2004 - Australia Day Winners

Major Award – Citizen of the Year

Darell Benjamin

The demonstrated commitment displayed by Mr Darell Benjamin of Moe has paved the way to him receiving the 2004 Australia Day Latrobe City ‘Citizen of the Year’ Award.

Darell’s contribution to the community is recognised for his 24 years

of active involvement in the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.   Over that period he has raised approximately $340,000 for the Royal Children’s Hospital.  In that time Darell has virtually played a lone hand as Co-ordinator of the Appeal in Moe, Newborough, Yallourn North and the surrounding areas, now known officially as Moe & District of which he has been appointed as District Representative.

In 2003, Darell raised over $47,000 – a magnificent effort for someone who does most of the fundraising during the year by himself.   He does not have a committee as such to work with, but he co-opts family, friends and the local fire brigades of Moe, Westbury, Newborough and Trafalgar to help collect on Good Fridays.

Darell spends many tireless hours on Good Fridays looking after the Collectors by providing them with food and refreshments.  This he could not do without the generous support of many Moe business houses.

Organisations such as the Moe Field and Gun Club, the Yallourn Bowling Club, Moe Bowling Club, Newborough Old Time Dance Club and the Moe RSL are just are few Darell has involved in his efforts to help raise funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Darell’s significant contribution to the community also includes his dedication and involvement with the -

Moe-Latrobe Valley Jazz Club,
He is Deputy Chairman and Secretary of the Yallourn Bowling Club Management Committee
He committed his time as a Group Leader of a special group of intellectual, physical and mentally handicapped Boy Scouts.
And is a past Secretary of the Moe Lions Club.
Latrobe City is very proud to acknowledge such a selfless citizen and congratulates Darell on receiving this great honour.

Major Award – Young Citizen of the Year

Alysia Hunter

Miss Alysia Hunter is a 17 year old student from Churchill and is being honoured with the Latrobe City 2004 ‘Young Citizen of the Year’ Award for her dedicated contribution to the community in her capacity as a volunteer and leader.

She volunteers her time and is heavily involved with the local radio station, Gippsland FM, Churchill Youth Action Centre and the Gippsland Youth Leadership Program.

Alysia also represents her peers as a representative on the Latrobe City Youth Council and was recently selected to represent the young people of the region as the Youth Ambassador for the LatrobeFirst Campaign.

Alysia has just completed her VCE and has taken up the opportunity to assist Youth Services in delivering five Freeza events with funding from State Government.

Alysia is a very active member of the community and some of her other significant contributions and achievements include being :-

A member of the Gippsland FM Radio Station “The Driving Force”.
Involved with the Churchill Tennis Club.
A Latrobe City Youth Council representative 2003.
A LatrobeFirst Ambassador,  and
A volunteer with Youth Services.

Latrobe City is very pleased to honour this amazing young achiever, who is to be commended on receiving this Award and wishes Alysia all the best for her future.

Major Award – Young Citizen of the Year

Brendan Yeates

Mr Brendan Yeates is a 16 year old student from Yinnar South and is being honoured with the Latrobe City 2004 ‘Young Citizen of the Year’ Award for his dedicated contributions to the community in his capacity as a volunteer and leader and for his commitment to the Performing Arts.

From a young age of 8, Brendan’s talent has been exhibited through dance and performance.  He has performed in many local competitions and musicals and recently performed with Channel 9’s Footy Show final.  He is very much Latrobe’s little ‘Billy Elliott’.

Brendan’s recent selection into the prestigious Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School in Melbourne has reinforced his talent as a dancer.   He will complete his VCE studies at the school, which is affiliated with the University of Melbourne, combining his academic studies with dance.

Brendan was one of only 86 students accepted world wide to attend the secondary school, which is a lead in to university studies also at the College of the Arts.

Brendan is a very active member of the community and some of his other significant contributions and achievements include :-

Being a Member of the Latrobe City Youth Council
A Gippsland Youth Leadership Program participant in 2003
A Member of the Latrobe Valley Theatre Company
A Student of the Latrobe Valley School of Performing Arts
A School leader at Kurnai Secondary College, Churchill, and
A young Entrepreneur of own business named “Insekion” 
involving performances at children’s parties.
Latrobe City is very pleased to honour this amazing young achiever, who is to be commended on receiving this Award and wishes Brendan all the best for his future and hope that his dreams of ‘Broadway’ become a reality.

