It’s Our Birthday

Published on 21 September 2022

Image - Independence Celebration Committee.jpg

28 October 2022 marks the 20th anniversary of the declaration of the Mansfield Shire Council following de-amalgamation from the Delatite Shire Council in 2002. This is a significant milestone in Mansfield’s history and is cause for the community to come together to celebrate our independence.

An open invitation is extended to the Mansfield community to attend a free celebration event to be held at the Mansfield Botanic Park on Saturday 22 October commencing at 10.00 am. The event will include food, music and a few short speeches from the leaders of the separation movement.

The celebration aims to involve as many people as possible, and all are welcome to attend, to ensure that the work done 20 years ago in reclaiming the Shire is not forgotten.

Council called for Expressions of Interest from community members to form the Independence Anniversary Celebration Committee to determine the most appropriate way to commemorate the anniversary. Don Cummins, Tony Tehan and Peter Howarth, all leaders in the original movement to de-amalgamate, were appointed to the Committee and will be supported by Council officers.

Mr Cummins was one of the main players in bringing about unanimous agreement from Benalla and Mansfield Shire representatives to separate. 

“I recall the massive public effort over a number of years that was required to overcome the disastrous amalgamation forced on the Mansfield community in 1994,” he said. 

“Due to a very hard-working group of passionate people and with the overwhelming support of the community, the shared objective of independence was achieved.

“The benefits were instantaneous and it’s a lesson not to be forgotten”.

Mayor Cr. James Tehan said that it was an incredible achievement to have gained independence as Mansfield Shire following the State Government reforms of 1994 which saw the amalgamation of 210 local government areas in Victoria to 78. 

“Mansfield is the only council to have ever successfully de-amalgamated,” he said.

“Since that time, Mansfield Shire Council has continued to grow and prosper with continual investment in infrastructure and services to ensure our community remains sustainable, healthy and connected.

“This anniversary provides us with an opportunity to share our history and to acknowledge what was achieved, and the importance of continuing to protect what we have.”

Over the coming weeks and in the leadup to the celebration event, there will be a series of articles published in the Mansfield Courier and on Council’s website. These articles tell the story of the community’s eight-year struggle to regain local government dedicated to Mansfield Shire.

The historical record of how de-amalgamation was achieved, ‘The 79th Shire’ by Don Cummins and Will Twycross, will be reprinted as part of the anniversary. 

Pictured: Independence Anniversary Celebration Committee members (L-R:  Gareth MacDonald, Economic Development Officer Tourism and Events, Don Cummins, Lisa Fricke, Communications Coordinator, Peter Howarth and Tony Tehan)

Tagged as: