Last week’s popular announcement that Mildura-born international opera star Siobhan Stagg has received Mildura’s Key to the City puts a spotlight on the importance of civic pride in our community.
It was fantastic to see the massive outpouring of support and praise Siobhan received, but also the pride our community took in her achievements.
It obviously shows the high esteem in which Siobhan is held in our region, as well as our community’s eagerness to celebrate the accomplishments of one of our own, which was great to witness.
It strikes me that it’s often only after these major announcements, which certainly need to be celebrated, that civic pride comes to the fore, particularly when there are so many other ways for us to demonstrate civic pride.
I can’t overstate how important civic pride is to communities. It lies at the heart of any town or city and makes us feel good about where we live, where we come from and who we are.
We see this with announcements such as Siobhan’s last month, as well as our other two Key to the City recipients, Desiree Wakefield (1996) and Leigh Adams (2008), who received similarly glowing praise at the time.
We also saw similar reactions from our community when we announced our current Freeman of the City recipients – Margaret Kelly (2005), John Burfitt (2010), Denis Ryan (2018) and Jocelyn Lindner (2018).
Our community rightly puffs its collective chest out and takes pride in the achievements of our own at these times, as we should.
And there are a host of other local residents who’ve done us proud the world over in their respective fields and made ‘Mildura’ a city to remember.
But civic pride isn’t just about awards or international achievements. Civic pride means different things to different people.
It could mean keeping your front garden tidy, shopping local to support Sunraysia businesses, sweeping a footpath or volunteering your time to help others.
It’s about taking pride in the community you call home, which then spurs us on to make our region an even better place to live.
Along with my fellow Councillors and Council staff, I saw this in action last week at our first Community Conversations event of the year in Red Cliffs.
It was fantastic to see the pride those in attendance have for their town, and the resulting passion they have for its future and the numerous questions and ideas directed at us. We need to see more of this.
It’s something we as Councillors will continue pushing hard this year – being proud of our region and who we are.
Cr Liam Wood
Mildura Rural City Council