LONG-TIME Fish Creek CFA volunteer Mick Dorling received the ultimate community accolade of Corner Inlet Citizen of the Year in the Australia Day celebrations at Foster last Wednesday.
Mick was nominated by the Fish Creek Community Development Group Inc, who praised him for his 48 years of continuous membership and service to the CFA, adding that it was the extra caring deeds that Mick does quietly and selflessly, often in the middle of the night, for which he is treasured.
His citation continues: “This can be supporting folk affected by fire or accidents, often running them home no matter how far, or offering them a roof when they are stranded. Quiet and shy by nature, his gentle support has minimised the trauma of many crises and been long remembered. A single business operator, Mick has constantly put his own business in jeopardy, often closing the door to attend fires and other emergencies. He also takes the time to talk to community groups about fire awareness and safety. Mick was the driving force in creating the first search and rescue vehicle outside the metropolitan area in1976 and in the building of the brick fire station in 1974. For his outstanding service, he has been made a life member of the CFA and was presented with their highest award, the CFA National Medal, in 2001. In 1993 the Fish Creek Jaycees presented him with a Community Service Award for his outstanding service to the community of Fish Creek.”
Accepting his award, Mick thanked his family and his fellow brigade members, who were, he said, always right behind him. He said that he had travelled widely in Australia but was always happy to come home to Fish Creek and what he regards as “one of the best communities in Australia”.
Other award recipients at the Corner Inlet Australia Day celebrations were Ben Stephenson and Tracie Worboys.
SENIOR CITIZEN OF THE YEAR
Ben, who was nominated by Toora Uniting Church Fellowship, received the award of Senior Citizen of the Year. He was nominated by Toora Uniting Church Fellowship, who acclaimed him as the craftsman behind hundreds of beautifully handcrafted wooden toys donated to Kilmany Care for underprivileged children each year. Other charities to have benefited from Ben’s generosity include Red Cross Drought Relief, Anglicare, St Vincent de Paul and the Victorian Bushfire Relief Fund. In addition, he has made life size figures for the Nativity scene used at the Toora Community Christmas Carols. Furthermore, despite significant ill health, Ben helps maintain the church grounds, distributes Meals on Wheels, shares the bounty of his vegetable garden with neighbours and friends and is always ready to help them with handyman chores. When the weather is too inclement for outdoor activities, he makes beautiful embroidered cards which are sold as fund raisers for World Vision. He regularly supports young people by taking them under his wing and sharing his skills, knowledge and love of gardening and woodworking.
COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
The inaugural Corner Inlet Community Service Award was presented by South Gippsland Shire councillors Jeanette Harding and Mohya Davies to Tracie Worboys for her twenty-plus years of work coordinating the Red Cross car and the community car.
Presenting her with her special award, Cr Davies described Tracie as “the face of the community car” and said that the work she had done, assisted by her mother, Olive, was much appreciated. Brenda Moore, former president of the community car committee, added her appreciation of Tracie’s efforts.
The award presentations followed Australia Day celebrations of a decidedly more frivolous nature. These were organised, as per usual, by the inimitable Margaret Haycroft, head of the local Australia Day committee. Every year Margaret decides on a theme for the celebrations. This year it was that classic Australian delicacy, the lamington.
The celebrations kicked off at 12 noon on the lawns in front of Foster Museum. Community spirit came to the fore, with the Rotary Club of Foster providing chairs and tables, Toora Lions running a barbecue, Welshpool Red Cross supplying afternoon tea, CFA and SES volunteers providing shelter, and a range of community groups such as the CWA, the wool group, the Seachange Festival and the show society running stalls and displays. For a couple of hours people enjoyed browsing the food and the community stalls, listening to the music of local band ‘Soul Purpose’ and admiring the entries in the lamington competition.
Lots of people took advantage of the opportunity to tour the museum, enjoying seeing the latest display on the history of dairying in the district and the many other exhibits, as well as the Stockyard quilters at work at the back of the museum.
The Great Aussie Lamington Cook-off was judged at 1pm, and who better to judge the entries than the Australia Day Ambassador allocated to Corner Inlet, acclaimed chef Marcus Moore?! Trained in Hong Kong and London, Marcus has had senior roles at the Hotel Sofitel and Crown Entertainment Complex and been enthusiastically involved in extensive fund raising for charity through events such as Eat Street and the Million Dollar Lunch. He is currently a consultant with Peter Rowland Catering.
Marcus happily obliged Margaret, judging the lamingtons with good humour. He was assisted by Sylvie Bize, visiting Foster all the way from Mt de Marsan in France. She was a town councillor for 25 years and mayor for 15 years, but this was the first time she had judged a lamington competition! Of course, with France’s formidable culinary reputation, she was well qualified to be a cooking judge.
The judges had great fun putting the lamingtons through the taste test, eventually selecting the entries submitted by Eva Hendrie and Pat Stephenson as joint winners.
Margaret then called for entrants in the Most Creative Lamington competition, and a dozen or so children spent the next few minutes shaping lamingtons into all manner of creations, most with a distinctly Aussie theme. From Thomas the Tank Engine and the Australian flag to an Aussie gum leaf with gumnuts, the standard was very high and selecting one winner proved too much for the judges, who decided to award everyone a prize.
The adults’ section of the Most Creative Lamington competition was won by members of the Prom Coast Seachange Festival committee, who in their efforts to promote their forthcoming festival (April 8-11) had cleverly reproduced the colourful Seachange Festival logo entirely out of lamingtons! They were delighted to each receive a prize of a Peter Rowland apron from the Australia Day Ambassador.
When the celebrations wound up just after 2.30, everyone agreed that Margaret Haycroft had done it again – successfully coordinated a fun-filled community celebration of Australia Day.