Staff and volunteers from the CFA, SES, Ambulance Victoria, Dhelkaya Health and others involved in responding to emergencies in Mount Alexander Shire gathered at Castlemaine Art Museum on Sunday 30 April. They were gathered together for the ‘In Praise of First Responders’ event presented by Castlemaine Art Museum and Dhelkaya Health.
Cr Bill Maltby thanked these everyday heroes for their contribution to our community on behalf of Mount Alexander Council. Sue Race CEO of Dhelkaya Health acknowledged the extraordinary teamwork and collaboration between services in times of crisis.
Sue said in her address: “I know from experience that with your service often comes risk and a burden of stress. Despite this, you carry on and I want to express the deep gratitude and admiration which we all feel for what you do.”
Christine Nixon AO spoke about how she valued her own involvement with art as a way of maintaining wellbeing and the pleasure she has making and learning about mosaics. She passed on the advice given to her when she became Commissioner of Victoria Police: “This isn’t a race, it’s a marathon, and you need to take time out to care for your wellbeing to stay the distance.”
For Naomi Cass Director of Castlemaine Art Museum who initiated the idea for the event: “We were delighted with the attendance, particularly on a sunny Sunday in beautiful Castlemaine! Visiting Castlemaine Art Museum is free and has so much to offer First Responders looking for a quiet and uplifting experience, as an individual or as a group, children are welcome. Visitors are invited to experience the art and the museum collections in any way they wish, there’s no right or wrong way to experience art!”
There was very much a party atmosphere as guests and their families enjoyed both the gallery and each other’s company. Many families had two generations of first responders in attendance and many guests had served their community for thirty to forty years.