Award Winners 2023


Congratulations to all the winners and finalists for 2023!

These businesses in the shire have demonstrated outstanding attributes in the below categories. 

Winners and finalists were chosen by an independent judging panel, except for the People's Choice Award which was voted by the public online. The winners for each category were announced at the awards night held on Wednesday 15 November 2023 at the Theatre Royal. 

The winners for the 2023 awards are:

Business of the Year - Fumina Projects

Fumina Projects were awarded the Business of the Year award for their transformative housing project The Paddock Eco Village and the Hub. These projects demonstrate a new way to build and live as a community. The judges noted the Paddock Eco Village is significant on a national level and were impressed by Neil and Heather Barrett’s commitment to leading the way for other developers to see that housing developments can be carried out to a high environmental standard.

Sponsored by Don Smallgoods

Community Focused - Castlemaine Institute

Castlemaine Institute is a research and learning hub that develops projects, initiatives and solutions to create and deliver a better future locally and beyond. The institute makes a significant contribution to Mount Alexander's existing culture of innovation and community development.

Sponsored by the Maldon and District Community Bank

Creative Marketing - Warral Maldon

Warral Maldon was born from a family’s love of bees. A new and fresh marketing campaign has rejuvenated the company and enabled them to expand and grow their products and services, becoming as market leaders in the honey industry.

Sponsored by Maldon Inc.

Diverse and Inclusive - Trace Balla

Trace Balla is a self-employed author and illustrator and her work is an inspiration for cultural connection, revival and repair. From inspirational books to beautiful illustrations, Trace’s recognisable and accessible style has brought vast recognition and respect for her work which normalises difference and social cohesion.

Sponsored by Castlemaine Rotary Club


Environmental Impact - Fumina Projects

The Paddock Eco-village and The Hub, by Fumina Projects, takes an active and important role in combating climate change. The Paddock uses a combination of design, and proven sustainable practices, to create energy-efficient dwellings and a village that, at its core, promotes sustainability and minimal environmental impact.

Sponsored by Business Mount Alexander (BMA)


Innovative Service or Product - BIG4 Castlemaine Gardens Holiday Park

BIG4 Castlemaine Gardens Holiday Park has introduced bespoke villas and luxurious glamping in a beautiful parkland environment. By recognising and acting on the changing needs of the customer, BIG4 have created accommodation that attracts new customers through well targeted marketing campaigns and a steady stream of regular return guests.

Sponsored by Lascorp

New Business - Maldon Bakery

Maldon Bakery recently underwent a transformation that included refurbishing the previous premises and re-building the vintage scotch oven. Bakery owner Rebecca has extensive experience in food and hospitality and has brought her knowledge and understanding in the creation of a bakery that people will travel long and far to experience, whilst not forgetting the needs of her local customers.

Sponsored by Workspace Australia

Young Achiever - Matthew Thompson

A year ago, Matthew and his partner Jaimie, decided to take the plunge and start their own business - Sandy Creek Clydesdales - training and breeding Clydesdale horses. Matthew is a passionate and perceptive businessman, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience in the breeding of horses, blacksmithing, harness breaking and training and operating carriages for special events.  

Sponsored by RMG


People’s Choice - Sandy Creek Clydesdales

Winning the majority vote by the public, Sandy Creek Clydesdales took out the first People’s Choice Award. A beloved family - owned and operated business specialising in registered Clydesdale breeding, situated in the historic town of Maldon, Victoria. 

Sponsored by the Castlemaine Mail and Midland Express


Lifetime Achievement - Larry O'Toole

Larry O’Toole was a valued and respected member of the Mount Alexander Shire community, who made an enormous contribution to the hot-rodding and the greater custom car scene both locally and beyond. Hot Rods are synonymous with Castlemaine as well as a provider of a significant number of jobs, and as such are an important part of our local economy.

Sponsored by Castlemaine Hot Rod Centre