2019 Australia Day Award nominees
Cardinia Shire’s Australia Day Awards recognise:
- people who make an important contribution to our local community
- an outstanding local community event.
The awards will be presented at our Cardinia Shire Australia Day 2019 celebration.
2019 Australia Day Ambassador
Cardinia Shire Council is proud to welcome Sabihe McDonald as the 2019 Australia Day Ambassador for Cardinia Shire.
Sabihe left Iran to study nursing in England during the 1960s and then later immigrated to Australia in 1970. As a Persian, Farsi-speaking interpreter, she has supported numerous refugees and immigrants to settle in Australia and regularly offers her expert interpreting skills to the Royal Children’s Hospital.
A dedicated volunteer, Sabihe has raised funds for special schools, supported children with parents in prison, started local permaculture groups, and continues to offer weekly support to many people at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. She is a compassionate and energetic contributor to the community who strives towards justice and equality for all.
Nominees for 2019 Citizen of the Year
Hardev Singh Cheema
Hardeev is a committed volunteer from the Sikh community and organiser of the 2018 Pakenham Jorh Mela, a community sporting event and festival that attracted around 5,000 people and teams from across Australia.
As a member of Baba Budha Sahib Ji Gurudwara Pakenham, Hardeev has been cooking and serving food at community gatherings for at least two days per week over the past four years. He is an enthusiastic supporter of community events in Cardinia Shire, always ready to lend a hand or help those in need.
Dr Harpreet Kandra
Harpreet is a leader in the Sikh community and was the driving force behind the opening of the new Sikh temple in Officer. He sourced grant and philanthropic funding for the temple, including provision for a kitchen, enabling food preparation for community events.
Harpreet has long supported the sharing of Sikh culture and food with the wider community, encouraging Sikh community food donations to shire events such as Harmony Day, Australia Day and Hope Day. He also liaised with Toomuc Valley Landcare and Lions Club to provide hay donations from the Sikh temple site to the Need for Feed initiative.
Kirra has lived in Cockatoo all her life and has proven to be a generous and selfless community volunteer, all while raising four children under ten years old. She revitalised the 1st Cockatoo Scouts Group, increasing participation and enabling the group to get more involved in the community.
Under Kirra’s guidance, the Scout group and its volunteers cleaned and renovated the Allan Bailey Hall in Cockatoo, making it a more comfortable venue for the whole community. The group repainted the interior, renovated the kitchen area, and installed improved heating and plumbing. Kirra has helped in many community projects including working on the township’s Christmas sleigh and annual elf hunt.
Ian is the dedicated Captain of the Upper Beaconsfield CFA, where he has worked as a firefighter, communications officer, brigade training officer, and 1st Lieutenant prior to taking on the role of Captain. He puts enormous effort into his local community through both his work at CFA and his volunteering.
Ian spends many weekends conducting training for the local fire brigade, helping at community events, volunteering as a Scout leader, and occasionally away at a Scout Jamboree with hundreds of children. Between his work and his volunteering, he fulfils many responsibilities and always takes it in his stride.
Nominees for 2019 Senior Citizen of the Year
Vernon (Tony) Knight
Vernon, known to friends as Tony, is a long-serving, communityminded volunteer. He was a founding member of the Upper Beaconsfield Men’s Shed and has been a member of the Upper Beaconsfield Association for many years. Tony received the 2017 Upper Beaconsfield Citizen of the Year award in recognition of his contribution to the community over many years.
Tony volunteers considerable amounts of his time to the local community including organising Upper Beaconsfield’s Carols by Candlelight, volunteering for the Upper Beaconsfield Village Festival, fundraising for the local Men’s Shed, and undertaking grounds maintenance at the community centre. He is renowned for both his friendly nature and community service in Upper Beaconsfield.
Robert is a tireless volunteer in the Officer community, serving as both Chairman of Officer Recreational Reserve Committee and President of Officer and District Community Association for more than 40 years. He was also past Chairman of the Officer State School Council, inaugural winner of the Stan Henwood Award for his volunteer work, and is a continuing organiser of ANZAC and Remembrance Day services in Officer.
