Australia Day Award Recipients


Mayor Dominic King was pleased to present the Australia Day Awards to worthy recipients on Friday evening. “There are many people who are contributing to their community or excelling in their achievements and it is great to be able to recognise some of those people through the Awards.”

Michelle Stockton (pictured second from right with Denise Ryan, Donny Galea and Mayor Dominic King) was awarded the Citizen of the Year Award, recognising her many years of service in a wide range of activities. “Michelle has not only committed a huge amount of her time to the community, she has done it in many different areas and ways. “Michelle showed in the depth of her efforts and the positive outcome she has created, that she is a very worthy recipient of this award,” Said Mayor King. Michelle has been involved in Camp Creative, established a sewing group known as  ‘Stitched Up’ to support young girls, Men’s Sheds, bush fire volunteering and many other activities.

(Photo supplied by Richard Harrison at the Dorrigo Australia Day Awards Ceremony, which was attended by more than 200 people).

The strength of the participation from the youth of our community was also a highlight of the Award ceremony for the Mayor. “Shanlee Duckett, Willow Neal, Izabelle Hansen and the children involved in the Minnie Vinnies, shows how strong our youth community is in the Bellingen Shire. These are the future leaders of our community and their commitment to supporting others came through in all their nominations,” continued the Mayor.

This commitment to supporting the community was also displayed by Alan Jarrett, who has been offering his support to many community groups and events for over 60 years.

The Community Event Award went to the North Dorrigo Pony Club, who excelled themselves in hosting the NSW State Pony Club Sporting, Campdrafting & Team Penning competition. The success of this event allowed local residents to witness the sport at a very high level, while boosting tourism.

The Mayor also thanked the Australia Day Awards Committee and the community groups that supported the Event. “The Awards are really a community affair.  The committee members put a lot of their own time and effort into organising the event, which I really appreciate. Support from our community groups also make the event and I truly appreciate the effort given by Dorrigo groups in decorating the hall, setting up displays and supporting the event generally,” concluded Mayor King.


Award                                                    Recipient

Citizen Of The Year                                Michelle Stockton

Young Citizen Of The Year                     Shanlee Duckett

Community Service Award                     Alan Jarrett     

Community Group Award                       Minnie Vinnies – Mt St John’s Primary School

Community Event Award                        NSW State Pony Club Sporting, Campdraft & Team Penning

Sportsperson Of The Year                     Peter Allison

Junior Sportsperson Of The Year          Willow Neal

Bellingen Shire Creative Arts Award      Izabelle Hansen


Biographies of recipients:

Michelle Stockton

Michelle has always been there to help young people, particularly young women. She has made her calm, kind presence felt in many areas of the community, including the Nursing Mothers Association, Bellingen Preschool, playgroup and girl guides. Michelle started the group ‘Stitched Up’ ten years ago to teach teenagers to sew and has continued to co-ordinate the group ever since. Through this group many young women have gained access to mentors and camaraderie as well as gaining valuable skills.

Michelle’s involvement at Bellingen Primary School touched many in the community. She was involved in the school council and volunteered as a classroom assistant on many occasions. In her role at the administration office she also offered support to many a parent and child through the highs and lows of daily school life.

Between 1995 and 1998 Michelle was instrumental in reinvigorating the Boggy Creek Bush Fire Brigade and during this time founded the Bellingen Netball Club. Michelle’s hard work, dedication and drive were instrumental in the opening of the Bellingen Men’s Shed in 2016.

Together with her husband Bob, Michelle has successfully coordinated Camp Creative for four years, an event that caters for 900 people. Michelle has been involved in the event since 2002 as a part of the organising committee.

Shanlee Duckett

Shanlee’s leadership and mentoring qualities and riding ability have inspired the younger Pony Club riders to achieve higher levels. Shanlee has willingly volunteered at the Dorrigo Show, is running Pony Club events and is volunteering for legacy collections. She is well respected by her peers and teachers alike. In 2018 she was awarded the Coffs Coast Legacy Rainey McDonald Award for Outstanding Citizenship and Community work.

Alan Jarrett

Born and raised in Dorrigo, Alan has been a member of the Dorrigo Lions Club since 1977 and was also on the executive.  He is also one of the original founding members and a driving force behind the Dorrigo Men’s Shed. Alan offers himself for a wide range of community services from Santa Claus, to standing for hours turning sausages at community events.

