Australia Day Awards celebrate outstanding achievements

Mildura Rural City Council’s 2021 Australia Day Award recipients have been announced, highlighting the selfless and amazing contributions local residents and groups make within our region.

This year’s Australia Day Award recipients are:

Citizen of the Year

Bryce Pritchard

Young Citizen of the Year

Luka Morzer-Bruyns

Community Event or Project of the Year

Mallee Living Histories Group – Mallee Living Histories project

Mildura Mayor Jason Modica presented this year’s Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year while attending Murrayville’s Australia Day celebrations today, which is where both recipients call home.

Councillor Jodi Reynolds announced all three Mildura Rural City Council Australia Day Award recipients at the Mildura event, including presenting this year’s Community Event or Project of the Year to the Mallee Living Histories Group.

“Australia Day Awards are a fantastic way to acknowledge and draw attention to the achievements and contributions of people within our community,” Cr Modica said.

“These impressive residents and groups contribute so much to our community in so many ways, and often go about these activities quietly, driven by their own passions and dedication, not to receive awards.

“Australia Day provides us with an opportunity for these achievements to be recognised and celebrated across our municipality, and we should all be very proud to call these recipients members of our community.”

The Mildura and Murrayville events were among numerous Australia Day celebrations across the municipality attended by Mildura Councillors today, acknowledging the achievements of residents and groups throughout the region.

Citizen of the Year

Bryce Pritchard

Bryce has contributed to the community in a broad range of areas over a long period.

From the performing arts and organising community events, through to emergency services and the provision of health care, there would be few areas in the

Murrayville community that have not benefited from Bryce’s involvement.

He has been heavily involved in participating and performing in numerous events and activities including:

  • Cowangie Uniting Church
  • Old Time Dance Band
  • Murrayville-Pinnaroo Brass Band
  • performances to school students
  • led the Murrayville Christmas Eve Park program
  • led Australia Day celebrations
  • Border Musical Society
  • Produced plays for the Murrayville Dramatic Society
  • Visited residents and performed at Pinnaroo Hospital.

Bryce has also helped organise ANZAC Day services, including the bugle for The Last Post for several years.

He’s been involved with the Murrayville Inc. Committee and State Emergency Service for over 25 years, was a director on the Mallee Track Health and Community Services Board, and has been involved in the Bush Nursing Committee.

Other contributions to the community include coordinating local funerals, which includes running services and providing music, and serving as a member of the Border Traders Farmers Group and the Murrayville School Council.

Young Citizen of the Year

Luka Morzer-Bruyns

Luka has been a strong and leading voice for young people in the Mallee, involved in an impressive range of school and sporting groups, as well as volunteering his own time to help the region’s elderly residents, making him a worthy recipient of this year’s Young Citizen of the Year.

Luka’s involvement in community clubs includes the Murrayville Football Club, Murrayville Basketball Club, Murrayville Tennis Club and the Murrayville Drama Group.

He’s also been a significant contributor to his local school, internally as well as representing his school at a broader level.

Luka is a school leader as SCR President, attending and running monthly school meetings and presenting the student report, as well as organising functions and fundraisers.

His significant contributions in the school community led to him being announced Mallee Young Ambassador in 2019, after which he represented his school and actively discussed obstacles faced by rural students and how they could be addressed.

Luka received another major accolade in 2019 when he received the Long Tan Award for outstanding community spirit, leadership among his peers and being an excellent role model for students.

Community Event or Project of the Year

Mallee Living Histories Group – Mallee Living Histories project

The Mallee Living Histories project captured stories of 30 Princes Court Home residents, whose experiences and reflections were documented by 21 volunteer writers in the Mallee Living Histories publication. Two publications have been produced, the most recent of which was on 12 November 2020.

The project has captured the histories of generations that shaped the communities of north west Victoria, as well as serving an important role enhancing the self-esteem and well-being of residents in Princes Court Homes.

It provided a chance for residents to relive and share their life stories, and reflect on their achievements.

Importantly, it was a vital way to increase interaction for residents, many of whom live isolated lives, particularly over the past 12 months with COVID-19 restrictions.

Since it was completed, the Mallee Living Histories project has attracted widespread interest, resulting in national awards, publicity for Princes Court, and has been presented to the Leading Age Service Association and the Older Person Advocacy Network.

It’s also influenced the future training of doctors and personal care staff. The most recent publication of Mallee Living Histories includes the summary of a report by Monash Health indicating care staff now feel more engaged with residents, and that Monash Trainee doctors are now required to spend time in aged care, with a view to better understand how to improve resident well-being.

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