Nillumbik Community Awards


The Nillumbik Community Awards recognise the outstanding service and achievements of individuals and community groups in Nillumbik. 

Do you know someone who has done something outstanding for our community? Nominate them for a Nillumbik Community Award.

How to nominate

You can submit a nomination online. You’ll need to create an account and you can save your nomination at any time and come back to it later. If you'd like to submit a nomination using another method, email

Submit a nomination

Nominations close Friday 10 May 2024.

The 2024 Nillumbik Community Awards will be presented on Thursday 22 August.

Eligibility criteria

  • Nominees must either live, work, play, study or volunteer in the Shire.
  • Nominators must have the permission of the person/group they are nominating prior to submitting an application.
  • Current Nillumbik Councillors and Members of Parliament are not eligible.
  • Retired Members of Parliament and former Councillors will be considered for work undertaken in addition to their official duties.
  • Council staff are not eligible.


Nillumbik Volunteer

This award recognises a person of any age who has made an outstanding contribution over the past year and/or given outstanding service to the Nillumbik community over a number of years.

2023 Recipients

Volunteer of the Year - Lisal O'Brien

Lisal initiated the Arthurs Creek Strathewen Bushfire Education Partnership (BEP) in 2015, teaching fire behaviour and aiding trauma processing. Lisal now equips the first cohort of students affected by the 2009 fires with disaster preparedness skills. She led a pilot camp, trained brigades in animal rescues, and expanded the reach of Bushfire Resilience Inc. Lisal’s impact extends beyond her community, fostering connections and increasing preparedness.

High Commendation

Mark Goldspink

Recognition for Contribution
  • Barry Gascoigne
  • Dan Wood
  • Dave Lambert
  • Diana Warrell
  • Natalie Alessio
  • Nicole Waldron
  • Stephanie Germancheva

Nillumbik Community Group

This award recognises a Nillumbik community group or not-for-profit organisation that has made an outstanding contribution for the benefit of the Nillumbik community, its residents, and/or environment over the past year.

2023 Recipients

Community Group of the Year - Diamond Valley Lions Club

The Diamond Valley Lions Club (DVLC) have funded park facilities, supported events like the Diamond Creek Blue Light Disco and twilight market. DVLC collected supplies and delivered medicine to those affected by the pandemic. They aid farmers through the ‘Need for Feed’ project and collected over 90,000 spectacles for people in need worldwide. The club supports the Lions Skin Cancer detection van, conducts hearing tests for children, and runs book projects. DVLC’s projects positively impacted the community, fostering connections and collaboration with other groups.

High Commendation

Bushfire Resilience Inc

Recognition for Contribution
  • Diamond Creek Memorial Kindergarten
  • Hohnes Road Playhouse
  • Nillumbik Repair Cafe
  • Rotary Club of Diamond Creek
  • The Carers Collective North East

Nillumbik Young Citizen

This award recognises an exceptional young person up to the age of 25 who has made an outstanding contribution and/or given outstanding service to the Nillumbik community over the past year.

2023 Recipients

Young Citizen of the Year - Eden Beveridge-Wood

Eden is a leader inspiring inclusivity and positive community impact. The Feminist Collective has thrived under her guidance, challenging norms and empowering young women. Eden is recognised for her dedication to organising events, empowering others, promoting inclusion, challenging stereotypes and fostering a positive school culture.

High Commendation

Orianna Edmonds

Recognition for Contribution
  • Jessica Alpen
  • Liam Jessop

There are also awards recognising significant contributions in the following areas:

Contribution to Arts, Culture and Heritage

Artists, creatives, collectives or cultural practitioners who have contributed to and championed the development of a thriving, interconnected, diverse, inclusive and resilient creative community.

2023 Recipients

Contribution of the Year - Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn

Ona Henderson and her husband, Syd Tunn, created an open studio program in 1983 in the Bend of Islands. This became a formalised council program in 1987 - the Nillumbik Artists Open Studio Program (NAOS). As volunteers, Ona and Syd dedicated 38 years to the nurturing of the Nillumbik Artist Open Studios Program and they continue to be honorary members and champions for the program. In addition to their work with NAOS, Ona and Syd are founding members and mentors of Butterfly Studio, a community art studio established to address the impact of the 2009 bushfires. Under their guidance, the studio strongly advocates that art in its many forms is not only cross cultural, cross generational and non- gender specific, but is also a powerful conduit for community strengthening and recovery. Ona and Syd are icons of the Nillumbik art world and living treasures in terms of the knowledge they hold on Nillumbik’s art history. Their lives are immersed in art and in the local community. Ona and Syd have been working artists for over 60 years, and in between painting and creating, they are currently writing the history of the Open Studios Program which will serve as a legacy for the program.

High Commendation

Terry and Sheila Beaton

Recognition for Contribution

Pat Reynolds

Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion

Recognises a significant contribution to advance the rights of all people regardless of age, gender, ability or background while creating meaningful change aligned to Council’s Access, Equity and Inclusion Policy(PDF, 844KB) and identified priority groups.

2023 Recipients

Contribution of the Year - Sandra Verdam

Sandra Verdam, a member of the Council’s Positive Ageing Advisory Committee, addressed the lack of local support for dementia and carers through establishing a Memory Care Cafe in Hurstbridge. Additional cafes in Diamond Creek and Eltham offer a safe space for socialising, activities and support. Sandra’s leadership formed the Nillumbik Dementia Friendly Alliance, combating stigma and educating the community. The Alliance develops resources, plans talks, fundraises for dementia care apparatus, and implements a shop identification program.

High Commendation

Wayne Jessop

Recognition for Contribution
  • Gucci (healthAbility)

Contribution to Environment and Sustainability

Recognises significant contributions to enhancing Nillumbik’s environment and/or to taking climate action. This includes those who undertake, lead, support or inspire others to take action in areas such as biodiversity, waste, water, transport, energy or any other area that enhances local sustainability or environmental outcomes.

2023 Recipients

Contribution of the Year - Nillumbik Repair Cafe

Since February 2022, the Nillumbik Repair Cafe has operated as a volunteer-led initiative. They offer free repairs for various household items, host monthly events for 10 months at the Hurstbridge Community Hub, and provide waste-related advice and skillbuilding activities. This community-driven project has repaired over 550 items, reducing waste and saving money for locals. It has also fostered a sense of community connection, inspiring others to organise similar events.

High Commendation

Vicky Shukuroglou

Recognition for Contribution
  • Benn Simpson
  • Clean Energy Nillumbik
  • Katrina Naish
  • Lucinda Flynn
  • Stringybark Community Nursery

Contribution to Reconciliation

Recognises demonstrated commitment towards progressing reconciliation in Nillumbik through community programs, events, initiatives and/or fostering meaningful partnerships with First Nations people.

2023 Recipients

Contribution of the Year - Nillumbik Reconciliation Group

Formed in 1998, the Nillumbik Reconciliation Group (NRG) promotes community reconciliation by acknowledging Wurundjeri ownership of the Shire’s lands and advocating for social justice. NRG recently organised a community event, ‘25 years of Reconciliation’ supported by Council featuring a Welcome to Country, performances, and entertainment. Attended by 300 people, the event showcased past achievements and ongoing efforts. The positive community response demonstrated support for reconciliation, prompting NRG to forge new alliances and commit to future cultural events.

High Commendation

Kangaroo Ground Preschool

Recognition for Contribution
  • Eltham Cricket Club
  • Eltham North Primary School
  • Yarrambat Junior Football Club