Mayor's Column 24 October 2018


What a big month October has been for the Dubbo Region. I think everyone knew it was going to be massive with the royal visit but it exceeded even my expectations.

October 17, 2018 will go down as one of the biggest days in the history of Dubbo. Just like we talk about the visits of Queen Elizabeth in 1954 and 1992, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s trip to the city is sure to stay with everyone who witnessed it.

Royal visits are always special, but this one may have been even a little bit more so. We all know a big part of the reason why the Royal couple chose to include Dubbo in their tour. It was because of the drought and the impacts it is having on community’s right across NSW.

It was a significant aspect of their trip here and even though the couple didn’t have time to visit each and every farm around the region, I’m sure all farmers would have appreciated that they wanted to learn more about this crippling drought.

And then there was the fact that it rained during their visit. The community’s spirits had already been lifted by the visit from Prince Harry and Meghan, and when the heavens opened up morale seemed to lift even further.

Make no mistake, we are still a long way from the drought being over, and even once it does, it will still be a long time before farmers can turn a profit and money starts flowing into some smaller communities.

However these moments can help people keep going and I really think that was what happened during the Royal visit.

And our special visitors didn’t shy away from getting a bit damp one the rains started coming down in Victoria Park. They continued to meet people who have been out at the coalface helping Aussie farmers, before Prince Harry delivered that incredible speech.

Let’s hope that this is just the beginning of a period of good rainfall to help our farmers and everyone who is struggling to get back on their feet.

I said this visit would be Dubbo’s chance to shine on the world stage and it really did sparkle like a jewel in the crown. From the minute they arrived and were greeted by school children at the airport, through to their time with the crowd at Victoria Park and then their visit to Dubbo College, Dubbo was being shown and promoted nationally and internationally.

I couldn’t have imagined it going any better. I have to thank the Council staff who did a fantastic job getting the city ready. It was a big task at short notice but it was done superbly. Victoria Park looked amazing with not a single blade of grass out of place. Likewise at the Airport.

The logistics of pulling together an event like this are complex but it was done so well. There was so much done behind the scenes and everyone involved deserves tremendous credit.

Just as our residents deserve credit. Without the incredible turnout at Victoria Park, the event wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good as it was. People turned out despite the weather threat and then persevered through the rain and storms to see Prince Harry and Meghan.

It really made the Picnic in the Park a special event, with a fun feel.

And while the Royal couple have been and gone, there is still plenty happening here.

This weekend includes the final DREAM Festival events, including the famous Lantern Parade and night markets. We also have the Fire and Rescue NSW Firefighter State Championships at Ollie Robbins Oval, and the interesting new Beach Footy event at the showground. I hope to see you out and about.

Last Edited: 24 Oct 2018

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