Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 17-03-2015 Contents Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - 10
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All friends welcome on St Patrick's Day
Jill and John Hanson will celebrate St Patrick's Day at the Canberra Irish Club, Weston. Photo: Matt Bedford
Donning green, shamrock-stamped
clothing and sipping pints of Guinness
will be just some of the public displays
of affection for Ireland and the Irish
that Canberra will see on Tuesday.
Those with Irish heritage and those
sympathetic to Guinness celebrate the
day on March 17 each year.
Canberrans Jill and John Hanson are
descendants of Irish farmers who
emigrated to Australia about 140 years
ago. Both are instilled with a deep
sense of Irish pride, and plan to make
the most of their St Patrick's Day
Mrs Hanson said the couple would
start the day with a hearty Irish
breakfast at the Canberra Irish Club in
Weston, while being entertained with
Irish dancing displays.
"Later on [in the day], we will
return to the Irish Club to enjoy good
company, humour, music and dancing,
and a steak and Guinness pie with a
pint or two of Guinness," she said.
The Hansons are part of the Friends
of Ireland Club in Canberra, which
seeks to promote the contribution the
Irish have made to the Australian way
She said her husband had been
delving into the mysteries of his Irish
heritage for many years and the St
Patrick's Day celebrations were a
continuation of that journey.
"The Friends of Ireland Society,
which meets at the Canberra Irish
Club, continues that journey and
provides an educational and
enlightening experience here in
Canberra," she said.
An ecumenical service will also be
held in Barton at noon on St Patrick's
Day, at the Centre for Christianity and
Culture. "The Celtic choir and an Irish
harpist will perform, and a little touch
of Gaelic speaking makes for a warm
Irish occasion.'' The society welcomes
everyone at the St Patrick's Day event
because there were no strangers at an
Irish function, just friends you have
not met yet, Mrs Hanson said.
Tour turned out
to be eye-opener
As part of my role as chairman of the
Senate Standing Committee on
Community Affairs Legislation, I've
had the chance to go around the
country and hear about key health and
welfare issues affecting people.
It's often sobering and inspiring as
I listen to the experiences of people
dealing with chronic health conditions
and disabilities, and to hear of the
many community groups who offer
support through frontline services in
countless practical ways.
Here in Canberra I've been able to
meet with groups such as the
Richmond Fellowship, Mental Health
Foundation ACT, who deliver
information and referral services, and
recovery support for people dealing
with mental illness.
It's not always easy to provide these
services to people in need but these
groups are always professional and
full of compassion as they seek to put
the needs of their clients first.
Each of these groups work at the
coalface in helping those struggling
through illness to find a way through
so they can build a life that is fulfilling
and integrated into society.
I was able to visit one of their
facilities last week and meet some of
the young people and families who
have been able to use the support of
They have faced the challenges life
has thrown at them with dignity and
courage. There is much we can learn
from their stories.
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