Alan has also been a keen participant in the Dorrigo Plateau Landcare Group from the early 1950’s and has undertaken a variety of activities including the planting  of wind breaks, cementing the dairy lane-ways, weed clearing and re-vegetation of the Rocky Creek Reserve.

Mt St John’s Mini Vinnies Group

Mt St John’s Mini Vinnies craft group consists of children aged between 6 and 12 years of age who share a common desire to help others.  The group makes things to sell at the local Made in Dorrigo markets to raise funds for charities. The children have spent many voluntary hours during their lunchtimes at school learning to knit and creating craft items. After investigating the best way that they could support the homeless, the group raised funds to purchase four backpack beds.

They have supported the plight of the homeless with many collection drives. Other causes this group has supported include the drought appeal for farmers and helping families in the local area who are doing it tough at Christmas, by organising a giving tree and hamper.

NSW State Pony Club Sporting, Campdraft & Team Penning

This group has successfully run zone sporting & draft events for the past 6 years and was also instrumental in running the State Sporting, Draft & Team Penning in 2018 – a particularly huge year for them. The focus was not only to successfully run this event, but to encourage tourism into the community by showcasing the Dorrigo region.

They also secured a grant from Bellingen Shire Council. This enabled them to purchase 90 yard Panels for the grounds to fence the dressage arena, to allow a safe and secure riding area and to have mobile panels to use for team penning and other disciplines.

Peter Allison

Since first moving to Bellingen in 1952, Peter has represented the district in soccer, cricket, rugby league, swimming, athletics and surf lifesaving with an emphasis on participation, enjoyment and good sportsmanship. He has been involved in administration, coaching and mentoring. 

Since joining the Bellinger Valley North Beach Surf Life Saving club in 1960, Peter has maintained continuous active service within the organisation.  Peter was a foundation member of the Bellingen Diggers Swimming Club in 1996 and has won the club’s highest overall point score on seven separate occasions and has been champion at both zone and inter zone carnivals. He is currently the club’s vice caption.

Peter has won 70 medals at Surf Life Saving State, National, and World Titles. In 2018 he was awarded the Bellingen Diggers swimming club trophy for the highest overall point score for the season 2017-18.

Peter won five Life Saving award medals (Including three gold) at state surf lifesaving in the 70 years plus section and four in pool rescue in the 60 years plus category. At National Titles he picked up three medals in Surf Lifesaving and four gold in pool rescue in the 70 years plus division.

At the National pool rescue meet, Peter set a new Australian record in the 100m mannequin-carry and bettered the record by 15.53 seconds at the World Lifesaving Championships. At the recent World Lifesaving Championships (rescue 2018) in Adelaide, Peter won three medals in pool and beach competitions, achieving a top 10 placing in all eleven events.

Willow Neal

Willow is a great role model with her positive attitude to training and performance in any of the sports in which she participates. Younger and older students see the skill, teamwork and sportsmanship she displays and aspire to do the same. Willow willingly assists with training of younger players and athletes and is always giving tips and encouragement to others.

Willow has been acknowledged for her involvement in the following:

In athletics Willow was the Bellingen High School and Mid North Coast age champion as well as being part of the North Coast 4x400m team that came second at the NSW State Championships. Similarly, Willow was age champion at Bellingen High, Mid North Coast and North Coast in cross country. In both these areas Willow has represented the region at the state titles in multiple years.

Willow is part of the Bellingen High School’s Open Girls Football team and Futsal 16 Year Girls teams that were the North Coast champions. She is also a part of the Northern NSW women stems, which was undefeated in 2018.

Izabelle Hansen

At 17 years of age, Izabelle is an outstanding artist placing first in her HSC art class in both the theoretical and practical components. She was awarded $1000 YEA prize offered by the Bellingen Community Arts Council. Her artwork was an integral part of the Year 12 Visual Arts body of works exhibition hosted by Dr Sheila Guymer at the Waterfall Way Gallery, which also features on the 2019 Dorrigo High School diary.

In 2015 her artwork featured on garbage bins in the centre of Dorrigo.  In 2016 her artwork was used to advertise the school musical. Izabelle also came first in Year 10 Art and Year 10 Photography courses. Her artwork has contributed to making the CBD of Dorrigo more attractive and has featured in local exhibitions and at the Made in Dorrigo Market Day. She is also a regular contributor to the Dorrigo High School display at the Dorrigo School.