Brad’s brush with legends
THIS Australia Day was particularly special for Brad Farmer of Tumbulgum, the Founder of Surfrider Foundation and National Ocean Care Day.
It was the third consecutive year that he's been invited to be an Australia Day Ambassador.
But this year at the official Sydney celebrations he met some of our nation's modern day heroes, including our most celebrated contemporary war veteran.
After an Australia Day Lunch served at the iconic Luna Park, Brad had the honour of spending time with Victoria Cross recipients including Keith Payne VC.
He is among a number who feature in the Australian Legends - Victoria Cross commemorative stamp collection released by Australia Post to coincide with the centenary of the First World War.
"It was truly an honour to meet living legends, and especially poignant as Keith had served with my late father in Vietnam in 1969," Brad said.
"He is such a straight- talking Aussie with a wry sense of humour about his life and his great love for his country."
Meeting Ben Roberts-Smith, Australia's most decorated modern soldier, who also received a Medal for Gallantry for extreme heroism under fire during Operation Slipper in Afghanistan, was another thrill.
"Ben is a giant of a man in stature and courage," he said.
"He spoke with great love and passion about his love of country and the freedoms we enjoy here, which far too many often take for granted.
"Talking casually with both Ben and the new NSW Governor, his Excellency General David Hurley, was a reminder of how open we are as a nation."
Brad is a fifth generation Aussie whose family were originally from Ireland. He is a legend himself for his environmental interests and activism.
He gained worldwide notoriety in the 1990s when as a Greenpeace anti nuclear activist in the Soviet Artic, he was arrested tortured and imprisoned by the KGB, and this political incident and later release made news world wide.
He has strong and patriotic opinions about his country and said: "Many original Australians regard this as invasion day, and I see my role also to bring awareness of the world's first and most ancient culture of 60,000 years and make people aware of the great contribution that country people make."