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Australia Day Celebration 2014

26 Jan 2014

Underbool Celebrates Australia Day 2014

Residents of Underbool and District gathered at Outen Park, Underbool for their annual celebration of Australia Day.

President of the Underbool Progress Group, Mrs Frances Lynch, welcomed all, including Cr Judi Harris of MRCC and her husband Lindsay, and Mrs Louise Fitzpatrick-Leach and her husband Gerry. All present were invited to join in the singing of the National Anthem and an Affirmation for All Australians, a voluntary statement of commitment to the values that Australians share.

Captain of the local CFA, Mr Colin Lockett, gave a comprehensive coverage on the recent fire situation and the local community meeting headed by CFA Personnel. The community- through this meeting- was thoroughly briefed on Fire Ready situations.

A refreshing first course of cold meats and salads was provided by the local Progress Group and much appreciated.Mealtime

Moving on, Fran acknowledged the financial support of MRCC to this Australia Day function. Part of the donation will be used to provide for a plaque identifying how Outen Park was named in memory of Roy Outen. Roy, the only son of James and Georgina Outen of Underbool, is believed to be the first soldier from Underbool who lost his life at the age of 19 in battle at Fromelles, France in the First World War.Fran addresses gathering


Fran introduced Cr Judi Harris who is in her second term on Council, and is responsible for the Environmental Sustainability Portfolio. Having lived in the state's north-west for more than 50 years, Judi is committed to working to achieve a sustainable future for all generations, focusing on services, the environment and infrastructure issues. Judi was a Secondary School teacher for 25 years, including 5 years with her husband in Ouyen.

Judi stressed the importance of being informed, with how others live, with what is going on in the world, locally, and within our nation. Make use of, and become familiar with, technology in all its forms. Use your local mobile library. Judi spoke of incidents in her life where she needed to be more informed than she was, and soon learnt to help and encourage others to look beyond their boundaries. What does it mean to celebrate Australia Day? We are a rich, diverse nation. Learn about the world. Know about politics. Read and learn, act as role models. Become tolerant and understanding of others in adversity. Celebrate our great nation in all its richness, and share! A short question time followed.

The second course of fruit salad and ice cream was then served and enjoyed, after which Fran introduced the Guest Speaker for the evening, Mrs Louise Fitzpatrick-Leach.

Crowd relaxing after the meal

Louise came to the Mallee in 1983 from North East Victoria, having completed an Honours degree in English Literature and Primary School Teacher training, and was working as a Primary School Teacher. She married Gerald Leach in 1983, and subsequently became a full-time mum to their five children. In 2001, Louise began work as a Kinder Teacher for Tempy and Patchewollock, and in 2002, became the Ouyen Kindergarten Teacher, undertaking Pre-school training part time while teaching at the Kinder.

Louise is passionate about her work within the Preschool, but also in working with the community to support families and their children to achieve each child's potential. Her outstanding work was recognised last year when she was awarded the 2013 Victorian "Early Childhood Teacher of the Year Excellence Award". Louise intends to use the Award to visit New Zealand in March for further study in Early Childhood Development.

Louise's passion showed in the delivery of her presentation. Early childhood interaction in play and speech is vital for development; exercise is so important, and sleep matters. Learning begins at birth. Brain Science is telling us that what we do with our children matters as much as what they are born with; if we wait until they go to school, kinder or childcare, and if we leave it to other people, it's too late. Learning starts at birth, and happens first and foremost in the family. Put your littlies on a television diet, fill their backpacks with movement, touch, exercise, talk to them and listen to them as well.

Speakers at Underbool celebration

President Fran thanked both Judi and Louise and presented them with a small gift in appreciation.

Margaret Prentice- on behalf of the community- thanked Fran, and all who contributed towards a most successful and interesting Australia Day celebration.

"Australians all let us rejoice! "