Major Award – Community Event of the Year

48th Latrobe Valley Eisteddfod

The Latrobe Valley Eisteddfod has become an institution in this region which has been such an important part of our culture for so many years.  In its 48 years of continuous operation, the event has provided the opportunity for thousands of people to perform in the areas of music, theatrical dance, drama, speech, choral, bands and instrumental, to name but a few.   

The Latrobe Valley Eisteddfod commenced in 1956, and by 1965 there were 1450 items being performed.  In a measure of how much the event has grown in that time, in 2003 over 3,500 solo and group items were performed during the 6 weeks duration of the Eisteddfod, which was staged in the Latrobe City Performing Arts Centre in Traralgon.

The success of this event is due to the Eisteddfod Committee.

They are an extremely dedicated and hard working group of people, and the amount of organisational hours that is required to run an event such as this is certainly no small challenge.

Along with the Committee, a group of 50 plus volunteers work behind the scenes to ensure smooth running.   These hard working teams of volunteers, along with the Committee members, are the people who work tirelessly to ensure that this Eisteddfod is of the highest quality.

We as a community are very privileged to have such a wonderful annual event in Latrobe City.

Latrobe City Award – Citizen of the Year

Frank Bezzina

Frank is being recognised for his highly commended work in the community for his charitable contribution to local schools and organisations under the guise of ‘Koko the Clown’.

Performing as ‘Koko the Clown’ at many functions and events such as the Church Street Fiesta, Club Astoria Oktoberfest and local schools, Frank gives to the people of  the community, especially the children, a warm hearted character they respect and admire. 

On numerous occasions, Frank will often takes time out of his busy schedule to provide charitable performances to the community, including visiting unwell children in hospitals and in their homes.

Latrobe City Award – Citizen of the Year

Colin Brick

Colin is being recognised for his dedication and contribution to the Boolarra community.

Colin’s drive and vision not only sowed the seeds of the present Development Group in Boolarra, but sustained it through to fruition.  His initial ideas published in Boolarra Link two years ago were supported by a steering committee which propagated the successful Boolarra Community Development Group.

In addition to a busy family, working and sporting life; Colin still finds the time to help and contribute to the community. 

Colin’s past and present involvement with organisations such as the Boolarra Development Group Folk Festival, the Boolarra Memorial Park, the Gippsland Wine & Food Club and sporting bodies involving Tennis and Football, is an example of his community dedication.

Latrobe City Award – Citizen of the Year

Kathleen Carruthers

Kathleen is being recognised for her many years of volunteer and selfless contribution to the Morwell and wider Latrobe City community.

Kathleen’s commitment and dedicated service to the community includes her involvement in organisations such as Latrobe Valley Palliative Care, Neighbourhood Watch, the Latrobe Valley Eisteddfod, Morwell Meals on Wheels, the Morwell Anti-Cancer Branch, the Salvation Army and Gippsland & Family Services.

Held in high esteem and described as a most efficient, sincere and thoughtful person, Kathleen is alert to serving the needs of the disadvantaged and is committed to helping people in need.

Latrobe City Award – Citizen of the Year

Joy Davis

Joy is being recognised for her outstanding contribution to the Traralgon Croquet Club where she holds the position of President.    Since taking office she has been involved in every aspect of the Club’s activities.   Joy’s leadership of the club has lifted the profile and respect of the Traralgon Croquet throughout Victoria and in particular, Gippsland.

Other significant contributions include Joy’s dedicated volunteer involvement with organisations such as the Traralgon Country Women’s Association, the Cake Decorators Group, the Patchwork Group and the Red Cross Blood Bank.

Notwithstanding Joy’s wide involvement in community activities, she maintains a kind and generous attitude to all and is willing to accept any challenge.  The personal care and concern shown for those in need indicates her value as a citizen of this City.

Latrobe City Award – Citizen of the Year

Joan Gardner

Joan is being recognised for her dedicated service and commitment to the community in Community Health and Wellbeing. 

For the past 33 years Joan has been heavily involved in promoting activities and conducting exercise classes for people of all ages.  She has been conducting ‘Chairobics’ at the Wattle Club Adult Day Centre in Churchill for the past 18 years after commencing work there as a volunteer in 1985 to take Exercise and Craft classes.

Joan is a member of the Diversional Therapy Association of Victoria and has attended numerous conferences and seminars, where she has done guest speaking on ‘Exercise for the Aged’.

