Hawkesbury Australia Day Awards – Winners Announced

For the first time ever, this year’s Hawkesbury Australia Day Awards were held on the banks of the Hawkesbury River at Governor Phillip Park. The awards are an integral part of Australia Day celebrations, recognising and honouring the outstanding achievements of everyday Australians in the Hawkesbury.

Dignitaries attended the Hawkesbury Australia Day AwardsThe Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett said Council was proud and delighted to host the awards.

“The Hawkesbury Australia Day Awards are an important way for the contributions of those in the Hawkesbury to be recognised,” the Mayor said.

“A wide range of worthy individuals and organisations are nominated for these awards ever year.

“It’s wonderful that we have so many remarkable people in the Hawkesbury who contribute so much to our community,” she said.

“Congratulations to all our Australia Day Award winners. Thank you for the contributions you have made to the Hawkesbury community. Thank you also to nominators, family and friends of the winners who have come to celebrate and honour the efforts of their loved ones.”

The community is encouraged to nominate worthy citizens for the 2019 Australia Day Awards. Forms are available year round at www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au or call 4560 4444.

2018 Hawkesbury Australia Day Australia Day Award Winners:

  • The 2018 Citizen of the Year is awarded to Peter Webb

2018 Citizen of the Year Peter WebbPeter is person who uses his great skills and knowledge to bring together people and organisations to work on a variety of projects that benefit our Hawkesbury and improve our Hawkesbury community’s well-being.

Peter is a member of the Western Sydney Suicide Prevention Network, and has recently started coordinating the newly formed Hawkesbury Group.

Peter has been instrumental in establishing local partnerships and raising awareness of services to assist suicide prevention, and advocating for support for people affected by suicide, with the ultimate goal of preventing suicide.

He was responsible for organising and participating in several local annual ‘RUOK Day’ campaigns, and was involved in establishing a ‘Surviving Suicide Support Group’ in the Hawkesbury. He is currently involved in organising the ‘Hope Walk’, a mental health initiative planned for February 2018.

Peter has been an active member of Kurrajong North Richmond Rotary for many years. One of the positions he held during his time on the local Rotary Board was as the Youth Director.

“Peter is determined to make a positive difference in our community, and is doing so with great passion, skill and dedication,” the Mayor said.

  • The 2018 Young Citizen of the Year is Adam Higgins

Young Citizen of the Year Adam Higgins (centre) Adam is a resident of Blaxland’s Ridge who, has for the past two years participated in the Rural Fire Service Cadet Program at Colo High School. He held the role of Senior Deputy Cadet in 2016 and this year he completed his Junior Basic Fire Fighting course with the local bridge. Throughout 2017 Adam attend brigade stand-bys which are held weekly, on Saturday afternoons.

He has assisted with many tasks to better prepare the brigade to respond to incidents. He has also assisted with participating in training of new members to help prepare them for their upcoming assessments. Adam is a keen, passionate, hardworking young man who is always first to put his hand up to assist in any task required.

“With his passion and dedication to serving our community as a young citizen, I feel confident that we will continue to be one of our future Hawkesbury leaders,” the Mayor said.

  • The Volunteer of the Year is awarded to Jodie Amor

2018 Volunteer of the Year award recipient Jodie AmorJodie is the Founder of the Pink Finss Charity which raises money to help women and their families dealing with cancer. The impact this Charity has had on over 100 local families since 2010 is life changing. This Charity would not exist if Jodie hadn’t had the dream and vision for the charity and worked so hard to create it, bringing together the team who now manage the charity.

Jodie works tirelessly to help the women and their families. She does it out of the goodness of her heart and because she understands what so many women are going through. She juggles work and family commitments doing everything on her own time and without financial reward.

“Jodie is an inspiration not only to women fighting cancer but everyone she meets and is well deserving of this reward,” the Mayor said.

  • The 2017 Community Organisation of the Year is The Blue Datto Foundation

2018 Community Organisation of the Year is The Blue Datto Foundation - the Vassallo familyThe Blue Datto Foundation was established by the Vassallo family following the death of 17 year old Philip Vassallo in a car crash in which both drivers were red ‘P’ platers. Phil, ‘the kid in the Blue Datto’, was a much-loved teenager who brought happiness to everyone who knew him. Blue Datto established its flagship education program, ‘Keeping Safe™’ in Western Sydney and the Hawkesbury.

The Keeping Safe Program has been developed to uniquely target young students preparing to get their licence. The interactive content, delivery method and use of Peer Mentors is key to the Program’s effectiveness helping students build practical skills and strategies to use as drivers and passengers.

“Keeping Safe’s overall aim is to teach safe behaviours, encourage self-belief and empower young people to make better choices on the roads as drivers and passengers,” the Mayor said.

