Australia Day Awards

Warragamba Panorama

Australia Day Awards

Posted on: 28.01.2016

The Australia Day Award winners were announced at the Australia Day Celebrations at  Picton Botanic Gardens on 26 January. The Award winners are listed below:

Lifetime Achievement Award - Phil Costa

It is unusual to find a Wollondilly Resident who doesn’t know Phil Costa.  That was the case even before he became the local Member for Wollondilly and Minister in the State Government.  As Principal at Buxton Primary School, Oakdale and later The Oaks Public School Phil found time to be a part of Community Groups then stood for Local Government becoming a Wollondilly Councillor and later Mayor.

Phil’s assistance has been sought be many groups aware of his organisational skills, energy and infectious enthusiasm, propelling him into a whole new world of community service.  Wollondilly has been very fortunate to count Phil within its Community and with him now retiring to a new life.

Lifetime Achievement Award winner Phil Costa 

Young Citizens of the Year - Josh Porteous & Team Coshi

Five years ago a group of young men aged around 17 started fundraising in support of their friend Michael Cotton who was suffering from Cystic Fibrosis.  The group, known as Team Coshi (a nickname given by Michael) was launched.  In 5 years Team Coshi has raised a total of $55,000 for the Sydney Children’s Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Clinic and research unit benefiting. The Team started fundraising by entering the local swim-a-thon where they raised considerable funds.  They then ran week-end BBQs with the support from local businesses and generous individuals raising many more funds along the way. This year them team organised a dinner/auction and with fantastic promotions by the team raised an amazing $13,000 in one night.  Sadly Michael passed away which means Team Coshi are doing this in his memory, and for others suffering Cystic Fibrosis. These young men are selfless and generous in character and are very deserving to be recognised for the work they have done.

Young Citizens of the Year Award winners Josh Porteous and Team Coshi

Sportsperson of the Year - Judith Rigg

Judith regularly competes in fun runs and events.  In January, she competed at the Country track and field championships and won Gold in the 100m, 400m and Silver medal in 200m. Judith also competes in events such as the annual tough bloke/chick challenge which is held at Wilton and consists of an 8km run covering 26 obstacles.  She has competed in NSW Championships for running and went on to compete at the Australian Championships.  She got 4 bronze medals and broke a 60m record for the second time. 

Judith is a true competitor and is an asset to Wollondilly.

Sportsperson of the Year Award winner Judith Rigg

Citizen of the Year - Jack Wilton

You would be hard fought to find a person who is as passionate and has done more for their community than Jack Wilton. Jack has and continues to have an unequalled record of volunteering and community service which dates back to 1963. Jack has a heart for the Wollondilly Community and a passion for volunteering and helping others.  In his continued work with the ANZAC Day Committee, Jack displays his dedication to           ensuring that future generations are aware of the ANZAC Spirit which has given the community so much. Jack’s long association with Wollondilly groups and organisations include: SES Controller, Fire Control Officer,         Australian Red Cross, St Johns Ambulance, Board Member of Macarthur Credit Union, QV Hospital Committee Member, Seniors Advisory Group Member and a Seniors Week Committee Member. Jack has been awarded the National Medal for the SES, and a Public Service Medal for services to community.

Jack is a very worthy recipient of the Wollondilly Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award for 2016.

Citizen of the Year Award winner Jack Wilton

Achiever of the Year - Tim Bennett-Smith

Tim is an extremely Community minded person who gives freely of his time and possessions to aid various community causes.  Tim has more than 6 years involvement in Wollondilly Little Athletics as a Grounds person and Team Manager, organising and coordinating competitions and training children.  Tim was awarded the John Peck Memorial Shield in 2011 for his commitment to Little Athletics.

Tim has been a member of the Picton/Thirlmere/Bargo RSL Sub-Branch for more than 5 years serving as Vice President, President, Trustee, Fundraising Officer and Publicity Officer.  He has effectively overseen the spectacular growth of the sub branch membership which has tripled.

Tim is also a member of the historic military vehicle association and takes his Armoured Personnel Carrier to various charity events including school fetes, world’s greatest shave, caring for Wollondilly all at his own expense, providing rides at these events and donating funds raised to those charities.

Achiever of the Year Award winner Tim Bennett Smith

Local Hero - Julie Sheppard

Julie has always had an overriding passion to protect the environment and has involvement in many groups and causes including Council’s Environment and Heritage Committee. During her many years as a teacher at Picton High School, her students benefited from this passion but there were too many environmental issues needing to be addressed in her spare time so she took early retirement to pursue them.  For the last 10 years Julie has set herself a punishing program of volunteering for, and in many cases, organising and coordinating a plethora of voluntary groups.  Julie set up the Razorback Environment Protection Society Land Care Group and has been involved in the National Parks Association.  Julie has spent many years working on the Bargo River National Park Campaign surveying the river and introducing locals and government members to the gorge explaining its unique features. Julie has fought to prevent coal mining beneath the Bargo river and has given presentations and been part of many delegations to Ministers arguing for the protection of our water catchment aquifers. Julie is absolutely passionate about the Wollondilly Region and our local environment.

Local Hero Award winner Julie Sheppard