Other significant contributions and achievements Joan has been involved with is the :-

Hazelwood House establishment finance committee
17 years with the Yinnar South Country Fair Committee 
is a member of the Victorian Council of the Aged.
a member of ‘Leaders in fitness for the Elderly, and
a member of VicFit

Latrobe City Award – Citizen of the Year

Phillip Higgins

Phillip is being recognised for his devotion and dedicated commitment to educating some of Australia’s most isolated rural children in remote outback locations, with his ‘Flying Scientist’ program.

Phillip is better known to his pupils as ‘Phiggles The Flying Scientist’.

After teaching science at University for 32 years and retiring as a Senior Lecturer and Head of Physics, Phillip looked at ways he could give something back to science and the community.  He then worked with the Department of Education to develop a science program to suit the primary school curriculum.

Flying to remote areas of Australia, Phillip delivers and shares with the children, the magic of science in a very special science program. 

Latrobe City Award – Citizen of the Year

Phillip Mayer

Phillip is being recognised for his contributions to the community in areas of Youth and Community Theatre development.

He is to be congratulated for his excellent work in the promotion of drama and the arts with young people.  He has dedicated ten years to teaching, conducting Drama Workshops and producing over 40 shows in the Latrobe and Gippsland regions, providing an opportunity for young people to develop their skills.

Phillip is an enthusiastic and dedicated member of his local community, giving his time to education, junior sporting associations and charity work.

He is to be commended for his volunteer involvement and commitment to organisations such as the Walkley Park Churchill Koala Kinder, the Yinnar & District Pre School, Yinnar Judo Club, Yinnar Football Club and the Community Arts Project - Work for the Dole program.

Latrobe City Award – Citizen of the Year

Marie Moulton

Marie is being recognised for her strong commitment to creating opportunities for young people to develop an interest in the Performing Arts through the Latrobe Valley Eisteddfod and previously the Latrobe Orchestra.

Maria has worked tirelessly for the Latrobe Valley Eisteddfod as a volunteer for more than 25 years.  She is an honorary Life Member and has held the positions of President, Vice President and Secretary.  She is a tower of strength in the organisation and her knowledge and experience are invaluable.  Marie represents the Latrobe Valley on the Committee of the Association of Eisteddfod Societies of Australia. 

Marie’s love of music and willingness to help in the community to bring culture to as many people as possible has been her strong motivation.

Latrobe City Award – Citizen of the Year

Debra Thompson

Debra is being recognised for her contribution to the community in her involvement with Guides Victoria.

She has been involved with the Guiding Association since the age of 12, and is now the newly appointed District Leader for Adults in Traralgon.

In a busy life style of self-employment 7 days a week, Debra still managers to serve her community by dedicating time to the Glengarry Primary School Council as President, attend weekly and monthly meetings of Guides Victoria, and she has just been awarded the position of Township Facilitator for Glengarry & District.

Latrobe City Award – Citizen of the Year

Deborah Zwierlein

Deborah is being recognised for her invaluable contribution to the community for the development and running of a community based ‘Helping Hand’ program.  This program is based at the Church of the Valley Christian Centre Morwell, and provides material aid to needy families and children throughout Latrobe City.

Reaching 100-150 families on a fortnightly basis, this program provides food, clothing, furniture, household goods, school supplies and toys - all at no charge.  Deborah co-ordinates, supplies and raises donations to fund the ‘Helping Hand’ program and leads a team of dedicated volunteer workers.

Deborah puts her caring attitude and talents to work for the benefit of the needy in the community.

Latrobe City Award – Young Citizen of the Year

Scott Dwyer

Scott is 17 years of age and is recognised for his family dedication, community involvement and his commitment to the Moe Fire Brigade.

Since joining the Moe Fire Brigade Scott has demonstrated enormous enthusiasm and commitment.  He has shown the maturity to take criticism and direction and undertakes studies to improve his abilities and skills.   Scott is committed to his VCE school work, part-time job and other sporting hobbies.

Above all, his high achievement has been to give unconditional time and care to his father who passed away on 12 October 2003 from Motor Neurone Disease.

Some of Scott’s other significant achievements also include the Lions Club Citizenship Award and the Moe Fire Brigade R “Toby” Williams Encouragement Award 2003.

Latrobe City Award – Young Citizen of the Year

Daniel Scholes

Daniel is 22 years of age and is being recognised for his service to the Scouting Association as a Leader for a Scout Group from a predominately under privileged area; and also for his service to the local and wider communities in the area of teaching and coaching basketball.

Other significant contributions and achievements for Daniel include the organising and running of an in-school basketball program for the Latrobe City Pacers; he was a finalist for the 1998 Scout of the Year and was a recipient of the Queen’s Scout Award in 1998.

