Hawkesbury Australia Day Winners Announced

The Hawkesbury Australia Day Awards are an integral part of Australia Day celebrations, recognising and honouring the outstanding achievements of everyday Australians in the Hawkesbury. For the 2016

Hawkesbury Australia Day Awards, Council launched a reinvigorated program to better acknowledge the outstanding citizens of the Hawkesbury.

The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Kim Ford said that the Hawkesbury Australia Day Awards are an important way for the contributions of those in the Hawkesbury to be recognised.

“In the Hawkesbury we are very fortunate to have an abundance of individuals and organisations that are involved in their community and who contribute to the Hawkesbury in a diverse number of ways.”

“I am very pleased to be able to present these awards to worthy individuals and organisations of the Hawkesbury community on Australia Day. I am proud to stand here and acknowledge their achievements and praise them for their efforts.”

The 2016 Hawkesbury Australia Day Awards are proudly sponsored by Hawkesbury City Council and Richmond Club.

The 2016 Hawkesbury Australia Day Australia Day Award Winners are:

 The 2016 Citizen of the Year is awarded to Paul Maher As a proud Hawkesbury resident, it is Paul Maher’s community spirit and dedication to his local area that makes him well-respected in the Hawkesbury community. His is extremely conscious of his responsibility to the community by supporting local and regional services and charities, many of which he has a heart-felt connection to.

He has dedicated countless hours over the last two decades to Kurrajong Comleroy Historical Society, Hawkesbury Environment Network, Boys Town and Hawkesbury Harvest. He is also an active member of Hawkesbury Chamber of Commerce, Hawkesbury Liquor Accord and working parties for Hawkesbury Tourism.

He acts as a mentor and provides his tourism expertise to local High Schools and Vocational Education Training programs through his well-established small business in the Hawkesbury.

As a true ambassador for the Hawkesbury, it is evident that Paul has tirelessly contributed to the Hawkesbury for the benefit of our community.

 The 2016 Joint Young Citizen of the Year is Blake Atkins and Blake Coaldrake Blake Coaldrake and Blake Atkins are true heroes in the Hawkesbury. In November 2014 they were first on the scene of a critical accident at the 2014 Bridge to Bridge Ski Race, where they were acting as “safeties” near Lower Portalnd.

They heroically pulled four participants from the water, two with critical injuries. With little experience, the boys performed first aid, contacted emergency services and assisted in finding a suitable landing site for the inbound medical helicopter.

Given the scenario these two boys were presented with that day, you would agree their efforts are extremely worthy of recognition. Their heroic acts were well beyond their years and are a shining example to other Hawkesbury youths.

 The 2016 Volunteer of the Year is Marjorie Pettigrew Marjorie Pettigrew is well known in the Hawkesbury community for her volunteer service which she has been participating in for more than 10 years.

As a Meals on Wheels volunteer, Marjorie provides meals to those in her community who need them.

She has dedicated an enormous amount of time to fundraising for the NSW Cancer Council. She is the Hawkesbury community’s nominated team leader for Daffodil Day, and until recently she hosted Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea events raising more than $30,000 since 1999. She is also a member of the local Volunteer Organising Committee for Hawkesbury Relay For Life.

Marjorie, along with others, started Hawkesbury Cancer Support Group five years ago and as part of this group, makes house calls and offers support to all those who are going through the cancer journey .

Despite personal health struggles, Marjorie has continued to dedicate her time to volunteering giving all that she can to the people of the Hawkesbury.

 The 2016 Community Organisation of the Year is Bowen Mountain Association Bowen Mountain Association celebrated their 40th Anniversary during 2015. This wonderful organisation has always worked in the best interests of the residents of Bowen Mountain. Formed in 1975, the Bowen Mountain Association has had a strong track record of working with the community to care for the Bowen Mountain area.

The Association has done many things to bring the community together, from producing cook books, newsletters, and bushwalking guides, to improving the community hall and calling for better road safety for the area. Their 40th Birthday Party in November 2015 was an example of the group’s ability to bring the community together.