As Chair of the Officer Recreation Committee, Robert has been influential in the reserve’s ongoing improvements, including carrying out extensive volunteer maintenance works. He can also count the relocation of the Officer memorial gates as a major achievement under his presidency at Officer and District Community Association.
June is a lifetime volunteer, first becoming involved with Scouting in the 1970s through her children and recently retiring as the group leader of the 1st Koo Wee Rup Scout Group. She was previously a district Cub Scout leader, a Cub leader, a Victorian Cuboree volunteer, and an Australian Scout Jamboree volunteer leader.
June has also been a member of the Koo Wee Rup Lions Club for many years and has worked as a volunteer manager in their op shops for well over a decade. June rarely misses a community event and can often be found selling raffle tickets or helping in any way she can.
Nominees for 2019 Young Citizen of the Year
Zacharia, known as Zac to friends, is well regarded by peers for his big heart and willingness to get involved in community events, fundraisers and campaigns. He is a valuable volunteer for the Cardinia Shire Freeza group, Koo Wee Rup Men’s Shed after school program, Koo Wee Rup Youth Centre, and The Hub Mental Health Barbecue.
Zac is passionate about achieving equality for LGBTIQ+ people and particularly about supporting young members of this community. He has provided great insight and assisted Kooweerup Regional Health Service in improving its service delivery in this area. Zac is an enthusiastic participant and volunteer in the community, always willing to encourage and support others.
Charlotte’s capacity for compassion has inspired her fundraising since she was seven years old, supporting a range of causes including feeding the homeless, supporting people with serious illness, and animal welfare. Recognised as a young leader, she is also the SRC Captain at her school.
One of Charlotte’s notable fundraisers was in support of local toddler Levi, who needed a kidney transplant. With help from local businesses and community groups, Charlotte spent weeks organising a trivia night, complete with donated auction and raffle prizes. In addition, she can often be found at a local pharmacy selling headbands to raise money for kids with cancer.
Baxter has been a committed volunteer with Puffing Billy for four years, supporting events such as Day Out with Thomas, the Puffing Billy Race, the Thomas Fun Run, the Christmas trains and many working bees. He is also a volunteer at the Cockatoo Little Athletics Club, where he supports young members and assists the committee.
Recently, Baxter singlehandedly organised a community trivia night that brought together about 160 people and raised more than $7,000 for Fight MND. He took full responsibility for arranging donations from local businesses and even hosted the event himself. Inspired by his father’s diagnosis, he showed great courage and community spirit in his efforts to support others with the disease.
Meaghan has been an active member of Scouts for 10 years, where she first began her volunteer work as a youth helper in Cubs. Since then she’s also volunteered as a surf lifesaver and is now an assistant Joey Scout leader in Rovers. During her time at Scouts, she achieved an Australian Scouting Medallion and a Queen Scout Award.
Meaghan was the Pakenham and District Agricultural Show Junior Ambassador in 2016 and she is also one of its youngest committee members. Over the past two years with other young women, she has introduced new technologies and categories to the show, helping it to remain current and continue to evolve.
Nominees for 2019 Community Event of the Year
Cardinia Australia Day Event 2018
The Lakeside Residents Group organised Australia Day celebrations at the Cardinia Cultural Centre to coincide with the official Australia Day awards and citizenship ceremony. The event attracted about 2,500 people, who came together for an afternoon of diverse Australian culture.
The event provided free food and activities such as face painting, henna art, a petting farm, jumping castles and other amusements. Multiple community groups and local businesses supported the event, providing shire residents with a day of family fun and community connection.
Cockatoo CFA Christmas Eve Icy Pole Run
Since the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983, the Cockatoo CFA has handed out icy poles from the back of fire trucks on Christmas Eve. Initially intended to help restore community spirit while the town was rebuilt, the icy pole run has become a favourite local tradition over the past 34 years.
