Two inspiring Australians have been recognised on Australia Day for their contributions to the Brimbank community in their respective fields of medicine and local community sport.
The 2020 Brimbank Australia Day Awards were presented across two categories and have been awarded to:
- Citizen of the Year: Dr Selvanayagam Selvendra
- Young Citizen of the Year: Eangano Singehebhuye
These awards were presented by Brimbank Mayor, Cr Georgina Papafotiou on Sunday 26 January at the Brimbank Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony and Community Breakfast at the Kevin Wheelahan Gardens in Sunshine.
Cr Papafotiou congratulated Dr Selvendra and Mr Singehebhuye for their selfless contributions to the Brimbank community.
‘On behalf of Council, I wish to extend my congratulations to the 2020 Brimbank Australia Day Award recipients and everyone who was nominated,’ Cr Papafotiou said.
‘These awards recognise the exceptional contributions, hard work, and determination of individuals making a positive difference within Brimbank.
‘Your contributions help to make Brimbank a wonderful place to live and spend time in, and it is a privilege to publicly acknowledge people who are selflessly devoted to supporting others.’
The football field and the field of medicine may seem worlds apart, yet Dr Selvendra and Mr Singehebhuye have both inspired the Brimbank community through their selfless actions.
Retired doctor Dr Selvendra served as a general practitioner in Sunshine for 45 years of his 59 year medical career, regularly going above and beyond to help his patients.
Through his work with two not-for-profit foundations, Mr Singehebhuye organises events that inspire and empower young people from disadvantaged communities across Brimbank.
The Brimbank Australia Day Awards are open each year to all Australian citizens who live, study, work or volunteer in Brimbank.
As part of the ceremony, 180 Brimbank residents also took the oath to become some of Australia’s newest citizens.
Citizen of the Year
This award is presented to a member of the community (over the age of 26) who has made a noteworthy contribution during the current year/or has given outstanding service to the local community over a number of years.
Dr Selvanayagam Selvendra is a retired doctor and surgeon. He was born in Sri Lanka, and arrived in Australia in 1974 after training as a general practitioner and surgeon in Ireland, England and Scotland, and working as a doctor in Sri Lanka for several years.
Dr Selvendra served the Sunshine community as a general practitioner for 45 years, working at practices in both West Sunshine and North Sunshine.
He also worked as a surgeon in Melbourne for 20 years, including at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
He fully retired on 30 June 2019, after a total of 59 years of service to his patients —including 45 years in the Brimbank community.
Dr Selvendra still performed house calls for patients who were too sick or unable to get to the clinic up until his retirement. He also regularly gave patients his home number so they could contact him if any issues arose outside of hours.
Dr Selvendra is also a talented musician and artist in his spare time, and has performed free concerts and donated paintings for auction to help raise funds for various community causes.
Young Citizen of the Year
This award is presented to a young person (under the age of 26) who has made a noteworthy contribution during the current year and/or has given outstanding service to the local community over a number of years.
Mr Eangano Singehebhuye is a community engagement officer and coach at Football Empowerment, and Founder and CEO at not-for-profit Acts of Random Kindness Victoria Inc.
Mr Singehebhuye runs events that aim to inspire and empower youth across Brimbank. He has lived in Brimbank since moving to Australia as a child in 2005, and his passion for football is clear.
Mr Singehebhuye has run events including free after-school soccer programs for children, soccer programs to help empower young women aged 13-29, as well as leadership and empowerment workshops.
He achieved incredible results in a short period of time. By 2016, he had established a fully-fledged program that catered to 103 primary school-aged children, 47 young women, and 153 young men.
Mr Singehebhuye has an exceptional ability to bring people together and to unify people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
He has also partnered with local football clubs in Brimbank, Albion Rovers FC and Westvale SC, to give young women the opportunity to play club football.