Wagga Wagga Australia Day Award nominees announced

Published: 13 Jan 2017 1:33pm

Nominees for the 2017 Wagga Wagga Australia Day Awards have been revealed ahead of the ceremony to be held on Wednesday 25 January.

There are five nominees for Citizen of the Year and four for the prestigious Walk of Honour.

There were also three nominations for the Ted Ryder Memorial Sports Award, while a new inductee into the Sporting Hall of Fame will also be announced at this year’s awards.

“It’s great to see so many outstanding members of our community recognised with nomination for an award,” City of Wagga Wagga’s General Manager Alan Eldridge said.

“The Australia Day Awards are a fantastic way to honour the hard work and dedication the people of our community do to make the city a better place.”

Also taking place on the 25 January is a picnic and movie night at the Oasis Regional Aquatic Centre from 7pm to 9pm with free entry.

Wagga Beach will again host official Australia Day celebrations on 26 January, including a free community breakfast, citizenship ceremony, markets and more – including plenty of free entertainment.

“There really is something for everyone this year,” Mr Eldridge said. “It will be a jampacked couple of days with the picnic and movie night at the Oasis followed by the celebrations at Wagga Beach on Australia Day, which proved popular last year.

“There will be free amusements for the kids as well as the markets and free entertainment featuring well-known Wagga band the Convicts. The Civic Theatre will also be hosting the annual Australia Day Talent Quest.”

This year’s events will also feature Wagga’s Australia Day Ambassador Warren Kermond OAM. Mr Kermond is the third in now five generations of a show business family and has been performing from an early age.

His work has included his own productions throughout Australia and internationally, including New Zealand, Japan and all of Asia. In the United States he performed in seasons and numerous conventions in San Francisco, San Diego and Las Vegas and has also had major success in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

For a full list of the events for Australia Day in Wagga Wagga, visit www.wagga.nsw.gov.au/australiaday. All events at the Wagga Beach are glass and alcohol free.

Please note parking onsite at the Wagga Beach will be reserved for disabled patrons and pass holders only. Shuttle buses will run regularly from nearby car parks, details are on the website.

Residents are reminded to be sun smart and to respect the river:


Citizen of the Year Nominees

For outstanding service to the community

Maree Dosser: Maree is a Community Transport driver who takes many elderly and disabled people of all ages to appointments, shopping etc and organises weekly outings for 25-35 clients. Maree continually goes above and beyond for her clients, organising events in her own time and has also been involved with the Girl Guides, as well as being well-known for her skills as a florist.

Ray Pelletier: Ray has been involved and worked alongside the Police at the Wagga Wagga Local Area Command for the past 17 years and was recognised with the Volunteer in Policing Award for the third consecutive year. As a Volunteer in Policing, Ray is always at the forefront to assist Police with any community event and to help community members in regards to crime prevention and awareness issues.

Colin Cheney: Colin moved to the Settler’s Village, Estella 13 years ago and has been actively involved with the Estella Progress Association – from setting up the meetings at the Settler’s Village Community Centre to volunteering as Santa Claus at the annual Christmas party. He coordinates the distribution of the “Estellagraph” to almost 1500 homes in the area and raises and lowers the Australian and village flags each day as well as countless other volunteer tasks.

Dianne Jacobsen: Dianne has been the driving force behind the Wagga Wagga Eisteddfod for the past 30 years. From initially helping out an afternoon tea, Dianne has held many positions over the years, including president. She is currently treasurer of the committee and is one of the many tireless volunteers that help with the eisteddfod, which brings more than 2000 people to Wagga twice a year.

Phillip Sheather: Phillip is a member of Wagga Uniting Church worshipping at Wesley Church and over the past 20 years has been responsible for initiating many community programs. Phillip coordinates teams of volunteers to assist in the running these services, which include a food hamper ministry, Good Samaritan Christmas lunch, bread ministry provides and breakfast program at local primary schools.

Young Citizen of the Year Nominees

27 years and younger, for outstanding service to the community

Isobel Cowell: Isobel was Vice Captain at Wagga Wagga High School and achieved Honours Level for an impressive sixth time for academic, school service, community service, cultural activities and sporting achievements. She was selected in the Australian All Schools under 16 girls hockey team to tour South Africa and was also selected in the Open NSW Country Hockey team. Isobel’s achievements saw her named in the Australian Futures Squad.

Walk of Honour Nominees

For substantial contributors (past or present) to the Wagga Wagga Local Government Area. Nominees can be of any age, living or deceased and must have resided in Wagga Wagga LGA for a period of at least five years.

Jim Elphick: Jim has been sharing his passion for tennis for almost 50 years and in 2000 the Jim Elphick Tennis Centre was named in recognition of his contribution to the sport. Off the court, Jim wrote a book detailing the history of tennis in Wagga and with his wife Mavis was instrumental in fostering the growth of tennis in the city. He was the inaugural president of the Wagga Wagga Tennis Association in 1971 and held that position until 1997.

Narelle and Duncan Potts: Duncan and Narelle's biggest achievement has been their work in helping to run and organise Wagga Wagga Takes 2 every year for the past decade. This event helps 12 local charities each year and has so far raised $1.5 million. Together they have also helped and continue to help run the Cancer Council’s Relay or Life, whether it be as part of the organising committee or helping organise and run the logistics of the day itself.

Bob Bowcher (dec): Bob’s community work includes being an Apex member for 28 years, a Rotary member for more than 20 years and founding the Wagga Gliding Club – but he is perhaps best known for his health advocacy. Bob helped form the Wagga Wagga Prostate Cancer Support Group, successfully advocated for public prostate cancer biopsies for Wagga, and he was instrumental Wagga receiving funding for a Specialist Prostate Cancer Nurse.

Aunty Kath Withers: Aunty Kath is passionate about her city and her culture, often providing Welcome to Country ceremonies at official events and undertakes workshops with Aboriginal children and in schools to share her culture. She has been a foster carer for a number of years and has run programs to help children of correctional inmates. Aunty Kath is part of the committee of the new Marrambidya Wetland, which is located on the banks of Murrumbidgee River at Wiradjuri Reserve where she was raised.

Ted Ryder Memorial Award

For contributions to sporting organisations through administration and general service

Anthony Paul: Anthony has been president of the Wagga Wagga Water Polo Association for 22 years. He has helped the club grow from a men's competition, through to a men's and women's competition with multiple grade and a successful junior competition. Anthony has been instrumental in getting major competitions to Wagga, including the NSW Country Water Polo Championships. Outside the pool, Anthony has been involved with the Wagga Wagga Brothers, the Riverina Academy of Sport and the Sporting Hall of Fame Committee.

Paul Johanson: Paul has been involved in a number of sporting groups in Wagga and is the current president of Mountain Bike Wagga after joining the committee in 2005. He has also been a member of the Wagga Bidgee Canoe Club for more than 30 years – 15 of those as publicity officer. As well as being an inaugural member of the Wagga Wagga Road Runners Inc, Paul was also the inaugural president of Bicycle Wagga Wagga.

Phillip McIntosh: Phillip has been a member of Wollundry Rotary since 2006 and along with his other contributions the community, was integral in establishing Wollundry Rotary’s Gears and Beers cycling event. The inaugural 2014 event saw 365 riders take part and 1500 attend the beer, cider and food festival, which attracted a major sponsor for the 2015 event which saw participant figures double. The 2016 event saw 1200 riders and 4000 festival patrons and Phillip is working towards 1500 riders in 2017.