Glen Innes celebrates highland heroes at grand old Australia day

Antonina Shannon and Edward Shannon at Glen Innes' Australia day celebrations at the Land of the Beardies History House.

Antonina Shannon and Edward Shannon at Glen Innes' Australia day celebrations at the Land of the Beardies History House.

In a year of fires, drought and crisis, Glen Innes celebrated a person who has helped pull the community of Emmaville together over a generation.

Dorothy Wooder, known as Dot, helped found the Emmaville cemetery committee 28 years ago. But there are few volunteering opportunities she lets pass by, according to Australia day chairperson Jan Lemon.

"She's a great lady - I can't say any more than that really," said Jan.

"She's an amazing volunteer and has been for many, many years. She's a very modest lady who probably doesn't even want to be nominated

"She's one of the centrepoint ladies for just about every organisaton in Emmaville."

From volunteering at the Emmaville hospital, the Vegetable creek MPS, to helping the RSL women's auxiliary and meals on wheels to simply helping out at working bees, fetes and the Deepwater races, Dot has for decades been a familiar face in the small town. Sadly Dot couldn't make Glen Innes' Australia day ceremony.

Sunday's event, held in honour of half-century anniversary of the Land of the Beardies museum, was a bigger and better than ever, she said.

Featuring a holdup by Captain Thunderbolt, Indigenous dancing, music, a fashion parade, a book launch and the opening of a new museum wing dedicated to Jeannie Ross Fraser, it was a spectacularly full offering for local residents.


Ms Lemon said the jam-packed event was all about the spirit of the volunteer, the people who help make the community resilient in the face of hardship and tragedy.

"For me it was about what I call highland heroes. I said it a lot during the ceremony because it's not only the firefighters it's all the other people around them.

"As (joint Emergency Services Volunteer of the Year) Graham Pagden said it's his wife who supports him and allows him to go out, it's the businesses who allow people to go and volunteer.

"It's a team effort; it's everybody involved in emergencies and being very supportive of each other."

Graham Pagden and Matthew Wharton won this year's joint Emergency Services Volunteer of the Year as judges couldn't make a choice between them.

Young citizen of the year was Brodie Taylor. Environmental champion of the year was GLENRAC stalwart Kylie Falconer.

Community Event of the Year was Glen Innes and District Historical Society's a night at the Trocadero, with Community Organisation of the Year the Deepwater School of Arts Hall Trust.

Armidale youth worker and founder of BackTrack Bernie Shakeshaft was this year's national Local Hero of the Year.