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Well-Deserved Locals Honoured in Australia Day Awards

Source: Northern Beaches Council
Archived 24 Mar 2020 - Posted: 25 Jan 2020
Northern Beaches Council was spoilt for choice when it came to selecting the winners for the 2020 Australia Day Awards.

Recipients included an internationally recognised junior gymnast as well as volunteers dedicated to community causes such as youth and disability, assisting our senior citizens, mental health and well-being, emergency services as well as environmental and social issues.

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said the Northern Beaches community is full of outstanding contributors and he was privileged to formally honour the award winners in this year’s Australia Day Awards.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge a number of terrific contributions from members of our community as we celebrate Australia Day.

“It is such a privilege to meet these amazing people and on behalf of the community we thank you for your outstanding work and achievements collectively. The Northern Beaches is a fantastic place to live.  

“A big thank you to not only our winners but the many other very deserving people who serve our community and make it even better.

“Congratulations to all our award winners and thank you to those who took the time to nominate and recognise our great achievers,’’ Mayor Regan said.

The winners are:

Citizen of the Year
Ben Tory of Seaforth

Nominated by Naomi Leviton

Ben Tory is a committed volunteer, passing on his expertise to a number of different services including St John Ambulance, NSW State Emergency Service, NSW Rural Fire Service, and Team Rubicon Australia. Ben has dedicated his life to helping people when they are most in need, building and supporting teams to reach that goal. Ben spent six years rebuilding and growing St John Northern Beaches Division, before being promoted to higher roles, and has been an active member of the Manly Unit since first stepping in the door at the age of 18. Ben works as an Ambulance Paramedic at Mona Vale station and spends any spare time volunteering for the community.

Senior Citizen of the Year
Helen Hendry of Manly

Nominated by Eli Demeny and Jo-Ann Steeves

Helen Hendry has been an active member of Northern Beaches Palliative and Supportive Care since 1993. She has offered exemplary support for patients and the bereaved in driving, home visits, participation in regular support groups, catering, planning and accompanying excursions. Helen has eased the end of life journey for many Northern Beaches people and their families. She has been active in fundraising, has instructed volunteer classes, and has volunteered at Royal North Shore and Mona Vale Hospitals. Since 2005, Helen has also volunteered at Manly Sailability where she has taken on various different roles including boat driving, shopping, cooking, registration and bookkeeping. Helen was also on the Royal Far West Remote Reading Scheme, helping children to read remotely from 2011-2012. 

Young Citizen of the Year
Dia MacNamara of Terrey Hills

Nominated by Catherine MacNamara

At age 11 Dia MacNamara has demonstrated commitment to a broad range of environmental and social issues. Dia is a warrior for the environment, spreading awareness and campaigning to reduce and re-use plastic waste, and inspiring others to make a difference. She established a plastic bottle collection scheme in her school in 2019 to turn plastic lids into prosthetic limbs for amputees through Envision Hands. Dia involved fellow students, school families and teachers in the project, and then expanded to involve the local community and has set up collection points at local businesses. She also creates artworks from plastic to raise awareness of pollution particularly in the marine environment. Dia regularly packages community donations for people in need, and fundraises for Cancer Research. Dia has grown her hair over the last three years to be cut off and used to create wigs for children with serious illnesses. Dia is always thinking of others and looking for ways to be a helpful member of her community.

Sportsperson of the Year
Chloe Trisic of Collaroy

Nominated by Ian Hardy 

Aged just 15, Chloe Trisic has already risen to the highest level of her chosen sport. Chloe competed at the 2019 Australian Classic Gymnastics Championships at Gold Coast placing 1st overall for Junior International; was selected on the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Junior National Australian team in 2019 and represented Australia at Gymnix in Canada in March 2019, placing 6th on the beam. Chloe also represented Australia at the first ever Junior World Gymnastics Championships in Hungary in June 2019. Chloe is an ambassador for junior sport in the region and a role model to more than 150 young female gymnasts at Manly Warringah Gymnastics Club.

Community Event of the Year
‘Arts for Wellness’ presented by Community of Calm

Nominated by Mandy Loveday

Arts for Wellness delivered an extensive calendar of events during Mental Health Month, October 2019 to promote mental health, wellness and trauma-informed practice on the Northern Beaches. Approximately 500 community members participated in low-cost events provided by over 30 local practitioners to assist with stress reduction, relaxation and social connection. Arts for Wellness has shone a light on creative and expressive arts and therapies on the Northern Beaches, and how they can contribute to our emotional, physical and social wellbeing.


