AUSTRALIA Day in Bathurst was all about recognition: recognising the nation, recognising history and, importantly, recognising the people that help to make this a great community.
While there was a lot of fun and frivolity, there were formal elements to the day to welcome new people and acknowledge events, groups and individuals that made an impact in 2017, by way of a citizenship and awards ceremony.
The first award to be determined was the Bathurst Arts Council 2BS Youth Arts Award.
The finalists, Emma Warburton, Charlie O’Neill and Will Hazzard, each demonstrated their talent to the audience before Christine Sweeney announced Will, an accomplished visual artist, as the recipient.
For winning the award, he will receive a $1000 scholarship to further his artistic pursuits.
“This is the fourth year I’ve been in the Bathurst Youth Arts Award and it’s a great honour to win,” Will said.
The Youth Arts Award was followed by the presentation of the Community Event of the Year award by Australia Day committee member Peter Cosgrove.
There were nine nominees in the running to claim the award, but it was the 125th Anniversary of the Rockley Game that was successful in winning.
The Destination Event of the Year, a category that had five nominees, was won by Mount Panorama Punish.
Organisers Jennifer Arnold and Stephen Jackson accepted the award and spoke of how significant it was to win after the inaugural event.
“It was a really, really great event to bring people from the community in Bathurst together … but it was a surprise to us to see so many visitors to Bathurst wanting to come and run at the race track,” Ms Arnold said.
“We can only wait and see what our 2018 event will be like.”
The final award of the ceremony was the Jo Ross Memorial Award, which is awarded in recognition of efforts to improve the local environment.
It is named after a passionate natural environmentalist and former councillor who died in 2006, but wanted her legacy to benefit the community.
Greening Bathurst’s Barb Mactaggart presented the award to Ian McCartney, an environmentalist who has spent a lifetime observing, documenting and raising awareness of reptiles and amphibians in the Central West.
“I’m deeply flattered and surprised. I’m sure there is a thousand other people who deserve this more than I do,” he said.
Mr McCartney thanked people he had worked with closely throughout his career.