Coraki united in celebration for Australia Day
THE streets of Coraki came alive yesterday in a torrent of red, white and blue flag decorations at every turn.
The official Richmond Valley Council celebrations were held on the banks of the Richmond River and people from Casino, Evans Head, Woodburn and, of course, Coraki came out in droves.
Market stalls and vintage cars lined Richmond Terrace while other events happened in different arenas.
Citizen of the Year went to Dr Juriaan Beek, of Casino, who has been an outspoken voice in keeping the Casino Hospital maternity ward open - this ward unfortunately closed in August last year.
"He has been involved in many community organisations including the Challenge Foundation, Casino P&C and Casino Aero Club," MC Sandra Humphrys said.
Dr Beek said he came to Australia in 1950 from the Netherlands.
"I spoke not a word of English and never thought I would be here making this speech today," he said.
The newest Australians - Arceli Oakes, originally from the Philippines, and Yanmei He, from China, and now both from Casino, proudly took their Australian citizenship pledge followed by plenty of applause.
Dog owners had a chance to show off their favourite pets and receive free micro-chipping.
Ethel Patton, of Coraki, and her Maltese terrier walked away with the award for best owner/dog look-alike.
The scaled-down version of the Coraki Art Prize saw local painter Joanna Burgler walk away with first prize.
Young Sportsperson of the Year - Tim Williams, Coraki
Sportsperson of the Year - Dean Casey, Casino
Volunteer of the Year - Ross Cole, Rappville
Young Citizen of the Year - Matthew Jackson, Casino
Indigenous Citizen of the Year - Russell Kapeen, Coraki