The Narrogin community came together at Alby Park on Thursday for the annual Australia Day breakfast and ceremony with several outstanding community members receiving recognition and awards. “Australia Day 2023 is a day for us to respect and thank those community members who make a positive difference and to acknowledge the valuable contribution that they make to our society,” Shire of Narrogin president Leigh Ballard said. The 2023 Narrogin citizen of the year was awarded to Pip Porter, for his leadership during the February bushfire and his community work. “Pip is a very active member of the Highbury community,” Cr Ballard said. “Being involved in the tennis club, the Highbury district community council and also the Anzac service in Highbury and Narrogin. “If there’s anything you need done, Pip is always ready to lend a hand — he’s a very worthy recipient.” Mr Porter took to the stage to the sounds of an enthusiastic crowd. “I love this town, I love this community and I love to volunteer,” Mr Porter said, “I find that when you do volunteer, it’s a level playing field, it doesn’t matter who you are in society you’re working beside everybody and you get to have a chat and a cuppa and everybody’s got a story to tell — where else can you get the opportunity to do that. “I’d like to think that now we can lead the next generation into the fulfilling job of being a volunteer and putting back into the country, because I really believe it’s a great thing to do.” The day began at 7.30am with families and friends gathering on the lawn to play games, catch up and enjoy the wonderful breakfast prepared by staff members from the Shire of Katanning The ceremony commenced with Noongar elder Basil Kickett providing the welcome to country as Francis Bolton performed the smoking ceremony. The first community member to be called to the podium by Cr Ballard was youth community citizen of the year Dakota Bolton-Black. “Dakota works tirelessly to raise awareness of cultural perspectives and understanding, she encourages students to have a voice by taking a leadership role on the local youth advisory council and is a prefect at Narrogin Senior High School,” Mr Ballard said. “She is a positive role model to others, she volunteers and speaks regularly at assemblies. “She is an inspiring young Aboriginal woman who takes on an active role in the community towards reconciliation and cultural awareness. “Dakota is a deserving recipient of the young citizen of the year award 2023.” A smiling Dakota took to the stage to receive the award. “I’m very grateful for this award, I’d like to dedicate it to my great-great-grandmother who passed away a couple of years back, Mavis Bolton — this one’s for her,” she said. The senior community citizen of the year was Coral Mahony, who received the award in recognition of her service to the community, specifically the street number project she coordinated, which put reflective numbers on houses in Narrogin to help emergency service responders. “Coral is heavily involved in many aspects of the community and always striving to help others,” Cr Ballard said. Mrs Mahony welcomed Narrogins’s new citizens to the town and thanked Arts Narrogin for its support in rolling out the street numbers project. “We hope that the marking of the kerb side will help emergency vehicles — not just the ambulance, but Meals on Wheels and volunteers looking to visit people,” Mrs Mahony said. Mrs Mahony hopes to extend the program to Cuballing. The active citizenship group award was presented to the Narrogin Bushfire Brigade. The award was accepted by Mr Porter, Stuart Moyses and Vern Gibson. Prior to the award ceremony, four new citizens were welcomed into the Narrogin community by a hearty round of applause as smoke from burning gum leaves drifted up over the crowd and into the sky.