Anniversary marks coming together of councils

Wattle Range Council marked its 25th year of operation on Friday with a civic reception in the Millicent Gallery hosted by Mayor Des Noll.

The council was formed on July 1, 1997 following the voluntary mergers of the Millicent, Penola and Beachport councils.

Among the 30 in attendance at the late afternoon event were past and serving councillors and senior staff.

Speeches of congratulation were made by Andrew Eastick (last Penola Mayor), Mark Braes (Wattle Range Mayor 2006-2010) and Frank Brennan (last Millicent Council district manager 1988- 1997 and first Wattle Range chief executive 1997-2013).

A celebratory cake was jointly cut by Mr Eastick, Mary Van Schaik (widow of the last Millicent Mayor Jim Van Schaik) and Gwenda Lawlor (last Beachport Council chairman and merger committee chairman).

Among the other honoured guests were Peter Gandolfi (Wattle Range Mayor 2010-2018), Grant Humphries (last Beachport Council district clerk) and Helen Ferguson (widow of the first Wattle Range Mayor Don Ferguson 1997-2006).

Greater Shepparton City Council chief executive Peter Harriott was Wattle Range chief executive from 2013-2016 and he was among those to tender their apologies.

The 1990s was a time of change in local government across Victoria and South Australia.

In this region, the Port MacDonnell District Council and the Mount Gambier District Council merged to form the Grant District Council.

Naracoorte Lucindale Council was also formed by merging two adjoining councils.

Tatiara, Mount Gambier, Robe and Kingston councils were unaffected.

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