Local volunteers recognised with Premier's Certificate honours

Wattle Range Council

Article heading image for Local volunteers recognised with Premier's Certificate honours

National Volunteers Week provides the opportunity for Council to say ‘Thank You’ to the many and varied community volunteers that offer such a generous contribution to their region.

Mayor Noll will be taking the time to formally acknowledge a group of 14 community volunteers who have displayed endless hours of energy and commitment for the betterment of the Wattle Range district.

These fourteen volunteers were nominated for and have since been awarded the 2020 Premier’s Certificate of Recognition for outstanding volunteer service: Beccy Field, Peter Phillips, Sheila Boyle, John Mullins and Sean Smyth of Millicent; Narelle Marshall of Beachport; David Marcus, Kate Spencer and Winsley Wighton of Penola; Michelle Stehbens and Suzanne Zwar of Coonawarra; Antony Juttner and Timothy Krieger of Kalangadoo; and Joyce Cleggett of Glencoe.

“Our Wattle Range community is blessed to have so many amazing volunteers, who make it a great place to live and work,” Mayor Noll said.

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to present to these special individuals with the Premier’s Certificate, recognising the exceptional contribution they have made. It is a prestigious award of excellence and a significant achievement.”

The Premier’s Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Volunteer Service recognises the exceptional contribution of South Australian volunteers who deliver many critical community services in the areas of youth and community development, welfare, education, emergency services, sport and recreation, the environment and more.

In 2020, fourteen hardworking local volunteers have been recognised with this prestigious state volunteer award:

Sheila has played an integral role in all aspects of the management of Lake McIntyre. Her involvement started in 1991 when it was still in the early days of its development, up to today where it is a haven for wildlife and attracting many visitors daily. Her dedication and commitment to doing early morning bird counts/surveys in all kinds of weather, is admirable both at Lake McIntyre, Mount Burr Swamp, Penola Conservation Reserve, Rivoli Wetlands & more.

Now President (since 2007) Lake McIntyre Management Committee role includes:

  • smooth-running committee
  • cataloguing photos
  • keeping records of bird sightings
  • attending working bees
  • helping to plant trees with school children, and
  • providing morning tea for volunteers

Sheila's other volunteer roles have included: Millicent Hospital Evening Auxiliary (26 years); Millicent Field Naturalists Society (since 1987), CFS, BirdCare, Penola Conservation Park, Millicent North Primary & High School and Amersham-Bucks England (when 20 years old to assist hospital nurses).

Joyce has been involved in the Mount Gambier Disability 10 -pin Bowling League for 14 years.

Every Wednesday she helps bring people with disabilities together to bowl as teams.  Twice a year she holds an awards night to recognise these people for their achievements with up to 100 attending which includes carers, parents & friends.

Her contribution to this section of our community is especially special as it has given these people with disabilities a safe place to gather together, mingle, and enjoy an active activity together. She is passionate, encouraging and tolerant of all their individual needs.

Also, a mother (with one child with Downs Syndrome); dairy farmer; and Federal Secretary Guernsey Cattle Society of Australia since 2006. She has been cattle showing for 54 years with 29 championships, and with her husband was awarded inaugural Master Breeder award, the first in Australia to receive the award for the breed.

Under Beccy's stewardship Millicent Lioness 'fun, fellowship & fundraising' runs a successful bookshop, catering, makes emergency hospital bags, meals-on-wheels & a market stall raising money for prostate cancer. Decades of outstanding volunteer contribution includes:

  • Millicent Lioness (since 2010): Past President, Secretary, Treasurer, Fundraising Chair, Catering Chair, District Chairman (4 years), Multiple District Officer for SA and WA (6 years) monthly radio; social media chair (whole of Australia)
  • Lions Australia: Newsletter Editor, District PR Chairman, Social Media Coordinator, Webmaster, Awards Coordinator (3 years)
  • Families SA Volunteer
  • Millicent Driver Reviver (1997-2020): Assistant Co-ordinator
  • Girl Guides (1978-1987): Assistance Millicent leader & Nangwarry Leader
  • St Johns Ambulance (until 1993): Crew Member, Station Officer, Training Officer & Member Disaster Response Committee
  • Schools (until 1994): Member of Governing Committee Nangwarry Preschool & Childcare; Member & President Nangwarry Primary School Governing Council; Member Mount Burr School Council
  • Kimberly Clark Australia Social Club: Secretary, Product Sales Co-ordinator, Life Member
  • Music: Orchestra Member- of Mozart Players, South East Youth, Combined Schools; Mount Gambier Eisteddfod sectional director; South East Primary Schools Music Festival (1995-2017) Life Member

Tim is a player, sponsor and long time supporter of the Kalangadoo Football Club.

