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Baw Baw Shire congratulates winners of 2023 Australia Day Awards held at West Gippsland Performing Arts Centre
Seven individuals and local groups hailing from Baw Baw Shire were celebrated for going above and beyond for their community at the annual Baw Baw Shire Australia Day Awards ceremony.
Baw Baw Shire Australia Day Awards ceremony held at the Theatre at the West Gippsland Arts Centre on Thursday 26 January, the Australia Day Awards Ceremony recognised three Australia Day medallion winners, alongside the Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Community Group of the Year and Community Event of the Year, all of whom were nominated by their peers for their service contribution to the community.
Baw Baw Shire celebrates local achievers at the 2023 Australia Day Awards
Presenting the awards
In addition to the awards, attendees were treated to a short address from the 2023 Baw Baw Australia Day Ambassador, Matt Runnells, CEO and founder of not-for-profit mental health foundation Mindfull Aus and a previous Australia Day Medallion recipient.
Deputy Mayor Cr Michael Leaney, together with Councillor Peter Kostos presented each recipient with their award, detailing their notable achievements and allowing the opportunity for the winners to say a few words. All winners were nominated by fellow community members.
Selecting awards winner
Reflecting on the selection process, Cr Michael Leaney said it was a challenging task to select awards winners given the number of strong nominations received this year. "Each category winner should take great pride in their achievements. We are grateful to have so many extraordinary members of our community worthy of recognition today." said Cr Leaney
The 2023 Baw Baw Shire Australia Day Awards ceremony coincided with council's annual Australia Day Citizenship ceremony, where 55 new citizens were conferred from 18 different countries. Read about it by visiting Baw Baw Shire welcomes 55 new citizens this Australia Day page.
Award categories and winners
Citizen of the Year - John Mai
John was awarded for the many years he has spent dedicated to volunteer work and his continued support for local community and sporting groups, organisations and businesses within the Shire.
John generously provides his time and knowledge, sponsorship and mentorship to individuals and businesses within Baw Baw Shire, and has been recognised as being a true leader and role model among the community.
Baw Baw Shire 2023 Citizen of the Year - John Mai
Young Citizen of the Year - Mia McGarrity
Mia was awarded for her contribution to the community as an inspiring advocate for health, fitness, mental health and social connection through the 'Aim 2 Run' initiative. Mia is a role model and leader for other young people within the community, particularly young women.
Baw Baw Shire 2023 Young Citizen of the Year - Mia McGarrity
Community Group of the Year - Aberfeldy & District Association Inc.
Aberfeldy & District Association Inc. were awarded for their contribution to the local community through its purposeful commitment to encouraging community participation, activity and support and its generosity and committed involvement of group members who inspire, encourage and foster collaboration and support.
Baw Baw Shire 2023 Community Group of the Year - Aberfeldy & District Association Inc.
Community Event of the Year - Tetoora Road Community Centre Centenary
Tetoora Road Community Centre were awarded for their centenary celebrations that were held in October. The event was a significant and special community event for both those who contributed and attended.
The event encouraged ongoing belonging and connectedness among a community that is heavily rural and distanced by the nature of rural living and promoted the community centre's history and future.
Baw Baw Shire 2023 Community Event of the Year - Tetoora Road Community Centre Centenary
2023 Baw Baw Australia Day Ambassador - Matt Runnells
Matt is a Baw Baw native and a previous Baw Baw Australia Day Medallion recipient. A suicide survivor, Matt has worked tirelessly for the past seven years as a full-time mental health advocate to create awareness, acceptance and education.
Using his knowledge of lived experience, Matt and Mindfull Aus encourage others to feel comfortable to speak up and manage their wellbeing. Mindfull Aus' offices are based locally in Drouin, and they run numerous community events, speaking engagements, workshops and programs.
Medallion Award - Christine Holland
Christine was awarded for her contribution to the community through her work with the West Gippsland Healthcare Group, Trafalgar Bendigo Bank Committee, Celebrate Baw Baw, Baw Baw Latrobe LLEN and the Gippsland Committee for the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Medallion Award - Koby Duncan
Koby was awarded for the creation of a social group in the Baw Baw Shire area. The group encourages people to go out, make friends, socialise and connect with other like-minded people and thereby providing a safe and welcoming space, especially during and following Covid times.
Medallion Award - Paul Strickland
Paul was awarded for his ongoing contribution to the community through his volunteer work with the Friends of Mt Worth, Community Radio 3BBR, CFA, Baw Baw Sustainability Network and Landcare.
Baw Baw Shire Council is pleased to congratulate all 2023 Australia Day Award winners and acknowledge their valuable contributions to our community. Nominations for the 2024 Australia Day Awards will open in October-November 2023. For more information, visit Australia Day Awards page.
Pictures from Baw Baw Shire Council website.
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