The winners of the 2019 Australia Day awards were announced at ceremonies across Greater Shepparton today.
Sam Atukorala was announced as the overall Greater Shepparton Citizen of the Year, with Laura Cole being named as Greater Shepparton Young Citizen of the Year and the Shepparton Albanian Harvest Festival winning Greater Shepparton Community Event of the Year.
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Councillor Kim O’Keeffe congratulated all awarded recipients and acknowledged the outstanding contributions they have made to Greater Shepparton.
"Thank you to those who took the time to submit a nomination to recognise their fellow citizens, it is fantastic to see individuals doing great things for their community and it is important that we recognise and celebrate them,” Cr O’Keeffe said.
Awards were presented in Arcadia, Dookie, Mooroopna, Murchison, Shepparton, Tatura and Toolamba and the Greater Shepparton Citizen, Young Citizen and Community Event of the Year were chosen from these regional winners.
Australia Day 2019 Award Winners
Overall Greater Shepparton
Citizen of the Year Sam Atukorala
Community Event of the Year Shepparton Albanian Harvest Festival
Young Citizen of the Year Laura Cole
Citizen of the Year Ros Sinclair
Citizen of the Year Janet Batten
Senior Citizen of the Year Una Feldtmann
Citizen of the Year Ken Faulkner
Young Citizen of the Year Courtney Taylor
Sports Award Breanna Edwards
Citizen of the Year Shelly McCormick
Young Citizen of the Year Gabrielle Chessells
Junior Sports Award Aaron Niglia
Citizen of the Year Sam Atukorala
Senior Citizen of the Year Heather Lloyd
Young Citizen of the Year Laura Cole
Sports Award Laura Cole
Community Event of the Year Shepparton Albanian Harvest Festival
Citizen of the Year Sue Mancini
Senior Citizen of the Year Bill Milner
Young Citizen of the Year Daniel Maher
Sports Award Gaye Eaton
Community Event of the Year Tatura Festival
Citizen of the Year Laurence Thomson
Young Citizen of the Year Katelyn Trevaskis
Community Event of the Year Lions Club of Toolamba Twilight Festival
Community Service of the Year Toolamba Wednesday Night Tennis Men’s Competition
Citizen of the Year - Ros Sinclair
Ros is a leader in the local community who regularly volunteers her time to help others. She inspires the community with her enthusiastic involvement in many groups including her active work with the local Committee of Management, looking after the grounds and tree planting where many will see her attending to the plants at the Recreation Reserve in her spare time.
She has also been an influential help developing community plans with Council for the local Arcadia community.
Ros has also taken on the duties of the Master of Ceremonies and chief organiser for past Australian Day Awards.
Citizen of the Year - Janet Batten
A member of the Country Women’s Association, Janet has been involved in many club activities and thrives to inspire others to make achievements in the local community. Her work over the years has seen the Dookie Youth Spot transform into the well-used facility it is today, encouraging users to achieve their goals.
For many years Janet has worked tirelessly with the Caniambo Pony club, assisting with club activities, judging and mentoring. She is also a member of the Public Pianos group were she generously uses her horse float to transport pianos.
Senior Citizen of the Year - Una Feldtmann
Known for her cooking Una has helped many organisations and individuals in the community with her passion for catering. She provides assistance in times of need and for celebrations and is always ready to land a hand in catering for weddings, funerals and Golf Club events.
She is a keen sportsman with ties in the golfing, tennis and shooting clubs in the region, where she inspires others and always shows a willingness to help.
She has been a local Goulburn Valley seamstress for 45 years and dedicates her time to helping others.
Citizen of the Year - Ken Faulkner
Ken aspires to mentor many of the youths in the community through his work with Scouts, Venturer Club, Rotary Club and the Uniting Church.
He persists to balance his career with helping the community and has become a local business identity setting high standards for other to follow and surpass in the future.
Young Citizen of the Year - Courtney Taylor
Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Courtney does not let that get in the way of being a school leader and assisting her peers.
She has represented her school across the community through many events such as the Sorry Day Breakfast, Mooroopna ANZAC Day service and organsing fundraisers for the Fight Cancer Foundation.
She is a brave public speaker and hopes to spread inspiration throughout the community. She has encouraged her school peers to participate in Book Week and assists running school assemblies.
