2008 - Australia Day Winners

Major Award – Citizen of the Year

Carmen Cook

The demonstrated commitment displayed by Mrs Carmen Cook of Morwell has paved the way for her to receive the Latrobe City Award of the 2008 Australia Day Citizen of the Year.
Carmen is recognised for her strong sense of community spirit and the vital role she plays in organising charitable events.  She has such a vibrant and caring personality that is well remembered by all who meet her.

Carmen’s dedication and love of involvement with community work includes organisations such as Rotary, Centenary House and Neighbourhood Watch.

She spends tireless hours volunteering her time at the Chemotherapy Department of the Latrobe Regional Hospital; ensuring patients with cancer are made comfortable during their treatment. This includes giving much needed emotional support. 

Carmen also volunteers for overnight stays to care for people who stay at Centenary House.

Carmen is involved in many cancer support groups and programs,  such as :

The Cancer Council’s ‘Look Good Feel Better’ program
The ‘Living with Cancer’ course. 
Pink Ribbon Day,
 and Field of Women,    just to name a few.
Carmen’s commitment to the community continues to this day and Latrobe City is very proud to acknowledge such a selfless citizen and congratulates her on receiving this great honour.

Major Award – Young Citizen of the Year

Jessica Tucker

Jessica Tucker is a highly motivated 18 year old student from Tyers and is being honoured with the Latrobe City 2008 Australia Day ‘Young Citizen of the Year’ Award.

Jessica has been a volunteer within two Council programs over the past two years.  She actively participates on the FReeZA committee and the Youth Council Program.

FReeZA is a state government funded program that encourages young people to form a committee and plan/organise and deliver youth appropriate programs and events for young people aged 12-25.

Jessica has taken on a number of roles within the committee; these include official photographer, assisted with writing press releases, assisted with sound and lighting for events, artist liaison, desktop publishing and design and has also been interviewed by the Victorian and National Tidy Towns Judges for the Regional Young Leaders Award category.  The Committee was successful at the Regional level and contributed to Moe’s overall win for the national award.

Jessica has also been an active participant in Council’s 2006 and 2007 Youth Council Program.  She was elected to the Junior Mayor position in the 2007 program.  Jessica has passionately represented young people’s views and opinions throughout her term on the Youth Council.

She has strongly advocated for the review of pedestrian safety at a number of schools in Traralgon; the establishment of an independent student’s scholarship program and the development of a youth specific small grants program for the municipality.

Jessica is a keen photographer and hopes to secure a place at RMIT Melbourne in Photography & Arts in 2008.

She has won awards for her photographs in local art and photography shows; including the Tyers Art Festival.

Jessica is an active member of the Falcons Women’s soccer team, and has played representative soccer for Gippsland.

Latrobe City is very pleased to honour this young achiever, who is to be commended on receiving this Civic Award.

Major Award – Community Event of the Year

Boolarra Folk Festival

This outstanding event is being recognised as the Latrobe City 2008 Australia Day Community Event of the Year

The Boolarra Folk Festival is a free Folk Festival held in the small rural township of Boolarra in March of each year.

This festival, which is now in its sixth year, encapsulates the culturally diverse history of Latrobe Valley and being a free event, it is totally inclusive.

The Festival aspires to promote local talents and revitalize the community’s economy through increased visitation and tourism.    The event assists local businesses to remain financially viable, and provides opportunities for local community organisations to raise funds.

This year attendance numbers were round 6,000, making the Boolarra Folk Festival one of the largest community events in Latrobe City and the Gippsland Region. 

Survey results suggest that people came from all parts of Gippsland and Metro Victoria to attend this festival, and are coming back year after year bringing friends and family with them.

The Boolarra Folk Festival builds partnerships within this community, between the various community organisations, between people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and various age groups, and between the local business owners and the community.

The strengthening of community ties is helping to revitalize Boolarra and the optimistic atmosphere that is present at each Festival, is being replicated through this community.

Major Award – Community Service of the Year

Helimed 1 Auxiliary

For the past 7 – 8 years the Helimed 1 Auxiliary had been discussing with MAS and the Latrobe Airport Board the need for the Helimed 1 Air Ambulance Helicopter to move from their current temporary position, which they have been in for many years, to a purpose built Hanger, including Operations and Accommodation Facility.

Over the past 4 years the Auxiliary set of to raise funds for this project.

A decommissioned Ambulance was supplied by Rural Ambulance Victoria to allow the Auxiliary Members to actively promote the Helimed 1 Service.  The money raised for this project was achieved by donations from various groups across Gippsland, and the Auxiliary collected money in many ways from people from Wonthaggi to Lakes Entrance.

The Helimed 1 Auxiliary consists of 10 Members from the Latrobe Valley.

Their main objective is to promote the Helicopter by giving talks to various groups,   attending functions across Gippsland, and by selling merchandise like hats, coffee mugs, fridge magnets, plus a range of giveaway’s of pens, rulers and colouring books for children and school groups.

