The best of Bankstown's natural environment was on display on Wednesday night at the awards ceremony for the HomeGrown Garden and Photography Competition. I was pleased to go along and acknowledge the entrants and present the winners with their prizes. This year, Council had received more than 30 garden entries and over 130 photography submissions. The various garden entries highlighted the great pride our residents and businesses have in gardening and beautifying our City, while the competition also generated a unique collage of photos showcasing the rich diversity of plants, animals and natural landscapes which enrich our area.
Later that evening I had the privilege of hosting a Mayoral Reception for Bishop Issam John Darwish and Bishop Robert Rabbat. Bishop Darwish has left his post as the Melkite Greek-Catholic Eparch of Australia and New Zealand after fifteen years. His legacy will be his tremendous wisdom and a commitment to enduring friendship and harmony between all faiths, having a profound impact on his congregants, the Eparchy and the community at large. The evening was also an opportunity to formally welcome Most Reverend Robert Rabbat to our community. As the new Eparch, Bishop Rabbat brings with him a great wealth of life experience and a devotion to community harmony and strong leadership. Tania Mihailuk MP was also in attendance.
On Thursday I attended a memorial service commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Syrian Campaign in 1941. The Governor of NSW, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Sir Nicholas Shehadie AC OBE and Tania Mihailuk MP were amongst the dignitaries. Thank you to Dick Payten OAM of the 7th Australian Division AIF Association for organising the service.
On Saturday morning, I officially opened the Pedal Against Poverty Ride at the Criterion Circuit at Bass Hill. The 24 hour cycling event raises funds in an effort to help break the cycle of poverty in communities overseas that are suffering from debilitating poverty and it was great to see so many cyclists supporting this worthy cause. Glenn Brookes MP was amongst the official guests.
I was pleased to attend the annual dinner of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand on Saturday night. The evening was very well attending with many dignitaries present including Tania Mihailuk MP and many religious leaders. My thanks to His Eminence, Metropolitan Archbishop Paul Saliba for his kind hospitality.