National pride on show

RESIDENTS showed their pride in being Australian yesterday, with a number of celebrations held to mark the anniversary of one of the nation's key milestones.

Community breakfasts were held at Barham, Cohuna, Kerang, Mystic Park, Lalbert, Murrabit and Quambatook to mark Australia Day, with a barbecue at Leitchville last night wrapping up celebrations.

Each event featured a flag raising ceremony and speeches from special guests, with two Australia Day ambassadors visiting for the day.

Blue Ribbon Foundation founder, John Forbes was a special guest at Kerang and Leitchville's services, with senior sports business professional, Sally Nolan in attendance at Barham and Cohuna's festivities.

A number of local residents were recognised for their services to the community via the announcement of Gannawarra Shire Council's awards and the handing out of accolades from community groups.

It was a special day for the Banskota family and Gonn Crossing resident, Adrienne Mackintosh, who all became Australian citizens at Kerang's celebrations.

Kerang-based doctor, Reshma Banskota, her husband, Nalin and their 11-year-old daughter, Arya all pledged their allegiance to the country in front of more than 150 people at Atkinson Park.

The family, who have lived in Kerang for the past two years, moved from Nepal in 2009, living in Melbourne and Swan Hill before calling the Gannawarra Shire their home.

"We feel really proud to now be Australian citizens. It was something we were all looking forward to," Dr Banskota said.

Mrs Mackintosh, who emigrated from New Zealand 40 years ago and lived at Gonn Crossing for the past 15 years, was proud to have become an Australian citizen on the nation's biggest day.

"Gonn Crossing is a really small community that I feel really blessed to be a part of," she said.

"I do feel different after the ceremony. Not only can I call Gonn Crossing home; I can also call Australia home."

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