Their other object is to raise funds to assist with the purchase of medical equipment for the Helicopter and items for training purposes.

The contributions received from the community has been absolutely fantastic.  The Helimed 1 Auxiliary have been in a fortunate position over the years to assist in the purchase of equipment such as heart Monitors, Ventilators, O2 monitors and Mannequin Dolls for training purposes.

This is a great effort by a small number of people and the Auxiliary should be extremely proud of their achievements.

The Helimed 1 crew is now accommodated in a new functional complex.  In conjunction with the Latrobe Regional Airport Board, the complex cost $1.2 Million dollars and was completed and opened in November 2007 by the Minister for Health Mr. Daniel Andrews MP.

The Auxiliary raised an additional $205,000 toward the cost of enhancements to the building.  A massive achievement.

Major Award – Community Service of the Year

Make Moe Glow

The Make Moe Glow committee was formed in November 2005 as a result of a perceived need to bring Moe back to the clean and tidy town that it once was.

As a part of their stated intention to clean, tidy and beautify Moe and its surrounding district, an advertisement was placed in shops and civic centres to attract anybody with an interest in gardening and to help make Moe a more attractive place.

In helping to achieve this goal, a steady flow of projects was commenced, starting with encouraging the larger stores in town to keep their surrounds in good order.

With the assistance of Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria, they moved on to adapt their local railway station while still pursuing other tasks and projects around Moe and the surrounding area.

Make Moe Glow has been an outstanding success story for Moe and will continue to grow with the support of local business, community groups, residents and Latrobe City Council.

The culmination of this group’s effort is shown by the six Tidy Towns South-East Region Awards the Make Moe Glow application won in April this year.  They then took out the ultimate award at the Victorian National Titles in Benalla in October – with Moe being announced 2007 Sustainable Communities Tidy Town winner for Victoria.

We would also like to wish them the best in Hobart this coming April, as they represent Victoria at the announcement of Australia’s Tidy Town.

This group should be congratulated for their efforts, in ‘Making Moe Glow’.

Latrobe City Award – Citizen of the Year

Shirley Bridges

For over 30 years, Shirley has given countless hours to the youth of Latrobe City as a volunteer leader with Girl Guides.  Over that time she has helped thousands of girls develop into confident, self-respecting and responsible community members.

Her dedication to enthusing her girls about the wonders of the great outdoors has lead Shirley to spend many weekends a year taking girls on outdoor activities such as camping, canoeing and hiking.

More recently Shirley has been involved in Strzelecki Showtime, an annual Guide and Scout performance, and has been the instigator for increased participation by local Girl Guides.

In 2006 for her outstanding service to Guiding, Shirley was awarded the Boronia Award by the Girl Guide Association. In addition to her service to Guiding, Shirley has volunteered for over 10 years with Lifeline; including more recently assisting young unemployed persons learn important practical skills to assist them in their transition to the workforce.

In 2006 Shirley was awarded Lifeline’s ‘Daffodil Award’ for her service to that organisation.

Shirley’s passion, dedication and commitment to assisting the youth of Latrobe City make her a worthy recipient of this award.

Latrobe City Award – Citizen of the Year

Bill Mele

Bill Mele is being recognised for this award for giving 65 years of service to the Jeeralang North and District community. 

When the original Jeeralang North Hall and school was burnt down in the devastating bush fires in 1944, the local community decided to raise money to rebuild. When the building works began, Bill was Foreman and coordinated the workers and the Hall was constructed using voluntary labour.   School was held in the Supper Room and Bill was the teacher.

The Jeeralang North Hall Committee was formed in 1952 and Bill was elected President, and apart from a three year period between 1992 and 1995, Bill has held that position since.

Bill’s community service extended to the local Progress Association and in 1977 he joined the then Shire of Traralgon, serving three terms as Shire President.

Bill continues to be an interested and hard working member of the Jeeralang North Hall Committee and has helped keep the Hall viable and an asset to the community.  His friendship, generosity and sincerity have made Bill a valued member of the community and a role model to many.

Latrobe City Award – Young Citizen of the Year

Jami Heal

For the past seven years, Jami has been a valued member of Traralgon District Girl Guides.  During that time she has served in several leadership positions, most notably for the past two years as a Junior Leader with Traralgon Koala Guides.  In this role Jami has helped facilitate the physical, social, practical and personal skills of many young girls aged between 5 – 7 years.  In addition, for the past 4 years she has been involved in Strzelecki Showtime, the local annual Guide and Scout performance, winning in 2005 the award for the most enthusiastic and committed Showtime.

Outside her significant contribution to guiding, Jami is an extremely active member of the Lavalla Catholic College Community where she is a year 9 student at the St Paul’s Campus.

