Awards & Recognition
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Awards & Recognition

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City of Wollongong Australia Day Awards 2019

All Australia Day Awards 2019 nominees were invited to the Awards presentation dinner on Tuesday 22 January 2019. Our Australia Day Ambassador Nicki Bowman also shared the night with us.

Congratulations to our 2019 Australia Day Award Winners

Citizen of the Year – Dr Justin Yerbury

Dr Justin Yerbury is an internationally recognised and respected leader in Motor Neuron Disease (MND) research having dedicated his life to studying the disease and searching for a treatment.

In the Illawarra, one in 12, 000 people are affected by MND, a disease that leads to rapid loss of muscle control and typically death. In 2004, after family members were diagnosed with the disease, Dr Yerbury gave up a professional sporting career to return to university and to attempt to understand the disease. Since then, he has built an Illawarra based research group that is now a world leader in MND research.

In 2016 Dr Yerbury was diagnosed himself with MND and last year underwent lifesaving treatment to increase his life expectancy and continue his research. As an advocate for people living with MND, Dr Yerbury has been actively involved in fundraising and research training at both a national and international level.

Senior Citizen of the Year – Dr James Turner

Dr James Turner originally planned to work as a General Practitioner at Wollongong Hospital in 1957 for one year but ended up staying and working for the Wollongong community for over 62 years.

Over his long career, Dr Turner has accomplished many things including; introducing epidural service for the labour ward at Wollongong Hospital, establishing the first anti-smoking campaign in Australia, his involvement in the drug and alcohol program ‘We Help Ourselves’, a founding member of the suicide prevention group ‘Dad’s in Distress’ and received an Order of Australia for his services to general practice.

Dr Turner has touched the lives of many Wollongong residents through his dedication to his community.

Young Citizen of the Year – Narayan Khanal

Born in a Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal where he lived for the first 12 years of his life, Narayan resettled in Australia oh a humanitarian visa. Now living in Wollongong, Narayan has become an inspirational advocate for young people in the community of refugee and migrant backgrounds.

Narayan is the founder of Multicultural Society of University of Wollongong (UOW), a club that aims to promote social inclusion and the sharing of cultures. With now more than 200 members, the club helps provide opportunities for international and domestic students to interact and form friendships.

Narayan is also the chairperson of the Youth Advisory Group for Refugee Youth Peer Mentoring Project which works to support youth within the Wollongong community.

Community Award – Green Connect

Green Connect has advanced the employment of former refugees by providing training, support and paid work for over 100 individuals and their family.

Green Connect also has an important environmental and food-related impact as in 2018, Green Connect prevented 2,653 tonnes of waste out of landfill and grew and distributed 20, 628kg of fair food (chemical-free and grown locally).

Outstanding Achievement - Andrew and Lyndell Clark

In November 2018, over 300 children from across NSW took part in a LEGO Robotics Tournament in Wollongong that was created by Andrew and Lyndell.

Over the past two years, Andrew and Lyndell have worked hard to engage students in the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to great success. Their dedication to child education can be seen through their work in establishing STEM programs that inspire children to choose it as a career choice.

Outstanding Innovation - plastICS – Preventing Litter & Stormwater Trash at ICS

Run by students from Illawarra Christian School, this organisation is passionate about the marine environment.

For the past year, the team has worked hard to educate students and families about the impact of soft plastics on the environment. Part of their social campaign encourages everyone to think twice about the soft plastics that arrive each day at school in a normal lunch box.

In 2018, the team travelled to America and won their division of the International Future Problem Solving Championships – Environmental Concern category.

Arts and Cultural Award – Dulcie Dal Molin

Born and bred in Port Kembla, Dulcie has shown exceptional commitment for over 50 years to a number of community and cultural organisations.

Most recently, Dulcie has worked tirelessly as a volunteer for the Red Point Artists Association, an organisation that brings together artists, craftspeople and art students to advance the visual arts in the Illawarra and beyond.

As part of her work with the Red Point Artists Association, Dulcie regularly coordinates gallery exhibition space, creative workshops and the highly successful monthly Art on the grass market.

Sports Achievement Award – Peter Fitzgerald

As founding member and President of the ‘Men of League’ charity, Peter’s has helped provide practical assistance and social support for in-need current and past football players and club members.

For the past 40 years, Peter has provided sponsorship to local sporting events and causes through his business Peter Fitzgerald Real Estate. His passion for the Illawarra and local Rugby League can be seen through his enthusiastic involvement in his community.

Lord Mayor’s Special Awards

Joe Alves

The President of the South Coast Portuguese Association and tireless advocate for multiculturalism and social inclusion in the Illawarra, Joe been a pivotal leader of the Portuguese community within the Illawarra.

One of the many ways Joe has given back to his community is through his role in managing and sustaining the South Coast Portuguese Association club premises in Warrawong. This space serves as a vital hub for community services to the elderly, young people, volunteers, along with being a central venue for community & cultural events.

Wendy Akhurst & Lynda Murphy

Both Wendy and Lynda have worked extensively as conductor and pianist for the Keiraview Singers. For the past twelve years, Wendy and Lynda have given outstanding service to the Illawarra community through their music and choral performances.

Alfred Chidembo

Alfred is an enthusiastic volunteer who has spent many years working for the community and supporting initiatives throughout the Illawarra. Some of his volunteer work includes; Living Books a Wollongong City Council initiative that promotes respect for human rights and dignity, a founding member of Australian Registered Charity, Aussie Books for Zim that connects second hand books to children in need and has been recognised as an honorary member of the International Golden Key Member Society for his community work.

Damien Cook

Former resident of Wollongong, Damien has been an outstanding sports person whose commitment to Surf-Lifesaving and Rugby League started at an early age. In 2010, Damien represented the Illawarra in Rugby as he played his first National Rugby League grade fame for the Penrith Panthers. In 2016, Damien joined the South Sydney Rabbitohs as the understudy Hooker to Robbie Farrer and has since then become the No.1 Hooker in Australia. 

Richard Tognetti

Wollongong-based violinist, conductor and composer; Richard Tognetti has built an international reputation for his compelling performances and artistic direction. His numerous arrangements, compositions and transcriptions have been performed throughout the world.

Throughout his career, Richard has appeared as director or soloist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Academy of Ancient Music, Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra, Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), Hong Kong Philharmonic, Camerata Salzburg, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Nordic Chamber Orchestra and all of the Australian symphony orchestras.

Congratulations to the Australia Day award winners, and everyone who was nominated.

Recognition Receptions

Council holds two events each year to recognise the outstanding achievements of individuals and organisations in our city. Those honoured include national Roll of Honour recipients, volunteers, academics, sportspeople and others who have enriched our community.

We welcome suggestions of people to be considered for future recognition receptions. If you would like to propose someone for recognition, please email events@wollongong.nsw.gov.au or call (02) 4227 7111.

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