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Australia Day winners announced
Date of Issue: 
January 20, 2024
Pictured are nominees of the Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, and Community Event of the Year awards.

The 2024 East Gippsland Australia Day Awards were announced earlier today (Saturday, January 20) at a community celebration at the Eagle Point Foreshore Hub.

Hosted by the East Gippsland Shire Council, the awards embraced the Australia Day theme: reflect, respect, celebrate, covering the entire shire. The event included a Welcome to Country by Aunty Glenys Watts, the flag raising by the Bairnsdale and Paynesville Scout Group, entertainment by the East Gippsland Brass Band, and the Australia Day address from this year’s ambassador, Adam Bloem.

Approximately 100 community members gathered to honour the contributions of this year’s nominees.

Deputy Mayor Cr Jane Greacen OAM said "we had exceptional nominees, as we do each year, and selecting winners was no easy task. Each winner contributes significantly to our community, and these awards are a small way we can show our appreciation and gratitude," Cr Greacen said.

“It was a fantastic day, set against the backdrop of our newest community space, the Eagle Point Foreshore Hub. Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a nomination to acknowledge some of the great people and events that help make East Gippsland a strong community, and congratulations to this year’s winners and nominees. While you don’t do what you do for the accolades, you can be deservedly proud of being recognised at the 2024 East Gippsland Australia Day Awards,” Cr Greacen said.

Attendees were entertained by East Gippsland Brass and enjoyed a barbecue by the Paynesville Lions Club and coffee from CoffeeTrix.

Council holds the shire-wide awards prior to Australia Day to allow winners and finalists the opportunity to attend celebrations in their own towns on Australia Day, January 26.

The 2024 East Gippsland Australia Day Award winners are:

Citizen of the Year – David Murphy

Following a distinguished career as a safety officer on Victorian oil and gas rigs, David retired in 2012. Shortly thereafter, he underwent training as an RSL Compensation Advocate. Since then, David has been dedicatedly serving veterans and their families in East Gippsland.

He provides encouragement and guidance to those navigating bureaucratic complexities, helping individuals who are having trouble working through the system. In situations where veterans and their families feel isolated, David offers hope and works tirelessly to secure favourable outcomes for them.

Finalists: Angela Dunkley, Phil Schneider, Cheryl Jakobi, Geoff Enever, Sue Carroll.

Acting CEO Fiona Weigall and Deputy Mayor Cr Jane Greacen OAM are pictured with Citizen of the Year nominees Sue Carroll, Angela Dunkley, Geoff Enever and David Murphy. Absent: Cheryl Jakobi, Phil Schneider.
East Gippsland Citizen of the Year David Murphy is pictured with Deputy Mayor Cr Jane Greacen OAM. David was recognised for his work supporting East Gippsland’s veterans.

Young Citizen of the Year – Danika Woods and Jasmine Westaway (joint winners)

Danika Woods exemplifies true resilience in the face of adversity. Despite encountering obstacles in her learning environment due to a disability, she emerged as an outstanding role model and achieved the distinction of being the first person in her family to graduate from high school.

Her selflessness and unwavering commitment to serving others were evident in her active participation in "Project Ready” where she not only completed the program the previous year but also dedicated time each week to support disengaged students.

Jasmine Westaway stands out as an ambitious all-rounder and high achiever involved in a diverse range of activities. In sports and recreation, her dedication to athletics is noteworthy, including tasks such as program assignment, setup assistance, and motivating and supporting young participants through warm-up activities.

Additionally, Jasmine has made significant contributions to both the Orbost Secondary College Senior and Swing Band community from an arts and culture perspective. Over the past year, performances have been featured in events such as emergency services presentation night, Orbost Show Day, school functions, and band tours.

Finalists: Banjo Jackson, Juliette Heart, Lilly Legget.

Acting CEO Fiona Weigall and Deputy Mayor Cr Jane Greacen OAM are pictured with Young Citizen of the Year nominees Jasmine Westaway, Lilly Legget, Banjo Jackson and Danika Woods. Absent: Juliette Heart.
Deputy Mayor Cr Jane Greacen OAM with East Gippsland Young Citizen of the Year joint winners Danika Woods and Jasmine Westaway.

Community Event of the Year – Metung Fun Run

The Metung Fun Run is a fantastic community event raising funds for Metung Primary School and Metung Lions Club. The event has been held for over 10 years and continues to grow each year. The 2023 event had over 355 participants and raised $15,000 from registrations, sponsorships, and merchandise.

The event attracts runners from all over to East Gippsland, brings the local community together and celebrates the natural beauty Metung has to offer. Supported by so many volunteers and businesses, the Metung Fun Run is a great event that also prompts children and adults to get active.

Finalists: East Gippsland Winter Festival, Carols by Candlelight Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance Park Run, Orbost Pony Club.

Acting CEO Fiona Weigall and Deputy Mayor Cr Jane Greacen OAM are pictured with Community Event of the Year nominees Lakes Entrance parkrun, Metung Fun Run and East Gippsland Winter Festival. Absent: Carols by Candlelight Bairnsdale, Orbost Pony Club.

Deputy Mayor Cr Jane Greacen OAM congratulates Analee Gale of the Metung Fun Run. The fun run received the East Gippsland Community Event of the Year award.

Bairnsdale Scout Group and Paynesville Sea Scouts conducted the flag raising ceremony on the Eagle Point foreshore.
East Gippsland Brass added a musical element to the event, playing Australian tunes and performing the national anthem.
Putting on a great barbecue are Paynesville Lions Club members John Waller, John Hopman, Paul Hammond, Mary Hammond and Bill East.

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