One of the highlights of the official Australia Day events held around the Hills on Sunday was the announcement of all the citizen and civic awards.
As the Mayors and councillors worked their way through the list of recipients and their achievements, it became clear that the Hills is blessed with a wealth of volunteers.
If the efforts of CFS firefighters during the recent State fires didn’t already bring that fact home, these awards did.
Some of the recipients were firefighters but the list covered a wide variety of pursuits from service clubs to performing arts.
They had given hundreds of hours of their time over the years but the message they gave in their acceptance speeches was that they hadn’t acted alone.
They were at pains to acknowledge that their volunteering was usually done alongside like-minded people, all working towards the same goal – the betterment of their community.
And they all spoke about how rewarding the experience had been.
Besides the satisfaction of a job well done, joining groups and becoming involved in projects was a great way to meet people and make friends.
The message seems to have caught on across Australia.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 38% of the population volunteered in 2010 compared with 34% in 2006 and 24% in 1995.
It seems it really is better to give than receive … but it’s still nice to be recognised with an Australia Day award.
Ride needs review
The Tour Down Under cycle race has once again proven itself to be a world class event with a massive following.
For three days the event criss-crossed the Hills and caused barely a ripple as it took advantage of the picturesque route.
Live national television coverage showcased the district to the rest of the nation and many thousands – possibly millions – of international viewers also received the broadcast.
Such exposure can only be good for tourism operators as well as other associated industries and service providers.
But what the viewers didn’t see was the carnage on Portrush and Cross Roads and the freeway caused by the 4500 amateur riders taking part in the Unley to Victor Harbor stage on Friday.
Car drivers reported taking two hours to get from the city to Stirling which included stationary stints of 20 minutes.
A review to prevent a similar occurrence must happen immediately. Perhaps such stages should not begin or end in the city.