As a business owner, Tim is a very busy man, but will drop tools to assist anyone who needs help. One resident had a bad accident falling through part of their pergola which left them unable to finish the roof. Tim finished the roof & straightened garage roller door refusing any payment. He has helped other residents out too.

Without the extended services Tim offers to all the community in the town, including local farmers, Kalangadoo would be a poorer place. Always ready to help pensioners and others with hands-on solutions to car and home problems.

This man is a credit to Kalangadoo for his unselfish, caring attitude and willingness to support the community in anyway he can. He goes the ‘extra mile’ time after time.

David has provided forty years of volunteer service to a range of sporting committees and providing outstanding service to:

  • Lions Club shearing
  • McCorquindale Park Committee & Female Facilities
  • Monbulla Tennis Club
  • Penola and District Tennis Association
  • Penola Badminton
  • Penola Football Club
  • Penola Sports Club Committee
  • Radiata Badminton Club

David has had a strong focus on junior development and mentoring future leaders. He holds a range of executive positions on multiple committees yet still does the smaller jobs, such as a yearly pruning fundraiser where the money set aside for resurfacing courts; for twenty years arranged the weekly meat raffles which kept Monbulla Tennis Club fees to a minimum. He continues as secretary for the Monbulla Recreation Ground (currently in recess).

In addition, David has written a book about the centenary of The Monbulla School 1894 to 1994 this book was available on the day of the Celebration May 1994. The history committee in Penola has copies.

Over the years David was a player, committee member, bar duty, selector and team manager for the juniors for the Penola Football Club.

He is often considered the ‘mediator’, the ‘voice of reason’ and the person that always looks at the big picture, making decisions to benefit the wider community. He is an icon of Penola and a stalwart of all clubs and organisations he’s involved with.

After her daughter cradled an injured joey, Narelle started to care for injured animals. For over 15 years now, Narelle has managed a self-funded non-profit group Duck-A-Roo Wildlife Rescue.

Narelle and her husband Allan are tireless workers when it comes to saving injured native wildlife. Their home and yard are filled with wombats, kangaroos, wallabies, birds etc and many cannot be released back into the wild and need care for life.

They have taken on this responsibility in their quiet and unassuming manner. For many years, these quiet achievers have been devoting many hours to the care of these animals they are a credit to their families, themselves and their community.

In addition, Narelle and Allan also operate a successful spraying business across the Limestone Coast, often arriving at jobs with wildlife 'babies' in the back of the car. They also sponsor a number of local community & sporting organisations.

John has been in many roles in the Company of 7, including Stage Manager, since the 1970’s. Since then he has been organising lighting and sound for  Civic & Arts Centre functions including weddings, concerts, football awards, meetings, funerals, South East Schools Music Festivals & more. He has done lighting and sound for multiple School concerts, presentation events and musicals. He finds the technical side of performance very interesting and enjoys problem-solving lighting and audio issues.

John has served fifty years with CFS and still an active member at 71 years of age; He is a Board Member at South East Water & Conservation Drainage Board and secretary for 35 years at South East Field Naturalists (SE Zone).

John has had Involvement from mid-1970s in assisting to have grain handling facilities built in Millicent. Was Chair of the Lower South East Strategic Sites Committee and has attended Annual State Meetings on the grower’s behalf for many years.

He is a volunteer who loves to assist people with their productions as it is very different from farming and provides an opportunity for him to divert his attention and enjoy social contact.

Peter established strong connection to his community when Office in Charge of Beachport Police. When the local Auskick program found itself without a coach, he volunteered to weekly coaching sessions.

Living in a remote fishing and tourist town which could be at risk of drownings or boating accidents, and with fond youth memories as lifesaver, Peter worked to start Beachport Surf Lifesaving Club. In 2016 the Club incorporated and Peter was voted inaugural President. Under his leadership, the 2019/2020 season had 83 Nippers and 17 Youth from Beachport, Millicent, Penola, Glencoe & Mount Gambier attending training at Beachport every second Sunday. The Club patrolled beaches every weekend in January.

In his time as President, Peter has volunteered personal time as a Youth Coach, Patrolling Member, assists with grant writing, organising events, building projects, media releases, radio interviews and attending meetings with Surf Lifesaving SA in Adelaide. All  whilst working full-time shift work as a Police Officer, being a husband & father of 2 young daughters.

