The Australia Day awards ceremony hosted by the Bega Valley Shire Council in Littleton Gardens Bega was a successful, sunny morning, celebrated by a large cheerful crowd.
The morning kicked off with a free Australia Day breakfast put together by Bega Lions and other volunteer organisation helpers.
At 8.30am the crowd proceeded to take their seats while MC of the day Bega Chamber of Commerce president John Watkin welcomed everybody.
Both the Australian Aboriginal and Australian National Flags were raised, and while the Australian Anthem wasn't sung out loud due to COVID-19 restrictions, "humming proudly" was encouraged.
The first round of awards to be presented were the 2022 Citizens of the Year Awards, with former Far South Coast Rural Fire Service manager Superintendent John Cullen presented the top honour.
Clare McMahon of Kiah was awarded Senior Citizen of the Year - despite trying to avoid the 'senior' reference! - and Jessica Duthie the Young Citizen of the Year.
Then 14 Bega Valley Shire Medallions were given out to members of the community who had been recognised for their service to the Bega Valley Shire over a number of years.
These individuals included David Allen, Robin Wykes, Amanda Shane, Donna Flood, Ruth Gilmour, Bill Foxwell, Mark Smith, John Stylianou, Bill Mead, Greg Holland, Ron Cole, Christine Welsh, Carolyn McColl and Robert Smith.
The ceremony was then concluded with the welcoming of eight new Australian citizens: Nils Bentsen, Gemma Grealy, Barbara Keogh, Rhys Tamatea, Marcin Janek-Morys, Monika Morys, Alan Hepburn, and Elizabeth Hepburn.
As crowds came together to catch up before dispersing, people were encouraged to take home a free native plant given out by Bega Valley Shire Council workers along with advice as to their upkeep.
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