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Congratulations to Australia Day Award winners

Australia Day Award winners, from left to right – Billy Lister, Youth Citizen of the Year, Kerry Reid – Citizen of the Year, Mount Alexander Shire Mayor Bill Maltby, Kelly Skinner - Senior Citizen of the Year, Fionna Allan, representing Gold Sounds Music Conference - Community Event of the Year. Photo credit: Diana Domonkos.

Council is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s Australia Day Awards. The awards were presented at the Australia Day – Survival Day community event in Castlemaine on Wednesday 26 January.

26 January 2022

Mount Alexander Shire Council is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s Australia Day Awards. The awards were presented at the Australia Day – Survival Day community event in Castlemaine on Wednesday 26 January.

This year’s winners of the Mount Alexander Shire Australia Day Awards are:

- Citizen of the Year – Kerry Reid
- Youth Citizen of the Year – Billy Lister
- Senior Citizen of the Year – Kelly Skinner
- Community Event of the Year – Gold Sounds Music Conference

Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire, Bill Maltby, congratulated the winners and nominees for their work.

“Each year on Australia Day our country recognises and honours the outstanding achievements of its citizens,” said Mayor Maltby.

“By presenting these awards, we celebrate the contribution that inspiring Australians have made to their communities. We take this time to reflect on how we can all follow their example and each contribute to creating a better society.”

“Nominees are assessed by an independent panel and the award recipients are selected based on their impact in Mount Alexander Shire.

“Although we could only have one winner for each category, we’d like to acknowledge all of our 2022 nominees for their very generous contributions to our shire,” he said.

Along with the presentation of the awards, four people took the pledge to become Australian citizens at the Australia Day – Survival Day community event.

“Congratulations to all our newest citizens’ on the commitment they have made,” said Mayor Maltby.

“Choosing to become an Australian citizen is a significant expression of pride in being part of our country’s dynamic and diverse society.”

The community event included a Welcome to Country from Dja Dja Wurrung Elder Uncle Rick Nelson, a free BBQ lunch courtesy of the Rotary Club of Castlemaine, and free ice-cream from Icecream Social.

The day also included performances from:

- Castlemaine Highland Pipe Band
- Women’s Cleansing Ceremony
- Jason Kerr and Alvin Briggs, didgeridoo players
- Jack Norton and Jan Wositzky
- The Rattlers
- D’Arcy Spiller
- Tjimba and Natji Possum-Burns and Shantay Willoughby.

In 2019, under the leadership of Dja Dja Wurrung Elders, Council made the decision to formally dual name events held on 26 January as ‘Australia Day – Survival Day’, acknowledging the issue of how celebrations on this day impact First Nations people, and to provide a platform for education and healing through truth-telling.

Dja Dja Wurrung Elder, Uncle Rick Nelson said the collaboration between Council and the Dja Dja Wurrung community was an important step in working together towards reconciliation.

“It’s important to work together,” said Mr Nelson.

“We all live here together so let’s celebrate together, not only Australia Day but that Aboriginal nations have survived.”

Mount Alexander Shire Mayor, Councillor Bill Maltby said the event was a fantastic opportunity for the community to come together.

“Our Australia Day – Survival Day event gave our community the chance to reflect on our nation’s history, which began with the First Australians tens of thousands of years ago,” said Mayor Maltby.

“Thank you to everyone involved for their contribution to the day, and also to the wider community for coming along and being part of this.”

To watch the livestream of the community event visit youtube.com/c/MountAlexanderShireCouncil.

2022 Mount Alexander Shire Australia Day Award winners:

Citizen of the Year – Kerry Reid
Kerry Reid is a wildlife rescuer, who through her gentle attention and dedication, has helped many sick, injured, and abandoned animals, nursing them back to health to be released into the wild.

Passionate about caring for wildlife, Kerry has rescued animals for organisations such as Wildlife Victoria and the Wildlife Rescue & Information Network, along with answering calls for help from shire residents, vets, local police, and Council.

Day or night, Kerry can be relied upon to go above and beyond to assist with wildlife rescues, using her own equipment and vehicle, and offering her precious time freely.

Kerry has a wealth of knowledge about the requirements of caring for our local wildlife, and we’re thankful for her ongoing efforts and commitment to caring for sick, injured, and orphaned animals. Kerry – you’re a wildlife superhero!

Youth Citizen of the Year – Billy Lister
Billy Lister is an emerging community leader, with a vision to make the shire a better place for young people.

With a wealth of volunteer experience under his belt, including Council’s Youth Advisory Group, Young Markers Market, COscars Youth Film Festival, and much more, Billy is an ideas man who’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and make positive change happen.

Whether he’s galvanising local youth to take part in a working bee at his local high school, or advocating for change to local and state governments on the behalf of his peers, Billy’s a smart, driven and caring young man who devotes a considerable amount of time to community engagement programs. Oh, the places you’ll go Billy!

Senior Citizen of the Year – Kelly Skinner
A compassionate and community-minded individual, Kelly Skinner is a whiz when it comes to pulling together an event.

Kelly brings a tireless, generous and calm manner to her role in managing the popular Newstead Live Music Festival, along with skilfully steering the ship of many other music and community events in the region. On her watch, events are organised with the enjoyment of the entire community in mind, with her efforts providing a much-needed financial boost for local musicians and other performance artists.

Kelly is also a funeral celebrant, considerately and kindly facilitating the celebration of dearly departed loved ones. Her expertise in this area is in high demand, as she creates a safe space for individuals and community to express grief in a way that is witnessed, honored and shared.

Community Event of the Year – Gold Sounds Music Conference
Gold Sounds Music Conference brought together the Victorian regional music community for three days in November 2021.

The conference supported venues, young people, musicians and the region’s music industry, to develop necessary skills, networks and strategies to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, and carry that increased capacity into the future.

Gold Sounds Music Conference was beneficial to young people as it provided them with new skills and professional development opportunities. It also strengthened existing links and community connections between young people and the wider community, and provided support when establishing relationships between like-minded people.

The conference is currently working on improving accessibility at local venues and supporting their applications for funding to install new infrastructure to support physical access.

Image: Australia Day Award winners, from left to right – Billy Lister, Youth Citizen of the Year, Kerry Reid – Citizen of the Year, Mount Alexander Shire Mayor Bill Maltby, Kelly Skinner - Senior Citizen of the Year, Fionna Allen, representing Gold Sounds Music Conference - Community Event of the Year.
Photo credit: Diana Domonkos.


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