Stars shine at opening
By CHRISTIAN STANGER
IT'S official, the Australian Walk Of Fame has been launched at Tweed Heads with it's first induction ceremonies held yesterday.
Olympic gold medalist swimmers Grant Hackett and Petria Thomas joined fellow inductees businessman Keith Williams and musician Billy Thorpe on the stage of the Twin Towns Showroom to put their handprints and their bronze stars in cement and accept their awards.
The first of the inductees, Grant Hackett said he was honoured to be a part of what will eventually become a very long list of outstanding Australians, and to be the first on the list was a great achievement.
"When your trying to achieve throughout your swimming career, you think of the medals and the titles that you can win but you never think of the by-products of being successful and achieving something like this massive," the Gold Coast-based athlete said.
Hackett's friend and former teammate Petria Thomas said she was honoured to be a part of the new walk.
The Mullumbimby product said to be inducted alongside someone like Hackett was a true honour.
Thomas, who has retired from competitive swimming said she had seen Hackett blossom from a young age into the superfish he is today.
One of Australia's most successful tourist industry entrepreneurs, Keith Williams said his induction was a very new experience for him.
"I've had a few honours for various things before but I've never put my hands in the cement, so that's a new experience," said Williams, the man behind many of Queensland's biggest developments.
Billy Thorpe noted the irony of the stars being displayed on the sidewalk around the Johnny O'Keefe Statue outside Twin Towns since he was the one who took over from O'Keefe's television show all those years ago.
"So here I am, on the ground at his feet in his shadow for the rest of eternity. He would absolutely love that," Thorpe said with tongue firmly in cheek.
"This is the fourth walk I've been added to and I'm still really honoured by it.'
Prior to Billy Thorpe's induction, a charity auction was held netting $7000 with all proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.