2021 Australia Day Celebrations

Published on Thursday, 4 February 2021 at 9:16:55 AM

In what we believe was one of Narembeen’s biggest Australia Day events in history, approximately 180 people gathered at the Narembeen Aquatic Centre on Tuesday 26th January 2021 to share a barbeque breakfast and enjoy the celebrations of the day.

Australia Day 2021 took on special significance as Narembeen hosted Ambassador Dr Craig Challen SC OAM—cave diver and rescuer and who was named Australian of the year in 2019.  In July 2018, Craig was about to go on a caving holiday in the Nullarbor Plains when he was called to assist in a rescue mission in Thailand.  Craig was part of the international team that successfully rescued 12 boys and their coach from a flooded cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand. 

Craig captivated the audience with his Australia Day opening address which portrayed his selflessness, courage and willingness to help others in a time of need.   He certainly was inspirational to listen to and we thank him and his partner Heather for being a part of Narembeen’s Australia Day celebrations.


Special Award

We don’t think there are many places in the Wheatbelt who can brag about the fact that they have had the same Doctor serving their community for 20 years!  This year see’s Dr Peter Lines’ 20 years of continuous service to the Shire of Narembeen.  To mark this special occasion, Freeman Halley Cowan presented Dr Peter Lines with a certificate of recognition for this fantastic achievement.  We thank Peter for his dedicated service, with the support of his wife Lucy.

Every year, nominations are sought for outstanding people and groups within our community to be recognised with the Australia Day Citizen of the Year Awards.  Shire President, Cr Rhonda Cole presented this year’s awards to the following well deserving recipients:-


Citizen of the Year—Michael (Chick) Lethlean

I don’t think we’ve ever seen anyone so surprised to win this award, for those who know Michael or “Mick Chick” as he is known, he is very rarely lost for words.  However, the emotions got the better of Michael and he could barely speak!  Michael is Narembeen’s Pool Manager as well as being a Level 2 St John Ambulance volunteer.  Over the past 12 months, there have only been two active Level 2 St John Ambulance volunteers in Narembeen, meaning he is making himself available whenever needed, day in and day out.


Michael is always the first person to put up his hand to help out at events and spends many hours volunteering his time within the community in various capacities.  He coaches and umpires the junior basketball voluntarily, spending many hours to upskill and provide social development opportunities to the youth of Narembeen. Michael also voluntarily drives the community bus for private social events, ensuring attendees at parties out of town get arrive home safely.

It is people such as Michael who are so important to rural communities like Narembeen—he is a true local hero and an outstanding citizen.  It was fantastic to see Michael receive this prestigious award which recognises his selfless work within the Narembeen community.

Senior Citizen of the Year—Kerry Fricker

It was wonderful to see Kerry Fricker recognised for her immense amount of volunteering hours across various community organisations within the Narembeen community.  Kerry unselfishly devotes her time in a number of capacities including President of the Narembeen Ladies Hospital Auxillary, parishioner and treasurer of the St Paul’s Anglican Church along with volunteering many hours to the Narembeen Autumn Club and the Dorcas Church of Christ Clothing Op Shop.  Kerry is certainly a proactive member of the Narembeen community and was the instigator of the annual St Luke’s Day in Narembeen which is a candle lighting service to remember loved ones who have passed away at the Narembeen Hospital.  We are very lucky to have Kerry in the Narembeen community and we thank her for her efforts!


Active Citizen of the Year—The Narembeen Co-Op Café

The Cafe was established in 2019 to provide a space for the community to gather and converse, share a coffee and experience good food. During its short two years of operation, it has employed 12 locals. The Cafe’s unique point of difference is that it is owned by the community and run by the community.

The Cafe is particularly important to the Narembeen community in that it provides a place to go thereby limiting social isolation and loneliness for those living in Narembeen, it is particularly important for mothers and their young children, families, seniors, local businesses and visitors.  The Cafe provides employment and capacity building of locals who did not have a job previously, these employees then spend their wages in town (approx $90K annually).

The award recognises the service the Café provides to the community along with the four business manager’s—Amy Hardham, Lynda Cornish, Bianca Currie and Sheree Thomas who volunteer their time to drive the Cafe. Also to Caroline Robinson whose crazy dream to open a community café – came to fruition!  Go Narembeen continue to provide much needed support towards the initiative, the many other volunteers—too many to name who quietly volunteer their time whether that be to manage social media platforms, clean out a blocked drain, service the coffee machine or jump behind the counter to do the dishes.  Most importantly the staff, who always have a smile and without them there would not be a Café.  Well done to all!



Each year, Narembeen is privileged to welcome new Australians to our growing community as part of Australia Day celebrations.

The conferees included—Ashleigh Hunter and Pauline Passmore from the United Kingdom and Fabienne Gracia from Ireland.

Shire President, Cr Rhonda Cole said “the ceremony was an opportunity for all Australians, whether they are citizens by birth or by choice, to join national celebrations that reflect, respect and celebrate—we reflect on our history, its highs and lows—we respect the stories of all our people— and we celebrate our nation, its achievements and most of all, its people.”

“There is no greater privilege than citizenship. It’s a life-long commitment to Australia’s shared values, including respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual, the rule of law and democracy, and equality of opportunity for all people.” Rhonda Cole said.

The Shire of Narembeen warmly welcomes Ashleigh, Pauline and Fabienne as our newest Australian citizens.

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