A large crowd turned out to the official Dungog Shire celebrations at the James Theatre Community Centre.
The Australia Day Ambassador Nick Gleeson had the audience captivated with his address which Mayor Harold Johnston described as “inspirational”.
Mr Gleeson, a celebrated speaker and Paralympian gave a moving account of how he lost his sight at age seven and how “in order to get on in life, you have to adjust”. He also gave an hilarious account of bungee jumping and driving a car on a racetrack. Telling of his six days in the Simpson dessert he urged others to develop their own lives as much as they could by stepping out of their comfort zone.
He touched on the 2015 super storm and acknowledged the enormous adjustment the local community had to make in the aftermath.
“I urge you to keep extending the hand of support to those who need it,” he said.
Jennifer Lewis was named Citizen of the Year with Breanna Miller named the Young Citizen of the Year.
Beau Blundell and Jock Mackay shared the honour of Senior Sports Award and Ellie Wallace received the Junior Sports Award.
Kim McFadyen received the award for Volunteer Service (as an individual) to the Community.