Nillumbik’s Australia Day Award winners

Published on 26 January 2020

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After 59 years as a member of the Panton Hill Fire Brigade, Neil Marshall knows a thing or two about giving back to the community. Neil has been a fire tower observer at Kangaroo Ground Fire Tower for 18 years and was instrumental in providing input at the Incident Control Centre on Black Saturday.

Today he was named Nillumbik’s 2020 Citizen of the Year at Council’s Australia Day Awards.

Cottles Bridge resident Carol Jenkinson is Nillumbik’s 2020 Volunteer of the Year. Carol’s role at Panton Hill Football Club covers everything from coordinating Auskick and being club secretary to organising the canteen on match day and arranging committee meetings. Carol also has volunteer roles with local churches, is Diamond Valley College council president, and coordinates the running of the annual Hurstbridge Wattle Festival.

The 2020 Senior Citizen of the Year is Tony Barbeta of St Andrews. Tony was fundamental in establishing the St Andrew’s Men’s Shed, where he helps members with projects, ensures there is a focus on men’s health at the shed, liaises with grant bodies and gives back to the community through the provision of items like wildlife boxes and Christmas decorations.

Nillumbik Youth Productions (NYP) was named Community Group of the Year. NYP is a committee of volunteers who provide a safe and accessible space for young people aged 10-28 to express themselves in the arts, through its program Nillumbik Youth Theatre. In 2019 the group managed its production All Shook Up independently – from casting to fundraising and putting on the show. In the lead-up to the performances, the dedicated volunteer committee contributed about 40 hours per week to the production, in addition to education and work commitments.

Mayor Karen Egan said Council was proud to recognise the efforts of some of our most community-minded residents.

“While our winners have contributed in different ways and through different means, the positive impact they have had – and continue to have – on our Shire is a testament to Nillumbik’s community spirit,” Cr Egan said.

“There was an impressive pool of nominees and we appreciate people taking the time to nominate someone deserving. We congratulate our winners and nominees and sincerely thank them for their contributions,” she said.

In addition to the presentation of the Australia Day Awards, Nillumbik welcomed 80 new citizens at today’s Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony. Guest speaker on the day was Hurstbridge resident Sabi Buehler; an author who chronicled her migrant mother’s life under the Nazi regime. Sabi also founded the Nillumbik U3A group and was its inaugural president.

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