Wollondilly’s Australia Day Winners Announced
Posted on: 29.01.2018
Wollondilly’s Australia Day Awards winners were announced at a ceremony in the Picton Botanical Gardens this morning.
Dane Coulter has been announced as the 2018 Citizen of the Year, in recognition of his work with the local Rural Fire Service and his commitment to keeping the Wollondilly Shire safe.
Mr Coulter first became involved with the Thirlmere RFS during the bushfires of 2001 and progressed to Crew Leader in 2014 and then Senior Deputy Captain in 2016.
Mayor Judith Hannan said, “Mr Coulter has involved himself in many selfless activities within the Shire and out of area, assisting other brigades during some extreme catastrophic conditions.”
“He is known for taking on all challenges, conducting himself with professionalism and respect and going above and beyond for any member of the community.”
Mr Coulter’s community involvement began while he was a student at Picton High as a member of the school band and entertainment crew which volunteered their time for local events such as ANZAC marches and the Festival of Steam. He included himself in a school band tour to remote parts of Central Australia to play for Aboriginal children and their families in outlying areas.
Other category winners for 2018 were:
• Young Citizen of the Year – Max Noakes
Max is a student at Wollondilly Anglican College and has held many leadership roles there including College Captain. He has been heavily involved in community events such as Clean Up Australia Day, Thirlmere Festival of Steam, ANZAC day Marches in Picton, College Working Bees, Peer Support, Leadership and as a tutor for students needing assistance. Max is an exceptional debater and speech writer and was part of the Champion debating team who won the NSW debating competition in Year 7 and 10; also winning the Open debating competition in Year 11. He is a strong performer in Academic studies and on the sporting field.
• Achiever of the Year – Dr Timothy Rankin
Dr Rankin has been, and is currently a General Practitioner in Bargo, running a busy medical practice for over 30 years. Prior to Dr Rankin’s arrival in the community, residents had to travel long distances for medical help. Dr Rankin commenced his practice in 1985, bulk billing all his patients, and continues to do so providing quality healthcare at an affordable cost to the people of Wollondilly. He is dedicated and caring to his patients, now treating the fourth generation of some families in the community.
• Sportsperson of the Year – Cameron Gill
Cameron is a young man who is very passionate about his sport. Growing up in Silverdale, Cameron started in the world of Little Athletics at a very young age, participating in Tiny Tots as a 3 year old. Cameron has set approximately 30 centre records, 10 zone records and 5 region records since joining Warradale Little Athletics Club. Cameron has also represented his club at the state Little Athletics State Championships every year, particularly in his pet events the 800m and the 400m sprint. Cameron has placed at the State Multi Championships (6 events) more than 6 times. Cameron has competed in the LANSW in the annual Trans-Tasman Challenge where he received 2 Gold and 1 silver medal in individual events. In 2017, Cameron was awarded the Garth Robinson Trophy as the best performed NSW athlete out of 97 athletes on tour. In addition to Little Athletics, Cameron is a keen AFL Footballer and is member of the Western Sydney Giants Junior Academy.
• Local Hero of the Year – Les Harvey
Les is a very well-known Thirlmere local who has volunteered his time to support the Shire in various ways over a number of years. Les was a member of the volunteer RFS for Buxton and Thirlmere as a young lad. Les also volunteered his time for Thirlmere netball club, Picton-Thirlmere Bargo RSL sub branch and Nepean Rovers Soccer Club. Les is known best for his Christmas lights display every year where he raised a total of $132, 000.00 to help children with Cystic Fibrosis at Westmead Children’s Hospital. In recent years Les has volunteered his time judging the annual Wollondilly Shire Christmas Light’s competition where he was Grand Champion for many years.
• Local Hero Organisation of the Year – Black Cockatoos Aboriginal Corporation
The Black Cockatoos are a group of Aboriginal Elders from the Wollondilly Shire who formed in 2015. The group meets weekly in Buxton where they participate in art and craft activities including sewing, painting, designing and creating artefacts such as clap sticks, coolamons and the like.
The Black Cockatoos, with help from the girls dance group, have designed and made library and laundry bags for the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney. The Black Cockatoos continue to provide guidance and education to students and community members promoting awareness of cultural pride and identity. The Black Cockatoos have formed links with various agencies across the region including Wollondilly Shire Council, Campbelltown City Council, Mittagong Cultural Centre, Wollondilly Community Links, Picton Thirlmere Bargo RSL Sub Branch, Wollondilly Health Alliance, Wollondilly Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and local primary and high schools.