Great Lakes Council has celebrated Australia Day with the announcement of the Great Lakes Australia Day Awards, citizenship ceremonies and the awarding of school students in the e-calendar competition.
This year, there was a Special Mayor’s Award to Michael Maytom, who was instrumental in saving lives during the severe storms and floods last April in Stroud.
He spread the word to evacuate when he saw rapidly rising flood waters and physically assisted others to escape the rapidly rising water.
The Great Lakes Citizen of the Year award went to Julie Brady for her all round success in all areas from farming to singing to fighting fires and more recently, in her role as founding member for the Great Lakes Women’s Shelter.
“It was a wonderful celebration of all the worthy recipients in the Great Lakes, be they volunteers, professionals, or someone helping out their community,” Great Lakes mayor Cr Jan McWilliams said.
“Our ambassador Father Chris Riley was impressed with the calibre of the award winners as these people humbly accepted their awards.”
In the arts awards, Junior Artist of the Year was awarded to Nic Parsons, a trumpet player with the Great Lakes Band and Sinfonia.
Nic has played the bugle at Anzac Day ceremonies in Forster and Tuncurry, National Servicemen's Day, Vietnam Veterans’ Day and Remembrance Day and is an active member of his school band.
Artist of the Year went to Stephanie Holm, whose art shows her appreciation of the beauty of the natural world and encourages conservation of our natural assets.
In addition to her visual art, Stephanie writes creatively and in 2015 she published an art-therapy colouring-in book.
The Local Champion of the Arts Award went to the Lakeside Festival Incorporated for its efforts to produce an event for local musicians and artists to showcase their talents. The festival enriches the community as a cultural event for the region.
Dane Jeffery took out the Sportsperson of the Year Award for his outstanding swimming achievements both locally and at state level.
Dane’s dedication to his sport enabled him to win a bronze medal in 100 breast stroke and he was a finalist in other events at the recent NSW Short Course State Age Championships.
Ruby Keys’ concern about homelessness and the plight of those less fortunate
than others has been reconsigned in the awarding of Young Citizen of the Year.
Ruby collected food and other goods to distribute to homeless people when she was in Sydney recently.
Hardly a passing phase, Ruby has incorporated research on this subject into her HSC studies at Bulahdelah Central School.
Stroud’s Jacqueline Versace was a nominee in the Citizen of the Year category and Susan Philson was nominated in the art category.
Citizenship ceremonies saw new Australians naturalised from Thailand, United Kingdom, China, the Philippines, France, Bangladesh, The Netherlands and Fiji.