Australia Day
Australia Day
Council presents shire-wide Australia Day Awards which focus on individuals and events that have made a significant contribution to the region.

Nominations are now open for our 2024 Australia Day Awards.

This is your chance to nominate someone who makes an important contribution to our local community or a community group that's held an outstanding event that deserves recognition.

Award categories include:

  • Citizen of the Year
  • Young Citizen of the Year
  • Community Event of the Year

You can find a copy of the nomination form at any of our Service Centres or fill out the form here online.

Nominations close on Sunday 3 December 2023


Australia Day Awards 2023

More than 150 people attended this year's East Gippsland Shire Council Australia Day Awards at Newlands Arm Community Centre on Saturday 21 January.

You can watch a recording of the ceremony on our YouTube channel.

This year's recipients are:

Citizen of the Year - Simon Hof

Mayor Cr Mark Reeves with Citizen of the Year Simon Hof

Simon has been helping Sarsfield’s recovery from the Black Summer bushfires.

As part of the Sarsfield Community Association, Simon has led the committee with enthusiasm and dedication to obtain the best future for Sarsfield.

He has been passionate in driving surveys to find out what was important to the wider community as he always advocates the role of the committee is to serve the community.

Simon has inspired many people to step up into leadership positions on the committee.

He inspired the rest of the committee to keep fighting when a grant application for a new hall, playground, and community space was denied on a technicality.

He kept the committee positive and drove public awareness of the issue – to the point the decision was reversed.

Simon has been president of the Sarsfield Community Association for two years and is also president of the Sarsfield CFA.


  • Val Asmus
  • Garry Ball
  • Ann and Stan Barker
  • Amanda Bodinnar
  • Trevor Clues
  • Marion Dawson
  • Tarsha Dixon
  • Ryan Findley
  • Tracey Le Maitre
  • Rodney O’Connell
  • Maureen Webb

Young Citizen of the Year - Tillyrose Hambling

Mayor Cr Mark Reeves with Young Citizen of the Year Tillyrose Hambling.

Tillyrose is a fundraising dynamo. She is a fundraising leader for her school and has raised funds for multiple foundations throughout her young life.

Tillyrose was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age seven. When she was nine, she raised $1500 for charity by cutting off her waist-length hair. The hair was used to make wigs for sick children.

Taking part in STEPtember, Tillyrose and her family raised $3000 for a cerebral palsy charity.

The MS Readathon has also benefited from Tillyrose’s charitable endeavours – with almost $2000 raised over three years.

Tillyrose has been an active member of Girl Guides for seven years and is working towards her Junior BP Badge, which takes its name from Lord Baden-Powell and the guides’ motto of Be Prepared.

Tillyrose is an exceptional young woman who has stayed positive and supportive of others despite her own challenges.


  • Morgan Chester
  • Olivia Lay
  • Ava Aly-Mehlert

Community Event of the Year - National Tree Day

Mayor Cr Mark Reeves with Community Event of the Year - National Tree Day

Bairnsdale’s National Tree Day event is organised by Bairnsdale Urban Landcare Group. Each year, the group works with the Bairnsdale Scout Group and the community to educate and provide a hands-on opportunity for the public, especially children and youth, to revegetate and maintain the Mitchell River Walking Track.

The event has demonstrated excellence in drawing together a diverse range of people from the community.

An annual event over the past decade, its ongoing legacy is the natural environment that has been created as a consequence of the mass-planting events.

This, in turn, has created a wonderful outdoor venue for recreation and leisure.


  • Metung Fun Run
  • Outer East Gippsland Youth Fest

Our 2023 Australia Day Ambassador 

2023 East Gippsland Australia Day Awards Ambassador, Helen Martin

Helen Martin – a long-time resident of East Gippsland and Director of the East Gippsland Community Foundation – joined us at the Australia Day Awards to talk about service to community.

As well as being an active volunteer with the Country Fire Authority and Red Cross Emergency Services, Helen has held senior positions in government which included work with community recovery from disasters.  

The Black Summer bushfires gave Helen a clear view of the impacts of natural disasters on individuals, communities and the environment. Helen is a graduate of the Gippsland Community Leadership Program and is strongly committed to enhancing the East Gippsland Community Foundation’s role in assisting recovery and building resilience. 

Helen was also a member of the Gippsland Coastal Board from 2006 and chair between 2009 to 2012. She was also a member of several state government advisory councils.

