Congratulations to our local heroes: Karl, Rita Maree

By Vanessa Wiltshire

Local Hero Awards

‘Local Hero’ awards were awarded for the first time at Advance Heathcote Inc’s annual general meeting.

“The aim of the awards was to bring recognition to unsung members of the community who have contributed much to Heathcote,” Advance Heathcote Inc president Peter Maine said.

Three ‘local heroes’ received awards on Saturday, November 16: Rita Traynor, for services to the Heathcote community: “Emergency care through Vinnies and Red Cross, and co-founder of Heathcote Community Capacity Builders.”

Maree Hingston, for services to arts and culture in Heathcote: “Mudbrick Motley Theatre Group and the Engine Room.”

Karl Kerschbaumer, for advocacy and tenacity for the development of the pedestrian footbridge at Lyall Bridge in Chauncey St — realised in 2019.

Advance Heathcote Inc treasurer Sherrie Coote contributed the following reflection.

Rita Traynor

Rita is a Life Governor at Heathcote Health for her community work and significant contribution to the health service. Rita is a member of the Heathcote Pastoral Care Network and supports the spiritual care of our residents and patients.

Rita was instrumental in setting up the Hydrotherapy Bus to assist local community members to access hydrotherapy services in Bendigo. She is also a member of the Ladies Benevolent Society of Heathcote.

She is a co-founder of the Heathcote Community Capacity Builders and continues to make a significant contribution to the Heathcote and district community.

When her boys were young she was very involved in the country footy and sporting clubs.

Perhaps her largest involvement has been with emergency care both with Vinnies and Red Cross. Even prior to Vinnies coming to Heathcote, Rita provided emergency care from her home and also the hospital.

Maree Hingston

If you enjoy the arts, then you will know Maree Hingston.

In the early 2000s, Maree was instrumental in establishing Mudbrick Motley Theatre Group, which started off as a play-reading group.

In 2005, Mudbrick Motley began live performance productions. One of the most talked about productions was Dimboola!

Maree has been involved at the Community House with a singing group that meets every Friday. The group visits Heathcote Health Aged Care facility every four months and puts on a show for the residents, which they greatly enjoy.

The other major contribution to the cultural life of Heathcote that Maree has locally organised in association with the City of Greater Bendigo Arts is the Engine Room Program.

These performances are held in the RSL Hall and offer our community access to theatrical performances for the low price of $10!

We have enjoyed edgy and topical dramas, new pieces and reinterpretations of old favourites, plus musical performances, comedy and dance. This year, Maree performed the 80-minute, one act, one-woman performance of Resting — a standout performance in her over 40 years of acting experience in theatre, television and film.

The election of Advance Heathcote Inc office bearers for 2019-20 was also held, with the following results.

President – Peter Maine

Vice-President – Stephen Trompp

Treasurer - Sherrie Coote

Secretary – Sandra Slatter

Ordinary Members: Matt Hunt, Hayley Featonby, Eugene Meegan, Kerstin Brauns, Pat Armstrong, Peter Murray and Nathan Quilty.

“Once again, it’s been a big and successful year at Advance Heathcote,” Mr Maine said.

“I’d like to offer these highlights. A couple of priorities which were listed from the 2007 Community Plan were completed. These included the walking footbridge over McIvor Creek, Lyall Bridge, and the completion of the Solar Project for the heating of the community pool, including the construction of a new shelter over the toddlers’ pool. The roof provides additional space for the solar heating. The project was supported by $97,000 funds raised by the Heathcote Community Pool Project Committee.

“Thank you to my Advance Heathcote Team, City of Greater Bendigo, stakeholders and the community. I look forward to another great year in 2020.”