After a day in federal politics he was probably happy to forget, officially opening Springwood’s Foundation Day celebrations on Saturday must have come as welcome relief for Labor Senator Doug Cameron.
The Kevin Rudd supporter was more comfortable promoting his granddaughter’s upcoming dance performance at the official ceremony than talking about the Labor Party’s latest leadership turmoil — an approach that accurately summed up the spirit of the annual community event.
“That’s what it’s all about on Foundation Day — families coming together,” he said. “So let’s celebrate a great country. Let’s celebrate a great community. Let’s celebrate the volunteers that are here and have a fantastic day.
“I’m looking forward to having a look around, to forgetting about Canberra, to forgetting about politics and just having a nice time with my family.”
Thousands of people flocked to Springwood on Saturday to enjoy the grand parade, streets stalls, live entertainment, Springwood dash and children’s rides.
Springwood Civic Centre was a focal point this year, ahead of its closure for a multi-million dollar redevelopment. Children from the St Thomas Aquinas School choir entertained guests at a morning tea at the landmark building before Blue Mountains Mayor Daniel Myles shared details of the council’s redevelopment plans for the site.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony, State Member for Blue Mountains Roza Sage said the day represented a “sad goodbye” to the civic centre but the new venue would be far superior.
“What we are going to have thanks to the council, the State Government and the Federal Government is going to be something a lot more comfortable and better for the community,” she said.
Marking the naming of Springwood by Governor Macquarie, this year’s Foundation Day had a special emphasis on the Blue Mountains Crossings Bicentenary.
Mrs Sage said this was an event of national significance.
“Those three explorers opened up this country and made the Australia that we know today, with the foresight of a governor like Lachlan Macquarie,” she said.
Mrs Sage also acknowledged the indigenous population of the Blue Mountains in her remarks, as did Federal Member for Macquarie Louise Markus and Senator Cameron.
“We look a lot at the heroic and courageous crossing of the Blue Mountains but we don’t think a lot about how it affected the Aboriginal people who were here,” said Senator Cameron.
“It changed their lives forever in a way that we could not even consider, so I hope . . . we do recognise that the lives of the indigenous people were changed forever and that’s a very important part of the celebration of the crossing.”
Springwood resident Barbara Auton was presented with a Volunteer of the Year award at the ceremony for her community work with groups including the Blue Mountains Lantern Club and Blue Mountains Recreation and Respite Service.