  • The Local Hero Award is awarded to Peter Ross

Hawkesbury Australia Day Ambassador Jan Fran, Hawkesbury Local Hero Award recipient Peter Ross and Hawkesbury Mayor Councillor Mary Lyons-BuckettPeter Ross rescued a two year old girl from the Hawkesbury River at North Richmond in 2017. He went in the River, and managed to rescue the toddler, who was blue and lifeless, and performed CPR until an ambulance arrived.

The little girl was taken to hospital with news reports saying she had died. Amazingly she was revived and the child went on to make a full recovery. Without Mr Ross the little girl would not have survived. He exemplifies community spirit and the willingness to learn and use life-saving first aid skills.

“He is a local hero, so well deserving of this award. He has reminded us of the need to learn these very important and lifesaving first aid skills,” the Mayor said.

  • The Hawkesbury Community Arts Award  is awarded to the Hawkesbury Camera Club

The Hawkesbury Camera Club won the Hawkesbury Community Arts AwardThe Hawkesbury Camera Club brings together a diverse group of enthusiasts who share the common interest of photography. Members come from a wide variety of professions, experiences and backgrounds ranging from beginners to experienced photographers.

One of the Hawkesbury Camera Club’s key projects each year is to supply 25 framed photographs to the Children's Ward at Hawkesbury Hospital. These images brighten up the walls of the Ward and put a smile on the children’s faces.

  • The recipient of the Hawkesbury Cultural Heritage Award is St Matthew’s Bicentennial Team

The 2018 Hawkesbury Cultural Heritage Award went to the St Matthew’s Bicentennial TeamSt Matthews Bicentennial Team comprised of 20 people drawn from the community and the St Matthew’s Congregation. They planned the celebrations for the 200th Anniversary of Governor Lachlan Macquarie laying the foundation stone of St Matthews. The Honourable Professor Dame Marie Bashir was the patron for the celebrations.

They celebrated with a School Service with about 350 children from local schools in attendance. Windsor High and Arndell Anglican combined to provide wonderful music and the Windsor Rotary Club served a sausage sizzle lunch to follow.

The Big Bash in McQuade Park was a major event with a long list of sponsors and helpers including Hawkesbury City Council and the RAAF Base - Richmond. Local Schools performed, as did the Lancer Band and well known children’s singer Colin Buchanan. Family history groups also had a presence.

Richmond Players performed a re-enactment of the ‘laying of the foundation stone’ and the event also partnered with two art displays at the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery and the St Matthew’s exhibition at the Hawkesbury Regional Museum.

  • The Hawkesbury Environmental Award is awarded to Jacki-Lyn Griffiths and Lily Spies (two separate winners)

Left to Right: Hawkesbury Australia Day Ambassador Jan Fran, 2018 Hawkesbury Environmental Award recipient Lily Spies, Hawkesbury Mayor Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett and 2018 Hawkesbury Environmental Award recipient Jacki-Lyn GriffithsJacki-Lyn is a longstanding and valued member of the WIRES Hawkesbury branch for at least 20 years.

She rescues all manner of animals and is a font of information. She is also the coordinator for possum rescue which involves mentoring numerous carers in the Hawkesbury branch and keeping records on the number of possums and gliders in care.

She was heavily involved in the WIRES team that worked with Council to create signage informing the community not to feed wildlife at Pugh's Lagoon.

“Her dedication to rescuing and caring for wildlife in the Hawkesbury wildlife is inspiring,” the Mayor said.

Lily Spies is a ten year old student at Windsor Public School. Lily recently researched and prepared a speech for a school project on the impact that single use plastic has on our environment. Lily, who was nine at the time, also wrote to Council to highlight these issues and to offer her ideas and solutions to minimise the impact of single use plastic bags.

“The awareness that she has brought amongst her peers in a school environment, the community in the Hawkesbury Environment Network and also at a local government level has been extremely brave and extremely significant,” the Mayor said.

  • The 2017 Commemorative Plaque was unveiled for Sister Julia Bligh Johnston RRC - Royal Red Cross decoration

Hawkesbury Australia Day Ambassador Jan Fran, Commemorative Plaque Award nominator John Miller, who nominated Sister Julia Bligh Johnston RRC and Hawkesbury Mayor Councillor Mary Lyons-BuckettSister Julia Bligh Johnston RRC was instrumental in forming the Australian Army Nursing service in 1899. Sister Julia served in the Boer War in South Africa from 1900 to 1902 and from 1914 to 1919 she served in World War 1. She cared for wounded soldiers in these two wars which allowed them to recover and return to their families.

Sister Julia Bligh Johnston RRC does not have any descendants as women were not allowed to marry whilst in the Army Nursing Service John Miller nominated Sister Julia after he spent three years researching her life at the War Memorial. John has also written a book on Sister Julia’s life.

Please visit Council’s homepage www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au or like Hawkesbury Events Facebook to see photos from the Australia Day Awards, Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony and Australia Day on the Hawkesbury.

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