THE Australia Day ceremony at Kiewa on Saturday morning was just about as Aussie as you can get.
In a small town park surrounded by gums and a dry paddock, families lounged in the shade on fold-up chairs.
Magpies chortled in the trees and the flies were swatted from faces by twigs of eucalyptus.
On a loud speaker dragged in for the occasion, Addison Jones gave an enthusiastic rendition of Give Me a Home Among the Gum Trees accompanied by Cr Peter Croucher on the accordion.
Later Erik Thompson took the microphone for his professional renditions of two John Williamson classics including True Blue.
Beechworth had the honour of awarding the shire’s Citizen of the Year award to life-long resident Meryl Johnson.
The retiree has been instrumental in the success of the Beechworth and District Community Bank and a long list of other community organisations.
Chiltern was home to young achievers.
The Emma George Junior Sporting Scholarship was presented to Charlotte Richardson for her achievements in equestrian, while Girl Guides Clancie McCarthy and Rylie Atkins were jointly named the Young Citizens of the Year.
The Community Organisation of the Year award was shared by 23 recipients — the volunteers who operate the Rutherglen Wine Experience and Visitor Information Centre.
They work a combined 80 to 100 hours a week, annually welcoming tens of thousands of people.