Outstanding Community Service Awards:

Jack Berne of Wheeler Heights
Nominated by Sascha Durdevic

Jack Berne may only be 11 but he is one of the country’s most successful drought awareness campaigners. After learning about the drought at school in 2018, Jack went from caring about it to taking action, asking his classmates to dress up as farmers and donate $5 to the cause. Numerous schools and workplaces across the Northern Beaches participated in ‘Five for a Farmer’ fundraising day. The campaign was picked up through the media in 2018 and to date has raised over $1.6 million for Australian farming communities. Jack visited schools and speaks on radio to ensure his message is heard, encouraging people to buy local and in-season.  

Roberta Conroy of Bayview
Nominated by Ken Wallace

Rob Conroy has been pivotal in connecting the community with new stairs linking Bayview to Church Point, and bringing divergent local groups together to work on the award-winning Northern Beaches Council Church Point Precinct redevelopment. After extensive community consultation and on behalf of Bayview Church Point Residents Association, Rob applied and was awarded a NSW Government grant for the stairs project. Rob is passionate about the environment and also contributes to Council’s Environmental Planning to protect our beautiful coastal region. Rob has contributed to countless Northern Beaches events and activities over many years in various fields and plans to continue to gain grants for more special local projects.

Phillip Donald of Frenchs Forest
Nominated by Tom Miles

Phil Donald has made a significant contribution to the ongoing success of the Scouting movement across the Northern Beaches for more than 30 years. Phil is a strong leader and has been instrumental in raising the profile of Scouting to ensure as many young people as possible have the opportunity to enjoy the many benefits and life skills that Scouting brings. Phil has resurrected the Mona Vale and Beacon Hill Scout Groups in recent years. Prior to his involvement with scouting Phil was a volunteer with Avalon Surf Club for 20 years, holding positions of patrol captain, secretary and treasurer. 

Jackson Dowling of North Narrabeen
Nominated by Cameron McDonald

Jackson Dowling creates a light display at his house every Christmas throughout December to help raise funds for kids with cancer at Westmead Children’s Hospital and Australian cancer charity Redkite. Over the past two years, Jackson has spent every December evening dressed as Santa out the front of his house, taking donations and speaking to people. To date he has raised over $25,000. Jackson is an incredible example of resilience, compassion, empathy and optimism. After experiencing a great tragedy in 2017, he used this as a way to bring the community together, raise awareness and offer support. Jackson has been an integral member of the student-representative council at Narrabeen Sports High School and is a strong mentor and advocate for mental health at the school.

Ms Rosalynd Gooding of Newport
Nominated by Jill Hartley

Rosalynd Gooding has played a leading role in the campaign to protect the endangered Littoral Rainforest on Hillside Road at Newport. Over the past 20 years Rosalynd gained the support of local residents, participated in many community and council meetings, spoke at independent assessments and environmental court hearings, and initiated an extensive letter-writing campaign to council and local politicians. Rosalynd also raised the issue in key local cultural and environmental groups and encouraged the general community to sign an online petition. In August 2019 the campaign finally succeeded, with Northern Beaches Council and the NSW State Government announcing the purchase of the rainforest blocks. Rosalynd has also been an outstanding volunteer at the Manly Environment Centre in Manly since 2013.

Samantha King of Brookvale
Nominated by Ian Nicholas

Sam King has been working as a strong collaborator in the community for over 16 years, predominately through her role with the Business Education Network. Sam inspires support and partnerships for young people and raises awareness of the diverse needs of young people in transitioning through to adulthood. In her role as the president of the Warringah Chamber, Sam has been striving to unite local business networks for a more connected and represented business voice across the Beaches. As chairperson of the Youth Services Interagency, she has led a positive movement to increase awareness of local services for youth and supported a growing strong partnership with local council and services.

Dana Lanceman of North Curl Curl
Nominated by Kim Joss

Dana Lanceman has been a voluntary run director at Curl Curl Parkrun since 2015; at the age of 15 – the youngest run director in the country. Parkrun is organised by the community for the community and it is free to participate. Dana has run over 230 park runs and volunteered over 250 times. Every week, Dana turns up at 6am to mark out the parkrun course, and once a month manages the volunteer team. Dana is a valued mentor and inspires and encourages others. In addition, Dana also established the Curly Community Garden in 2016, where she continues to volunteer as president and as one of the garden coordinators. Dana also volunteers as a karate instructor for kids and teenagers at Zen Chi Ryu martial arts school in Brookvale.   

Rex Langthorne AM of Beacon Hill
Nominated by Lorraine Clark AM

Rex Langthorne AM is a founding member of Special Olympics Australia, having volunteered with the organisation since 1987. Rex is also a founding member and current chair of Special Olympics Northern Beaches and has been instrumental in securing funding to establish and run events such as the Biannual Festival of Sport and the annual Judy Buckley Memorial Golf Day which raised funds for the club. Rex has made it his mission to provide ongoing opportunities for athletes of Special Olympics to nurture and grow in an environment of acceptance and inclusion. Rex has introduced hundreds of people with an intellectual disability to a program that teaches sport skills and provides training and competition, where they gain experience and build confidence to establish and maintain their own networks with other community organisations.