For over forty years Sean has served as a volunteer for Saint Vincent de Paul in Millicent. He has donated countless hours, day in day out, to the community making sure people in need have the essentials for living in basic accommodation. At the same time provides a listening ear while carrying out these chores.

Since his retirement, Sean has dedicated 3-4 days per week. Ten years later, due to the deterioration of his health, he assists for 1-2 days a week in a little ute collecting furniture. It is hard work dragging wardrobes and heavy furniture all day. This furniture is distributed to the needy in crisis care and emergency accommodation situations.

Sean is also an extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and counter team member in the local Catholic Parish. The Sisters of Charity helped him when young, which has spurred his lifetime of service to the needy.

A Cordon Bleu Chef, Kate was the first person to begin a restaurant not attached to a pub in the Coonawarra Wine Region during the 1980’s. She was the first woman to receive a British “Good Food Guide” award for her restaurant Knight’s Farm. Kate was also the first chatelaine of Padthaway Homestead.

As a retirement project in 2008 she took over the former National Trust Herb Garden in Petticoat Lane, Penola and convinced the National Trust that instead of ploughing the land back into a paddock to allow her 12 months to rejuvenate it.

Since then it has become a community enterprise with lots of help from other volunteers and generous donations of produce and plants. The garden is a hub for fresh produce for local restaurants and home cooks who forage with bags and scissors provided while paying through an honesty system.

Sadly, due to ill health and age, Kate is unable to work in the garden but has found a truly wonderful successor- who additionally lives in the Lane. She has kept the town spirit alive, bringing the town together to help grow fresh produce.  Kate is always available to share her knowledge and recipes. An active member of the CWA, University of the 3rd Age, the Anglican Church, Probus and several protest groups including the Pulp Mill Project.

Quietly and professionally, without any fuss or fanfare, Michelle has contributed to the betterment of the Coonawarra & Penola communities. She has had volunteer roles with the Coonawarra Community Club, the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival, Penola Business Association, Black Swans Beef Steak & Burgundy, Coonawarra Roadshow & more. She is one of the first to put her hand up when something within our community needed to be done.

Michelle is an outstanding Ambassador with contributions to Coonawarra as a Cellar Door Manager at Katnook Estate for 25 years, especially Coonawarra Vignerons Association (CVA) & Coonawarra Grape Wine Incorporated. Michelle was awarded 2019 Patron of Coonawarra Vignerons & Finalist for Cellar Door Manager 2018 at Australian Women in Wine Awards.

Winsley served as a member of the Penola Primary School Governing Council and as a staff representative on the Penola High School Council.   She was a member of the Library Board for the Penola High School Community Library.  She is a strong supporter of Australia Day celebrations, including making the nominations for the Young Citizen of the Year Award and attending the ceremony every year.  She provides support for many community members through mentoring.  Every year she nominates students for the Long Tan Award and the Kwong Lee Dow Award.  Working with colleagues, Winsley has been responsible for the planning and organisation of the annual Presentation Night at Penola High School.

Winsley has made major and lasting contributions to our community through her profession as a Chemistry, Mathematics and General Science teacher and as an educational leader at Penola High School over 26 years.  She introduced Wine Making to senior Chemistry students, leading to many of her students working with local businesses and, in the process, established strong, highly valued and on-going links between members of the Coonawarra wine industry and the High School.

Established many roses in the Penola Hospital grounds, planted and maintains the rose gardens in Petticoat Lane, Penola War Memorial Park and around Coonawarra Hall.

Susanne other achievements include:

  • Life member – Rose Society SA (Internationally renown)
  • Lutheran Church of Penola
  • Businesswomen – Camawald Cottages accommodation
  • Flower arrangements donated for Australia Day, Anzac Day, Penola/Coonawarra Arts Festival, Penola High School speech nights, Lions Youth of the year, special occasions for weddings, birthdays and funerals
  • Held many Open Gardens fundraising for local charities
  • Penola Community Day Centre for 20 years
  • Coonawarra Community Club Committee (Since 2003)
  • Host to International Lions Exchange Students (for 40 years)
  • Penola National Trust

Her blooms bring immeasurable joy to many people including patients, residents, staff members & visitors. Susanne is also a mother, grandmother, rosarian, farmer, business woman and much more.

Ewan Grant

20 May 2020

Article by:

Ewan Grant

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