Australia Day Awards Recognise Outstanding Shire Citizens

Dungog Shire has recognised the contribution of several outstanding citizens, with the presentation of the 2022 Australia Day Awards on Wednesday 26 January.

Taking out the prestigious 2022 Citizen of the Year Award was committed community leader, Marion Stuart, who’s work with the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce, Dungog Regional Tourism, Meals on Wheels and countless community organisations, has been a source of inspiration and support for many residents, especially throughout the events of recent years.

Award winners across all categories who were recognised for their significant community contributions included:

  • SENIOR SPORTS AWARD: Andrew Flannery
  • YOUNG CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: Aaron Fisher, Alec Grainger, Jack Boyton, Jacob Rooke, Aaron Whelan, Ryan Vella and Cooper Edwards
  • 2022 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: Marion Stuart

Mayor of Dungog, Councillor John Connors, said the Awards provide an excellent opportunity to celebrate the contribution of shire citizens from all facets of the community.

“We recognise the contribution of all 2022 nominees to help improve and advance the quality of life for our entire community and congratulate our award winners on this achievement,” says Mayor Connors.

“These Awards highlight the strong community spirit that exists here in Dungog Shire and allow us to recognise the tireless work of some of our unsung heroes.

“These citizens have achieved remarkable results across sporting, volunteer, environmental, business and community initiatives and this platform gives us a chance to say thank you!”

Although the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic forced last-minute changes to the Awards event, it did not reduce the importance of the occasion.

“While it was disappointing to us the broader community couldn’t take part in this event, we continue to make community health and safety our top priority, and I have no doubt that many shire residents will share in congratulating all of our award winners and nominees on this much-deserved recognition,” adds Mayor Connors.

The Australia Day Ceremony and Awards Presentation featured an address by Australia Day Ambassador and award-winning journalist, Bruce Elder, an Acknowledgement of Country and address by Mayor Cr. John Connors, a flag raising ceremony and performances by the Dungog Shire Choir.

2022 Dungog Shire Australia Day Award Winners:

1. WINNER: Junior Sports Award – Darcy Booth

Whether he’s refereeing, coaching or playing with his team, Darcy’s passion and dedication makes him a great role model for those around him.

An all-around sportsman, in 2021, Darcy represented Clarence Town Public School at a Zone and Regional level for swimming, touch football, cross country, soccer and athletics.

He also represents his school in cricket, softball, rugby league and soccer.

On top of this, Darcy is the Sports Captain at his school, and plays representative soccer for Maitland FC, as well as futsal, touch football and cricket.

2. WINNER: Senior Sports Award – Andrew Flannery

Last year, Andrew took on the role of coaching a brand-new soccer team, while also

encouraging more girls to take up the sport.

Although some of his new players hadn’t ever played the game before, Andrew was undeterred.

Thanks to his nurturing care, the team made it through the season undefeated, and they were even named as Under 12 Minor Premiers!

To add to the awards tally, Andrew was also named as Hunter Valley Football’s ‘Community Coach of the Year’ for his work with Clarence Town FC last year.

His nurturing and positive encouragement ensures that no child ever goes home without a smile.

3. WINNER: Volunteer Service to the Community – David (Fred) Longbottom

Fred is congratulated for the immense contribution he’s made towards fire safety and threat mitigation within our local community.

Fred has been described by his nominators as “the quintessential Aussie volunteer”, and gives his time, skill and effort freely.

A larger-than-life character, Fred has been an active member of the Bendolba-Salisbury Rural Fire Service for more than 30 years.

Born and raised in Chichester, Fred’s knowledge of the topography, fire history and environment of our local area is invaluable to local RFS crews.

An undeniable ‘tinkerer’, Fred is also always on-hand to find a safe solution to the technical problems that pop up for his colleagues each day.

4. WINNER: Environmental Citizen of the Year – Dan Lyons

A much-loved teacher, one of Dan’s biggest passions is connecting young people to nature,

so that they can be the environmental changemakers of the future.

Having worked in Outdoor Education and Bush Adventure Therapy for over 20 years, Dan is passionate about the positive impact the environment can have on a community.

At Wangat Lodge, he uses his skills to guide and mentor people, and passes on his knowledge on the topics of environmental health, conversation, and regeneration.

Throughout the past year, Dan has spent countless hours helping residents and visitors to connect with the natural world around them.

5. WINNER: Young Citizen of the Year – Aaron Fisher, Alec Grainger, Jack Boyton, Jacob Rooke, Aaron Whelan, Ryan Vella and Cooper Edwards

Knowing the impact that poor mental health can have on the potential of a young person, seven students from Dungog High School wanted to make a real difference.

Together, Aaron F, Alec, Jack, Jacob, Aaron W, Ryan and Cooper took on the ‘Push Up Challenge’ to raise awareness of mental health issues within their school and community.

The Year 11 students completed an impressive 78,565 push-ups for a good cause, and even raised $20,000 in the process!

This team of caring, dedicated students gave so much of their own time and energy to help provide tangible mental health support for our local youth.

6. WINNER: Citizen of the Year – Marion Stuart

Never one to sit still for long, Marion is relied upon for her leadership across many important

community organisations.

Known for her generosity and willingness to lend a hand, Marion has taken on many roles within the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce, including Secretary, Vice President and President.

With COVID lockdowns looming, Marion also steered the ship to ensure that the Chamber’s Business Awards could continue successfully online.

A Board Member for Dungog Regional Tourism, Marion has spent more than 20 years as a regular volunteer at the Dungog Visitor Information Centre.

In addition, she is a volunteer with Meals on Wheels, and has donated blood more than 65 times!

Marion is always prepared to go the extra mile, and she offers locals and visitors alike a true taste of country hospitality.

For more details on all 2022 Australia Day nominees and award winners read the news item here or visit council’s Facebook page.

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