Cockatoo CFA donates the icy poles every year and brigade members support the run by volunteering their time on Christmas Eve before going home to their own families. The icy pole run has been an ongoing healing activity for the community since Ash Wednesday and also serves as a reminder about the very real threat of fire during the festive season. Australia Day 2019 in Cardinia Shire 11
Cockatoo Country Market
The monthly Cockatoo Country Market enables local people to come together for regular social connection and fresh, locally grown produce. It also provides a low-cost, low-risk route to market for micro, home-based and artisan businesses, as well as some great word-of-mouth advertising for local stallholders. In addition, the twilight market showcases local entertainers and performers.
The market has also raised and distributed more than $10,000 in the past three years to local groups through its grants program. Cockatoo Country Market has a committee of six local women, and numerous volunteers, comprising an exceptional and committed group of people who embody Cockatoo’s community spirt of ‘can do’ and ‘nothing is too hard’.
In 2018, Diwali in Cardinia Shire was held at Gumbuya World, becoming the first theme-park Diwali in Australia. The event is a cultural celebration through music, dance and amusement. While Diwali is traditionally an Indian festival, this event promoted diversity and inclusion for all cultures in a reflection of the multicultural spirit of the shire.
The Indian Association Cardinia Casey organised the event for the whole community with assistance from other community groups and local businesses. At the event, they made the environmentally friendly choice of a laser show instead of fireworks, promoted the Together We Can movement, and supported local businesses and performers.
12 Australia Day 2019 in Cardinia Shire
Foundation Day – Siri Guru Nanak Darbar
The Sikh community hosted a Foundation Day event to celebrate their new temple and permanent place of worship in Officer – Siri Guru Nanak Darbar. The flag-raising event was attended by about 120 community members from diverse cultural backgrounds and was the first Sikh temple in Australia to host the Australian, Sikh and Aboriginal flags in the symbolic ceremony. The key message of the day was, ‘The Sikh temple is open to anyone and everyone’.
The event created awareness about the Sikh faith and values, including community service. Parts of the land will be used for horticultural and agriculture activities such as organic food farming to support food van projects. Attendees of the event also planted trees and installed bird boxes at the property to promote environmental harmony.
Lang Lang United Soccer Club Community Disco
For the past two years, Lang Lang United Soccer Club has hosted a community disco for young people aged five to 13 years. The disco has helped raise funds for the three-year-old grassroots club and has been of great benefit to the local community by providing an activity for young people.
In its first year, the disco attracted 38 children, mostly soccer players from the club. In its second year, attendance grew to 84 and included many non-members, bringing together young people from the communities of Lang Lang, Tooradin, Korumburra, Poowong, Nyora, Koo Wee Rup and Pakenham. Thanks to the hard work of the committee, the disco has proved a success for both the community and the club.
Pakenham Cricket Club Pink Stumps Day
Pakenham Cricket Club has run Pink Stumps Day annually since 2014 to raise funds for and awareness of breast cancer, and the need for early detection. The 2018 event attracted more than 200 people and raised almost $10,500 for the McGrath Foundation.
On Pink Stumps Day, the senior premier cricket team play at Toomuc Reserve and all players and umpires wear pink along with many of the attendees. Even the stumps, cricket pads and balls are pink. The event brings the community together to share stories of local women who have been affected by breast cancer. The committee work tirelessly managing the event on the day as well as organising sponsors and speakers.
Pakenham Jorh Mela
Pakenham’s second Jorh Mela, organised by Baba Budha Sahib Ji Gurudwara, attracted about 5,000 people and players from across Australia for the community sporting event and festival. The games played included cultural tournaments, volleyball and kabaddi, which is similar to wrestling.
The event was free to attend and brought many cultures and communities together to enjoy the tournaments, food and fresh juices. Children were also able to participate in a fun run and other activities. The Jorh Mela provided a great opportunity for different cultures to meet and learn more about each other.
The Yakkerboo Festival has been running for 42 years, and now attracts more than 10,000 people, many of whom live locally. The event brings the community together for an affordable festival day thanks to the hard work and dedication of the committee.
The event is a celebration of people and the local area with a street parade the community can participate in, a cavalcade of unique vehicles, live music, a carnival with food trucks, market stalls, fireworks, and a birthday party for local character Mr Yakkerboo, where children enjoy free cake and icy poles.