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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3453

Dr HENDY (Eden-Monaro) (09:51): Last Friday I had the great pleasure of attending a senior citizens event, a seniors expo, held in Braidwood during Seniors Week. For those of you who have never been there, Braidwood is one of the many glorious historic towns in Eden-Monaro. It was a goldmining town in the 1860s and was famously raided by Ben Hall, the bushranger, during those years. There are some really classic examples of early Australian buildings in Braidwood that have been restored such that the main street is arguably one of the very best in New South Wales. Although in the recent past it was a town largely built around sheep and cattle farming, Braidwood is now being revitalised by an influx of creative people—artists, writers, potters, quilters and artisans—all attracted by the rural lifestyle and wonderful pace of life in a rural community.

The Braidwood seniors expo was sponsored by Ageing, Disability and Home Care, part of the New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services. All credit to the O'Farrell government for sponsoring the seniors expo. It was held at the National Theatre and Community Centre in Wallace Street, thought to be the oldest operating picture theatre in Australia. The Braidwood seniors expo aimed to provide information on the services and products available for seniors in the Braidwood region.

There were static displays from various organisations on health issues, financial services and other topics of interest to seniors. There were some social and cultural groups demonstrating their skills, including the SES seeking volunteers. I talked to many people manning the various stalls. We spoke about the recently dry weather conditions and the relief that recent rains have brought. Indeed, it has been pouring over the last 24 hours. Many people also raised mobile phone and other black spot issues, which I have passed on to the Minister for Communications.

During the opening of formal proceedings that morning, I was especially pleased to be able to present a certificate to Marge McCann, who recently published an account of her life in a book entitled Bobby. In a moving speech, Marge reminisced about her life and reminded us all about valuing life and life's journey and the importance of family.

Congratulations to all those involved in this seniors expo. Events like this one are not a success by accident. I would especially like to pass on my thanks to organiser Judy Marston for such a great morning in Braidwood. As I have often said, volunteers are the lifeblood of rural and regional communities. We can never thank them enough for the selfless work they do.