On 8 March Hepburn celebrated International Women’s Day at a function held at the Daylesford Town Hall – a respectful and earnest event run according to the formula established successfully over the last 18 years. The founder, Heather Mutimer, was in attendance, as was Federal member for Ballarat, the Hon Catherine King.

The Heather Mutimer Honour Roll was established in 2005 to pay tribute to the women in Hepburn Shire whose contribution, courage and example have led to significant social change for women.

About 100 people attended the Town Hall bedecked with  purple, white and green bunting made by the IWD advisory committee years ago, and beautiful purple, white and green floral arrangements made for the event each year by the Creswick Garden Club.

Auntie Marilyne Nicholls welcomed all to country and told a traditional Dja Dja Wurung Bunjil foundation story.

Cr Lesley Hewitt who is a member of the Victorian Honour Roll for Women, was a very warm and welcoming MC for the evening.

The Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie gave a wide-ranging speech notable for its reflections on the role of men in affirming women and addressing long term sustainable change in the status of women.

Guest speaker, Claire Culley, CEO of the Otis Foundation, spoke of her own journey as a breast cancer survivor and of the role she and others played in the Western Health service of Melbourne in developing support services for women with breast cancer.

The brief presentations by year 11 Daylesford College students, Alice and Lucy, were inspirational as was the performance by Lily Austin singing and accompanying herself on guitar.

The highlight of the evening is always the announcement of inductees for the Honour Roll. This year there was one inductee: Joanne Pegg, Principal of the Bullarto Primary School. Joanne is greatly loved and respected for her inclusion of children living with disability. She spoke passionately about what she has been able to achieve and the influence of her mother in shaping her aspirations. Joanne is recognized for her important achievements as an educator and as a role model.

Outside, in front of the Town Hall, about ten demonstrators including well known social activists, Meg Ulman and Patrick Jones, protested the requirement by Council of evidence of double vaccination against COVID-19 to be presented at entry. Their presence did not deter those who attended the ceremony.