Since becoming an Australia Day Ambassador eight years ago, Professor Noel Alpins has had the great opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful parts of Victoria. This year he was able to add the Moyne Shire to his list, as he was invited to spend Australia Day 2018 in Mortlake, Western Victoria.
Australia Day Ambassadors have excelled in their field and are chosen for their inspirational qualities, to join communities across the country in recognising the occasion They range from sports or business people to those from the fields of arts and sciences and in Professor Alpins’ case, healthcare. He is known internationally as one of the world’s leading cataract and refractive surgeons and has achieved great acclaim for his pioneering astigmatism treatment and analysis methods. His innovations are now considered standard for assessing global laser eye surgical procedures across the globe.
In the lead up to the day’s events, he was able to take a walk around the town and learn more about the community and the region. “The Mortlake people have a lot to celebrate, in particular such a strong sense of community,” said Professor Alpins. “Around the town you can see all the things they achieve locally, with fresh dairy, beef and seafood in abundance. It really reflects how successful agricultural production has been in this community.”
Professor Alpins also joined local council and shire representatives, as well as award recipients and other prominent locals at a dinner he attended with his wife Sylvia on Australia Day Eve. “It’s great to be able to get out to other parts of Victoria and meet people with different interests, who have lots to tell you about their way of life,” said Professor Alpins. “I’ve been to many different towns around Victoria over the last six years and enjoyed it immensely.”
Mortlake was chosen for the shire’s Australia Day event thanks to the 2018 Citizen of the Year recipient —Judy Robinson — a local to the town. Those in attendance also took part in welcoming new Australians, through the traditional citizenship ceremony. Congratulations went to Young Citizen of the Year Georgia Wareham and acknowledgement was awarded to the 2017 Anzac Day commemorations, as the Community Event of the Year.
In attendance at Mortlake’s Australia Day event were the local Mayor Mick Wolf and president of the local Rotary Club, Noel Rendell among others. Professor Alpins shared his own thoughts on Australia Day and its significance in a speech he gave, as part of the formal proceedings.
One of the key points he made, was about some of the most successful Australians he felt personally inspired by. “This nation and its children have an enterprising spirit. [There’s been] Sir Gustav Nossal, who won Australian of the year in 2000, and who has done so much to advance medical research in Australia. Or Sir Norman Gregg, a past Australian eye specialist, who described the connection between congenital rubella and eye disease at birth, and so many other Australians who have made their mark on the world.”
In addition, Professor Alpins talked about the essence of what it means to be Australian.
“This country is about freedom, friendliness, lifestyle, beautiful landscapes, migration, Indigenous culture, history and opportunity,” he said. “We encourage immigration, we try to preserve our Indigenous culture and everyone who lives here, has the opportunity to succeed.”
He also touched on how his professional experiences globally, informed his perception of home. “I think Australia leads the world in many respects. Our positive attitudes and values in life may be the reason why we have so many successful Australians around the globe.”
For more information on Professor Alpins’ work, contact NewVision Clinics on 1800 20 20 20 or visit our website www.newvisionclinics.com.au.