Sports Award - Breanna Edwards
Breanna is a dedicated young athlete who performs her very best in all areas of sports. She excels in areas of netball, gymnastics, track and field and equestrian. She is an excellent club representative and takes pride in her abilities.
She has achieved high level awards in individual and team sports which are accredited to her hard working ethics, dedication to training and respect for others.
Breanna also attends working bees to improve her skills and help out the club wherever possible. She is passionate about her own health and fitness and is always willing to help her peers be the best they can be.
Citizen of the Year - Shelly McCormick
Performing above and beyond her duties as the secretary of the Murchison Football Club for more than 20 years, Shelly’s exceptional organisation skills effectively leads her team of workers to outshine every year.
She completes every task with a smile on her face makes her a valued member of the community and is always at the forefront of community activities including Australia Day, Murchison Carols by Candlelight, New Year’s Eve and many more events around the primary school.
Part of the Murchison Community Plan Implementation Group, she demonstrates incredible work ethic and is a role model for members of the community to aspire to. Shelly is generously volunteering her time and knowledge and is always considerate of others.
Young Citizen of the Year - Gabrielle Chessells
Pursuing a career in speech pathology after being inspired by her late mother, Gabby excelled in the health science field.
Raised on a dairy farm in Dhurringle she has an excellent work ethic and a passion to succeed. Her studies have taken her to New Zealand where she hopes to refine her knowledge as a speech pathologist and be able to implement these skills when she returns to the Goulburn Valley.
Junior Sports Award - Aaron Niglia
Aaron has a natural sporting ability and took to tennis like a fish to water. He is gracious for his success in multiple tournaments allowing him to be in a leadership position.
He has been selected to represent his community in many representative teams for the Goulburn Valley and also volunteers his time with the Hot Shots program helping junior athletes build their skills.
Supporting his local community, Aaron also volunteers his time helping at the annual International Dairy Week.
Citizen of the Year - Sam Atukorala
After moving to Shepparton with his young family, he was passionate to be involved in the local community. Sam has become a mentor amongst Shepparton’s multicultural community and a role model for youths.
Alongside his demanding financial career he volunteers his time as a tutor at GOTAFE, contributes to the Shepparton Ethnic Council and Regional Youth Leadership Participation Program. As a Qualified Student Agent Counsellor, Sam has aided a number of international students from Sri Lanka to achieve their dream of higher education in Australia.
He has been awarded a number of attributes for his active support in the community including, Greater Shepparton Male Volunteer of the Year 2016 and Victorian Premier’s Volunteer Champions Award 2017.
Sam is humble and generously donates his time to help break down barriers and providing greater opportunities for new arrivals to connect with and contribute to the community.
Senior Citizen of the Year - Heather Lloyd
Using her highly respected leadership skills, Heather has provided excellent governance to countless committees in Shepparton including her position as president of the Extended Care Committee, which she has been a part of for more than two decades.
Heather has a passion for community health and prosperity which she dedicates many hours fundraising, organising events and completing committee operations.
She shares an empathy and understanding of the needs of others and has the capability to inspire support to where it is needed.
Young Citizen of the Year & Sports Award - Laura Cole
Laura is a passionate sports person and utilises her various roles in different sporting clubs, particularly netball and basketball, to help share her love for a healthy and active lifestyle with those around her.
Laura has been umpiring netball and coaching/volunteering for basketball for over 3 years. Those around Laura often forget that she is only 16 years of age due to her mature attitude and willingness to volunteer her time to help her chosen sports.
She has represented the community on many occasions and is a dedicated and respectable athlete. She has recently been selected in the Wilson Storage Southern Saints VNL U19 side for 2019 The competition is a crucial step in the Netball Victoria pathway, encompassing high level athletes, coaches, umpires and officials. Laura will travel to Melbourne twice a week in 2019 for training and matches.
Community Event of the Year - Shepparton Albanian Harvest Festival
The festival celebrates Albanian culture and cuisine while promoting the diverse cultural groups in the local community. The annual event has been recognised by the Australian Albanian Consulate as a premier Albanian Celebratory event in Australia.
The local event proudly supports GV Hospice Care along with the Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal. The harvest festival provides a welcoming space of celebration for not only the people of Albanian background but also their friends and the wider community. The event brings together people through music, culture, food and dance.
The event highlights and celebrates a heritage culture whilst proudly being entrenched within Australia.
