Tweed River Art Gallery director Susi Muddiman has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal in yesterday’s Australia Day honours list.
Ms Muddiman, who recently oversaw the development of the Margaret Olley Art Centre at the gallery, said the award was completely unexpected.
‘It’s like one of those things that you’re very happy when it happens to other people but you never think of it happening to you,’ she told ABC radio this morning.
Ms Muddiman said she had been very lucky and ‘my whole career I’ve just loved the path that I’ve chosen’.
Prior to running the Tweed gallery Ms Muddiman was director of the Grafton Regional Gallery, where she oversaw the construction of a major extension.
At the local level, 89-year-old Murwillumbah resident and WWII bomber crew-member George Anderson as one of several award recipients during the Tweed’s annual Australia Day official ceremony, held at Bogangar Public School on Monday.
Mr Anderson, a wireless operator on Lancaster bombers during WWII before emigrating from England to Murwillumbah with his family in 1959, received the Tweed Citizen of the Year award.
The dedicated Tweed Valley Woodcrafters member has made hundreds of wooden jewellery boxes, bowls and other finely crafted items to be raffled or sold for charities such as palliative support, cancer services, Probus and the Murwillumbah Hospital Auxiliary.
Kingscliff resident Michael Ashburn was named the Young Achiever in Community Service for coordinating touch football tournaments which have raised nearly $40,000 for people in need.
The 29-year-old initiated the first event in 2011, to help a friend with a blood clot on his spinal cord, after bringing together a group of friends to organise the contest. The one-day tournament raised more than $15,000, inspiring them to conduct similar ‘Charity Cup’ tournaments at Cabarita Beach’s Les Burger Sports Fields in 2013 and 2014.
Byron Shire’s Citizen of the Year award went to Adrienne Sheppard, who was nominated for the unselfish willingness to contribute her time, energy and experience wherever it was needed so consistently for over 30 years.
Adrienne has been involved in rainforest regeneration, was one of the original workers with refugee settlers in the shire, is a member of WIK and a current member of Sisters for Reconciliation.
Bush tucker garden maintenance and education as been another passion of Adrienne’s along side her work as a soup kitchen volunteer, where she cooks meals for others in her home and then serves the meal herself.
Byron Shire Youth Citizen of the Year is Kurtis O’Keefe.
Born and bread in the area, Kurtis works two jobs in public relations and participates in many sports including volleyball, basketball, golf, tennis, cricket and six-a-side soccer. He has coached juniors in soccer, and juniors and senior basketball at the Ocean Shores Basketball Association.
On top of that Kurtis has managed to find time to assist in science classrooms throughout 2013 at Ocean Shores Public School and continues to tutor 10 kids in math, science and preliminary chemistry, encouraging curiosity and confidence in these valuable areas. He loves tutoring and observing the results from it.
Kurtis is seen by his peers and his predecessors as having a great presence and very approachable – an all round nice guy who loves helping – be it in sport, education or community activities, wherever he feels he can be of assistance. By all accounts he also has a fantastic sense of humour and is a great role model.
Ballina shire’s citizen of the year was Mary O’Brien.
Mary has a strong volunteer ethic by always supporting others who are less fortunate. Each year she opens her historic home and gardens and hosts various fundraisers and functions. Mary also spends endless hours cooking and preparing food for various charities and fundraising groups. Mary is an integral part of Sheraton House in Ballina that provides shelter and meals for up to ten homeless men every night.
Ballina’s young citizen of the year was Rachel Hughes, a student at Southern Cross School who was recognised for ‘a positive and meaningful contribution to the school and the wider community through her volunteering and charity work’.
Senior citizens of the year included Ian Duncan, for his work in the Newrybar community, Mike Rushby, for his contribution to the Wardell community, Margaret Ryan of the Alstonville Probus Club, and Wally Mulgrave, for his involvement with the Ballina Diabetes Support and Ballina Shire Access Reference Groups.
Robyn Mostyn was named volunteer of the year for her role in establishing the Northern Rivers Animal Services, while Karen Rantissi, a creative arts teacher at Empire Vale Public School, received the Arts Cultural Award.
The Seagulls 1st Rugby League team was named sports team of the year, Geoff Jacobs the sports administrator, and lifesaver Joshua Brown, the young sports person of the year.
The Scullcandy Oz Grom Open was named community event of the year.
Lismore’s Citizen of the Year Award went to Dr Austin Curtin.
Dr Curtin is a general and laparoscopic surgeon, medical officer and educator, and is also a specialist medical officer with the rank of Major in the Australian Defence Force Active Reserve. He has been involved in clinical practice as a surgeon in rural NSW for the last 22 years and in 2005 he was appointed the inaugural chair of the NSW Institute of Rural Clinical Services. Dr Curtin is a member of the Rural Health Task Force, an Adjunct Professor of Southern Cross University and is acknowledged as an extremely empathetic and gifted medico with a great interest in the wellbeing of all his patients.
Lismore Young Citizen of the Year, Jacob Botha, is a talented and unique young man with a great sense of community with in Trinity and the broader Lismore Community. He is musically talented and assists younger students with related performances and rehearsals. Academically is a high achiever is a member Lismore Symphony Orchestra, recipient of community service awards and member of a local surf club.
Reverend Dorothy Harris-Gordon received the Deborah Rhodes Lismore Aboriginal Citizen of the Year.
When not offering her services as a pastor with the Uniting Church, or as a chaplain at both Lismore Base and St. Vincents Private Hospital, Dorothy can be seen helping out at the Lismore Soup Kitchen, or helping families by delivering and picking up school children. She served as the ground-breaking first Indigenous female chaplain at Grafton Jail for over a decade and is on call to assist the most needy members of our community at any time of the day or night.