Monday, 24 March 2014

Speech in Parliament - Montrose Men's Shed and Mont De Lancey - 20 March 2014

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (16:35): I rise this afternoon to make mention of two important community events that occurred in the Casey electorate in the last week or so. Last Friday, I had the honour of attending the opening of the Montrose & District Men's Shed. All of us in this House know the great work that groups of volunteers do to raise community passion and the funds needed to open Men's Sheds, and that has certainly been the situation in the Montrose community. With some help from the local council and Councillor Len Cox, the organising committee were able to obtain the old Montrose fire station, that was no longer in use. It was originally built in the 1940s, and for a number of weeks and months they have been restoring that fire station so that it is fit for purpose as a new home for the Montrose & District Men's Shed. They currently have about 15 members.

I want to pay tribute to the president, Max Lamb, and the project leader, Geoff Brown. None of this would have been possible without the dedication of so many contributors in the Montrose community. Montrose, which is in the heart of the Casey electorate, has a very strong local community. I want to make mention of those who made contributions to enable the Montrose & District Men's Shed to get off the ground: the late Ken Dowling, a wonderful man who passed away recently and who did so much for Montrose in so many ways over so many years—his wife, Chris, and their daughter were there for the opening. There is also Gary Brown; Councillor Len Cox, who I have mentioned; Bendigo Bank; the Rotary Club of Montrose and District; and the Montrose & District Lions Club.

On Sunday of last week, I had the pleasure of attending the 21st birthday celebrations for the historic Mont De Lancey in Wandin. This is a historic property that dates back to the late 1800s. Twenty-one years ago, a group of locals—in fact, four descendants of the original pioneers, the Sebire family—got together with the local community to restore this wonderful property into a community asset, which it is today. It is a museum. It is a place where local school children can visit and view firsthand what that part of Australia was like in our colonial days.

After a number of years of work—much fundraising—and with the help of a group of dedicated volunteers, the Mont De Lancey historical home and museum was opened back in March of 1993. It was quite fitting that they had a 21st birthday celebration that brought together all of the volunteers over all of those years on Sunday to celebrate all that they have achieved. It was great to see the president, Alison Sebire, and Gordan Chapman, a past president who has done so much there with so many others. I have absolutely no doubt that Mon De Lancey will go from strength to strength with the community passion and commitment that saw it revived and opened again to the public and that saw it thrive in the years since its opening back in 1993. When the volunteers come together to celebrate their 40th birthday, they will be able to look back on nearly two decades of additional achievement.

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