Daniel is currently studying to become a Sport and Outdoor Education Teacher at Monash University.

Latrobe City Award – Community Event of the Year

Boolarra Folk & Drums Festival 2003

The organisers of the inaugural 2003 Boolarra Folk & Drum Festival are to be congratulated for their dedication and hard work for the staging of a community celebration that provided enjoyment and participation for the community of Boolarra and the wider region of Latrobe City.

The Boolarra Folk & Drum Festival committee and dedicated volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the event, which ensured a great family day that catered for all ages.

It was an excellent example of how the spirit of a community can be lifted and united together providing an opportunity to showcase a variety of stalls and the incredible local talent.

Latrobe City Award – Community Event of the Year

Coalies Week

‘Coalies Week’ is a week of reunion for past and present residents of Brown Coal Mine - which was renamed to Yallourn North in 1947.

The week long event was staged at the Old Brown Coal Mine Museum in Yallourn North, and incorporated a day for ex-SEC workers, a reunion for the ex residents of the old township of Morwell bridge, promoted tourism for the region, and as the event was staged at the Museum, it provided educational interests for school visits from the local school children.

The Yallourn North Historical Society and volunteer members of the community are to be congratulated for the enormous amount of planning and preparation that was involved in making the event the success it was.

Latrobe City Award – Community Event of the Year

Great Victorian Bike Ride (Glengarry Leg of the Ride)

The Glengarry Community Association and the Glengarry community are recognised for their professional organisation and hosting of the Glengarry leg of the VicRoads Great Victorian Bike Ride held in December 2003.

The township of Glengarry was transformed into a tent city as close to 4,000 cyclists descended upon the town.  Glengarry was alive with people – most of them visitors to the region – the biggest event ever in the town.

Organisers worked with Bicycle Victoria to showcase the region to the many riders and visitors, organising packaged tours to Power Works and Walhalla.  The community spirit was extremely high as they all worked together to cater activities and entertainment for an exceptional large number of people of all ages.

Latrobe City Award – Community Event of the Year

Loy Yang Power International Tennis Federation Victorian Junior Championships

The Traralgon Tennis Association is recognised for its community and volunteer involvement in the staging of this excellent event for the 10th consecutive year.

The dedication of the volunteers plays a large role in the successful staging of the Championships, along with assistance from Apex, Rotary and Lions.

The Championships, which attract over 200 junior competitors including some of the world’s top junior players, are played at the excellent venue of the Traralgon Tennis Complex.

The success of this community event is a credit to the band of dedicated volunteers and the Traralgon Tennis Association in conjunction with Tennis Australia.

Latrobe City Award – Community Event of the Year

State Indoor Archery Championships

Twin City Archers Gippsland are recognised for their excellent work in the staging of the State Indoor Archery Championships in July 2003.

For the past five years, Twin City Archers Gippsland has run this highly successful Archery Tournament, increasing attendance numbers from year to year.

The Tournament attracts to Latrobe City many competitors and their family members.  They travel from all over Victoria, and while in the area it gives many of them the opportunity to tour and explore the wider Latrobe City region.

The hard work and dedication displayed by the Twin City Archers members to organise and run an event such as this, is what has made this Tournament what it is today.

Latrobe City Award – Community Event of the Year

Traralgon Pro AM Golf Tournament

The Traralgon Golf Club is to be congratulated for the professional organisation of the Traralgon ProAm Golf Tournament.  They have been running the Tournament for 13 years and the event is gaining a higher profile each year it is conducted.

This outstanding event brings 100 professional golfers, plus their support persons to the area for three days, assisting the local economy.

Recognised as Victoria’s major regional ProAm Tournament, the event gains significant coverage throughout Victoria via television and newspaper reports, as well as Australia wide coverage through golf magazines.

The success of the Tournament is a credit to the members and volunteers of the Traralgon Golf Club.

Latrobe City Award – Community Event of the Year

Club Astoria Oktoberfest 2003

This outstanding event is being recognised for its community involvement and the enjoyment provided and experienced by over 3,500 people who attended on the day.  

The Club Astoria Oktoberfest is an “Australianised” version of a well known German festivity that is celebrated in many places in many parts of the world.    People are attracted by the variety provided by the Oktoberfest – the craft stalls, the music, the German food, the German beer and the vast variety of entertainment provided.  

The Club Astoria Members and volunteers are to be congratulated for their organisation and staging of an event that catered for families and citizens of all ages.

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