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Australia Day Award winners announced

Wednesday 23 January

Winners of the East Gippsland Australia Day Awards were announced by East Gippsland Shire Council at a civic ceremony in Bairnsdale yesterday (Tuesday, January 22).


The awards recognise community service and achievement. Recipients are chosen based on nominations put forward by residents from across the shire.


The 2019 Citizen of the Year is June Drake of Mallacoota and Young Citizen of the Year is Torin Troy. Community Event of the Year was awarded to Cann River Volunteer Appreciation Day.


Mayor Cr Natalie O’Connell said the awards recognise people who selflessly give back to their communities.


“Congratulations to our Australia Day Award winners. With such great community spirit in East Gippsland it is not surprising that there were many worthy nominations that made the judges’ jobs difficult,” Cr O’Connell said.


“These prestigious awards recognise people who make East Gippsland a better place to live. We all know those kinds of people.


"They are role models for all us; driving us to think about what we can do for our communities to make a difference.”


Citizen of the Year – June Drake


June has been an inspiration and role model for many people in Mallacoota since arriving in 1987.


June has been secretary of the Friends of Mallacoota Group for the past 18 years as well as being involved with 3MGB community radio as treasurer for the past six years. June has also been a producer and compiler of music for the past 25 years.


She has had various other roles in the community, including volunteering with the information shed, ambulance auxiliary committee, recycling group, U3A, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Mallacoota Mouth and the Croajingolong Centre for Communication and Arts.


June is also on the board of many of Mallacoota’s community and sporting bodies.


June is always respectful, courteous, welcoming and inclusive, she is an invaluable networker who has helped establish connections with and between people and groups.


June is always ready to lend a hand in any way she can. Her initiative and support has contributed greatly to the Mallacoota community and its surrounding environment.


Speaking after the awards ceremony, June thanked her nominators and the Mallacoota community.


“I am very thankful for the friends and community who accepted us and allowed us to do everything we wanted to do,” June said.


“Mallacoota is an inclusive community. We’ve got all ages, income levels, races and education. We’re a real community and it is truly a special place in the most beautiful natural environment.



Young Citizen of the Year – Torin Troy


Torin, through his many volunteering positions, has demonstrated his commitment to the East Gippsland community.


As a long-standing member of St John’s Ambulance and a respected East Gippsland Shire Council Youth Ambassador, Torin’s attendance and participation in community events and his passion for improving the lives of young people across East Gippsland is commendable.


Torin hopes to continue to work and to accomplish a better community for young people in East Gippsland to grow up in.


Passionate about many issues that affect East Gippsland’s young people such as health and wellbeing, LGBTIQ+, transport, environment, employment and much more, Torin is a leader among his peers.


Torin is a future leader and has demonstrated skill in providing leadership and role modelling for other youth, positive behaviour modelling and community involvement.


Torin told the crowd at the award ceremony he was shocked by his win.


“I didn’t even know I was nominated. This is a great honour,” he said.


Community Event of the Year – Cann River Volunteer Appreciation Day


The Cann River Volunteer Appreciation Day was held in April 2018 and was a great success.


An initiative of the Cann River Community Centre, this inaugural event recognised the outstanding contribution community members make to service in the Cann River area.


Organisations and groups represented included the community centre, bush nursing service, Landcare, SES, CFA, kindergarten and the school (primary to year 12).


The event had a strengths-based focus on positive and supportive behaviour of community members and highlighted the collaboration and cooperation between the town’s organisations and service providers.


Highlights of the event included a three-course meal catered by five local food businesses, live music and a jumping castle for the children.


Certificates recognising service to the community were presented to 102 worthy volunteers.


Speaking at the awards ceremony, event representative Susie Bady said she was really proud of the volunteers in Cann River.


“The recognition is theirs. This event was about recognising the amazing people in Cann River so I’m really happy for them,” Susie said.


"Cann River is not a town to be pitied. We are a community to be envied. We are a community of resourceful, hardworking, talented people.


“When the Community Centre decided we had to celebrate National Volunteer Appreciation Day to recognise this community spirit, we spoke to every committee and organisation in town.


"By the time we had finished compiling our list of invited volunteers, we had 70 per cent of the town’s adult population on the list.”


The awards ceremony was live-streamed and is available to view on council’s YouTube channel EastGippyTV.


Full list of Australia Day events on our Australia Day page.


Two women and a teenage male holding certificates and bouquets.

This year’s East Gippsland Australia Day Award winners are, from left, Susie Bady represented Community Event of the Year winner Cann River Volunteer Appreciation Day, Citizen of the Year June Drake of Mallacoota, and Young Citizen of the Year Torin Troy of Bairnsdale.



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