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Winners of the 2015 Australia Day Awards

A relentless Milang advocate for the environment, especially the Coorong area, has been recognised with an Australia Day Award. His Excellency Hieu Van Le AO, The Governor of South Australia will present the recipients of the 2015 Australia Day Awards with their awards in a ceremony (23 January 2015 from 6:00pm) at Government House, conducted by the Australia Day Council of South Australia.
Local Government Association President, Mayor David O’Loughlin, said the Australia Day Awards are very highly regarded as recognition of the many people who strive to make their community a better place.
“We are particularly proud of the Award winners in the Local Government category but I congratulate all Award recipients as terrific examples of people whose individual endeavours make Australia such a great place to live.”
Recipients of the Australia Day Awards for 2015 include an active volunteer in the Jamestown community, a young man championing environmental practices, a young woman who has used her bilingual abilities to promote cross-cultural awareness and a leader to support families impacted by a rare disease. Joining the individual winners of the awards is a community group who have highlighted their region for the centenary of one of its most famous residents.
The award recipients are:
South Australia’s Citizens of the Year 2015: Robert Stacey (Northern Area Council)
Sponsored by San Remo Macaroni
Robert is a wonderful example of the importance of local voluntary contribution to improve facilities and accordingly the health and well-being of the community. He has made an extraordinary contribution to the Jamestown community- the two biggest achievements being the role he has played in establishing Belalie Lodge, a district home for the aged and the Jamestown Hydrotherapy Pool, a state of the art facility. Robert has served on the Board of Belalie Lodge for 27 years- most of them in leadership positions and the hydrotherapy pool was his brainchild and he has worked passionately on it from inception to completion.
He has also made significant contributions to other community organisations in the Jamestown area including the Football Club, Uniting Church , Hospital Board and Show Society.
His passion for working to improve and health facilities in Jamestown is based on his belief that regional areas should have the same access to health and well-being facilities as their city counterparts is an amazing example of what passion and hard work can achieve.
South Australia’s Young Citizens of the Year 2015: Daniel Spencer (The City of Mitcham)
Sponsored by Stratco
5 years ago Daniel put his university studies in music on hold to devote himself to his passion for the environment. Working with the Australian Youth Clime Coalition he has been a passionate campaigner and advocate for greener and cleaner energy solutions . This is most evident when be re-located to Port Augusta to campaign and advocate for solar thermal power plants replacing coal fired plants and took part in numerous activities to raise awareness and established working committees to organize and facilitate necessary advocacy and capacity for the Port Augusta community. This resulted in the Repower Port August Alliance consisting of many stakeholders including the local community, unions, environmental groups, non-government organisations and local businesses achieving a full feasibility study currently been undertaken,
Daniel has showed amazing dedication to his passion for the environment which has had significant impact on the Port Augusta community and the nation.
South Australia’s Community Event of the Year 2014:: Recipient
Tom Kruse Centenary Celebrations (Clare & Gilbert Valleys Council)
Sponsored by San Remo Macaroni
The Waterloo Hall and Peak Body Committee have decided that it was important to recognise significant citizens of the area and accordingly conducted the Tom Kruse centenary celebrations to remember the famous outback mailman on the Birdsville track. The celebrations included unveiling of the new Tom Kruse commemorative panel, production of a documentary, book readings by author Kristin Weidenbach.for the public, and naming the new park and community shed, which the committee have played a key role in developing, after Tom Kruse. Not only was the event a great success in attracting hundreds of people to the area to remember Tom Kruse it also resulted in the establishment of community facilities and historical monuments that will benefit and educate the community for generations to come
South Australia’s Community Event of the Year 2014: Highly Commended
Better Together Christies Downs (City of Onkaparinga)
Sponsored by San Remo Macaroni
The Better Together Christies Downs group focuses on highlighting the many strengths of Christie Downs residents by developing art and community-led events within Christie Downs.. Its Fun Day aimed at providing enjoyable and safe activities that benefited the Christies Downs and Onkaparinga community and attracted over 700 people. It included stalls demonstrating activities such as parkour, mobile skate ramps, agility dog demonstrations, weaving, drumming and face painting as well as the unique shopping trolley derby Organised and conducted by a small but dedicated group of volunteers the event was an amazing achievement which provided some very positive demonstrations and activity for its local community.
