While no-one was begrudging any rain this week as temperatures soared, it thankfully held off long enough for the Bega Valley's Australia Day celebration to be enjoyed by a crowd of around 300.
Littleton Gardens played host to a COVIDSafe event - COVID safety marshal Charmaine did a great job with her microphone cleaning between each speaker!
Those gathered heard from Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick and Eden-Monaro MP Kristy McBain on the importance of the day and the deserved recognition of all our citizens, regardless of their background or how they chose to mark the occasion of January 26.
Further up the coast a Survival Day event was held at the Four Winds site at Barragga Bay, reportedly "sold out" with the free event catering for 500 people with food, music, and a celebration of culture.
In Bega it was our emergency services that saw the majority of recognition, not only from the variety of speakers praising all their tireless efforts over the past 12 months, but also among those receiving the council's citizen awards.
Australia Day 12 months ago was held under a pall of smoke as the district bore the brunt of the most devastating bushfires of our generation.
Keynote speaker Chief Inspector Peter Volf revisited his speech of last year when talking about this region's resilience - Chief Inspector Volf was himself the recipient of an Australian Police Medal in the official Australia Day Honours announced Tuesday morning.
Our citizen awardees were also presented to the crowd - Citizen of the Year Acting Sergeant Brad Ross, Senior Citizen of the Year Susan Bear, Young Citizen of the Year Ben Neville, and Australia Day Local Award recipients Rod McDonald, Angela Kane, Bradley Jamieson and Tarnie Long.
Sgt Ross was acknowledged for his roles during both the bushfire emergency response as well as the COVID pandemic response and border closures. While Ms Bear lost her own home in the bushfires "she continues to put others first" said MC Dayles Whyte, including helping establish the Cobargo Tool Library in the wake of the fires. Ms Kane has done an incredible amount of work assisting local farmers and stock owners source feed - and mental health support. And Bradley and Tarnie were acknowledged as young heroes for their selfless acts of courage on New Year's Eve that helped save properties during the worst of the Cobargo firestorm.
Read about all the award recipients' worthy achievements here and watch the entire ceremony in full below.