Australia Day Awards 2008
Saturday, 26 January 2008
The winners of the 2008 Australia Day Awards for the Hastings were announced at a congratulatory dinner held on Friday, 25 January at the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council chambers.
This year, the Australia Day Committee decided to announce the award winners the night before Australia Day, so the recipients could participate throughout the day at various ceremonies throughout the area.
Committee Chairman and Port Macquarie-Hastings Mayor Rob Drew said, "The calibre of nominees this year was outstanding and made for a very difficult decision in coming up with the award winners, but we feel we have made the right decisions, Councillor Drew said.
The Citizen of the Year was awarded to Birpai Aboriginal Elder, William 'Uncle Bill' O'Brien. Uncle Bill not only promotes the engaging of the local Aboriginal community and the development of culturally specific services for his people, but is also dedicated to the spirit of reconciliation and cultural understanding in the Hastings.
Zara Youngblutt was awarded Young Citizen of the Year for her involvement in school and community life. Zara has been President of Westport Aware Students of Cancer and Leukaemia Sufferers for two years and a member for six. She has also achieved the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards and is currently undertaking her Gold Award.
Sportsperson of the Year was awarded to Martin Hennessy for his outstanding achievements in Karate. Martin was named National Champion at the All Styles Karate Championships in Melbourne, State Champion and Regional Champion in his age division.
The Combined Rotary Clubs of Port Macquarie, Carnival of the Pines Committee has been awarded as Community Service Group of the Year for their work in raising approximately $60,000 for Rotary Lodge and bringing back a part of Port Macquarie's History.
World Number One Under 21 women's slalom water skier, Karina Nowlan, has been named as this year's winner of the 2008 Wayne Richards Sporting Talent Grant. The three times Australian Open National Slalom, Jump and Overall Champion broke the World Under 21 Slalom record in the preliminary round of the Under 21 World Titles in Chile. Karina placed third overall in the finals after dislocating her hip only eight weeks before competing.
The Wayne Richards Sporting Talent Grant Encouragement Award winner this year goes to motorcross rider Jacqui Jones.
Past recipients of the Wayne Richards Sporting Talent Grant include Angus Morton who cycled for the 2006 Australian Junior Road team and Commonwealth Games Junior Squad and Deane Meers, who has recently been named in the NSWIS soccer squad.
The Australia Day Award recipients along with the Wayne Richards Sporting Talent Grant recipient were presented at the Australia Day ceremony held on Town Green, Port Macquarie.
Citizen of the Year: William O'Brien
Aboriginal Elder, William 'Uncle Bill' O'Brien has been named as this years Hastings Citizen of the Year. Uncle Bill is an active and vital member of the Hastings community through his involvement in numerous community organisations and activities.
His community involvement includes the 'Welcome to Country' he conducts for many local ceremonies and events, being a member of the Birpai and Bunyah Local Aboriginal Land Councils, North Coast Area Health Service's Community Advisory Committee, Partnership in Aboriginal Care, Hastings Macleay Community Transport and has coached many sporting teams.
Uncle Bill is a strong advocate for promoting the engagement of the local Aboriginal community and the development of culturally specific services for his people and is dedicated to the spirit of reconciliation and cultural understanding in the Hastings.
Young Citizen of the Year: Zara Youngblutt
Westport High School Prefect, Zara Youngblutt, has been named as the 2008 Hastings Young Citizen of the Year. Zara has been involved in many areas of school and community life.
Zara has held the position of President of Westport Aware Students for Cancer and Leukaemia Sufferers (WASCALS) for two years and a member for six. Whilst volunteering for organisations such as The Cancer Council and supporting Camp Quality and Canteen, Zara has achieved the Duke of Edinburgh Silver and Bronze Awards and is has commenced her Gold Award. Zara has also been selected to Vice Captain the New South Wales indoor cricket side, coach the girls school cricket side and coordinate an after school cricket training camp for local children sponsored by 'Milo'.
Community Service Group of the Year: Combined Rotary Clubs of Port Macquarie-Carnival of the Pines Committee
The Combined Rotary Clubs of Port Macquarie-Carnival of the Pines Committee has been awarded the 2008 Hastings Community Service Group of the Year. The Committee, made from the area's six Rotary Clubs, has worked hard this year to reintroduce the Carnival after a 15-year absence.
The Committee successfully brought the community together and gave back a piece of history to the Port Macquarie-Hastings area. Approximately $60,000 was raised for Rotary Lodge, which provides affordable accommodation for patients and their families during their treatment at Port Macquarie Base Hospital.
Sportsperson of the Year: Martin Hennessy
Black Belt Martin Hennessy has been awarded the 2008 Hastings Sportsperson of the Year. Hennessy is the current New South Wales State Champion for the 5th Kyu to Black Belt Forms Division and has held this title for the past three years.
Hennessy's achievements include being named Regional Champion and State Champion in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, National Champion in 2007 and placed fifth at the World Championships in 2006.
Wayne Richards Sporting Talent Grant: Karina Nowlan
The 2008 Wayne Richards Sporting Talent Grant has been awarded to Karina Nowlan for her outstanding achievements in Women's Slalom Water Skiing. The 20-year old is currently ranked world number one for the Under 21 Women's Slalom and world number five in the Open Women's Slalom.
Karina has represented Australia in more than seven world title events and has broken more than 15 Australian records. Her accomplishments include third at the 2008 Under 21 World Titles, held in Chile, bronze at the 2007 World Championships, held in Austria, and being named Three time Australian Open National Slalom, Jump and Overall Champion, Australian Under 21 Slalom Record Holder and Australian Open and Under 21 Overall Record Holder.
Wayne Richards Sporting Talent Grant Encouragement Award: Jacqui Jones
Motorcross rider Jacqui Jones is the recipient of this year's Encouragement Award.
During her first full year of senior competition, Jacqui competed in a number of local, state, national and international motorcross events including the Women's National Motorcross competition. Finishing in the top 10 in Australia, this event saw Jacqui racing against the best women in Australia and New Zealand. Fighting off a strong field of competitors, Jacqui recently took out the Australian Women's - Girls on Gas competition.