A free breaky kicked off Australia Day celebrations in Hampton Park.
The Hampton Park Networking Group event at Arthur Wren Hall on Thursday 26 January also included an animal farm, face painting, jumping castles, market stalls and more.
Holt MP Anthony Byrne handed out Australia Day awards to 28 individuals and seven organisations at the Day of the Nations celebration.
“Australia Day is a wonderful day when we can recognise those people who contribute to the community and make our community a better place,” he said.
Leonard O’Brien was among the winners. He joined Narre Warren Bowls Club on 9 September 1999 after deteriorating eyesight forced him into retirement.
Len soon became one of the club’s most active volunteers.
Mr Byrne said that Len always set up the greens on bowls days, putting out the mats, jacks, rakes, scoreboards, flags, umpires’ kit and other equipment that everyone else tended to forget about for the day’s play.
Len then fills the urn, sets up tables and chairs, and makes sure the toilets are clean.
Mr Byrne said Len considered it one of his many duties to walk from home to the club – a considerable distance – to make sure the rubbish bins were put out for council collection.
Len joined Blind Bowls Victoria in 2000 and in his first year represented the state in the Australian Blind Bowls Championships. He’s followed suit every year since.
The Cranbourne Library was another award winner.
With Casey Cardinia Library Corporation it last year launched a Forgiving Tree initiative that delivered much-needed resources for local charities in the lead up to Christmas.
The library directed book fines and other fees to the tree, raising more than $15,000 for the Cranbourne Information and Support Service (CISS).
The initiative prompted people to return almost $18,000 worth of lost items.
Cranbourne Library staff Wendy Morrison and Sue Sleet and Casey Cardinia Library Corporation CEO Chris Buckingham were instrumental in making the Forgiving Tree a success.
Another award recipient, Narre Warren 16-year-old Destanee Aiava, captured imaginations across the country playing in this year’s Australian Open.
As a junior, she was involved in the Serious Tennis program run by Justin Yeo in Doveton.
In 2012 at age 12, Destanee became an international star by winning the Longines Future Tennis Aces Tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France.
Her prize was an opportunity to hit with 22-time Grand Slam winner Steffi Graf.
This year she broke onto the world stage and broke a record, becoming the first player born in the 2000s to win a main draw match at an elite WTA event, the Brisbane International.
“I congratulate all those receiving a Holt Australia Day Award for their exemplary community spirit and endless hours of volunteer work making our community a better and safer place to live,” Mr Byrne said.
“These people do not get the same acolades as celebraties in the media but in their own quiet Australian way they do tremendous work and make other people’s lives better.”
Other award recipients included Abdul Wahid, African Australia Women’s Group, Amarjit Singh, Amber Summerfield, Daya Wijewardana, Denver De Rozario, Venerable Digamadulle Wimalananda, Doveton Salvation Army Thrift Shop, Endeavour United Soccer Club, Frank Lamattina, Islanders Creole Club, Jan Gilchrist, Jenny Colvin, Jason Gerdes, Jennie Toyne, Jodie Ann Bedford, Lisa Neindorf, Long Chen, Lyndhurst Football Netball Club, Lynne Bradley, Mala Pethiyagoda, Mat Harry, Melinda Perry, Paula Correia, Peter Aguto, Revati Ilanko, Rex Ashenden, Sally McCracken, Serbian Cultural Club, Tania Sacco, Tim Allan, and the late Leeanne Browning.

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