2017 - Australia Day Winners

Citizen of the year

Trevor Ewert

Trevor Ewert from Bushies Bakery is recognised for his efforts in raising funds for the 2016 Good Friday Appeal.  He raised more than $30,000 from the sale of a unique range of hot cross buns from his bakery in Glengarry.  This amazing idea brought the community and surrounding districts together to achieve a common goal, with the Good Friday Appeal reaping the benefit. The flavoured hot cross buns became a social media phenomenon, bringing people from around the state to Glengarry, and some buns even being mailed to people across the country.

Baking for 20 hours each day for eight weeks was an amazing effort by Trevor, his wife Jenah and their staff. One morning when customers had started queuing at 4am, Trevor was outside offering free hot coffee and buns – he is always thinking of others. Thousands of people “discovered” Glengarry during this time, giving a welcome boost to both the community and businesses in the town.

Trevor is a proud supporter of the town. Born and bred there, Glengarry’s success is certainly a priority for Trevor.  Bushies Bakery is well known for its good food and great service and has definitely increased tourism in the area. Trevor provides and fosters community spirit not only locally, but to the region in general.

Young Citizen of the Year

Emily Beecroft

Emily Beecroft was born on 19 November 1999, a triple birth with two sisters.  She lives in Traralgon.  She was born deaf in the left ear and with a right limb deficiency but has never let those conditions prevent her from playing sport.  Although Emily played netball and participated in athletics, she eventually decided to concentrate on swimming.  Competing for Traralgon Swim Club, she swam a personal best time to take the bronze medal in the 50 metre breaststroke multi-class event at the national Open Championships in May 2013, aged 13 years

By March 2015, Emily was ranked in the top five in the world in the 50 metre butterfly, 50 metre and 100 metre freestyle and in the top 15 in all her other events.  She made her international debut at the US Para Championships in Bismarck, North Dakota in December 2015, where she swam second in the 50 metre butterfly, and 50 metre and 100 metre freestyle events. She won gold in the 50 metre freestyle and 100 metre butterfly events at the 2015 Australian Open Championships.

At the 2016 Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide, coached by Dean Gooch, she won gold in the 50 metre and 100 metre freestyle and 50 metre butterfly events. All three swims were personal bests, but the 31.93 second 50 metre butterfly swim also broke the national record.  Emily was named part of the Australian swim team for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio.

She competed in four events at the Rio Paralympic Games in four different S0 classifications, taking part in the 200 metre individual medley, 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle and 50m freestyle.  She achieved personal best times in all four events and was a finalist in the 100m fly, 100m free and 50m free.  Emily finished sixth in both 100m events and fourth in the freestyle, just .03 sec from third and a bronze medal.  

Emily was also recently selected as a finalist and awarded runners-up for the Marg Angel Junior Sportsperson Award at the 2016 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Award. Emily Beecroft is a true inspiration.

Event of the Year

Latrobe Valley Street Requiem - Latrobe Valley Community Choir

The Latrobe Valley Community Choir’s Street Requiem unites singers and performers of all abilities, ages and backgrounds.  Coming from Latrobe City and as far as field as Melbourne, the singers provided entertainment for 2000 members of the community in a 200-voice choir performance at the Sound Shell in Traralgon on 5 March 2016. 
It brought the internationally acclaimed Choir of Hard Knocks, conducted by Jonathan Welch, to Latrobe City, and that in turn brought people from other areas of the Valley to see and hear them collectively perform.  The event showcased our City, showing our capacity for just what can be achieved when you look outside the square.  This event would not have happened without the determination and energies of the organisers who not only drove this project, but delivered a professionally run event here in the Valley.
The project aimed to be inclusive and open to all sectors of the community, especially engaging the Cultural and Linguistically Diverse Community. The school program ensured the youth component was represented.
The Latrobe Valley Community Choir was borne out of the Black Saturday Bushfires.  It supports participants to feel a sense of achievement, social connections and success in learning, and performing through a range of compositions. LVCC provides a key message at a community level that promotes harmony. LVCC believes that singing is giving benefits to the health and wellbeing of participants.