South Australia’s Community Event of the Year 2014: Highly Commended
Breaking Through the Barriers (District Council of Kimba)
Sponsored by San Remo Macaroni
The Kimba Mental Health and Well Being Group organised the event “Breaking through the Barriers” a forum to provide valuable information on mental health, featuring a number of guest speakers, experts in the field and discussion sessions to allow members of the community to ask questions or share their experiences. Over 150 women attended from the Kimba and feedback was so positive it has inspired the group to organize other events including one centered on mens and womens health and another on health and nutrition. This small and dedicated committee through these events provided valuable education and support mechanisms to the community on an often stigmatized subject
The Minister for Education’s Award for Excellence in Languages and Cultures Award 2015: Recipient: Rachel Nyiramugisha (Modbury North)
Sponsored by the Multicultural Education Committee
This Award is for people under 24 years or younger
Nominees should demonstrate:
* commitment to advocacy for a multicultural Australia
* a high degree of competence in more than one language and culture
* outstanding qualities, including leadership
* the ability to operate across cultures.
Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo Rachels family went into asylum when she was 3 months old and lived in three different refugee camps. Knowing the challenges refugees face in adapting to a new life in Australia she has volunteered as a Youth Ambassador with the Australian Refugee Association assisting refugees and asylum seekers becoming settled and participating as citizens of Australia. Her ability to speak four languages, Congolese, Swahili, Kirundi and Rwandese in addition to English makes her particularly successful in efforts to assist refugees.
Rachel is also well known for her effort in advocacy across Adelaide regularly promoting intercultural understanding and speaking about her story and creating awareness of refugee issues.
Rachels experience not only supports and motivates new arrivals to Australia but also educates the wider community about the refuge experience and the settlement journey. Her efforts make an important contribution to a strong, diversive and cohesive community.
The Minister for Education’s Award for Excellence in Languages and Cultures Award 2015: Commendation: Solange Villanueva-Alvarez (Richmond)
Sponsored by the Multicultural Education Committee
Solange is a Peruvian born Australian who has an incredible passion for language and shows great energy in community activities. She is an advocate for the language of Spanish and South American culture, participating in many forums and public speaking engagements to promote understanding and awareness of the language and culture. She also speaks Italian, and has also studied French, Chinese and Korean. Solange is also involved in many community initiatives including fundraising for World Vision 40 Hour Famine fundraiser which raised over $5000.
2014 Recipient for Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award:
Michelle Sibbons (Seacombe Gardens)
Sponsored by the Office for the Status of Women
This award recognises women who have made an outstanding contribution during the current year or given outstanding service to the community over a number of years
When Michelles third child was born in 2001 with the rare Giant Melanocytic Nevus resulting in her baby undergoing extensive and painful treatment she decided to form the Nevus Support Group to provide support and mobilise other families to help each other find more information about the condition.
More than a decade later Michelle’s hard work has evolved to include the successful organisation of a number of conferences attracting people from across the nation to provide valuable information to patients and families effected, expansion of the groups network globally to several overseas countries,
successful fundraising for research and publicity for the group and the cause. Through her work Michelles knowledge of the disease is now significant and she is considered to be Australia’s most knowledgeable non-medial expert and accordingly has been invited to speak at a number of Dermatology conferences both in Australia and overseas. Michelles efforts to provide a better life for children and families effected by this disease is inspirational.
2014 Commendation for Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award:
Karyn Bradford (Milang)
Karyn is a 5th generation Milang resident and a relentless advocate for the environment and the local community in and around Milang and the wider Coorong and Lower lakes region. Currently the Executive Officer of the Milang and District Community Association and coordinator of Milang Old School house Community Centre she has initiated and conducted many highly regarded and award winning initiatives and programs including the Milang Old School House Community Centre, delivering accredited training programs for local residents in skills such as aged care, community development and conservation.

Source: Australia Day Council

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