Citizen of the Year – Eileen McDonald
Castlemaine resident Eileen McDonald has worked tirelessly for the community since 1966. Along with serving on parent’s clubs at Castlemaine Kindergarten, Winters Flat Primary School, Castlemaine Technical College and Castlemaine High School, Eileen represented parents on several Regional Education Board Committees.
Eileen’s passion for young people has extended beyond the school yard, while working to strengthen the Castlemaine Scout movement over 22 years. She is a skilled apiarist (bee keeper) and businesswoman, as well as a mother, foster mother, wife, grandmother and great grandmother. Eileen has made a valuable contribution to many clubs and organisations. These include the CFA, Castlemaine Amateur Swimming Club, St Luke’s Foster Care and apiarists organisations, just to name a few.
Eileen’s contribution to the community will continue to live on through the work of Mount Alexander Shire Accommodation and Respite Group at Lions McDonald Hill House. Eileen and her husband Bob generously donated the 2.7 hectare parcel of land, which now houses the shire’s first purpose built respite accommodation and community house for people with disabilities.
Senior Citizen of the Year – Dorothy Smith
Along with running the Metcalfe Post Office for 30 years, Dorothy (Dot) Smith has been an active community member since the 1960s. A passionate and effective fundraiser, Dot worked tirelessly to source funds for the local primary school, and raised money to help establish the first church building in Metcalfe. She also raised money to rebuild it when the weatherboard building was destroyed by a mini cyclone in 1981.
Dot was Communications Officer for the local fire brigade for more than 25 years and has also been treasurer of the Metcalfe Hall Committee and Senior Citizens Club for many years. Dot remains very active in the community coordinating weekly lunches, trips away and a monthly film afternoon. Her afternoon teas are legendary, with many people saying they are the best in the shire!
A great contributor to the annual Seniors Festival, Dot has also been involved in the Kyneton Probus Club and Mia Mia Kyneton Uniting Parish. She is also a singer in Auld Spyce, a senior singing group who regularly perform at aged care homes and hostels. Dot is renowned in her community as a reliable, passionate and committed individual, who works tirelessly to make her part of the world a better place.
Young Citizen of the Year - Meaghan Ferguson
Meaghan Ferguson is a strong advocate for young people and has played an active role in Council’s Youth Advisory Group and Health Communities Advisory Committee, along with a number of regional youth forums.
As School Captain at Castlemaine Secondary College and a member of the Student Representative Council, Meaghan has had strong involvement in matters that impact young people. She was selected to travel to Canberra as a representative of the 2016 Youth Parliament team. Her team successfully debated and passed a bill on compulsory cultural literacy education in Victorian schools, after seeing racism in the community.
In 2016 Meaghan was involved in delivering a Youth Forum at Castlemaine Secondary College, completing leadership training, representing Mount Alexander youth at a youth forum in Bendigo, and interviewing young people about mental health to support a VicHealth funding application for Council. As a key member of the Youth Space Committee, Meaghan took a leadership role in the development of the Mondo Lounge youth space through identifying youth needs, programming activities and training, and presenting information about programs to her peers at school.
In addition to assisting with the launch of Mondo Lounge, Meaghan led a fantastic event at the youth space during Mental Health Week. Her tie-dye session, which attracted great participation, built skills for young people in a fun and creative way while promoting the importance of mental wellbeing.
Community Event of the Year – Run the Maine – organised by Run the Maine Inc.
Now in its eighth year, this popular annual fun run has raised more than $65,000 for the local hospital and health service. Castlemaine Health has used the funds to purchase much needed equipment such as defibrillators, rehabilitation exercise machines and neonatal equipment, as well as refurbishing the hospital’s maternity ward.
Run the Maine is entirely led and managed by a team of local volunteers who have widely promoted the event to attract athletes from across the state and country. In 2016 the event raised $13,500, which will be used by Castlemaine Health towards facilities for aged care and palliative care. The Run the Maine event has evolved over its eight years into a wonderful community minded event focusing on connections with people, families, businesses and local health services.
Community Services Award - Graham Fraser
Graham Fraser has been a volunteer caretaker of the playing field and cricket pitch at Camp Reserve for more than 30 years. Graham spends about 800 hours each year at the reserve, working tirelessly to ensure the pitch, playing surface and facilities are immaculate. He is exceptional at what he does. Even throughout the extended drought Graham was able to keep the playing field in top condition. This has probably made his job harder as it meant that teams come from far and wide to use it!
Along with his skills on the pitch, Graham is renowned for his dry sense of humour. Athletes of all ages and abilities have benefited from his unwavering commitment to Camp Reserve. In addition to the early morning walkers, a whole new generation of sports lovers can be seen enjoying the facilities, connecting with team mates and staying fit and healthy, thanks to his hard work.
Community Event of the Year – Special Mention – Metcalfe Vintage Tractor Pull – organised by Metcalfe Community Association
The Metcalfe Vintage Tractor Pull is definitely a date for the diary. The annual event combines a tractor pull competition with a wood chopping competition, vintage car and engine displays, local craft stalls, trash and treasure, and children’s entertainment.
The popular and fun day attracts many visitors to the town, and raises vital funds for the community including Metcalfe CFA, Metcalfe and District Senior Citizens and Landcare. The event is organised by the Metcalfe Community Association. It is entirely run by volunteers to cater for all members of the community.