I was appointed an Auspire Ambassador in 2021 and has since been invited to volunteer my time to visit local communities throughout Western Australia to share my personal stories of my Australian experience and discuss topics such as identity, values, culture and inclusion. For Australia Day 2023 I went to the Shire of Northam and I feel grateful and honoured to have had the opportunity to visit the Shire as an Auspire Ambassador and to be part of the Australia Day events there. It was a memorable experience to reflect on the journey of our First Nations people at the Bilya Koort Boodja and listen to the moving Welcome to Country by Daniel Garlett.
The Citizen of the Year Awards was a touching moment where we acknowledged the contributions of the volunteers and community members to the Shire. It was an honour to hand out Certificates and tokens of appreciation to the awardees, and it filled me with joy to see the smiles on their faces. It’s remarkable how much impact a community can make when everyone comes together.
The evening event was just as special, where we learned about Aboriginal stars and constellations and had the opportunity to stargaze with Astrotourism WA. We were also treated to a performance of significant dances by the Ballardong People by a group of young men. I was fascinated to learn about their customs and traditions, and it was a great reminder of how much there is to learn from our First Nations people.
The launch of my book “Terminal 4 – An Entrepreneur’s Journey from Bicycle to Business Class” by the Shire of Northam Libraries was a highlight of the trip for me. It was a privilege to have the opportunity to share my story and donate copies of the book to the library and a few other places in the town. It was heartwarming to see the enthusiasm and support of the community, and I’m grateful for their warm welcome.
I’m thankful to the Australian Government through Auspire – Australia Day Council WA and all the amazing people in Northam who made the trip possible. The experience was enlightening and filled with moments of joy and inspiration, and I’m excited to go back soon and continue to learn from this wonderful community.
Australia Day celebrations in Northam
Book launch at the Northam Public Library
I chose to stay a couple more days at the gorgeous Farmer’s Home Hotel, where the Shire accommodated me. I wanted to explore the nearby towns of Toodyay and York as well as meet with some of the wonderful people I met at both my book launch event at the Northam Public Library and at the Australia Day celebrations at Bilya Koort Boodja. I visited the York Motor Museum where I saw the actual ute from Crocodile Dundee complete with Paul Hogan’s autograph on the dashboard. I explored the historical streets of Toodyay and was surprised to find a Coca Cola Museum and Cafe in the middle of the town.