BRIGHT sun shone down on a historic day in Bendoc on Sunday 31st January 2010, with around 150 people gathering at the Resource Centre for the Commemoration of the Bendoc Pioneer Wall.
The wall itself was gleaming on the day, displaying many plaques that have been donated by the descendants of the pioneering families of the area in order to preserve their memory.
Organisers were delighted to see so many younger people attending the event, with everyone from great grandparents down through to teenagers and even babies all being a part of the day.
President of the Bendoc Progress Association, the Reverend Bruce Gallacher opened the proceedings by thanking all who were in attendance, particularly acknowledging those who had travelled long distances. Some came from as far away as Queensland, Sydney, Canberra, and Bairnsdale amongst other areas, and Reverend Gallacher expressed how wonderful it was to see the commitment of these travellers to come and honour their forebears.
During his address Rev Gallacher also said how fortunate the gathering was that the pioneering families ventured so far from their homelands, settling this part of the country without the facilities or equipment we take for granted today.
He reminded the group that there was no electricity, running water, or carved roads for the convenience of early settlers. The Reverend explained that all cutting of timber was done without the use of chainsaws, and that any equipment they did have had to be brought with them or improvised.
He marvelled at the tenacity of all the pioneers, walking long distances to reach the Monaro, building their own homes, clearing the land and raising children.
With familiar names such as Jamieson, Cameron, Guthrie, Sellers and Hepburn being represented amongst several others, Rev Gallacher also invited any other pioneer families yet to be honoured to donate plaques to the Memorial Wall.
As another very special feature of the day, the Reverend also honoured the World War II veterans whose names will appear on the Bendoc and District Honour Roll.
He ended the ceremony with a prayer, thanking all the pioneers for their endeavours in building this great country, for their perseverance and determination, even in adversity, to make a better life for themselves and their families.
He also offered a prayer for all of those who served in WWII, and thanked them for their contribution to the nation.
The gathering was then invited to enjoy lunch at the Bendoc Community Hall, with a fantastic buffet of cold cuts, salads and fresh fruit being enjoyed by all.
Afterwards many also attended a church service at the historically listed Bendoc Union Church, followed by a shared afternoon tea of cream sponges, scones, slices and fruit cake in the hall.
The event proved a thoroughly enjoyable one, with many taking the opportunity to meet up with old friends, renew friendships, and catch up with relatives not seen for many years; staying on long after the formal proceedings to continue reminiscing.
Copies of the booklet printed for the occasion are available from the Bendoc Resource Centre at a cost of $5, plus $2 postage and handling, and the centre can be contacted on 6458 1402 for any further information.
A Bendoc specific website will also be developed over coming months, and any contributions are greatly appreciated through the same contact number.
Organisers would like to offer their sincere appreciation to all of those who assisted in making Sunday such a great success for the Bendoc and wider community.