Citizenship Ceremony and Australia Day Awards 2023 - Winners Announced
Published on 26 January 2023
The winners of our Shire’s 2023 Australia Day Awards were announced at this year’s Australia day Awards which was held Thursday 26 January 2023 at the Bellingen Park.
The awards ceremony was hosted by the Bellingen’s Lions Club and supported by Council. The Lion’s Club volunteers cooked up a BBQ breakfast and served light refreshments. Gumbaynggirr Elder Michael ‘Micklo’ Jarrett shared a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony reflecting on the richness and historical significance of our First Nation’s culture and the Shire’s Mayor, Cr Steve Allan – welcomed our newest Australia citizens through the official Citizenship ceremony.
Cr Allan said “Australia is home to one of the world’s oldest surviving cultures, and today is as much about respecting and celebrating our First Australians, as it is about reconciliation. It is time for inclusion and understanding for all Australians - from those whose ancestors walked on County for tens of thousands of years, to our newest Australian citizens that we are celebrating today.”
The Bellingen’s Lions Club’s Australia Day Awards Ceremony provided the opportunity to also celebrate our local heroes. These awards acknowledge our unsung stars, many of whom work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the Shire can remain a connected, sustainable, and creative community.
“This year we are presenting 4 awards to acknowledge our local farmers and volunteers’ efforts to protect our natural environment, to celebrate the achievements of our local artists, and to thank the people in our community who make the Shire a wonderful place to live, work and holiday.” Said Cr Allan.
“Many of these people give their time freely throughout our Shire to help others, and it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate and thank these individuals as a community.”
The individual category winners for the Bellingen Shire’s 2023 Australia Day Awards were as follows:
Home Grown Heroes Award - open to volunteers and emergency services.
This year’s winner was the United Hospital Auxiliary Volunteers. The UHA was presented with the Home-Grown Heroes Award for the work the volunteers do each year to fundraise for the local hospital. The UHA have raised over $75,000 this year for much needed hospital equipment.
Picture: Volunteers from the UHA accepting the Home grown Hero award from Mayor Cr Steve Allan and Cr Jo Brotherton
Picture: Cath Hartin accepting her highly commended award in the sustainable living category
Sustainable Living Award - open to all local businesses, individuals and groups who protect, repair, and conserve our environment, providing sustainable solutions for the local area.
The winner of Sustainable Living Award was presented to Pam Kulinskis for her tireless efforts weeding and caring for the gardens at the monument roundabout and surrounding planter boxes in Dorrigo. Pam also donates home grown produce to the Op Shop for people in need. Her ongoing commitment to making Dorrigo a tidy, beautiful, and caring place to live, is an asset to the community.
Highly Commended in this category was awarded to Cath Hartin. Cath works for Australia Post and delivers the post to the community in Dorrigo. Cath is known to go above and beyond in her role as postwomen, by checking on the community’s wellbeing - particularly the elderly. Cath contributes to sustaining Dorrigo’s welcoming and caring community and is known for having treats for the local pets.
Picture: Barbara Trist celebrating with her family after winning the the Creative and Active Award, pictured with Mayor Cr Steve Allan
Creative & Active Award - open to all local artists, active groups and individuals delivering social, creative, and active opportunities for our community.
The winner of the Creative & Active Award was presented to Barbara Trist. Barbara has been involved with Bellingen Youth Orchestra since its earliest time and always has encouraging words for the students. She is being rewarded for offering support to the teachers and leaders of the orchestra. Barbara is best known by her legendary cupcakes that she bakes and brings to every rehearsal and never misses a performance.
Highly Commended in this category goes to Elizabeth Scott. Elizabeth has provided over 20 years of music teaching to the community. She is a trained Suzuki violin teacher and organizing committee member of the Bellingen Youth Orchestra. During her time at Bellingen Public School, she introduced the choir and inspired other schools in the local area to do the same. Elizabeth’s involvement and dedication to music education has enriched the Shire and influenced her students love for music.
Picture: Elizabeth Scott thanking the community after receiving highly commended in the Creative and Active category
Hidden Gem Award – open to recognise the quiet achievers in our community who have contributed, towards ensuring we remain a connected, sustainable, and creative.
The Hidden Gem Award was awarded to Kellie Small. Kellie is a well-known, well-loved member of our community. She has been awarded the Hidden Gem Award for her unique ability of bringing the community together swiftly and effectively, activating response teams in times of crisis. Through floods, covid lockdowns and financial difficulties, Kellie has been instrumental in facilitating the provision and distribution of food hampers and grocery vouchers for those in need. She has built collaborations with various community and government services, to make sure these services are available for the people who need them most.
Highly Commended in this category goes to Debra Anderson. Debra has been volunteering as the President of the United Hospitals Auxiliary branch for Bellingen Shire River District Hospital for 8 years. It is under her diligent leadership, the United Hospitals Auxiliary were able to raise $75,000 in funds for the hospital. Debra has been instrumental in the set up and running of Mary’s Café and mobilising the volunteers that give their time to the United Hospitals Auxiliary.
Picture: Kellie Small accepting Hidden Gem Award from Mayor Cr Steve Allan
Cr Steve Allan said “Congratulations to all our winners, for their effort in making the place we all call home that bit more special. I would like to congratulate all our award nominees and the people who have taken the time to nominate someone they feel is deserving.”
The award entries are nominated by the public and the winners are selected by the Shire Councillors, prior to the event.
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