Wee Waa and district residents beat the heat on Australia Day, celebrating early with the town’s breakfast event kicking off at 7am.

This year, the Australia Day Council theme was: Reflect, Respect, Celebrate and the Namoi Echo Museum, with the support of the Narrabri Shire Council, hosted a community gathering to mark the occasion.

“We were delighted to be able to do the breakfast in the morning when it’s cooler, and then if anyone wanted to go on to Narrabri or Boggabri for the other events later in the day they could,” said Wee Waa and District Historical Society president Julie Dowleans OAM.

Check out photos from Australia Day in Wee Waa: Australia Day in Wee Waa 2024 | Gallery – The Courier (narrabricourier.com.au)

Lions Club members served up their sensational signature bacon and egg rolls at the Australia Day breakfast with coffee, tea and cool drinks quenching the crowd’s thirst on the sunny summer’s morning.

Proud Gamilaraay woman Helen Wenner engaged the crowd as she delivered the Acknowledgement to Country in Language and in English.

Next, attendees stood to sing the Australian National Anthem as the Wee Waa Community Band played along beautifully, adding to the morning’s upbeat atmosphere.

“If it wasn’t for all our wonderful volunteers, it wouldn’t happen,” said Julie.

“They know how to do what they do, and they all do it wonderfully.

“There’s no stress, although I was a little bit stressed the week before but that was just because I wanted it to be right and I want our community to be to be proud of what we do at the museum and how we do it – and we do it well.

“I’m glad Helen came and her and the ambassador had quite a long chat too, which was great to see.

“And Max Pringle (who recited a poem) is always a wonderful supporter of the museum and Wee Waa.

“It was also lovely to see the councillor representation here too and (community development officer) Elodie.”

Chamber of Commerce president and councillor John Clements introduced Narrabri Shire Council mayor Darrell Tiemens and praised Cr Tiemens’ support and interest in the Wee Waa community.

Cr Tiemens addressed the crowd and gave the shire’s Australia Day ambassador Clyde Campbell AM a very warm Wee Waa welcome.

Mr Campbell is the founder of the Shake It Up Australia Foundation.

The not-for-profit organisation was established in 2011 and, in partnership with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, promotes and funds research into the disease in Australia.

At the age of 44, Mr Campbell was diagnosed with Parkinson’s after noticing a tremor in his lefthand while he was holding notes and doing a presentation for work.

Understandably, the question Mr Campbell initially asked himself is one that more than 100,000 Australians with Parkinson’s potentially wonder too: “Why me?”.

Mr Campbell set out to learn as much as possible about Parkinson’s – what was being done worldwide to find a cure and what he could do to make a difference.

Julie said she was really impressed with Mr Campbell’s positive attitude.

“He was the most interesting, genuine and inspirational man I have ever met,” she said.

“He’s had Parkinson’s since 2009.

“He didn’t dwell, there was no ‘poor me’, he was just like- I need to deal with it, get on with it and try to do something about it.

“We’ve been very lucky with all the ambassadors that we’ve had over the years at the museum, they’ve all had their own special talent, but I think he really resonated with a lot of people – people were saying, ‘I know someone’s who’s got Parkinson’s’.”

Julie said Mr Campbell and his wife Carolyn were very generous with their time, showed a genuine interest in the local community and encouraged questions and conversations with attendees.

Mr Campbell lives with his wife and three children in Sydney.

He runs his own company, providing the latest world-leading technology and turnkey automation and robotics solutions to industrial clients looking for a competitive edge.

Described as ‘a man who likes to get things done’, Mr Campbell has an entrepreneurial spirit and a grand vision.

Following his diagnosis, he decided not to sit back and ‘wait for the rest of the world to find a cure’ but to join the action.

His search led him to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in the United States and the remarkable work they do to fund medical research around the world targeted at finding better treatments on the path to finding a cure for Parkinson’s.

It’s understood Mr Campbell was impressed by the approach MJFF takes to assessing, funding and project managing world’s best research all over the globe eliminates redundancy, ensures efficiency and unites the global community in the mission to find a cure.

He realised that funding Parkinson’s research in partnership with MJFF was the best thing that he could do to help himself, his family and more than 200,000 Australians living with the disease.

With that clear in his mind, Clyde launched Shake it up Australia Foundation and partnered with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, to increase awareness in Australia and increase funding towards finding a cure.

“Since the launch through our partnership with MJFF together we have funded $26 million in research, right here in Australia,” said Mr Campbell.

“One hundred per cent of every donation goes to Australian research as our funding directors cover all foundation overheads.” Mr Campbell was made a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia (General Division) ‘in recognition of his significant service to community health, particularly to people living with Parkinson’s disease.’

Mr Campbell’s speech on Australia Day captured the crowd’s attention.

Despite facing challenges, Mr Campbell’s ability to find silver linings, crack jokes and look to the future with great optimism and hope made listening to his story both inspiring and empowering.

“I can be Clyde who has Parkinson’s, or I can be Clyde who does something about Parkinson’s, and together I think we can win this fight,” he told the Wee Waa crowd.

“If you asked my kids to describe me, they’d go through a whole list of words before even thinking about Parkinson’s, it is part of my life but not my whole life.”

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