By Cr Jim Mason
One hundred years ago, the Mannerim Memorial Hall was opened to the public for the first time.
It was built to commemorate those who served and died for their country and their community in the First World War.
Positioned next to Mannerim Station, it became a focal point for sport, meetings, dances and socialising.
Sadly, the hall went by the wayside, falling into disrepair before it was demolished in the 1970s.
The later revitalisation of the site became a great example of the value of community groups working together for a common goal.
Bellarine Landcare Group, Bellarine Police, Mannerim CFA Juniors and other organisations teamed with the site’s trustees, to restore the memorial site.
It is being maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers, who are ensuring that the site is again a place to gather and reflect, and to enjoy a peaceful indigenous garden.
The first Remembrance Day service was held there in 2018, marking the centenary of the end of the Great War.
It was an honour to again join the service last Saturday, 100 years on from the first iteration of this invaluable community space.
The number of people who sacrificed their lives during the First World War will never not be staggering.
An estimated 9 million soldiers dead and 23 million wounded.
The impact was not spared on the farming community of Mannerim.
On the site’s memorial stone are etched the names of 67 young men from Mannerim who served.
Of those, 16 sadly died.
Their stories – and their sacrifice – still hit close to home, with family members and local residents attending the service on Saturday.
We should reflect upon the courage and ideals of our forebears.
We should reflect upon how we need to continue to navigate the difficult path towards sustainable peace in this world.
We can reflect upon what peace and sustainability means for us today. The courage we need to ensure that those lives were not given in vain.
Conflict resolution and peaceful settlement to disputes is our only sustainable way forward.
One of the great features of Christmas in Geelong is the community-led Carols events.
Council provides a total of $80,000 in financial support to a variety of these events, including Ocean Grove’s Carols in the Park.
After multiple years were cancelled due to COVID-19 impacts, it was fantastic to see the event return last year.
Despite the threat of rain and poor weather, more than 1500 people enjoyed the festive songs, the spectacle, a special visit from Santa, and even a little snow.
The largest community gathering in Ocean Grove is back again, on Sunday 10 December.
You can see the full list of Christmas in Geelong activities, at geelongaustralia.com.au/Christmas