“I feel honoured to be selected as East Gippsland’s Australia Day Awards Ambassador. These awards are a true reflection of the community spirit and acknowledge the local people who go above and beyond for their community,” Helen said. 

Australia Day Awards at Newlands Arm

Musical entertainment by East Gippsland Brass.

Bairnsdale Scout Group undertook the flagraising ceremony.
Thumbs up for the Australia Day barbecue by NARRA.
Bairnsdale Scout leader Caroline Love with Kaylene Williamson, who conducted the Welcome to Country.

There are currently no plans to display.
Please check back soon.

Award Recipients (since 2003)

East Gippsland Citizen of the Year

2023 - Simon Hof

2022 - Ann and Stan Barker

2021 - Leo op den Brouw

2020 - Blake Hollonds

2019 - June Drake

2018 - Gerry Ciaverella  

2017 - Richard Rijs

2016 - Darryl Crowley

2015 - Alan Stuart

2014 - Ronda Manhire

2013 - Judith Williams and John Armit

2012 - Jeff Wilson

2011 - Kristine Cordery

2010 - Ian Clues

2009 - Anne Cross

2008 - David Lewien

2007 - Dr David Campbell

2006 - Aunty Cath Solomon

2005 - Olive Hartley

2004 - Beth Allen

2003 - Alan 'Doc' Carpenter

East Gippsland Young Citizen of the Year

2023 - Tillyrose Hambling

2022 - Paris Davis

2021 - James Bush

2020 - Annie Rogers

2019 - Torin Troy

2018 - Joint winners Aislin Jones and Jack Peterson  

2017 - Emiliqua (Emi) East

2016 - Carly Fitzgerald

2015 - Jessica Woodward

2014 - Elizabeth Butler

2013 - Jack Wickfeldt

2012 - Chloe Scott

2011 - William Anderson

2010 - Bailey Thomson

2009 - Matt Furphy

2008 - Cassie Richards

2007 - Erika Lind

2006 - Kara Kendell

2005 - Anna Bassett

2004 - Hamish Nelson

2003 - Aimee Burslem

East Gippsland Community Event of the Year

2023 - Bairnsdale National Tree Day

2022 - East Gippsland Winter Festival

2021 - Paynesville Classic Boat Rally

2020 - Joint winners 100th Orbost Uniting Church Annual Flower Show and Paynesville Music Festival

2019 - Cann River Volunteer Appreciation Day  

2018 - Mallacoota Winter ‘SALTSTICE’ Youth Festival  

2017 - Omeo Golf Club RV Muster

2016 - Cooper's Winter Wonderland Masquerade Ball

2015 - Orbost Annual Poker Run

2014 - Mallacoota Kindergarten Fun Run

2013 - Seafarers Multicultural Festival

2012 - Junior and Senior Victorian Surf Lifesaving State Championships

2011 - Convoy for Kids

2010 - Seldom Seen Arts Trail

2009 - 2008 Junior Surf Life Saving Championships

2008 - Mount Nowa Nowa Challenge Run

2007 - Twin Rivers Bream Classic

2006 - Ensay Memorial Car Run

2005 - VAYSAR (Victorian Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation) Senior Football and Netball Carnivals

2004 - Bruthen Blues Bash

2003 - Veiling on McKillops Bridge

26ers Club

Were you a Victorian born on 26 January? If so, you’re a 26er!
Join the Australia Day Committee's exclusive 26ers Club. Membership is free and you can join at any time by emailing:
Members of Victoria's 26ers Club are sent a birthday card and lapel pin for Australia Day each year.
For more information about the 26ers Club, visit 26ers Club.

Australia Day community events - 2023

Time:  7.30 am - 9.15 am
Location:  Rotunda, Main Street, Bairnsdale  
Contact:  Bairnsdale Classic Car Club

Time:  7.30 am - 10.00 am
Location: Lindenow Hall
Contact: Lindenow Lions Club


Time:  8.30 am - 12.30 pm
Location: Court House Gardens (Memorial Hall if raining)
Contact: Omeo Shire Lions Club


Time:  7.30 am - 10.00 am
Location: Forest Park
Contact: Rotary Club of Orbost 

Twin Rivers 

Time:  10.30 am - 11.30 am
Location:  TBC
Contact: Twin Rivers Lions Club 

In this section...

No items found.

You may also be interested in...

No items found.