Community Service of the Year

20th Anniversary of the International Women's Group

The International Women’s Group was formed on 8 March 1996, on International Women’s Day, at a workshop between Gippsland Multicultural Services and Latrobe Community Health Services. Eight women attended and decided to meet monthly to continue researching issues and to find the right solutions.

The group’s aims were, and still are, to support, educate, socialise, make friends, share knowledge and experiences.

It has 140 members from 24 cultural backgrounds. Members organise yearly festivals, Harmony Day events, multicultural food festivals, health seminars and legal information days. They also liaise with local services and agencies, and organise bi-monthly meetings in locations for those members who could not otherwise attend. Meetings are attended only by women as many women’s issues are discussed, but for other activities or outings other CALD groups, individuals, friends, family, local and metro government representatives are invited.

Citizen Recognition Award

Peter Harrison

Peter Harrison continues to make a huge commitment to many groups and organisations in Latrobe City. In 2009, following Black Saturday, he was the chair of the Traralgon South and District Community Recovery Committee and the coordinator of the Traralgon South Relief Centre, the only relief centre in Victoria run solely by community volunteers. He has been the director of the Tyers Art Festival since 2003 and encourages the involvement of many local community groups and organisations in this event.

He is a member of the Tyers CFA and is currently the lieutenant responsible for community relations. He has been a Victorian Bail Justice since 2008. Bail justices primarily work outside business hours and on weekends to conduct hearings in relation to applications for bail or remand, and applications for interim accommodation orders relating to children. Peter is also deputy chair of the Latrobe City Business and Tourism Association.

He has run the gate for the Traralgon Tyers United Football and Netball Club for five years and introduced a community raffle which has raised more than $25,000, in four years supporting many groups, including the Tyers CFA, Tyers preschool and primary school, the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, Gippsland Chapter of the Make-a Wish Foundation, the Heart Foundation, Traralgon City Band, Relay for Life and Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club.

In 2016 he raised more than $2400 to support St Judes School in Tanzania and spent time there supporting their programs. He has a real commitment to the local community.

Citizen Recognition Award

Evelyn Little John

Evelyn is one of those unique people who makes the world so much better. She volunteers on a regular basis with CWA and a local opp shop. She is involved in the Yinnar Lions Club where her husband is the president. She regularly checks in and makes meals for local Yinnar families who have three children with a serious health condition.
After the 2009 bushfires Evelyn worked tirelessly to cook for and clothe people in need.

She is a lovely person with a beautiful soul and will always lend a hand when asked.

Citizen Recognition Award

Jenny Poon

Jenny Poon has been of service to the Latrobe Valley community for more than 25 years. In her role at Traralgon Neighbourhood Learning House (TNLH) she has devoted many volunteer hours on committees. Jenny has built the TNLH into an asset for our community that provides community education, referral services, networks, work experience and strong community connection. She has supported many projects over her time as a coordinator, including most recently The VRI Hall.

Jenny is the most energetic 70 year-old you would like to meet. Her network is vast. She is a problem solver who finds solutions. Jenny is responsive to the community and listens to their needs and creates programs to cater to them. She is passionate about human potential and through her work offers a safe and supportive space for people to learn and grow.

Citizen Recognition Award

Jenifer Whitwam

Jenifer Whitwam is kind, compassionate, generous and a quiet achiever. We all love the quiet achievers because they go about their business, and deliver and achieve results without fuss. They are innovative and above all they inspire us.
She was educated at Presentation College, in Windsor, Victoria before attending Teachers College. She remained a teacher until her retirement in 1999.

Jeni has resided in Latrobe City for 42 years and she has been married to Neil for 50 years. They have four children and three grandchildren.
She is a highly respected lady whose involvements in Traralgon St Michael’s Parish Church and School, Latrobe Ladies Probus, Traralgon and District Cemetery Trust, the Eisteddfod Committee, the Historical Society and privately supporting needy people, has stretched her activities across a wide section of the Latrobe City.

Young Citizen Recognition Award

Aaron Duuland

Aaron is a youth volunteer member of the headspace Morwell FReeZA Hype team. He is a leader within the group and is the most consistent member of the team. Aaron is passionate about the community, his peers, arts and culture.
Aaron's motivation was a massive contributor to the success of the planning and running of the FReeZA Push Comp 2016. Aaron organised and managed the bands, designed art work, arrived early for set up and MC'd the event that hosted 210 people.
Aaron is exploring Photoshop and poster design, doing an amazing job in creating the event posters. When working on the posters Aaron was always inclusive of the group and tried to get others involved in the process.

