Local heroes recognised with 2019 Wagga Wagga Australia Day Award nominations

Published: 17 Jan 2019 4:49pm

Some of the community’s most generous and selfless residents have been recognised with nominations for the 2019 Wagga Wagga Australia Day Awards.

The awards ceremony will be held at the Civic Theatre on Friday 25 January.

There are three nominees for Citizen of the Year, three nominees for Young Citizen of the Year and seven for the prestigious Walk of Honour

“It’s fantastic to see so many outstanding members of our community recognised through the award nomination process,” Wagga Wagga City Council Acting General Manager Janice Summerhayes said.

“The Australia Day Awards honour the hard work and dedication of people in our community who make the city a better place.

“The award nominees represent some of Wagga Wagga’s many unsung heroes, from tireless community advocates to long-serving volunteers, and I would like to congratulate them on behalf of our city.”

There were no nominations for the Ted Ryder Memorial Award that met the selection criteria.

All community members are invited to attend the awards, which will feature a speech by Wagga Wagga’s Australia Day Ambassador Dane Simpson

The awards ceremony falls in the middle of three days of Australia Day events, which kicks off with the free outdoor picnic and movie screening at the Oasis Aquatic Centre on Thursday 24 January.

On Australia Day itself, there will be a free community breakfast in the Victory Memorial Gardens along with Aussie activities and entertainment.

There will also be a special citizenship ceremony in the Civic Centre Arcade, with 26 people from nine countries becoming Australian citizens.

For more information, visit wagga.nsw.gov.au/australiaday or to find out what other events are in on Wagga over the Australia Day long weekend go to visitwagga.com.

2019 Australia Day Awards nominees


For outstanding service to the community

Alan Lean: Alan is a long standing member and past President of the Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga, as a Rotary member Alan has served in countless local service projects over the past 30 years and has served as a volunteer and board member of community radio station 2AAA FM. Alan and his wife Kaye were the driving force behind establishing the regional Camp Quality Centre and founding of Country Hope. More recently Alan was founder of the Wagga Wagga Rotary Shine Awards, which recognising employees with disabilities and the employers who offer them meaningful employment.

David Mundy: David helps to enrich the cultural lives of Wagga Wagga residents by creating high quality musical performances that bring people together. David is the founder and President of the Wagga Wagga Community Band, he is also a life member of the Wagga Wagga City Rugby Club, President of the Wagga Wagga City Rugby Choir and Secretary of ukulele group Strum.

Michael Georgiou: Arriving in Wagga Wagga from Cyprus in 1950, Michael has given back to the community in many ways. He has been on various school boards, was a foundation member of the Wagga Ethnic Community Council, is a life member of 2AAA, is a Greek language interpreter for Centrelink, president of the Wagga Wagga Greek Orthodox Church and Community, and is a former Deputy Mayor.


27 years and younger, for outstanding service to the community

Isaac Cornell (16 years): Since the age of 11, Isaac has been raising funds and awareness of cancer related issues, he has organised fundraising days at his primary school, shaved his hair in high school and continually raised funds for CanTeen to help children touched by cancer. Isaac has also become a member of the CanTeen Leadership Group to further support children and young adults whose lives have been changed due to cancer. A keen sportsman, Isaac has been involved in refereeing touch football, national rugby league and also coaches an under 12 touch football team, both within and out of school hours.

Dr Matthew Lennon (25 years): Despite his youth, Matthew is an outstanding leader in rural health and high school education. Matthew has founded Doctors for Rural Education and Medicine (DREAM), to mentor and inspire medical students to train and remain doctors in the bush. Since 2013 he had run Springboard Education (a charity offering free tutoring to rural children), inspiring hundreds of local students to excel in education and follow carers in healthcare. Matthew is renowned for running rural appreciation weekends for visiting students and doctor’s interested in pursuing a rural health career. Matthew is also very active in community organisations, volunteering at the Palliative Care Unit and assisting struggling students.

