octogenarians of the community - Ray Gloster, Ernie Lewis, Jack Lockett and Tom Jackson then assisted in the unveiling of a plaque of tribute to Roy Outen, after whom the local park is named. 

Roy was the first known soldier from Underbool to lose his life in the First World War. Ray Gloster and Tom Jackson spoke of the members of the Outen family.


Allan Lynch presented historical details about Roy OutenAllan Lynch presented historical details about Roy Outen



Allan Lynch gave an account of Roy's life from his time of being the only son of a local farming family, to his going to war and ultimately his death at 19 years of age in 1916 at the Battle of Fromelle. Allan has actually visited this area of France and many other landmarks of the First World War. 

Joan Willsmore, Vice President of the Underbool Progress Group and presiding over the evening, then asked the gathering to return to the sound shell area of Outen Park for a meal of cold meats and salads. enjoying the mealenjoying the meal

Tom & Eileen, Joan, Nita and Bob enjoyed the meal togetherTom & Eileen, Joan, Nita and Bob enjoyed the meal together









Prior to hearing from the guest speakers, residents were treated to a fine rendition of the chorus from "We are Australian" by eight year old Ziyoun Lam on his cornet. 

Ziyoun playing his cornetZiyoun playing his cornet

Helen and Alan Lam from Ouyen were then introduced as Guest Speakers for the evening.

Helen and Alan and 2 children came from the United Kingdom (Dudley in the County of West Midlands in the middle of England) two and a half years ago. Prior to that they had worked in Japan where they had met and sub-sequentially married. They visited Australia together in 2002. Right from a little girl Helen had wanted to come and live in Australia.

In the meantime they returned to the United Kingdom where Helen studied for her Teaching Degree and Early Years Post Graduate Study. By this time they had 2 children, Ziyoun 5 years and Meilyn 2 years.

Alan, Helen & ZiyounAlan, Helen & Ziyoun

They came to Australia in 2012 because Helen was successful in getting a position as Kinder Teacher at Underbool Early Learning Centre with Mallee Track Health and Community Service. From the interview to getting their visas it had taken 1 year.

Arriving in Adelaide in June of 2012 they were met at the airport by a Mallee Track employee and told Ouyen and Underbool were "just down the track a bit". The journey seemed long with many stops for the littlies along the way with the scenery of beautiful, rolling hills giving way to large fields and paddocks of crops.

At last they arrived at Underbool and a stopover to see the Early Learning Centre (from the outside only); but then another 50 kilometres on to Ouyen and to their new home.

They have adjusted to three corner jacks, flies, hot Christmases, bush fires and code red days in the summer instead of a snow day in England when all the schools are closed.

Alan and Helen have had some day trips and say there is stunning beauty in this area. The Pink Lakes seen both with and without water are quite unlike anything they have ever seen.

Alan was fortunate to obtain employment with a local bank in Ouyen soon after arriving and so far, both are enjoying their work and the slower pace of life that comes with living in a small town. The children are doing well, with Meilyn starting in Preps this year at school and Ziyoun going into Year 4.

Their hopes for the future - midyear, Helen and Alan will welcome another child who will automatically become an Australian Citizen, as the family now have permanent residency status. In the near future they all hope as a family to get Australian Citizenship and continue to live in this community. For now they are proud to be part of the Mallee and to call "Australia Home". Joan thanked Helen and Alan for their delightful presentation and wished them well in our community.

The dessert course of fruit salad and ice cream and fresh fruit finalised the Australia Day meal, after which Joan introduced Councillor Greg Brown and Councillor Max Thorburn. Greg read a great poem entitled "Keep the Flag "and another "You know you are a farmer when....". He reminded those present of the benefit of the Council Differential Rate in the rating system and urged farmers to apply if they had not already done so and concluded with reading "Australia Land of the Good".

Cr Max Thorburn with Janelle, Cr Greg Brown with DorothyCr Max Thorburn with Janelle, Cr Greg Brown with Dorothy

Councillor Max Thorburn, an experienced Radio Broadcaster, Sports Commentator and Journalist kept everyone interested as he spoke passionately of his interest in presenting and promoting all things Australian through his radio broadcasting of Australian music and Australian music writers. His promotion of the Arts includes Bush Laureate's and Bush Ballads as well as promoting local sports and encouragement of high achievers.

Cr Thorburn is committed to improving quality of life for all across the municipality.

Joan thanked all speakers of the evening.

Thanks must go to Joan Willsmore and Rosemary Jackson and the Committee and helpers of the Underbool Progress Committee for co-ordinating the Australia Day Event of 2015 at Underbool, and Mildura Rural City Council for funding of same.