Australia Day Address 2024

Address delivered by Wayne Parcell PSM, President of the Montville Village Association Inc on Australia Day, 26 January 2024, at Montville Village Hall.


Good morning everyone.

We gather here today on this sacred land, where the ancient rhythms of nature echo in every breeze and the whispers of history resonate through the trees standing sentinel on Memorial Close.

We honour the enduring spirit of our First Nations people. Indigenous custodianship of this land spans over 60,000 years, an unbroken connection to nature's rhythms and the wisdom of the land.

It's a story that began more than half a millennium ago. The landing of European settlers on 26 January 1788 brought with it new cultures and technologies, a convergence of two worlds, each with its unique story and perspective.

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we are gathered today – the Jinibara people. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present, and emerging, recognizing their enduring connection to this land which began long ago and continues today.

We acknowledge each, and every, one of you here who brings your own unique experiences to our community and makes our diverse community whole.

Today, we would like to speak of a quality we believe we all need to share: that quality is kindness.

Kindness fosters communication through listening and inclusion. Kindness in our community is a force that can bridge divides, foster connections, and combat the growing issue of loneliness. In the face of our shared history, kindness becomes a unifying thread that weaves through the fabric of our community, bringing people together in compassion and understanding. This is where the power of kindness plays a pivotal role. Kindness is more than a courtesy; it's a force that can build bridges and create a sense of belonging.

When we extend a helping hand or share a kind word, we not only lift someone else's spirits but also strengthen the ties that bind our community.

Our village market day volunteers extend their hands in generosity every month to make possible an iconic community event – they give of their hearts and their time – our community would be the poorer without the market and the kindness of the volunteers who make it possible.

A study by the Black Dog Institute found that engaging in acts of kindness is associated with a 30% reduction in the risk of developing depression. Kindness doesn't just benefit our mental health; it contributes to a healthier, more connected community.

Let's acknowledge the incredible value of community organizations that contribute to the spirit of kindness and connection in Montville. The Blackall Range Woodcrafters Guild is a shining example, providing both men and women with the opportunity to pursue woodwork as a craft and art. This guild not only nurtures creativity but also fosters a sense of community spirit, where individuals come together to share skills, stories, and support.

Acts of kindness, both big and small, have the power to break down the walls of isolation. Our Montville Citizen Awards, this year, as always, give us pause to reflect upon and thank those for their generosity of spirit, for gifting something special to us.

When we actively engage in acts of compassion, we also contribute to a community that is resilient, connected, and supportive. The positive effects of kindness radiate outward, fostering an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued.

Let's celebrate the community spirit built around the Montville Tennis Club – everyone is welcome there. Beyond being a sport, the Montville Tennis Club serves as a hub for social interactions, friendly competitions, and shared moments of joy. It's in these communal spaces that the seeds of kindness are sown, and the roots of genuine connections take hold.

Turning our attention to the historic Memorial Close Precinct, where the village hall takes centre stage. Nestled alongside St Mary's Church and the church hall (formerly the Returned Services Club), the village hall is more than just a physical structure; it's a symbol of community focus and a meeting place for the people of Montville. This is a special place.

In this significant precinct, we find the Memorial Gates, a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women. These gates stand not only as a testament to the bravery of those who served but also as a symbol of our community's enduring gratitude.

In the shadow of these gates, you'll find a row of trees (and one inside the front gate of the Montville State School), each one named for a fallen WWI serviceman from Montville. We would suggest to you that these trees serve as living tributes to the ultimate expression of service of those people: Palk, McKenna, Waller, Smith, Greber, Harmening and Smith. Their kindness was expressed in their service to their community and their country.

Standing beneath those trees, listen for the whispering stories of courage, resilience, and community spirit. They stand as a reminder that the roots of our community run deep, intertwined with the history and sacrifices of those who came before us.

As we explore the avenues of kindness and connection, let's also celebrate the rich history encapsulated in the Memorial Close Precinct. The village hall, standing as a beacon in this historic setting, holds the stories and memories of generations past and present. It's a testament to the enduring spirit of Montville and the importance of coming together as a community.

Last year, this hall could not contain the community that came to celebrate the life of Dr Michael Simpson who left us on this very day last year. The reach of the kindnesses shown by Michael over many years to our community was displayed right here.

As a united community, we can further strengthen the bonds that make Montville a truly special place.

Let us turn our commitment into action: Community Events: Collaborate with local businesses and organizations to organize and participate in regular community events that encourage interaction and foster a sense of belonging.

Volunteer Programs: Actively engage in and promote volunteer programs that benefit those in need while creating a sense of purpose and connection for both individuals and businesses.

Neighbourhood Support Groups: Take the initiative to establish and join support groups based on interests or life stages, creating spaces for meaningful connections and understanding within our community.

By embracing these actions, we are a community that thrives on kindness, ensuring that no one feels isolated or alone. Be kind to one another, every day.