Citizen of the Year - Sue Mancini
Devoted to her community, she makes positive changes for the lives of many particularly in her lobbying for all ability access into local businesses and public facilities such as creating friendly entrances at the Tatura Commonwealth Bank, Tatura Community House and Victory Hall. In addition she supports the Shepparton Spinal Injury Resource and Support Network
Her passion grows from assisting those in to also organising the ‘Kindred Spirits’ project and Opera in the Gardens. She is an inspiration for the entire community to look up to and gives her all for any project or event she is a part of. Tatura has certainly benefited from her passionate spirit to care about others.
Senior Citizen of the Year - Bill Milner
An outstanding community member, Bill’s presence is known across a number of community groups for his kind and generous nature.
Sports, health and education are some of the clubs Bill has his foot in, devoting himself to daily operations, leading projects and encouraging participation from the community.
Friends describe him as always having a willingness to contribute with an ‘infectious personality’ which brings joy to those around him.
Some of the groups he is involved includes; Tatura Lions Club, All Saints Community Church, Ardmona Primary School Council, Tatura Hospital, Shepparton Police and District Neighbourhood Watch Committee and Mooroopna Golf Club.
Young Citizen of the Year - Daniel Maher
A passionate sportsman, Daniel is involved in many community programs where he is a role model for junior athletes in Tatura and the surrounds. He demonstrates excellent leadership skills as a member of the Tatura Football Netball Club Reserves Captain and Social Fundraising Organiser. Part of his duties is assisting in the annual Christmas lunch run by the club for the community.
Daniel is also an Auskick Junior Football Coordinator and runs a Primary School football program. Alongside his sporting achievements he is also involved in local cancer fundraisers and volunteers his time assisting in gardening and maintenance for the elderly.
Sports Award - Gaye Eaton
A champion netballer, she was the first from the code to be inducted into the GV Hall of Fame to honour her many years of commitment to the sport in the GV Netball league, coaching for Tatura Netball as well as her off the court assistance in administrations. She continues to inspire the next generation of netballers in the community as a role model for Junior Netball.
Currently she is the catering coordinator at the Tatura Football Club and helps provide delicious meals for events including the outstanding International Dairy Week.
Community Event of the Year - Tatura Festival
The first event was held in 2017 as a new major project developed by the Tatura Lions Club to showcase the regions businesses and community to attract a wide range of attendees for a fun filled day.
The community event caters for all ages with attractions for food lovers and wine connesiors and providing entertainment the whole family will enjoy.
In 2018 the event grew to 1,600 people attending and 140 volunteers donating their time to help raise a staggering $9,500 which was donated to Moyola Lodge.
Citizen of the Year - Laurence Thomson
Laurie has been involved in the Toolamba community for a very long time and has always been a bloke you can count on. He has inspired many people in the community and within the Toolamba Lions Club.
He has selflessly donated hundreds of hours of volunteering on a number of projects throughout the community and is a charter member for the Lions club, holding positions such as president and treasurer.
As an avid tennis player and is heavily involved in the running of the Twilight Tennis Competition in town.
Young Citizen of the Year - Katelyn Trevaskis
The young local student has been highly active in the community raising money for Australia Alopecia Areata foundation, a charity raising support for an auto-immune disease which causes hair loss.
Part of her fundraising activities Katelyn will be donating hair and aims to raise $700. She has been highly involved in the community and online, creating a fundraising page on social media.
Her passion has demonstrated excellent citizenship qualities at a very young age and is shining a positive light in the community.
Community Service of the Year - Toolamba Wednesday Night Tennis Men's' Competition
The Wednesday Night Men’s Competition has served its place in Toolamba for 30 plus years. It provides an opportunity for the men in the community to distress after a hard day’s work out in the field, farm or office. It provides a platform to build comradery and confine in with their peers while enjoying a healthy fitness activity and cool refreshments at the end of the day.
Community Event of the Year - Lions Club Twilight Festival
Growing strong for one decade, the Lions Club Twilight Festival holds its place on the community calendar. Its biggest purpose is providing other clubs within the region the opportunity to raise money for their clubs or fundraisers. The free event attracts support from the community with attendance growing each year.
Each year volunteers work tirelessly to organise an event fun for the whole family. By reviewing each year’s program and engaging in feedback from attendees the Lions Club aims to provide an event tailored to locals.