Aaron also chipped in and helped the Warragul Baw Baw FReeZA group with their poster design when they were unable to resource one.

Young Citizen Recognition Award

Matthew Alex Moffatt

Matthew is and has been involved heavily in the community, especially in the sporting sector. Matthew has taken on and coached junior teams at the Morwell Baseball Club, Morwell Cricket Club and Morwell Bocce Club. Over the past couple of years Matthew has been a senior committee member of the Morwell Baseball Club and in the past has taken on the club’s canteen role.

He does not play baseball anymore due to work commitments although every working bee he is there putting in the effort, whether it’s weeding or painting a fence.
Matthew is also a blood donor at our local blood bank in Traralgon. In the past Matthew has worked alongside the Go for your life program, the Stephanie Alexander garden project and taught/volunteered in some local primary schools. More recently Matthew has volunteered some of his spare time at Federation Training helping the first year apprentices get ready for their cooking competition.

Matthew is heading to Thessaloniki, Greece this year to attend the World Chefs Congress as an Australian delegate, alongside George Colombaris (Masterchef) and other world leading chefs. He is also part of the Australian Young Chefs Club, Victoria.

Event Recognition Award

Acapella Singing Festival - Gippsland Acoustic Music Club

The Gippsland Acoustic Music Club’s Acapella Singing Festival is run each year at the Tyers Hall.  This year was the 20th anniversary of the festival.  The entertainment was breathtaking. The festival invites people of all ages and abilities to participate in a singing workshop during the afternoon, followed by an evening concert showcasing choirs from all around Gippsland.
Gippsland Acoustic Music Club organise a concert each month, and this year the club is celebrating 30 years.  This is a wonderful club to belong to as it encourages people to play ukuleles and offers “music to inspire” and enjoy.  The talent at these concerts is mostly local.  One young boy found an old guitar at a garage sale.  He polished and restrung the relic and played brilliant music to entertain the audience.

Event Recognition Award

Gippsland Makers Market

The Gippsland Makers Market was the brainchild of a group of dedicated locals. I had 106 stallholders, 13,800 patrons and a $203,200 estimated spend (over the three markets). This provided a $1,291,400 estimated economic impact figure and 1147 donations made to three different local charities, raising $9921.

The same four event organisers are part of another local group trying to raise awareness for 'supporting local'.

The markets chose three local charities – Forever Friends Animal Rescue Latrobe Valley, Make a Wish Gippsland and Willow Grove CFA, to donate the ‘gold coin’ entry to. These same charities were also able to fundraise at the markets.

Event Recognition Award

EID Festival - United Muslim Sisters of Latrobe Valley and Relationships Australia Victoria

Eid is a yearly celebration for the end of the holy month of Ramadan on the Muslim calendar. The Eid festival is for Muslim families and families of non-Muslim faith to gather and interact with each other in a fun and non-threatening way. Activities provided an opportunity for community members to participate and experience Muslim/multicultural food and activities as well as having the opportunity to meet with each other and start a conversation.

The United Muslim Sisters of Latrobe Valley, in conjunction with Relationships Australia Victoria, felt the need, given current world events and crisis, to encourage communities to learn from each other and interact in positive ways that encourage the breakdown of stereotypes. UMSLV created an inviting and warm environment, showcasing parts of their culture and facilitated many interactions with the community.

More than 300 people came to the event and many positive comments were received. One non-Muslim family made comment about how positive it was having tables for sitting and eating in the food area because it actually encouraged people to interact and share stories.  She met a Muslim man and was able to ask him questions about his background and experiences.  She commented that this was her first chance to interact with the Muslim community.

Event Recognition Award

Maltese Festival

The inaugural Maltese Festival was held on Saturday 27 February at Kernot Hall Morwell and was a cultural celebration, enjoyed by all who wanted to experience the Maltese culture and discover more about the country and its people. It was a resounding success attracting about 4500 people to the event during the day and raising $15,000 for the Gippsland Centenary Rotary House. This was a considerable achievement and a great result to build on for similar future events.  We acknowledge Michael Koch, president of Moe Rotary Club, for organising the barbecue trainers as well as volunteers from Moe and Morwell Rotary Clubs.

