Outstanding citizens recognised with Australia Day Awards

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Wahgunyah resident Wes Canny has been named Indigo Shire’s 2022 Citizen of the Year.

Mayor, Bernard Gaffney, said the award recognises Wes’s significant contribution to the Wahgunyah community over a number of years.

“Wes’s encouragement to be your best and his contribution to make his township, sporting clubs and community the best they can be, make him a very worthwhile award recipient,” Councillor Gaffney said.

Councillor Gaffney said the list of achievements and the contribution he has made to his community is to be admired.

“He’s been a member and mentor to many at the Wahgunyah Football-Netball Club, a committee member, coach and mentor of the Corowa Rowing Club and in 2018 was named Victorian Sports Award Community Coach of the Year, “Councillor Gaffney said.

Wes has sat on the Wahgunyah Racecourse and Recreation Reserve Committee since 2013, and was instrumental in helping secure funding for a new Community Centre and the building of new Netball and Tennis Courts 2021-2022.

He is also the current President of the Wahgunyah Progress Association and the Wahgunyah Railway Land Development Committee.

In receiving the award, Wes says he is thrilled and humbled by the recognition saying, “I was really surprised especially because I get so much more out of volunteering than I put in.

“Volunteering is incredibly rewarding from a mental health and wellbeing and social perspective but it also shows what we can achieve for our community when we work together, so to be recognised for that is great.”

“I’m lucky I’m at a point in my life that I have the time and the opportunity to try to make a difference for my community and our region, it just makes sense for me to do it,” Wes said.

The Indigo Shire Young Citizen of the Year has been awarded to two outstanding individuals. Seventeen year old Dharma Kotzur of Barnawartha and Alex Entwistle, aged 18 of Beechworth, will share the award.

Both Dharma and Alex were school captains in 2021 and are described as outstanding role models for their peers.

Councillor Gaffney says with impressive young people like Dharma and Alex living in the Shire, the future looks that much brighter.

“They are exceptional leaders both at school and within the community.” Councillor Gaffney said.

Upon hearing the news of her award, Dharma said, “I was really surprised to be nominated and even more so to then win as I really didn’t think I had done enough, but it is really nice to have the recognition.”

Dharma was involved in all facets of school life, particularly School Council, and it was her willingness to “have a go” that led to her nomination.

“It was really important to me, as school captain and as a leader, to be as involved in as much as I could.” Dharma said.

Alex was similarly thrilled and excited with his award, saying “I feel really privileged, grateful and proud to be recognised by my community.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to be awarded like this and I’m going to keep helping people whenever and where ever I can,” Alex said.

In another nod to the Shire’s outstanding youth, the Indigo Shire Youth for Climate Actionwas awarded the Community Organisation of the Year.

In the face of the challenges caused by the pandemic, the organisation created a platform and reason for young people to connect with each other, not only with their peers and the community but also for a greater purpose – local and tangible action to mitigate Climate Change.

“Indigo Shire Youth for Climate Action has been working to bring together young people from around the Shire and North East Victoria to connect and act on the challenges of Climate Emergency. They have a plan of action to Connect – Educate and Act to provide a space for local young people to develop and enact their own plans of action in climate and environmental issues.” Councillor Gaffney said.

While celebrations in Rutherglen, Chiltern and Beechworth have been cancelled due to the current COVID19 situation, events to recognise the outstanding citizens, community groups and those receiving certificates of achievement are still proceeding in Kiewa-Tangambalanga, Yackandandah, Wahgunyah, and Barnawartha today. Details can be here.


Wes Canny – Citizen of the Year

Dharma Kotzur – Young Citizen of the Year

Alex Entwistle – Young Citizen of the Year

Indigo Shire Youth For Climate Action – Indigo Shire Community Organisation of the Year

Steven Knight – Kiewa Tangambalanga District Certificate of Achievement

Phyllis Anderson – Barnawartha and District Certificate of Achievement

Laurie Thatcher – Rutherglen and District Certificate of Achievement

Josie Cornish – Beechworth and District Certificate of Achievement

Charlotte Richardson – Emma George Sporting Scholarship

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