Shoalhaven City Council held their annual Shoalhaven Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony on Wednesday, 24 January in the Ulladulla Civic Centre.
The Australia Day Awards acknowledged 36 unsung heroes from around the Shoalhaven nominated for their achievements in six categories including Citizens of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, and Sportsperson of the Year and Junior Sportsperson of the Year.
In 2018, two new categories of awards were introduced for Outstanding Contribution to the Environment and to an acknowledgement Inclusive Shoalhaven.
Shoalhaven City Council, Mayor Amanda Findley said she was incredibly proud of all those nominated for the Awards and said the Awards are a strong reminder of how many amazing citizens we have in the Shoalhaven.
“These Awards puts a wonderful perspective on how lucky we are to live in the Shoalhaven community with so many wonderful community minded being acknowledged for their achievements.
“The Awards are our opportunity to publicly thank those individuals who give so much to our community by donating their time, energy and skills when a helping hand is needed.”
Council wishes to congratulate the winners of the Australia Day Awards:
Shoalhaven Citizen of the Year: Aunty Nell Mooney
Aunty Nell was awarded this great honour for her dedication to the youth of the Shoalhaven and commitment to aboriginal culture.
Aunty Nell has established numerous organisations across the Shoalhaven including the Ulladulla Local Aboriginal Land Council, the Nowra Aboriginal Medical Service and the Aboriginal Homework Centre in the Milton-Ulladulla District.
Her tireless commitment to her culture and community has been instrumental in facilitating the International Four Winds Conference taking place in the Shoalhaven.
She founded the Wandarma Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) in Ulladulla and has been President of the group since its formation. Aunty Nell is a source of cultural knowledge and is held in high esteem by the Shoalhaven Community.
Her quiet drive to inspire others to step-up has seen young Aboriginal people follow their passions, achieving at their best across many aspects of their schooling.
Highly Commended Citizen of the Year – Brian Muller
Dedication to fundraising for the Children’s Variety Club Bash and leadership in the Shoalhaven business community.
Brian has dedicated 24 years to the Variety South Coast in the Variety the Children's Charity Club Bash improving the lives of sick and special needs children.
In the past two years, Brian has raised more than $300,000 towards supporting sick and disadvantaged children on the NSW South Coast. Brian is held in high esteem by the Variety Club, being awarded the International Presidential Citation for his dedicated support of the organisation.
Brian has been a proud supporter of the Shoalhaven Business community as the president of the Culburra and Districts Chamber of Commerce and mentoring local businesses to reach their full potential.
Environment Award - Noel Webster
Dedication to preserving the Environment and traditional practices.
Noel has dedicated his life to protecting the environment and investing in the Shoalhaven Community. His tireless passion for the environment has empowered others on how to work with country in an environmental and sustainable way.
He has shown outstanding leadership in his role with the Mudjingaalbaraga Firesticks Program. Noel’s commitment to educating others on traditional practices is an inspiration to all.
Junior Sports Award- Dante Hyam
Outstanding representation in Motorcross for the Shoalhaven and Australia.
Dante is an outstanding leader in his sporting community, representing Australia in the Junior World Motorcross Champions in Russia.
In 2017, Dante was a state champion and ranked third place in the Australian Junior Motorcross Championships. Dante receives recognition for his prowess as a Motorcross sportsperson and his contribution to the sport and the Shoalhaven community.
Sports Award- William Miller
Outstanding representation in Rugby Union for the Shoalhaven.
William has contributed to Rugby Union both as a participant and contributor. He has been involved in the Shoalhaven sporting community for many years and now plays professional rugby union with the Melbourne Rebels in Super Rugby.
William will represent the NSW Waratahs in the 2018 season and his dedication to his chosen sport continues to advance. William remains dedicated to his local club and mentoring younger players and has also made financial contributions to his local club.
William is an outstanding ambassador for the Shoalhaven and his contribution to sport and the community is to be acknowledged.
Highly Commended Inclusive Award – Chris Mitchell.
Outstanding dedication to building an inclusive community and improving the lives of people with a disability.
Chris has faithfully committed more than 25 years to improving the design of sailing boats for people with a disabilities. An outstanding ambassador for the Shoalhaven, he has promoted the region has a tourism destination for people living with disabilities and their careers.
Chris has been recognised throughout his industry as a creative leader and has been awarded the NSW Maritime Award, the Australia Sports Award for Business Innovation by the Australian Sports Federation and the Prime Ministers Award for Excellence in Business and Community Partnership.
Chris has dedicated his career to building a more inclusive community for the whole Shoalhaven and Australia.
Inclusive Award- Gayle Dunn
Gayle Dunn has created a legacy of hope and strength for the community as the founder of the Dunn Lewis Centre in Ulladulla.
The Dunn Lewis Centre is an all abilities accessible space that supports programs of wellbeing, sport and social activities. Gayle has gone above and beyond by creating a youth development foundation, school holiday craft activities and making facilities for the community including Pain Management Support Group, Line Dancing Social Group, Community Arts and Craft and much more.
Gayle’s dedication to her community and passion for supporting others is an inspiration to all.
Young Citizen of the Year – Riley Nolan
Dedication to the Shoalhaven and demonstrating outstanding leadership skills.
Riley is a committed role model for his peers through his role in the Didgeridoo group at Ulladulla High School. He is an invaluable member of his school and local community with unwavering dedication to those around him.
His humble, caring nature is reflected in his work with Budawang School where he is undertaking a Certificate 3 in Teaching and Education. Riley’s enthusiasm for teaching has been demonstrated in his role as Junior Coach with Yuukan Judo Club, mentoring children between the ages of 5-15 years to learn new martial arts skills and feel confident.
This award recognises Riley’s strong leadership in his community and his role as an outstanding young ambassador for the Shoalhaven.