Wagga Wagga Australia Day Award winners announced

Published: 30 Jan 2017 9:57am

Five outstanding Wagga Wagga residents were honoured for their community contributions at the 2017 Australia Day Awards held at the Civic Theatre tonight.

Citizen of the Year was awarded to Dianne Jacobson who has been the driving force behind the Wagga Wagga Eisteddfod for the past 30 years, while Young Citizen of the Year went to Isobel Cowell for her academic and sporting achievements.

The Ted Ryder Memorial Sports Award went to Anthony Paul for his dedication and leadership of water polo in the city.

The newest Walk of Honour inductee is Jim Elphick who has been sharing his passion for tennis for almost 50 years.

Wagga’s first Olympic Gold medallist Alicia Quirk was also inducted into the Sporting Hall of Fame in recognition of her sporting achievements.

The full list of award winners and their bios are detailed below.


2017 Citizen of the Year – Dianne Jacobson

Dianne has been the driving force behind the Wagga Wagga Eisteddfod for the past 30 years. From initially helping out at 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.

2017 Young Citizen of the Year – Isobel Cowell

Isobel was Vice Captain at Wagga Wagga High School and has achieved Honours Level for an impressive six times 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.

2017 Walk of Honour – Jim Elphick

Jim has been sharing his passion for tennis for almost 50 years and in the year 2000 the Jim Elphick Tennis Centre at Bolton Park was named in recognition of his contribution to the sport. Off the court, Jim has written 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

Ted Ryder Memorial Sports Award – 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 grades and a successful junior competition. Anthony has been instrumental in attracting major competitions to Wagga, including the NSW Country Water Polo Championships. Away from the pool, Anthony has been involved with the Wagga Wagga Brothers Rugby League, the Riverina Academy of Sport and the Sporting Hall of Fame Committee.

Sporting Hall of Fame inductee - Alicia Quirk:

Alicia ‘Quirky’ Quirk made the transition from touch football to rugby sevens in 2013 after being part of the winning team at the Touch Football World Cup in 2011 in Scotland. Alicia was a part of history in 2016 when the side won their first World Series after an exceptional season. She went on to top off the year as part of the winning Australian Women’s Rugby 7’s Team that took out the inaugural gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio. Alicia is Wagga Wagga’s first Olympic Gold medallist.