2021 Australia Day Award Winners

The recipients of our Shire’s 2021 Australia Day Awards were announced during an Awards Ceremony held on Tuesday 26 January 2021 at Lions Park Urunga as part of Australia Day celebrations organised by the Urunga Lions Club with the support of Council.

Winners were announced across a suite of new categories which this year were refined to better reflect our community aspirations, challenges and achievements following the introduction of our Home-Grown Heroes Award category at last year’s 2020 Australia Day Awards Ceremony. These categories include the Home Grown Heroes Award, Arts Award, Karma Award, Environment Award, Leading on The Land Award and the Community Champion Award open to all members of our community who have contributed towards ensuring we remain a connected, sustainable and creative community.

Bellingen Shire Mayor, Cr King, said “the Australia Day Awards provide our community with a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge the members of the community who give their time freely throughout our Shire to help others and to recognise those who have demonstrated commitment and generosity, compassion and creativity”.

“I could name a whole lot of people in our community who are deserving of these awards and do encourage everyone to take the time to nominate community members to continue to recognise the outstanding part people play in making our community what it is.  Given the calibre of this year’s applicants, I think it’s safe to say that all nominees should feel extremely proud of their achievements.”

The individual category winners of our Shire’s 2021 Australia Day Awards are:

Home Grown Heroes Award

Trevor Cheney was instrumental in setting up the Bellingen Shire Covid-19 Clinic providing our Shire with a dedicated facility to test for the virus, coordinate patient after care support services and reduce the risk of transmission of the Coronavirus. The clinic which was originally self-funded by our local practices commenced testing long before any State or Federal Government funded testing clinics were operational. 

Trevor, during this very busy time provided the community with a weekly medical update through the I Love Bello website where he provided information about the latest research for vaccines and what was occurring in Australia. Through Trevor's commitment and action the local community remained informed and up to date.

Arts Award

David Bromley continually contributes to the creative health of Urunga’s community, including teaching, art and print making programs for adults and school children. David’s commitment to the relevance of Urunga’s history through his recent public mural work has raised awareness of Urunga’s multicultural past and present, and firmly values the ancient and present traditional ownership of this country by representation in the mural which has taken nearly 3 years of planning and painting to accomplish.

David continues to exhibit locally and overseas and leads by example as a Bellingen shire-based artist operating from his home studio.

Karma Award

Michael ‘Micklo’ Jarret has continually supported the Bellingen Shire community in delivering cultural awareness and learning programs through storytelling and language.  He has the ability to bring the crowd to life, teaching them to sing, and speak the language. No participant ever leaves a gathering without having learnt and felt something very special.

Micklo is qualified at University level to deliver language support through story-telling, songs, and pupil participation. Most importantly, his teachings of cultural education have been embraced by younger and older generations alike, keeping the cultural and aboriginal beliefs alive.

Environment Award

Ruth Holmes one of the founding members of the Dorrigo Mountain Top Landcare Group. Ruth has over the years been instrumental in many initiatives implemented including the establishment of corridors of native trees across the rural landscape to connect to the Dorrigo National Park aiding the welfare of the native wildlife that inhabit the plateau.

Fencing riparian zones along the rivers and creeks, and established watering points and the concreting of pathways to reduce bogging of water crossings for livestock to ensure that the water flowing off the plateau and into the Bellingen water catchment remains clean.

Ruth constantly collects strewn rubbish on the roadsides and is present at all events and working days, taking great pride in helping to maintain the Griffiths Lookout area.

Leading on The Land Award

Gillian Anderson is President of the Bellingen Agricultural Show Society, a role she undertakes on a voluntary basis and with great energy and enthusiasm. Each year Gillian coordinates a large team of volunteers to bring the show together. Gillian’s strong leadership and her dedication demonstrates her commitment to the benefits that such events bring to our community. The Show attracts visitors from across our region and beyond, showcases the wide variety of agricultural enterprises in our Shire and reminds us of our agricultural roots.

Gillian has a remarkable ability to lead and inspire people to come together to collaborate on projects. She truly embodies the essence of community spirit, sustainability and resilience that enables our community to weather the tough times together.

Community Champion Award (Joint Winners)

Peter Lister is heavily involved in community programming across the Bellingen Shire whether it be Anzac Day celebrations, Father’s Day programs or support based initiatives, his contribution to the coordination and preparation of the Urunga People's Day 2019 and 2020 activities are key representation of his ability to bring people together. A totally committed man to his community, Peter utilises digital platforms to bring people together for example, his garden site allows the buying and swapping of food and plants or the programming of a unique website to cover all aspects of Urunga life providing noticeboards and places for conversation to take place. Peter's personality, commitment and enthusiasm towards community and its people is infectious.

Dierdre Little has compassionately served both the Bellingen region and Coffs Harbour region providing above and beyond the standard care and consideration for her patients. This year Dierdre received an Award on behalf of Lilyrose Pregnancy Support from the NSW Parliament for the best rural & remote Pregnancy Support service beyond our major cities.

This care for her patients has been a hallmark of her commitment to delivering community service whether in the hospital setting or in her GP Practice even providing her personal mobile for patients 24/7.  Deirdre's out of hours phone calls and home visits demonstrate her generosity of spirit to patients and their families.