Congratulations to Cardinia Shire’s Australia Day Award winners and nominees!

Published: 25 January 2024

Cardinia Shire Council was proud to announce and celebrate the nominees and winners of the 2024 Cardinia Shire Australia Day Awards at a special ceremony on Thursday 25 January.

The Australia Day 2024 award winners are: 

  • Citizen of the Year: Liz Roberts 

  • Senior Citizen of the Year: Dr. Mary Cole 

  • Young Citizen of the Year: Ella Chawkley 

  • Community Event of the Year: Ash Wednesday Bushfire Education Centre (AWBEC) 40th Commemoration of Ash Wednesday   

Held at Cardinia Cultural Centre in Pakenham, the awards ceremony was an opportunity to show gratitude and recognise the efforts of so many passionate volunteers across the shire who work tirelessly for their local communities. 

Cardinia Shire Mayor Councillor Jack Kowarzik congratulated the 2024 winners and nominees and thanked them for their valuable contribution to the Cardinia Shire community. 

“The awards ceremony was a top night filled with so much community pride,” he said. 

“Even if the work of our volunteers often happens behind the scenes, their dedication, enthusiasm, and contributions are hugely appreciated. 

“On behalf of Cardinia Shire Council and the community, congratulations to our 2024 Australia Day award winners and nominees – the shire just wouldn’t be the same without you.” 

Mayor Cr Kowarzik congratulated 2024 Citizen of the Year Liz Roberts on her deserving win.  

“Liz played a pivotal role in reviving the Pakenham and District Toy Library, navigating several challenges to get the service reopened after the pandemic,” the Mayor said. 

“Her leadership transformed the toy library into a sustainable, inclusive asset for the community, and she deserves this recognition for her hard work.” 

Cr Kowarzik said the 2024 Senior Citizen of the Year, Dr. Mary Cole, is “a dedicated farmer and advocate for regenerative agriculture." 

“With 45 years of experience, she volunteers her time to assist fellow farmers in adopting regenerative techniques and promoting sustainable and resilient farming.” 

“Our Young Citizen of the Year for 2024, Ella Chawkley, has been a dedicated Cockatoo community volunteer since the age of 12,” Cr Kowarzik said.  

“Ella actively contributes to the Cockatoo Country Market. In addition, she completed her traffic management accreditation, volunteered at an aged care facility, and earned recognition for her leadership and artwork, making her a highly valued asset to the Cockatoo community.”  

Cr Kowarzik said the 2024 Community Event of the Year – The Ash Wednesday Bushfire Education Centre’s (AWBEC) 40th Commemoration of Ash Wednesday – was a moving and important tribute for the local community.  

“In February 2023 AWBEC hosted a statewide 40th Ash Wednesday commemoration, drawing thousands of attendees, both online and in person. The event highlighted the centre's crucial role in preserving the memory of the Ash Wednesday tragedy,” Cr Kowarzik said. 

“Thank you to all of our 2024 Australia Day award winners – keep up the great work!”  

To view information on the Cardinia Shire Australia Day Award winners in each category and a list of nominees visit 

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