Great Lakes - Australia Day 2015

Australia Day Awards in the Great Lakes

Great Lakes Council's Mayor, Cr Jan McWilliams, has announced the 2015 Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Sportsperson of the Year awards at the Australia Day ceremony held at Club Forster on Monday 26 January.

Recipients were:

Sportsperson of the Year

Amber Hargreaves, from Forster

Amber joined Riding for the Disabled about four years ago, and has gone above and beyond all expectations.  She has also studied to become a coach and although legally blind, Amber teaches with a sighted person.  In 2013 she won State Rider Dressage competition and came second in 2014.

Amber was voted Manning Great Lakes Riding for the Disabled Rider of the Year.  Recently she competed in a jumping contest, and had the assistance of a sighted person calling out: "A little bit left, move left, straighten up, that's it JUMP!" whilst on a galloping horse - Amber came fifth in the competition.

Young Citizen of the Year

Ellie Gooch, from Bulahdelah

Ellie is an exceptional young lady and ambassador for Bulahdelah Central School.  She is kind, considerate, always laughing and thoughtful.  Ellie was a recent recipient of the Pierre De Doubertin Award, an award symbolising the ideals of the Olympics. 

A very prestigious award to win!  Ellie is also a volunteer with the Bulahdelah Health Advisory Committee, as well as a member of the Student Representative Council and a leader in the School’s Leo Club (junior Lions).

Citizen of the Year

Rosslyn Dreise, from Forster

Rosslyn is the current Chairman of the Great Lakes Hospice Auxiliary, and a fundraiser for the Hospice and Cancer Council.  As well as this work Rosslyn has supported junior golf since 2002, helps with Forster Primary School Band, the Stephanie Alexander Good Food Programme, while also assisting children with special learning difficulties at Tuncurry Primary School. 

Rosslyn has recently written a book about growing up in Gloucester, and is in the process of writing another book to provide children with a greater understanding of bowel cancer.  In short, Rosslyn has an enthusiasm for life and a love of learning.

Special Australia Day Award

Joy and Beau jointly volunteer for Ageing and Disability Services since 2000.  Initially Joy and Beau began with Meals on Wheels.  Since that time they have provided home respite for young people with disabilities in their own home, sometimes up to three or four people at a time.  They also take young disabled people on outings such as trips to Sydney and Canberra for up to one week.  They support elderly people in centre respite activities, assisting with meal services and barbeques.

These two are the backbone of local services, give freely of themselves constantly, have hearts of gold and are always reliable and willing to help.  What a dynamic duo!

The Australia Day schools E-Calendar competition winners were also announced and recognised with certificates and each child was given a copy of the calendar.

The Mayor's Awards recognise those in our community who contribute, no matter how large or small, to the wellbeing of the community.  This year that recognition is to those groups or associations who are looking after and caring for people who have been involved in the war effort.  During 2015, the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli, it is timely to pay tribute to the people who are still involved in current or previous theatres of war.

These recipients include Korean War Veterans; Stroud National Servicemen’s Association; Darawank War Memorial Park Volunteers; Great Lakes National Servicemen’s Association; War Widows Guild;  Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest Red Cross; Booral Soldiers Memorial Hall Committee;  Forster Tuncurry RSL Sub-Branch; Coolongolook and District Memorial Hall; Forster Tuncurry Legacy; Forster Tuncurry Legacy Laurel Club; Tea Gardens RSL Sub-Branch; Trustees Tuncurry Memorial Hall; Forster Red Cross; Vietnam Veterans Association; Bulahdelah RSL Sub-Branch; Bulahdelah War Memorial Trust. 

A period of silence was observed, followed by Bugler, Nic Parsons, playing The Last Post and Reveille, and Frank Brady, President, Forster/Tuncurry Returned Services League Sub-Branch recited The Ode.  A very moving experience for those in attendance.

Australia Day 2015 was a very special day for eight new Australians.  They chose to make Australia their country and of course, they chose very well in making the Great Lakes, their home. 

Our new citizens are Mr Rudy Devambez from New Caledonia; Mrs Montinee Graham from Thailand; Mr Gerald Lawrence from New Zealand, Mr Inderrajbir Singh from India, Mr Tim Hertzler from the United States of America; Mr Gerard Lawrence from New Zealand; Mr John Loring from England; Mr John Payne from the United Kingdom and Ms Amelia Sarpor from the Cote D'Ivorie. 

A wonderful group of new citizens from a mixed range of countries that have decided to call Australia home!  We welcome them with open arms.

Australia Day e-Calendar Competition

Thanks to all the schools who have entered this year:

Booral Public School, Bulahdelah Central School, Coolongolook Public School, Forster Public School, Holy Name School, Nabiac Public School, Pacific Palms Public School, St Joseph's School Bulahdelah, Stroud Public School, Stroud Road Public School, Tea Gardens Public School, Tuncurry Public School.

The theme this year is: The Anzac Spirit.

We are delighted to announce the following regional winners of the competition:

Alex Hinitt, Tea Gardens Public School
Ava Rose Davies, Forster Public School
Bailey Middleton, Bulahdelah Central School
Bridie Kauter, Nabiac Public School
Elizabeth Wylie, St Josephs School Bulahdelah
Gemma McEnallay, Tuncurry Public School
Georgia Waters, Booral Public School
Lucy Hartman, Holy Name School
Ruby Machon, Holy Name School
Shaun Carroll, Holy Name School
Sienna Jones, Pacific Palms Public School
Skye Russell-Mather, Pacific Palms Public School
Sophia Hamblin, Stroud Road Public School


The competition is run as part of Council's Australia Day celebrations and you are invited to attend the Australia Day ceremony held at Club Forster on 26 January 2015.

  • 13 winning entries are selected by each school and sent to Council.  Council will then produce an e-calendar for each school, including its winning entries.
  • Council will also select 13 winners and produce an overall community calendar on Council's website for free public download.
  • Every participating school receives a book prize for their school library plus the e-calendar for their school.
  • Winners get their artwork included in the Calendar, and the winners of Council's Calendar will be presented with an award by the Mayor, Cr Jan McWilliams at next year's Australia Day ceremony.
  • Entries are also on display in Council libraries across the Great Lakes during the January school holidays.


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Last Updated: 02/02/2015