Christopher Lew of Belrose
Nominated by Kathryn Pritchard

Christopher Lew is the founder and active member of Northern Beaches Rotaract Club, a group of like-minded individuals aged between 18-30 looking to create positive change in the local community and making social connections. Christopher was also a former Youth Advisory Committee member for Council from 2007-2017. Christopher raises charity funds through Rotaract and also volunteers with the Belrose Rural Fire Brigade, Dee Why SLSC and at community events.

Louanne Mitchell of Manly
Nominated by Ryan Emmer

Louanne has held the position of captain at the Manly Salvation Army for over 11 years and has contributed a significant amount to the local community. She has assisted countless community members and families over her many years leading the Manly Salvos, which provides daily meals, mentoring and support for vulnerable community members. In addition to day-to-day operations, Louanne leads weekly faith services and bible studies, coordinates the Red Shield Appeal fundraiser, provides monthly Thursday roast dinners, and a community Christmas breakfast to feed local community members experiencing homelessness.

Matt Molinia of Dee Why
Nominated by Justine Head

Since 2005 Matt has been a diligent and dedicated volunteer for Sydney Northern Beaches Surf Lifesaving. His commitment to nippers, coaching, training, assessing, officiating and administration represents thousands of hours of community service, in addition to his patrol hours. Matt not only gives freely of himself to the improvement of surf lifesaving for the members and the wider community, he also inspires others to want to do the same through his passion, commitment and leadership. Matt has introduced many successful initiatives and improvements and has a flexible approach that has improved the commitment and communication from youth members. He also provides mentorship and additional training outside of hours to those who need additional attention. Matt exemplifies what the spirit of Surf Lifesaving is all about, and always goes the extra mile.

Shannon Nevin of Frenchs Forest
Nominated by George Malouf

Former Sea Eagles fullback Shannon Nevin is the founder of Walk ‘n’ Talk for Life which brings community-minded people together with those who are more vulnerable, who may have been touched by mental health issues or suicide, through walking support groups. The groups aim to combine benefits of physical activity with a supportive and motivational environment where everyone feels comfortable and nobody feels isolated or alone. Since the inaugural Walk ‘n’ Talk for Life in Manly 2016, Shannon has founded 13 Walk ‘n’ Talk communities in both urban and regional areas of Australia.

Ken and Pam Oxborrow of Bilgola
Nominated by Peter Nash

Ken and Pam Oxborrow are the nucleus of the Narrabeen Senior Citizens Club that has over 7,500 attendances each year and ensures at least 240 seniors are socially-engaged and connected. Both have been members since 2000, with Ken in the role of treasurer for 19 years and Pam holding the position of president for the past 14 years. Ken records the financial activities of all six activity groups in the Narrabeen organization and presents this information at monthly meetings. Pam, as well as presiding over the committee, plays piano accompaniment for singers and dancers, and organises excursions and functions for the seniors. Both Ken and Pam have devoted thousands of hours to the community, with little recognition. Ken and Pam’s involvement in the Narrabeen Seniors Centre has been vital to its continuing operation.

Graeme Paul of Forestville
Nominated by Waty Koch and Brian Fairweather

Graeme has been involved in a wide range of community activities, from his early days as volunteer with Manly Lifesaving, to his decades of service with the Davison Rural Fire Brigade and his long-standing activities as a leader of the Frenchs Forest Rotary Club. Graeme has supported law enforcement and community policing by establishing both the Police Officer of the Year Awards and educational seminars in the local community about cyber safety for parents and children. Graeme also leads a National Parks bushland team who maintain Davidson Park and established a bush tucker garden using local indigenous plants for the benefit of the community. He has raised funds for many charities, organises community projects and brings joy to countless children by appearing as Santa Claus for community events. 

Warren Risbey of Belrose
Nominated by Ralph Schubert

Warren Risbey was a founding member of Belrose and Terrey Hills Computer Pals Club that has been in existence for more than 17 years and continues to be an active member of the club’s executive committee. Many senior citizens have benefited greatly through Computer Pals, helping them to become computer literate through one-on-one tutoring. Warren published a useful monthly newsletter for many years to provide helpful tips and information. He has always been available to assist members in need and his home is open to members to call in when in need.

The awards were presented at a ceremony on Thursday 23 January at Dee Why Civic Centre ahead of Australia Day.

This article archived 24 Mar 2020

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