Serving as a member of the Student representative council for the past 3 years, currently as secretary; and is a member of the senior band, intermediate band, junior chamber ensemble and the junior Coal Valley Male Chorus.  This year in recognition to the college community she was appointed an “Energizer’ a faculty appointed student leader.  Recently Jami has commenced volunteering with Interchange, assisting young disabled people on camps and activities.

Latrobe City Award – Young Citizen of the Year

The Ripper Sk8 Park Krew

The Ripper Sk8 Park Krew  are a group of local, young teens who are Skateboarders, Scooter Riders and Rollerbladers. They have been working with others in the community, including the Victoria Police and MP Russell Northe, with the aim of building a Skatepark in Glengarry.

The Ripper Sk8park Krew identified the lack of recreational facilities for young people in their town as an issue, then formed a committee, approached and linked in with existing community groups such as the Glengarry Residents Group, Glengarry Primary School, and  Latrobe City Council, in an endeavour to make this dream a reality.

This project will engage young people who have a stake in and who can make a positive impact on, the future of the Glengarry community.  The Ripper Sk8park Krew felt a Skatepark would not only cater to the needs of local skating and BMX riders, but would advantage Glengarry and district in terms of social and economic benefits.  This Skatepark would attract more young people to Glengarry providing an important social outlet, have an economic flow on to local business and in turn, be of general benefit to the entire community.

Latrobe City Award – Community Event of the Year

The ‘Churchill and District News Junior Fishing Competition’

The Churchill & District News Junior Fishing Competition 2007 was outstanding because it engaged 161 young anglers aged between 4 and 16 in an outdoor recreational sport in a friendly and extremely well behaved manner.  Families and friends came from across the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland to enjoy a relaxed, affordable day in a superb setting that promoted participation in a healthy outdoor sport.

It is a unique event, in that it is not one that families bring their children to,  but one that children bring their families to, or Nan or Pop or the next door neighbour! 

The competition was run entirely by volunteers from the Churchill & District News and funded by generous donations from local organisations.  The venue, Lake Hyland, was showcased at its best, due to the tireless work done by volunteers from the Mathison Park Committee and Latrobe City Council.

Latrobe City Award – Community Event of the Year

The Gemstones, Jewellery and Collectables Expo

The Gemstones, Jewellery & Collectables Expo is a popular event and is unique to Australia.   Collectors travel from Australia wide to buy and sell their wares at this event.

The Expo featured sales and displays of thousands of different items collected over many years, as well as the opportunity to see stones being polished and faceted into jewellery.

The displays included items such as; jewellery, collectables, gemstones, antique bottles, fossils, old tins, old radios, crystals, glassware, swap cards, coins, stamps, whisky items, comics, postcards,  old toys,  just to name a few.

Free antique appraisals were conducted on both days of the Expo and it gave people the opportunity to find out about the old items they had collected, which had been sitting in the cupboard or shed for countless years.   

An Economic impact undertaken on this event in 2006 saw a direct economic impact of nearly $187,000 with an additional indirect spend of around $94,000 to the Latrobe City Community.

Latrobe City Award – Community Event of the Year

The ‘40th Anniversary Traralgon Marathon’

This year’s Traralgon Marathon Carnival was a historically significant event – the 40th anniversary of the oldest marathon race in Australia.

A national – and international event, it has been conducted every year since 1968, encouraging physical exercise and fostering inter-town cooperation and community spirit across Latrobe City.

The marathon carnival was highly successful for the Valley community and for all participants, volunteers, sponsors and spectators.

The event attracted distinguished visitors and former residents to the Valley, and promoted Latrobe City and the region.  Numerous articles and interviews in the local, state-wide and national press, radio and TV, and on the World Wide Web, enhanced the image of Latrobe City,

Guest of honour on the day was former dual-Olympian Derek Clayton, who was the world record holder when he won the 1970 Traralgon Marathon.

Latrobe City Award – Community Service of the Year

Gippsland Central Ulysses Branch

Gippsland Central Ulysses Branch members have enabled Community Events to function safely by the provision of their members to perform road closure duties.

Gippsland Central Ulysses applied for a grant to do Road Traffic Management training in the first instance to ensure that Police and Council obligations were met, to enable the continuance of the Gippsland Motor Cyclists Toy run. Since the training members of the branch have supported all community events to which they have received an invitation.

In addition to the current Road Management, members in the past assisted in the “Rotary Give a Can, Give a damn“ promotion. 

Their members have over 6 years and current, provided the waiters/waitresses for the Lions Senior Citizens Christmas Lunch., as well as supplying bike displays for the “ Wings and Wheels” at the Traralgon Aerodrome and the Churchill Community Fun Day.   They have also provided members to assist Gippsland Life line at the Grand Prix in 2006 where they were the nominated sponsored Charity.

Their members have also given talks to such organisations as Probus, Rotary and the Lions Clubs within the Latrobe City.


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