Local Australian honours

By Emma Prior

Yarrawonga and Tungamah have come away with two wins in the 2020 Moira Shire Australia Day Awards taking out the Community Event of the Year and the Young Citizen of the Year.

Nominations were just short of last year with council receiving 27 nominations in four categories; Community Organisation of the Year, Community Event of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Citizen of the Year. 

A number of special guests were in attendance including Members for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell, Tim Quilty and Tania Maxwell as well as Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy and Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed.

Moira Shire Mayor Libro Mustica congratulated the individuals and projects nominated for these awards and said they “showcased the many strengths of local communities across the shire”. 

“We are so fortunate to have many passionate and dedicated volunteers who donate their time and skills for the betterment of others,” Cr Mustica said. 

“Their commitment to the community plays an enormous role within our region. 

“Without award ceremonies such as this, many of these groups, organisations and individuals would go unrecognised by the wider community, and the Australia Day Awards in particular is an opportunity to celebrate and applaud the efforts and achievements of each nominee. 

“Each nominee was assessed by a panel of judges who praised the calibre of nominations.”

The Boomerang Bags Cobram Barooga swept the floor on the night winning both the Arts/Culture and or Environment Project of the Year and Community Organisation of the Year.

Boomerang Bags Cobram Barooga began in 2016 with a handful of volunteers making re-usable shopping bags from donated fabric. 

The group is now made up of 30 volunteers who have made more than 3,000 reusable bags and have now branched out into making ‘produce bags’.

The Yarrawonga Lawn Tennis Club then took the honours in the Community Event of the Year, taking out the award in front of five other nominations including the 60th Anniversary of the Yarrawonga Community Hall.

The Yarrawonga Lawn Tennis Club is a small community tennis club that hosts an annual Easter tournament to raise money, not only for the club but also for local businesses. 

The Easter tournament attracts more than 1,500 players and their families and friends to Yarrawonga and is a major boost for business owners and tourism operators. 

This annual event builds social cohesion, generates goodwill, has strengthened continuity and history making, and stimulated positive goal setting for young tennis players.

Secretary and current co-tournement director of the Easter Tournement Jo McCarthy said the club was very honoured to receive the award.

“It’s very exciting to win the Community Event of the Year because its really positive to be acknowledged for the event that the Easter Tournament is,” Jo said.

“It’s great recognition for the club and everyone that has an involvement in it too.

“We are well into planning for this Easter.”

Tungamah’s own young achiever Dylan Sidebottom then took out the Young Citizen of the Year. 

Dylan has grown up in the Tungamah area and been a part of community activities from a young age. 

Dylan is involved in his local sporting clubs, a volunteer firefighter with the Tungamah Fire Brigade and helps each Good Friday Appeal. 

As well as playing football, he umpires for the Under 14s and runs water for the senior football teams. 

Dylan is also a player in the pennant team for the Tungamah Bowls Club. 

He is on the Student Representative Council as school and has recently returned from walking the Kokoda Track as part of the school’s leadership group.

Dylan said it was a fantastic experience to win the Young Citizen of the Year award and he will continue as much as he can to help out in his community.

“It’s really very exhilarating to win,” Dylan said.

“I love going out into the community and doing what I can to help the town and I was always going to continue that but this is a bit of an extra incentive.

“I am going to continue with the CFA, I just love it there and they are the some of the main people I would like to thank. “The Good Friday Appeal is one of the best things I am involved in and I will continue to walk around town on Good friday to raise money for the cause.”

Lastly but definitely not least, the Citizen of the Year was announced with Michael Coates from Katamatite being announced as the Shire’s Citizen of the Year for 2020.

Michael has lived in Katamatite for more than 25 years and has always been involved in community organisations including the local football club, Lions Club, indoor bowls, cricket club and Cemetery Trust. 

He has continued to maintain and mow the oval for both the cricket and football season and was recently awarded a Life Membership with the football club. 

He also maintains the lawn cemetery on a regular basis.

Towns throughout the Shire will hold their own Australia Day celebrations on Sunday, January 26 with official presentations of local Australia Day Award winners for 2020.

Yarrawonga – 7.15am - Kennedy Park. Free cooked breakfast provided by Rotary Club along with the award presentations and entertainment.

Federation Council celebrations will be held at Memorial Park Howlong commencing at 9am.

Tungamah/St James – 8am - Lions Park – Boyd Street, Tungamah. Free cooked breakfast and award presentations. 

For more on Australia Day see Page 9.