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Latrobe Citys Australia Day Award Winners Announced

Awards presented in recognition of significant service to the community.

By Portal Admin - 29th January 2021 - Back to News

Latrobe City Council celebrated the contribution of community-minded people at the 2021 Australia Day Civic Function and Australia Day Awards at Morwell today (26 January).

Five major Australia Day Awards were presented, including to a 102-year-old, with another 31 Latrobe City Recognition Awards presented, recognising significant service given to the Latrobe City community.

The recipients of major awards were:

  • Citizen of the Year: Richard (Rick) Teychenne of Boolarra
  • Senior of the Year: Mario Sammut OAM of Morwell
  • Young Citizen of the Year: Ben Grumley of Traralgon
  • Community Event of the Year: 2020 Latrobe Motorfest
  • Community Service of the Year: Edith McGill of Morwell, aged 102.

Latrobe City Council Mayor, Cr Sharon Gibson said the community was so fortunate to count the award recipients among its citizens.

"All of the award recipients have made Latrobe City such a better place for everyone to live by giving their time and energy across so many interests, from music and sport, to multiculturalism and charity work," she said.

"Without this outstanding contribution provided by these award winners and also others nominated for the awards we would not have many of the facilities, events and services that we do in Latrobe.

"The winners and nominees are all people who are committed to Latrobe City. They are committed to unselfishly giving, making Latrobe City a better place for all. We can all learn from them.

"These are fine people who give of themselves without being paid. They tirelessly contribute many hours to our community for the benefit of us all.

"Council, on behalf of the community, sincerely thanks all award nominees for their generous service to our community and their dedication to our great city."

The Mayor began her Australia Day by attending community events at Yinnar and Churchill.

Citizen of the Year Richard (Rick) Teychenne, of Boolarra, is the President of the Boolarra Folk Festival Committee and leads his team with courtesy, respect and professionalism.

During the Yinnar South Bushfire of 2019, he was calm, resourceful and led the committee with a focus on safety.

He contributes hundreds of hours to the preparation of the Boolarra Folk Festival each year, and was instrumental in organising and conducting the 10th anniversary commemoration of the Black Saturday and Delburn fires - despite losing his own familys property in the 2009 blaze.

Rick supports local residents who lost their homes to fire, including people affected by the 2019 Yinnar bushfires.

Young Citizen of the Year, Ben Grumley of Traralgon, has worked hard to achieve in tennis, winning the Kooyong Under 21 Club Championship in 2020 and being ranked 131 in Australia, among other feats.

He is a role model to others and in recognition of his commitment, Ben received a scholarship with William Woods University to play college tennis in the United States of America.

He will make Missouri home for the next four years as he undertakes a major in exercise science while continuing with tennis.

Ben has been part of the strong junior tennis program at the Traralgon Tennis Centre. His work ethic on the court and willingness to work as part of a team have inspired others to aim high.

Bens strengths have been his dedication to his studies and willingness to work hard.

He makes himself available to assist at the Traralgon Tennis Association by helping with coaching and volunteering at major events, and representing the club at community events.

Senior Citizen of the Year, Mario Sammut OAM of Morwell, has volunteered in the town since arriving with his family in 1985.

Marios leadership skills and ability to gain others support for his ideas have resulted in numerous projects, the latest being the opening of the only Maltese museum in Australia last February in Morwell.

He is a passionate radio presenter on community radio stations Gippsland FM and 3ZZZ, the largest ethnic community radio station in Australia, in Melbourne.

Mario broadcasts the Maltese Show and two breakfast shows (in English) on 3GCR weekly, and one Maltese show on 3ZZZ, for which he travels to Melbourne on Saturdays.

He has been secretary and president of the Latrobe Valley Migrants Resource Centre, an executive board member of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria, delegate to the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia, and committee member of the Morwell Community Health Centre.

Event of the Year is the 2020 Latrobe Motorfest, an exciting free event at Mid Valley Shopping Centre in Morwell that drew a crowd of more than 10,000 people in February 2020.

This was not only exciting for the public, but also bolstered the revenue of businesses inside the shopping centre.

The event included motorcycle road racing, a food truck carnival, live band, childrens rides and entertainment, a Kids BBQ Competition, Car and Motorbike Show 'n' Shine, and a trade area for local businesses.

Community Service of the Year recipient is Edith McGill of Morwell.

Edith has volunteered for the Morwell RSL Auxiliary for 38 years, selling badges for ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day, and raffle tickets at bingo until this year.

Edith has also been involved with other fundraising: knitting squares for the Walhalla Goldfields Railway, and making hundreds of poppies, blankets for rescue animals, and jackets for penguins and lambs.

For many years, Edith was a member of Uncle Bobs Club, collecting and counting money raised for the Good Friday Appeal.

She also volunteers for Legacy and at a sheltered workshop at the Salvation Army Shed.

The awards were telecast from Kernot Hall from 1.30pm to 3.30pm on Australia Day due to COVID-19 restrictions in place.


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