Australia 28 June: Port Fairy, Vic - Mt Gambier, SA

A true Torch-Bearer

Because it was to be such a big day today, a few of the boys team got out early to clock up some kilometres before our engagements began.

While the boys were running, there was a lot to discuss as we pored over all the recent media coverage of the Peace Run:

* first of course this video posted to Vimeo by Mark O'Loughlin of the boys team singing the World Harmony Run song;
* the Yarrawonga Chronicle's coverage of the team's visit there last week;
* the newsletter of St Patrick's at Port Fairy from last week where our forthcoming visit was announced (we shall be there this morning);
* this announcement from the Moyne Shire Council of an event we will be attending later this morning!

Paulette from Eastern Beach Holiday Units kindly donated a lovely two-bedroom apartment to the boy's team for last night – unfortunately we arrived too late to obtain a decent photo in the dark! Her son Billy accepted the Certificate of Appreciation on her behalf this morning.

We were delighted to discover that Billy attends the very same school that was first up on today's schedule. He was very excited when we asked him if he would like to run with us to his school.

Billy proudly led the way along the Port Fairy Beachfront and past some of the most scenic parts of the town.

He is a very fast runner!

St Patrick’s Parish Primary School is a charming school of 185 students.

The school children were very still and silent during the heart exercise.

After our presentation indoors we ran with the children around the school oval. Often this is a time when the children can become a little wild with excitement. The children of St Patrick’s Parish Primary School were typically enthusiastic yet strikingly considerate in their readiness to share the torch equally amongst all present. It was very nice to see such awareness and thoughtfulness.

School leaders Ted, Lilly, Meg and Charlie led the team out of the school.

Our girls team report starts here: What a gigantic and deeply rewarding day today has been! After warming ourselves from the Peace Torch ...

... the girls team started at Port Fairy Consolidated Primary School.

The children were delightful and made many of us cry with the performance of their school song.

Ollie and Isla, two of the school ambassadors, received the Certificate and Jharna-Kala World Harmony painting by Sri Chinmoy on behalf of the school.

Mark Chapman.

Teachers were also happy to hold the Peace Torch.

Port Fairy Consolidated School.

Marcus and Eric, two other school ambassadors, with Ollie and Isla carried the Peace Torch with us to the neighbouring St Patricks Primary School where we were joined by the boys team who had just concluded their visit there.

Port Fairy Council organised a stellar reception for the team. A big thank you to Emma Riddlington for her countless hours of hard work in bringing it all together.

Moyne Shire Youth Councillor, Ally McKenzie sang the national anthem. Her voice was both powerful and sweet at the same time.

Mayor Jim Doukas spoke beautifully about the significance of peace.

All the Peace Run team introduced themselves and their countries.

The kindergarten children had prepared some delightful artwork.

At the heart of today's ceremony, Mayor Doukas honoured one of Australia’s national treasures, singer songwriter Archie Roach, by presenting him with the Peace Run Torch-Bearer award on behalf of the Peace Run for his devoted service in uplifting and uniting Australians.

Archie, Cr Jim Doukas, the Peace Runners and all present were extremely moved by this presentation, which was clearly deeply appreciated by Archie.

Archie performed two songs from his new album for us, “Let Love Rule” and “It’s not too late” which had us all in rapture.

Today's proceedings were quick to be reported by various media:

* The Standard brought out this excellent report very soon after the occasion;
* Australia News followed The Standard's article;
* the Moyne Shire Council's Facebook page was quickly updated;
* Coast FM kept us all up to date, including video footage from Peace Run events around the globe.

There were representatives from every generation of the community from kindergarten children right through to one lovely man who was 103 years old!

The community of Port Fairy provided the team with a truly memorable experience. Thank you!

Team captain, Atul always has pen and paper to hand.

The girls first run today was from Port Fairy to Portland, grateful for the morning tea provided by Moyne Shire earlier, which kept us energised until late afternoon.

Carolina and Sebastian, tourists from Berlin held the Peace Torch along the way. Thank you for your support!

Next stop was Portland Primary School.

We were joined by Cr Alistair McDonald from the Shire of Glenelg who presented the Certificate of Appreciation to Jayden, Maddie and Emily.

The students were gentle, attentive, creative and confident and we especially enjoyed their interpretations of peace.

Cr McDonald spoke with the Peace Run team after school and told us a bit about the Shire of Glenelg which boasts approximately 22,000 – about a third of whom live in Portland. The region is known for logging and cropping with the port’s main seagoing traffic of large container ships of lentils, hardwoods and woodchips. Cr McDonald has been a marathon runner in his early days and has now taken up surfing and visiting Bali. He practised his Indonesian with team member Ella. Thanks Alistair for taking the time to come and meet with us today.

The boys team were meanwhile back on the road.

Some more running for the girls team into early Winter sunset as another day on this Peace Run draws to a close.

Tonight’s accommodation for our girls team is kindly sponsored by Joy at Mt Gambier Central Caravan Park – still proudly displaying their Certificate of Appreciation from a previous Peace Run visit!

Thank you to Joy and to her daughter Karla, who is pictured here with her darling grand-daughter Matea.

Having started in the dark this morning, our boys team greeted another night.

The ecstatic end of a big day of running for the boys team with the five boys covering a total of 125 km and entering the State of South Australia.

Some of our team are staying tonight at the Grand Central Motel in the heart of Mt Gambier.

The remainder of our team are being taken care of by Douglass at the Jubilee Motor Inn. Thank you for your kindness!