A combination of technology and tradition has come together for this year’s Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony.
The awards and citizenship ceremony were held online in the interests of public health – the first time Council had converted to an online event.
Mayor of Tweed Chris Cherry had the honour of announcing Australian Seabird Rescue volunteer and Marine Science graduate Amanda Philp from Banora Point as the 2021 Tweed Shire Citizen of the Year.
Born and bred on the Tweed, Amanda has taken her passion for the area’s marine life and its foreshore environment to heart, graduating from Southern Cross University with a Bachelor of Marine Science and Management. She is on call for the Australian Seabird Rescue as a volunteer and has rescued and looked after countless different animals and sea life in our local area. No matter the time day or night, Amanda has no limits when an injured animal is in need of care.
The award recognised Amanda’s dedication as a volunteer for the wildlife service and it was her work with animals which inspired her studies.
Council’s General Manager Troy Green was the MC for the awards which saw recipients honoured in 5 other categories:
Community Event of the Year
Sporting Achievement (Individual)
Young Achiever of the Year
Volunteer of the Year (Individual)
Volunteer of the Year (Group)
Each of the award recipients were featured in a short video which will be added to Council’s website and YouTube page for viewing.
Joining the online presentation was Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot, State Member for Tweed Geoff Provest, Tweed Mayor Chris Cherry, Deputy Mayor Reece Byrnes and Councillors Warren Polglase, James Owen, Rhiannon Brinsmead and Meredith Dennis. The 2022 Tweed Shire Ambassador of the Year Gemma Eaton and Council’s Community representative and 2020 Citizen of the Year Jenny Hayes also joined in the ceremony.
The awards ceremony was followed by a Citizenship Ceremony. Hosted by Mayor Chris Cherry, the ceremony saw 35 residents from 18 countries across all continents of the globe become the Tweed’s newest Australians.
The 2021 Community Event of the Year goes to the Murwillumbah Arts Trail. Initiated by Creative Caldera, the Murwillumbah Arts Trail has been held 5 times since 2016 and last year’s event featured 97 artists at 26 locations throughout the Tweed Valley, with Murwillumbah as the hub. It attracted a large number of visitors to the Tweed, contributing to the local tourism market as well as engaging the community and promoting our local talent. An Honourable Mention in this category went to Music Trivia at South Tweed Sport Club for its social engagement with the community.
The 2021 Sporting Achievement (Individual) was shared by 2 people – sisters Madison and Savannah Fitzpatrick. The Cabarita women are both members of Australia’s Hockeyroos team and represented the country at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The friendly rivalry between the siblings was a highlight of their video clip. There were also 2 Honourable Mentions in this category – Jay Hoy who is bringing soccer to children and adults with special needs, and promising young Murwillumbah swimmer Timothy Wellm.
The 2021 Young Achiever in Community Service award went to Pottsville’s Sven Loemker. Aged just 17 years, Sven is a member of the Cudgen Headland Surf Life Saving Club and was recognised for his dedication to patrolling and his involvement in the club. In the 2020-21 patrol season, he racked up a massive 171.2 volunteer patrol hours – one of the highest of the Far North Coast. He also spends a significant amount of his own time training and mentoring the club’s juniors.
The 2021 Volunteer of the Year (Individual) award went to Murwillumbah SES Commander Grant ‘Jack’ Frost. Jack was recognised for his work in building relationships between the community and the SES, particularly around Tumbulgum. He has been instrumental in assisting to set up local community action/response groups in the Tweed and constantly keeps group leaders up to date with information regarding threats such as fire and flooding. An Honourable Mention in this category went to Jake Swift for his service as a volunteer at the Murwillumbah Rural Fire Service and Tweed District Rescue Squad.
The 2021 Volunteer of the Year (Group) award was presented to the Tweed Broadwater Village Craft Group for its tireless efforts in providing breast cushions for women who have had breast surgery at Tweed and John Flynn Hospitals. The group, with support from Southern Gold Coast/Tweed Zonta has produced almost 3000 cushions as well as making knee blankets for patients at Wedgetail Palliative Care, baby beanies for Byron Bay Hospital and fundraising events for the Cancer Council, Wedgetail Retreat – Tweed Palliative Care and Tweed Hospital.