It was all about community donations at last month’s Casterton Kelpie Association AGM with more than $13,000 distributed to the community groups that provide support across the Australian Kelpie Muster weekend.
The annual John McGrath Volunteer of the Year was also awarded to Jack Smith, while Giles Kent was inducted as the association’s latest life member.
The major beneficiaries of the association donations were the Casterton RSL, which was handed $1000 towards the upgrade of their building and $250 to Hands Up Casterton towards the establishment of the Youth HQ.
Association president Karen Stephens said the support of community groups to ensure the annual June Long Weekend was a success was vital.
“Whether it’s the Golf Club ensuring that the rubbish bins are emptied or the RSL providing support with traffic management or the Young Farmers organizing the Kelpie Hill Climb, each group and each activity is part of the integral functioning of the overall weekend and we simply couldn’t do it without their support, so giving a donation to the club is our way of saying we value you and thank you,” Ms Stephens said.
Jack Smith was an easy choice for the 2023 John McGrath Volunteer of the Year. He has transported sheep for the annual working dog trials since the beginning some 27 years ago.
Committee member Jack Matthews presented the long standing volunteer with the honour, describing him as reliable.
“It is the easiest phone call to make each year asking whether he can help out, the answer has always been ‘yes’ and you know that the job will be done,” Jack Matthews said.
For Giles Kent, life membership has come on the back of decades of involvement, dating back to when he was an 11-year-old and would happily miss school to help with set up.
“Even when he worked in Western Australia he always returned to support the team,” Karen said. “Twenty years on Giles is living back in Casterton, owns his own business and serves as vice president and the infrastructure coordinator rolling out some 2.8kms of fencing and over 1.4kms of sheep yard panel yards for the annual auction demonstrations.
“Giles is truly one out of the box, always there quietly going about his business just getting things done.”
The Kelpie Festival is fast approaching its $4million milestone of total auction sales with preparations for next year well underway.