The aim of the event was to showcase Maltese culture and provide a day for the community to come together and share their experiences through food, drink and entertainment.  It was wonderful to witness throughout the day the preparedness and willingness of those attending to socialise and converse.

This event attracted Maltese people from across Victoria, including five coaches from Melbourne attending on the day.  The entertainment included the Maltese Brass Band, Charles Attard, Koko the Clown, Luna Moonies, Stex, Destiny and Mark Andrew. The traditional food and Maltese beer were certainly well received. Special guests on the day were Victor Grech, Maltese Consul General of Victoria and Mario Sammut OAM, Honorary Vice Consul of Malta for Latrobe Valley. The organising committee is to be congratulated for their hard work and dedication. 

Event Recognition Award

2015 Tyers Art Festival

The Tyers Art Festival is an annual community event that showcases more than 500 artworks from artists from across the Gippsland region, Victoria and indeed in 2015 from overseas, with 13 entries coming from the US. It includes the Tyers Young Artist Awards, Sunday craft market, and community activities incorporating displays from the local CFA, SES, Victoria Police and Royal Flying Doctors Service, entertainment by local school groups and performers and activities for young persons, families and the wider community.
The Tyers Art Festival provides the major significant cultural and community event for the residents of Tyers. It is also an event for local community groups to showcase their work and fundraise, including: Tyers Primary School, Tyers Preschool, Tyers CFA, Morwell SES, Royal Flying Doctors Service and Tyers Uncle Bob’s Club, opportunities they otherwise would not have.

It provides educational opportunities for the students of Tyers Primary School. It supports local and young artists from the wider Gippsland area by providing them with an opportunity to showcase and sell their work and provides an avenue for businesses and corporations within the Gippsland region to link with the wider arts community.

The Tyers Art Festival provides opportunities for local community groups who provide vocational and life skills training for local community members and groups who provide support for adults living with disability to showcase their work, including, Traralgon Neighbourhood House, Cooinda Hill and Moe Life Skills, as well as supporting their attendance and involvement over the weekend.

Community Service of the Year

Gippsland Period Project - Morwell Neighbourhood House and Learning Centre

Morwell Neighbourhood House has collected more than 50,000 sanitary items for the Gippsland Period Project since it first started in October 2015. There are 52 collection points across Gippsland and an energetic team of 20-plus volunteers who make up individual packs. These are distributed to homeless women and transgender men.
There are many benefits to the person and community:
• Reduction of infections due to using unsafe and inappropriate products resulting in fewer visits to emergency centres and fewer hospital admissions
• Increased feelings of wellbeing
• Reduction of isolation and increased safety, along with a reduction in theft
• Reduction of litter. Used sanitary products can be stored in the plastic bags provided

Community Service Recognition Award

Charlie Attard and June Lloyd

For more than 20 years Charlie and his partner June have spent Wednesday and Thursdays during the school term volunteering their time at the Latrobe Special Development School swimming program.  Each week they turn up ready to do whatever is needed.
Their years of experience have meant they are a valuable addition to our swimming program assisting our swimming teachers to run the program.  Their understanding of students with disabilities enables them to work positively with all the students.
Charlie and June began volunteering when Charlie’s son was a student at the Latrobe Special Development School.

Community Service Recognition Award

Lynton Azlin

Lynton works for Re-Activate Latrobe Valley and is the face of the #GetSunflowered project. He is working with people and communities to grow sunflowers all over the Latrobe Valley and as a work for the dole supervisor for Jobseekers on the project.

The #GetSunflowered project recently won the Australian Institute of Architects Award for Community Events and has also won a community action award at the 2015 Tidy Towns – Sustainable Communities.

Community Service Recognition Award

Martyn Clements

Martyn Clements is a professional at the Traralgon Golf Club.  Martyn was trained by John Joyne from Yallourn.  For the past 40 years Martyn has instructed and encouraged people of all ages to play golf and keep fit.

He works from dawn to dusk, always with a happy attitude.  He organises clinics for school children and adults, has taught thousands from all over Gippsland.  Martyn is a family man, caring for his mother and dealing with many different people in the community.