Mia Bowcher (15 years): Mia is a role model for younger generation. Mia voluntary co produces & presents a weekly radio show at Life FM, doing so since she was 11 years old. She has walked the Kokoda Trail, volunteers at Kurrajong Race Day, CMRI Fair, and Gears and Beers. Mia Reads the bible readings at St Johns Church, and has written a children’s book. The book she co-wrote with her mum and brother is to educate the wider community about her disability - Irlen Dyslexia.


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

Alan Lean: As mentioned previously Alan has contributed to the community through is roles in Rotary, Camp Quality, Country Hope, 2AAA FM and the Wagga Wagga Rotary Shine Awards. Since retiring Alan, through his connections from Country Hope, has offered support to families which have children with cancer and other serious illnesses. During his time as a volunteer at 2AAA FM, Alan’s roles included advertising coordinator and emergency coordinator, In 2010 and 2012 he managed 2AAA’s flood updates. Alan has also organised outside broadcasting at many local events, interviewing organisers participants and celebrities.

Cecil ‘Bob’ Scott: In 1957 Bob Scott was instrumental in the formation of the Wagga Wagga District Highland Pipe Band. Bob was the pipe major, he was responsible for the music played, tutoring pipers, music selection, tuning pipes and drums and was responsible for the appearance and sound of the band in public performances. For the past 60 years, Bob has been the heart and soul of the band. He has been involved in many activities throughout Wagga Wagga and surrounds - 60 years leading the Anzac band, playing for the dawn service in Wagga Wagga and Uranquinty, performing at the Tarcutta Driver Memorial Service, and has over 20 years’ experience playing at the Eisteddfod and National Dancing in Wagga Wagga and surrounds. He has contributed 60 years of new year celebrations in Wagga and plays regularly in the sergeants mess during celebrations.

John Wilks (deceased): John Wilks was the flood advisor for Wagga Wagga in the 1950s and 1960s. He called the level at which the Murrumbidgee would peak when in flood, he was renowned for being very accurate with calling the river levels. John also served in the Australian Army during World War I, were he was a Sergeant-Major and was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal for his services to Australia. John contribution to the safety of citizens of Wagga Wagga during flood times. Wilks Park and Wilks avenue have been named after John and his contributions to the community.

Karenne Connors (deceased): Karenne was a dedicated volunteer and determined advocate for many community charities, remaining active until her sudden death in May 2018. In addition to her campaign to keep the hydrotherapy pool open at the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital Karenne was also Golden Gown president and committee member, an overnight volunteer at Wagga Wagga Ronald McDonald House, she was apart of the palliative care committee in Wagga Wagga, a regular NSW blood donor, she volunteered at the Lake Albert Bushfire Brigade and raised money for Ronald McDonald House as a contestant in Wagga Wagga it Takes 2.

Kaye Lean (deceased): Kaye Lean’s tireless work and support for regional families dealing with a child with cancer or other life threating illness spanned over 30 years. Kaye, better known as ‘Nanna Kaye’, worked alongside her husband Alan to implement the first ever Camp Quality camp in Wagga Wagga and later help establish Country Hope. Kaye supported couples as they struggled to stay together through the stress of their child’s illness. She supported many families through the process of losing a child. In addition to touched the hearts of many families over the years she was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship – the highest honour given by Rotary Worldwide to acknowledge community service. In 1997 she and her husband Alan were among one of the first recipients worldwide to be named Rotary Peace Ambassadors.

Ryan Lock: Ryan Lock has made a name for himself as a true community leader. He devotes his time to assisting local charities and offers friendly support to many citizens within Wagga Wagga. Ryan volunteers his time to youth through the PCYC and the Juvenile Justice Centre, and supports the elderly with housing and an honest heart. Ryan was also a key organiser of Wagga Wagga’s drought relief concert.

William (Bill) Prest: Bill has devoted his time, contacts, organising and advocacy skills to the community for the past 60 years. He joined Rotary 30 years ago, has dedicated 23 years to Kurrajong Lifestyle Choices and Riding for the Disabled. Bill established a men’s group at Riverina Gums and visits elderly clients at Home of Compassion, he volunteers endless hours to St Vincent De Paul and the Smith Family and was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship – the highest honour given by Rotary Worldwide to acknowledge community service. Bill was also involved in bring the first disabled taxis to Wagga Wagga.