Happy New Year!
Can you believe we are already a month into 2024?
As Titleholders, we've had an exciting January. We were thrilled to be part of the Australia Day Mayoral Reception and Awards Ceremony on January 25, and the Community Activities and Citizenship Ceremony on Australia Day. What a wonderful way to celebrate and start our year!
Jess and I felt so privileged to meet the Australia Day Award nominees. Every nominee should take immense pride in their accomplishments. They've done an amazing job, and the dedication and effort they've put into our community is truly remarkable. Huge congratulations and thanks to all.
The Australia Day Award Ceremony was a beautiful event, marked by an inspiring speech delivered by Allan Pottie, Australia Day Ambassador and Wagga Wagga Citizen of the Year 2023.
Allan is an amazing individual. His compassion and commitment in his various roles earned him the prestigious title of Global Hero of Hope by the Cancer Council in 2018, an honour shared by fewer than 40 people worldwide. The Ceremony included a performance by the incredible Australian Army Band Kapooka. The event also showcased the talents of the primary school students who were finalists in the National Anthem competition. A hearty congratulations to Annette St Clair, our newly minted Citizen of the Year 2024. Her recognition is truly well deserved, and a testament to her unwavering dedication to increasing melanoma awareness and service toward those who are impacted by a melanoma diagnosis.
In addition to the inspiring speeches and performances, I was also given the wonderful opportunity to present an address on 'What being an Australian means to me'. This was a truly humbling experience, allowing me to share my thoughts and feelings about our beautiful country. To me, being Australian is about embodying the values of unity, respect, and friendship. It's about embracing our rich cultural diversity and celebrating our shared history. Presenting this address was a privilege and an experience I will cherish. The Australia Day Award Ceremony was a celebration of our community and the individuals who contribute to making it extraordinary.
Australia Day in Wagga Wagga was an event to remember! The day began bright and early at 7am at the Riverside Precinct. The Kooringal Rotary Club, in true Aussie spirit, hosted a free community BBQ breakfast. The morning was packed with a variety of activities. Performances by Zana, thong throwing competitions, and sandcastle making brought smiles to faces young and old. Local music filled the air, while food trucks were ready to serve up some delicious local treats. A particularly touching moment was the Australian Citizenship Ceremony. We had the honour of witnessing 36 individuals take their pledges and receive their certificates. A huge congratulations to our newest Australian Citizens - we know you'll love it here!
Later in the day, the CSU Riverina Playhouse hosted a beautiful event where we had the privilege of hearing Indigenous Elders share their stories. The artwork displayed around the area was nothing short of breathtaking, a testament to the rich cultural heritage of our nation.
Jess and I spent the afternoon at South Wagga Wagga Apex's Annual Mighty Murrumbidgee Duck Race. Local food stores, amusement rides, and live entertainment made it a family-friendly event enjoyed by all. The highlight of the day was, of course, the Duck Race. The anticipation built up as the rubber ducks were set afloat on the Murrumbidgee River. The crowd cheered on their ducks, adding to the fun and friendly atmosphere. The event was a fantastic mix of community spirit, fun and entertainment. It was truly a family friendly event that had something for everyone, and Jess and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
January was genuinely a time of development and gratitude. We are incredibly grateful for everything we have experienced and been a part of, and we are looking forward to carrying this momentum into February.
For those considering becoming an Entrant, we are holding an Information Session on Thursday 22 February, 6pm at the RSL Club. It's a fantastic opportunity to learn more and ask any questions you might have.
We can't wait to meet this year's new group of Entrants! We're already so excited for all the adventures they'll embark on this year.
We hope to see some of you there 💜
Miss Wagga Wagga 2024