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Byron Shire
February 9, 2023

Ballina community legends to be recognised

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Ballina Shire Australia Day Ceremony in 2022, performance by Narelle Harris, Dean Doyle and Katie Rutledge. Photo supplied.

This Thursday, Ballina will recognise members of the local community who have stepped up in the last twelve months, with the Australia Day Awards.

Ballina Council says it’s inviting everyone to come along and congratulate the award winners, welcome our newest citizens, and reflect on how the community has banded together to recover from the pandemic and devastating 2022 floods.

Katie Rutledge. Photo Daralyn Jones.

The event will be held at Lennox Head Cultural Centre, commencing at 9am, and will feature performances by Ballina’s own opera star Katie Rutledge and young Alstonville singer and songwriter Levi Maxwell.

Ballina Shire Council says it’s delighted to have both netballer Liz Ellis and Paradise FM’s Sandra Jackson return as co-hosts for this year’s ceremony.

Mayor Cadwallader

Councillor Sharon Cadwallader told The Echo, ‘We have had a lot of nominations, which is always wonderful, because it means that those people have been recognised for the role they’ve played in their volunteerism, or just for what they’ve done and been able to achieve throughout the year.

‘It’s certainly an important day on our calendar,’ she said.

Is it difficult to choose from so many nominees? ‘It’s always a most difficult process,’ said Cr Cadwallader. ‘In fact, it becomes so difficult that we have to share awards from time to time.’

Threatened species ecologist Maria Matthes. Photo David Lowe.

Despite the controversy of the day itself, there’s no doubt that the Australia Day Awards shine a spotlight on community members who are doing important work that might not otherwise be widely known, such as last year’s citizen of the year, koala champion Maria Matthes.

Australia Day Award

This year over fifty nominations were received, across the categories of Sporting Achievement, Arts and Cultural, Volunteering, Young Citizen, Senior Citizen, Community Event, and Environment. All will be recognised and celebrated on the day.

Following is the complete list of nominees.

Senior Citizen of the Year: Anna Dicker, Kerrie Gray, Brian Alston and Joyce Emmett.

Volunteer of the Year: Ballina State Emergency Service, Bonita Avery and Cheryl Morton, Douglas Townsend, Emma Tiaitia, Ballina Shire Flood Recovery Distribution Hub; Garry, John and Joshua Joblin; Helga Hawkes, Jackson Connellan, Joan Gibson, Kelli-Ann Potts, Lennox Head Lions Club, Mark Ross, Michele Robertson, Rex and Di Farrell, Robyn Hargrave, Ruth Henderson, Sue Chapman and Terry Hodgetts.

Nominee Jackson Connellan from The Healthy Minds Club at Lennox Head. Photo David Lowe.

Young Citizen of the Year: Chai Healy, Illarah Roberts, Jackson Connellan, Lachlan Jones.

Community Event of 2022: Ballina Shire Meals on Wheels Social Activities Program, Community Mental Health Symposium – Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond, Dementia Inclusive Ballina Alliance Advisory Group Weekly Activities, Lennox Head Lions Club Flood Relief and Recovery, Quota Alstonville Craft & Garden Fair, and Resonator Music – School Showcase 2022.

Sports Achievement: Alexander Crimmins – Athletics, All Girls Surfriders Lennox Head, Alstonville Water Polo, Briony Leonard – Little Athletics, Emma Tiatia – Volleyball, Julie Davies – Netball, Kim Pickering – Pickleball, Lennox Beach Line Dancers, Mary Davis – Dragon Boat Racing, Team Butcher Off Road Racing Team and Tyler Dogan – Athletics.

Arts and Cultural Award: Daniel Roberts, Marcus Ferguson and Tania Marlowe – Ballina Airport Public Artworks, Tania Marlowe and Debra Cole – Jugan Dandii Weaving Collective, Marcus Ferguson – Nyangbal Cultural Knowledge Holder and Teacher.

Marlon Denning and octopus friend. Photo supplied.

Environmental Award: Empire Vale Public School – Reusable Cup Trays, Marlon Denning – Rock Pool Waltz Nature Documentary, Rotary Satellite Club of Ballina Lifestyle, The Wildlife Twins.

The awards ceremony will conclude with the announcement of the 2023 Ballina Shire Citizen of the Year (chosen from all the categories above).

Transportation is available for community members unable to drive to the venue. For details contact Ballina Council’s Communications Team on 1300 864 444.

The event will also be livestreamed, to watch visit Ballina Shire Council’s website at: ballina.nsw.gov.au/AustraliaDay.

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