refugee-2

People from Indigo and the Border gather in a Beechworth park in April 2015 to welcome refugees. Photo: Jamie Kronborg / Ovens and Murray Advertiser

BEECHWORTH’S Jane Fowler participates in many organisations, including Border Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support and the Film Society. In the third of a series of Kerferd Oration 2016 lead-in articles, she writes about what she believes her community can celebrate.


I’D like to celebrate the richness and diversity of genuinely good people who live in our community, and the willingness of these people to become involved in the many and varied groups and organisations that constitute a thriving community.

These groups provide endless opportunities for active involvement and input at committee level, for skills sharing, for political activism, for learning, and for pure enjoyment. Our lives are thus enormously enriched, and the benefits to our community are immeasurable.

I’d like to celebrate the numerous opportunities we have in this community for learning and enjoyment. People in my demographic have access to Indigo University of the Third Age (U3A), which provides both social and educational opportunities at a time of significant change in many people’s lives. And there are book groups, choirs, a dancing group, croquet, bowls…the list goes on.

I’d like to celebrate the many volunteers who selflessly give of their time and talents to enrich our organisations and the community in general. Examples that spring to mind are Quercus Beechworth, Arcade Opportunity Shop, Border Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Group and Stanley Rural Community Incorporated. The clients of Beechworth Health Service and Indigo Shire also benefit greatly from volunteer input.

Finally and just as importantly I’d like to celebrate the instant support that emerges from all quarters for those in our community who find themselves in trouble due to illness, bereavement, accident or other crisis.

As an import from the city, I never cease to be astonished (and touched) by the care and support shown to those in need, particularly to those with no family support.