Peter Cousens AM has been announced as the Oberon Australia Day Ambassador, a role he plans on taking very seriously.
Mr Cousens is an Australian actor and singer born in Tamworth and is known for his work in musical theatre, with major roles including the Phantom in London's West End production of The Phantom of the Opera (1986); he also portrayed Marius in Les Misérables, and Tony in West Side Story.
If musical theatre isn't your thing, you may recognise him from the different Australian Television productions he has starred in such as The Sullivans, The Young Doctors, Sons and Daughters and The Restless Years.
"Look, it is always great to be an ambassador, I get a chance to discover someplace new. I am originally from Tamworth so I really enjoy seeing other regional and rural towns and I feel very much at home going to places like Oberon," he said.
"I find it really gratifying, you sort of feel much closer to what one's view of the diversity of Australia is. I avoid the city ceremonies and I've only done one here, it's very particular and lacking in a community.
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Mr Cousens said he recognises the amount of effort that goes into these ceremonies.
"It's only one day of the year but it is a day which the community is all about deciding to commit to, to celebrating and it is a day that does have some controversy around it, but most people just kind of move through all that and understand, appreciate and respect it," he said.
Mr Cousens said the concept of enduring is something that has become more and more prevalent.
"I think this whole concept of of enduring is what we kind of do in life really and if you look at history, people have just endured all the stuff going on around them, just like we're doing at the moment. We've got all this COVID stuff and everything else and people relate to one another about the hardship of it all," he said.
"We just quietly endure and in 20 years time, we'll look back and people will go, 'oh, well, that was that' and this is happening in communities and societies and countries and presumably the world, and we're all wonderfully part of it.
"Enduring, I think, is what we do at the moment."
Mr Cousens hasn't been to Oberon before but he is looking forward to coming up on January 25 with his wife and going to Jenolan Caves for a dinner before attending the ceremony on January 26.
"I'm going to sing the national anthem which I'm looking forward to, I hope I don't get the words wrong, I haven't sung it live for a while, I used to do the rugby or the odd corporate event but it is nerve wracking because it's a song that people always watch for, so you've got to get it right," he said.
Mr Cousens is hoping to get around and see different parts of the town and do some sightseeing.
"We want to be generous with people's time, I'm sure council don't want to cart some idiot from Sydney around so maybe they'll give me a map and say 'go and look at this'," he joked.
When asked about a highlight in Mr Cousens career, he of course praised the town he would soon be visiting.
"In my career? Well, in two weeks when I go to Oberon of course," he said.
"If you're living in the present and in the now then that will probably be the highlight of my next two weeks.
"But I've had some really wonderful experiences which I've enjoyed and I have a lot of highlights from those."
Mr Cousens said he is grateful and honoured to be apart of Oberon's Australia Day.
"I always love seeing the Citizenship Ceremony too, they don't always happen but when they do they're pretty moving, because it is such a huge, huge thing," he said.
"When you are born in the country you don't realise just what people do to get to the country to live here and then what they go through to become citizens and how much it means to them, it's a very courageous feeling.
"I often recite the words they say in my own head because Australians who are born here don't get that opportunity and it's sort of challenging yourself to realise what citizenship is all about."