Australian Ambassador to Israel Chris Cannan paid a visit to his old hometown of Victor Harbor

VICTOR TO ISRAEL: Former Victor Harbor High School student Chris Cannan visited his hometown and was a guest speaker at his old school on Friday, September 13.
VICTOR TO ISRAEL: Former Victor Harbor High School student Chris Cannan visited his hometown and was a guest speaker at his old school on Friday, September 13.

Chris Cannan went to Victor Harbor High School (VHHS) and spent all his childhood in Victor Harbor. Now the country boy from the south coast has proven anything is possible if you set goals and work hard, becoming the Australian Ambassador to Israel.

Chris has been the Australian Ambassador to Israel for two years, after working at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for 25 years.

"I'm originally from Victor Harbor, went to VHHS, and my mum (Jan) still lives in Port Elliot. I actually also worked as a summer journalist at The Times in 1989-90 while on vacation from studying journalism at Uni SA," Chris said.

He visited his hometown on Friday, September 13 and every year he likes to come home to catch up with his mother. Chris' father was Keith Cannan, who died in 2009. Keith was very popular in Victor Harbor as a volunteer for community organisations and active sportsman.

However, this trip was not all social for Chris, as he came to Australia for a 'Global Ambassadors Meeting' in Canberra, which brings together all of Australia's Ambassadors currently serving overseas.

"Following the meeting, all Ambassadors then undertake regional outreach visits to a state capital and a regional centre and I've happily been asked to visit Adelaide and the Fleurieu Peninsula/Victor Harbor, in part, because it is my home town," Chris said.

COMMUNITY LEADERS: City of Victor Harbor councillor Brayden Mann, Mayor Moira Jenkins and CEO Victoria MacKirdy met with the Ambassador to Israel Chris Cannan.

COMMUNITY LEADERS: City of Victor Harbor councillor Brayden Mann, Mayor Moira Jenkins and CEO Victoria MacKirdy met with the Ambassador to Israel Chris Cannan.

Chris spoke at his old school, VHHS, and met with City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins, councillor Brayden Mann and CEO Victoria MacKirdy. While in South Australia, Chris also met with the Premier in Adelaide.

"It was interesting to come home and speak at the school. I have great memories of growing up in Victor Harbor, and being a country boy and the son of parents active in the community gives me an important perspective on regional Australia," Chris said.

"When representing Australia in Israel and around the world, I remember proudly that I'm a kid from Victor Harbor, it's a big part of who I am."

Chris remembers fondly his time in Victor, competing in school debating and the Lions Youth of the Year, performing in VHHS drama productions, competing in Nippers, tennis and football and being taught by "excellent" teachers.

"Ian Milne was a teacher when I was here and is still going strong. The school had a real sense of community at that time. It gave me confidence and taught me to believe in myself," he said.

Chris spoke on the role of an Ambassador in a foreign country and the work done by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Middle East peace process, the high technology that exists in Israel, and trade and investment opportunities between Israel and Australia - including in agricultural technology, cyber security, and defence.

"The high tech scene in Israel is very strong, and there are many opportunities for Australia to tap into. There are also opportunities for potential investment in South Australia and possibly Victor Harbor," Chris said.

Chris also visited Rochfort Distillery in Hindmarsh Valley and was "knocked out" with the enterprise.

"It stands out to me as a world-class operation with incredible export opportunities. I'm also keen to promote Victor Harbor and the Fleurieu Peninsula as a top Australian tourism destination."

City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins said it was a real honour to welcome the Australian Ambassador to Israel and showcase what Victor Harbor had to offer the world.

"What Chris has achieved proves people from Victor Harbor can undertake exciting and international careers. We not only live in a beautiful and safe environment, but have world class schools here in Victor Harbor. All of our students have great potential," Dr Jenkins said.

THE DISTILLERY: Chris Cannan (centre) with John and Chris Rochfort at the Rochfort Distillery.

THE DISTILLERY: Chris Cannan (centre) with John and Chris Rochfort at the Rochfort Distillery.

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