Martyn has worked at Yallourn and Morwell, dedicating his service to the citizens of the Latrobe Valley. 

Community Service Recognition Award

Margaret Mooney

Dedicated, passionate, inspiring and empathetic are just a few words to describe Margaret.

Over the past 30-plus years she has volunteered for numerous local organisations, raising thousands of dollars to improve the lives of others. Margaret embodies the spirit and selflessness that is at the heart of volunteering and is truly deserving of recognition.
She has inspired many with her joie de vivre and her ability to empathise with those in need.
She is a fundraising whiz and always comes up with new and interesting ways to engage people in supporting a worthy cause.

Margaret has been involved with a number of organisations, including, as a board member of Latrobe Valley Palliative Care Inc, the Cancer Council, more than 20 years as a volunteer with Cooinda Hill with weekly shifts in the opportunity shop, as a Lifeline volunteer on the helpline phones and on the fundraising committee at Yallambee Village raising more than $19,000.

Community Service Recognition Award

Beverley Collins

Beverley Collins has been a volunteer almost all her life. At 80 years she continues to work with Meals on Wheels, but this is the last in a very long line of volunteerism - phone counsellor, courts support, foster mother, and wildlife carer. If there was no kindergarten, she made one in her own home. She hosted craft sessions at her home for primary children. The list is so long. Her daily energy often outlasts that of her six children.

Born in Moe, with seven siblings, Bev was given a sense of the value of community service by her father, Fred Gregory, who was at one time the Mayor of Moe. She became a nurse before turning 20, then married and had six children prior to moving to Melbourne in the late 1960s. Even when the youngest was in the early years of primary school, Bev took on the work of caring for infant children, then moved on to work with disabled children, supported people navigating their time in the Melbourne Courts and spent many nights on the phone with Personal Emergency Service. Once returned to the Latrobe Valley, to be within sight of her beloved Mt Erica, she immediately took up spending her nights feeding orphaned wildlife. Now she continues to do Meals on Wheels as she has for many years and to visit her elderly friends to check on their welfare. She is, to put it simply, unstoppable.

Community Service Recognition Award

Cynthia J Shanahan

Cynthia is always there to lend a hand to anyone who needs it. Morwell is lucky to have such an amazing community volunteer. Cindy is a hard worker who never seems to back down from a challenge. She is involved in too many projects in Morwell to list and the effort she puts in to strengthen the community of Morwell is amazing. Her Bunnings sausages are great too!

Cindy is a board member of Morwell Neighbourhood House and a valuable team member of the Morwell Free Store. She is also one of the editors on the Morwell Notice Board and her work is helping to bring community spirit and pride back to the town.

Cynthia gets her fighting spirit from the US but her heart now belongs in the Valley

Community Service Recognition Award

The Yallourn Madrigal Singers Inc. 60th Anniversary

2016 marked the 60th anniversary of the Yallourn Madrigal Singers. During that time, the choir has contributed to the cultural life and profile of Latrobe City and surrounding regions by providing a vehicle for community members to participate in serious choral singing within the fellowship of a choir. The singers perform in concerts and other events for the enjoyment of the Latrobe City community who wish to hear choral singing, and by supporting other musical and community groups by performing with them or for them.

The choir also represents a continuing connection with, and a reminder of, the old Yallourn Township. Indeed, the choir was part of the 1989 production "Yallourn Story” which celebrated the history of the town. On 5 March 2016 the choir performed as part of the "Street Requiem" event at the soundshell in Victory Park, Traralgon.
On 23 April 2016 choir presented a 60th anniversary concert and afternoon tea for former choir members and the general public. On 4 June 2016 the choir presented a concert entitled "Music in the Hills" for the benefit of the Callignee and wider communities at the Callignee Hall, which is hoped to become an annual event. This concert also featured some young local musicians as guest artists. On 28 and 28 July 2016 the choir presented its 24th annual feast, "Diamonds are Forever'', comprising a concert and two-course meal at Century lnn, Traralgon.

On 3 and 4 September 2016, the choir took part in a choral workshop in Foster with well-known conductor Richard Gill. And each year, the choir prepares a Christmas program to present at local churches.

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