 A Hawkesbury Local Hero Award is awarded to Jan Earle Jan has been a member of Freemans Reach Brigade of the Rural Fire Service since 1961, over 50 years.

She was the first female fire fighter in the Hawkesbury and has held every position in Freemans Reach Brigade.

There have been five generations of her family involved with the RFS. As a little girl she use to go out and ring the fire bell for her grandfather.

Prior to her work with the RFS, Jan was involved with the State Emergency Services. Jan has been a mentor to others to join the RFS and SES through her concerted efforts.

 A Hawkesbury Local Hero Award is awarded to June Greenhalgh and Valmai Turnbull.

June Greenhalgh and Valmai Turnbull spent the months leading up to the 2015 Anzac Centenary crocheting over 500 poppies to put on display for the community in commemoration of those who fought in the Great War.

They used over 60 balls of wool and spent more than 180 hours crocheting the poppies for the community to view when visiting The Australiana Pioneer Village.

Over 500 red poppies were displayed in the garden as well as a wreath forming the number 100, and one purple poppy for the animals lost during the war.

 A Hawkesbury Local Hero Award is awarded to Paul and Catherine Barber from St John Ambulance – Hawkesbury City Division.

Paul and Cathy Baber have been long term members of St John Ambulance – Hawkesbury City Division.

They have tirelessly attended events and activities in the Hawkesbury offering their medical assistance to those in need.

Their years of knowledge are invaluable to the Division who rely on their dedication to the group. They actively participate in all activities of the Division, passing on this knowledge to other members and supporting fellow members during their learning.

 The Hawkesbury Community Arts Award is awarded to Macquarie Towns Art Society Macquarie Towns Art Society has been an iconic part of the Hawkesbury Community Art network for 53 years. Now with approximately 150 members of all ages, they work to provide opportunities for local residents, children and older people to take part in artistic activities.

Annually they assist with the Art Show at Hawkesbury Show as honorary stewards. They organise two exhibitions per year raising funds for charity and exhibit up and coming local artists. They hold After School and Holiday Art Classes for children as well as ‘Drop-in’ Sessions for seniors twice a month.

Throughout 2015 the Society assisted with the “Art for Heart” program, organising an auction of donated artwork to raise money for defibrillators in the Hawkesbury with Rotary and Dr Ravi Sahasrabuddhe. They raised $4500 to buy three machines.

All volunteer members, the Committee spend countless hours organising events, exhibitions and sales opportunities for local artists.

 The recipient of the Hawkesbury Cultural Heritage Award is Kurrajong Comleroy Historical Society Kurrajong-Comleroy Historical Society was formed in 2001 to raise awareness of the historical heritage of “the Kurrajong”. Since beginning they have been instrumental in preserving the history of Kurrajong and the Hawkesbury.

In 2015 they released a book, “We Remember Them” to commemorate the Anzac Centenary, honouring the  more than 150 men and women from the Kurrajong region who served as volunteers in World War I.

The book was funded through a grant under the Federal Government’s ANZAC Centenary Local Grants Program. The Society put in many hours of voluntary work including research at the Australian War Memorial and at the battlefield sites in France and Belgium.

The Society has also produced countless other books on the Kurrajong area, organises excursions and has a Family History Group. They have been heavily involved in the restoration of the Millstones at Kurrajong Memorial Park.

 The Hawkesbury Environmental Award is awarded to Macdonald Valley Association Since 2005 the Macdonald Valley Association has been restoring the banks of the Macdonald River. In 2015, they celebrated 10 years of work. Their tireless land management and work revegetating the site has improved the condition of the river. The river is now thriving with fish and other wildlife, such as Platypus.

This has helped to protect the riverbanks from erosion during recent flooding. This work of the Association has been a great example of what can be achieved when people work together to drive real change for the environment and produce outcomes for our community.

 The 2016 Commemorative Plaque was unveiled for Gombeeree and Yellomundi Gombeeree and Yellomundi are recognised as significant individuals of Hawkesbury and Australian Aboriginal history. They assisted Governor Phillip and official exploratory parties investigate the Hawkesbury- Nepean River system, contributing to the development of the Hawkesbury district. They were respected elders of the Aboriginal community.