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2018 Australia Day Awards - Honour roll

2018 Mount Alexander Shire Australia Day Award Recipients from L-R: State Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards MP with Castlemaine Billy Cart Challenge organisers Camilo Demarco and Jane Goodrich, Grace Saltmarsh, Mayor Bronwen Machin, Maryanne Murdoch and Ken McDougall. Photo by Diana Domonkos.

Citizen of the Year - Maryanne Murdoch

Maryanne Murdoch from Campbells Creek is a tireless volunteer who has worked in many roles in protecting the community with Campbells Creek Fire Brigade. She has worked in the field as a Crew Leader, First Aider and Fire Truck Driver, and behind the scenes as Secretary, Treasurer, Communication Officer and Community Safety Coordinator. Maryanne received the National Fire Service Medal in 2014 for her contribution during Black Saturday. The following year her commitment was recognised when she received the Arthur and Joyce Blackmore Award for Most Consistent, and a National Medal for more than 15 years service to the CFA. Last December Maryanne received the Captain’s Award for her involvement in the Campbells Creek CFA. As a brigade member, Maryanne has worked in some very dangerous situations. Maryanne has seen and experienced traumatic life and death events. In spite of this, or because of it, she continues to volunteer her time, skills and energy to provide this essential community service. Her calm and careful manner is appreciated by all around her, and those in the field. She continues to spread the word of fire safety to young community members as a Fire Safe Kids presenter. She has volunteered at fires across the state and beyond, and gives her time to many important causes. Thank you Maryanne.

Citizen of the Year - Special Mention - Ian Higgins

Ian Higgins from Campbells Creeks has worked to transform Campbells Creek into a valuable environmental asset over the past 30 years. His passion for the environment and instigation of the Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare group has led to the restoration of Campbells Creek through his tireless activity, sourcing of grants and planning. Along with helping to restore the bush, Ian conducts bushland walks for community groups to pass on his love of the outdoors. Ian is also the principal architect of VicVeg Online, a website helping Victorians plan revegetation and restoration projects, and increase their understanding of indigenous plant species. Ian was recently named winner of the Federal Government’s Individual Landcarer Award. Along with such dedication to the environment he is also an excellent fiddle player!

Young Citizen of the Year - Grace Saltmarsh

Grace Saltmarsh from Campbells Creek has been an active volunteer for the past ten years, donating her time, energy and enthusiasm to a number of causes close to her heart. Since 2011 Grace has volunteered in many roles at successive Castlemaine State Festivals. As an active member of the Castlemaine Jazz Festival Committee Grace sourced venues and worked confidently as stage manager with skills that belie her age. Fellow volunteers describe Grace as a reliable and dedicated worker, who shows passion and flexibility. Grace is the person that people turn to when they need someone to step up and quickly lend a hand. Along with her passion for music and the arts, Grace has helped to promote student wellbeing and awareness of mental illness in teenagers, supported youth events with Extreme Inc and also volunteered at Castlemaine Windarring Copy Centre. As an animal lover she has also volunteered at the RSPCA Animal Care Centre and more recently become a puppy carer for seeing eye dogs. Grace is a wonderful ambassador for community members of all ages.

Senior Citizen of the Year - Ken McDougall

Ken McDougall from Harcourt has volunteered for St John Ambulance for fifty years, and has saved more than a few lives in that time. He was a founding member of Mount Alexander Division of St John Ambulance and became Manager of the Division. Ken is dedicated to helping people in need, not only through St Johns, but during times of crisis such as floods, fires or even when people are lost in the bush. Along with delivering first aid at events around the shire and state he’s also been called to the local bowling club at Harcourt to provide CPR until an ambulance could arrive. Ken is also keen to pass on his skills and has trained young people in first aid through the St Johns Cadets. Ken has made a strong contribution to sporting groups in the shire. He was a founding member of the Castlemaine Cycling Club and was instrumental in raising money to build the velodrome. Each week he would drive his well-known Valiant Charger to Bendigo and sell used paper, cardboard and aluminium cans for fundraising. Ken has also been an active member of the Harcourt Football Club for the past 20 years. He is a well-respected community member who is always 100 per cent dedicated to whatever he does.

Community Event of the Year - Castlemaine Bill Cart Challenge

Camilo Demarco and Jane Goodrich reinstated this long loved and missed community event, which attracted more than 60 drivers ranging in age from under 10 to over 60. The fun and positive community event was possible through the help and support of a large team of volunteers and a crowd of about 2,000 people who turned out to enjoy the race. The event was held as part of Mental Health Week to highlight the importance of community connectedness and a sense of belonging as key components for building positive mental health. It was also a fundraiser for the local suicide prevention and awareness group Every Life Matters (ELM) and enabled the group to raise their profile. The funds will contribute to local training opportunities and other key ELM events and activities to directly benefit the local community. Camilo and Jane have done a wonderful job of re-establishing this event as a way to unite different parts of the community

Community Event of the Year - Special Mention - Castlemaine and Surrounds Repair Café

The Castlemaine Repair Café is a monthly event where residents with broken household appliances can come along and meet with local ‘fixers’ who help or teach them how to repair the items. The sessions involve a lot of tinkering, teaching and trying out solutions. People bring along anything from broken toasters or lamps to vacuum cleaners. There are also ‘fixers’ on hand to teach skills like sewing and mending or knife sharpening. The aim of the café is to fix everyday items and avoid them going to landfill, to empower people to do their own fixing, and to create a community. Christine Hooper has led the repair café, which is part of an international network. The café provides a great way for community members to come together, learn new skills, build connections, repair items and have fun along the way.

Community Event of the Year - Special Mention - SteamPacket

SteamPacket is a series of concerts at the Historic Maldon Railway Station that celebrate different themes of music. The only prerequisites are to have fun and hit the dancefloor. The concerts attract an audience aged between 50 and 70+ years. One recent event had the crowd dancing and jumping so hard it looked like the platform might collapse! SteamPacket has featured some of Australia’s best musicians, even legends, who perform under the banner of Sisters & Brothers. The theme of each performance is different and the band changes to fit. SteamPacket is led by the Maldon Made Foundation Incorporated. The not-for-profit group promotes arts tourism to Maldon and the Mount Alexander region, along with the Victorian Goldfields Railways and the Maldon Vintage Machinery Museum. The first SteamPacket event in December 2016 was A Steam Driven Journey Through The Blues. The events have gone from strength to strength, with tickets selling fast. It’s not only great entertainment for locals, but attracts people from far and wide around Victoria and interstate. The committee puts in thousands of hours of work. A special mention goes to Maldon Made Chair Clif Edwards.

2018 Australia Day community event

Council held a community event on Australia Day where we recognised our Australia Day Award recipients and welcomed our newest Australian citizens. The crowd enjoyed a free barbecue lunch and entertainment including live music, a bouncy castle and face painting for kids.

Council worked closely with Upper Loddon Indigenous group Nalderun to plan the Australia Day activities, which included a cleansing ceremony and Survival Day component led by Dja Dja Wurrung Elders.

Read the 2018 Mount Alexander Shire Australia Day Award honour roll.

Read Aunty Kerri Douglas' Australia Day speech.

Read our Australia Day media release.

Read more about the Mount Alexander Shire Australia Day Awards

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