Sir John Monash Dinner

By Daniel Hughes

The Murrumbidgee Council held another successful Sir John Monash Annual Dinner and Lecture last Friday night with over 130 people gathering for a great evening.

The night was highlighted by a delicious two course mealcourtesy of Pa & Henderson Patu.

Many hard working volunteers served as wait staff throughout the night highlighted by 2019 dancing with the stars runner up Simi Naicori and 2019 Miss Air pageant Sheridan Mortlock.

The night was lead by Murrumbidgee Mayor Ruth McRay who opened with a thankful note to all who arrived and wished everyone to have a great night.

A tribute to Hon Tim Fischer by Mr Michael Headberry, Director, Saluting Monash Council, opened the lecture portion of the night.

This was followed by the nights guest speaker and great grandson of sir general Monash, Michael Bennett (63) who gave a history about the general and his career.

“It was very special for me to come and meet the locals and speak about the achievements of my great grandfather,” Mr Bennett said.

“It is important to our family to emphasise the importance of understanding the full life of John Monash, from his time as a civil engineer before WW1 building many constructions around southern Australia, to leading the AIF and then his involvement in many nation-building projects after the war.”

Mr Bennett spoke on the importance of honouring fallen Australian heros and in particular, the example and experiences that we can learn from.

“We do need to learn from the experiences of the great people in our history, and John Monash exemplifies many attributes that we all can admire,” he continued.

“He lived by values including applying himself to challenges, determination to overcome adversity and a lifetime of learning and contribution to building Australian society.”

Mr Bennett was also very impressed with the welcome he received from everyone on the night.

“This was such a special night because of the warmth and friendliness of everybody there,” he added.

“They all had a passion to learn about this great figure in our history, and made us feel completely at home.”

The winner of the Sir John Monash Education Bursary was announced, with Grace Leeds being selected from other worthy entrants.

Applicants had to be Murrumbidgee Council residents who, in 2020, are considering entering into post- secondary education through University, College or TAFE, or an approved course of formal training with a Registered Training Organisation.

They were asked to submit a 1000 word essay based around "Reflecting on the Principles Demonstrated by Sir John Monash.”

Grace Leeds (17), is a year 12 student and Jerilderie local for most of her life, who despite an unsuccessful attempt for the Monash Bursary last year, decided to apply herself even more and proved that persistence pays off.

“I believe that this year I had a different approach to the Bursary,” Grace said.

“Rather than looking at Monash as solely ‘Australia’s hero’, I felt that I could relate to a degree due his concern for the community, and my aspirations to become a social worker.

“I would like to peruse social work next year at Wollongong.”

Grace will be using the $2000 bursary to help her studies next year, choosing to invest in technology that will assist her in assignments and organisation.

“I would like to put the money towards a new laptop, ironically it broke a couple days before the Bursary dinner,” she added.”

Grace was "extremely humbled" to receive the award and very thankful for the opportunity to further her education.

“I appreciate the opportunity to receive an award recognising a man that has such an impact on Australia,” she continued.

“I would like to thank the council for this opportunity, Tim fisher for his insightful book and John Monash himself.”