Shoalhaven City Council held the Shoalhaven Australia Day Awards, Citizenship Ceremony and Sporting Hall of Fame on Thursday, 24 January at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre.
The annual Shoalhaven Australia Day Awards acknowledged 11 unsung community heroes’ from around the region in eight categories including Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Sportsperson of the Year and Young Sportsperson of the Year.
The Shoalhaven City Council Hall of Sporting Fame celebrates the outstanding achievements of the region’s home-grown elite athletes once every four years in three categories. This year eight successful nominations were acknowledged, and their citations will be displayed in the foyer of Council’s Administration Building.
Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Amanda Findley said she was incredibly proud of all residents who have been recognized at the celebrations.
“The Shoalhaven Australia Day Awards allow the Community to nominate individuals in their community who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of others.
“With so many categories to choose from now, from our young sportsperson, our sportsperson and those that make a wonderful contribution to arts, the environment or help improve inclusive activities in the Shoalhaven.
“The latest inductees have all performed at the highest level. They have risen above the odds to carve out sporting careers that are inspirational.”
Special guest at the evening was multi-award-winning broadcaster Peter ‘Wilko” Wilkins who was the Shoalhaven Australia Day Ambassador.
2019 Shoalhaven Australia Day Award Winners
Citizen Award/ Shoalhaven Medal Winner – Jennifer Robertson has been ceaseless in her support for Arts and Culture in the Shoalhaven for more than 20 years. As a founding member of the SeeChange Winter Arts Festival and long serving President of Jervis Bay and Basin Arts Inc she has been connecting, collaborating and inspiring residents and visitors alike to partake in their community.
As a former Nowra High student Jennifer has a Bachelor of Education in Visual Arts and has been sharing her love for the arts throughout her teaching career and inspiring others to create at the highest level.
Young Citizen Award – Lachlan Page Has been described as an outstanding citizen and shining beacon to our community. A natural born leader Lachlan has been actively involved in NSW Scouts for many years and in 2015 achieved the Australian Scouts Medallion, the highest award in Scouting.
A young person with profound love and pride for his community, 18-year-old Lachlan is also a volunteer member for NSW Rural Fire Service.
Young Citizen Highly Commended- Takesa Frank An incredible contributor to the Ulladulla High School community who is a passionate advocate for the environment and student mental health. As an indigenous school leader and school captain Takesa brings creativity to every task she undertakes.
Involved in countless programs and projects in her school community including; Nude Food Week, Removal of Plastic Bottles, UHS NAIDOC debating team, Environment Day and the establishment of the UHS Markets.
Sports Person Award – Victoria Davies An inspirational dressage rider who at 34 years old, has won every major Australian FEI Para Equestrian title.
Victoria has been acknowledged for her dedication to her sport and representing the Shoalhaven at an elite level. Victoria is an inspiration to all those around her and in her sport.
Junior Sports Person Award – Jasmine Greenwood Outstanding dedication to her sport. She is a determined leader who has worked hard to achieve her sporting goals. As an active student at Shoalhaven High School she is also a school captain at the Bay and Basin Amateur Swim Club, promoting the club and inspiring other young people in the sport. Jasmine was the youngest member of the Australian Dolphin Para Swim team to represent Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Outstanding Contribution to an Inclusive Shoalhaven –Dora RognvaldsdottirRecognised for outstanding contribution to the arts and her community. Dora has worked with young people to provide opportunities for them to engage in meaningful artmaking pursuits, which have had significant impacts on developing positive mental health outcomes, inclusive community attitudes and individual creativity. Dora has worked with countless community groups to engage in Inclusive Art programs including: PCYC NSW, Nowra Public School, Youth Community Artist for Shoalhaven City Council, Ulladulla Youth Centre and Sanctuary Point Community Centre, Nowra High School, Bomaderry High School, SeeChange Winter Festival and Nowra Players.
Outstanding Contribution to the Environment –Sandy Aureli an instrumental member of the Milton Ulladulla community, Sandy has been acknowledged for her tireless commitment to building a sustainable Shoalhaven for future generations. Sandy has been actively engaged in community and environmental projects since moving to the region nine years ago. As the secretary of Milton District Branch of the CWA Sandy has reenergized the organisation and is enthusiastically involved in Milton Ulladulla Artfest, Boomerang Bags, Take 3 for the Sea and the MUDsingers.
Outstanding Contribution to Arts & Culture – Alison Tait Acknowledged for her contribution to the Arts. An established Australian non-fiction author, Alison has more than 25 years’ experience in magazines, newspapers and online publishing. Now an established Young Adult author and her adventure seriesThe Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipherare are international best-sellers.
She actively promotes her creative writing by co-hosting the top-rating podcast, So You Want To Be A Writer and regularly speaking at schools and writers festivals around the country including: Sydney Writers’ Festival, Brisbane Writers’, Singapore Writer’s Festival and more.
Outstanding Contribution to Arts & Culture – Highly Commended Maxwell Dingle Is an active, tireless, generous advocate and supporter of the creative and performing arts in the Shoalhaven. Max’s contribution to the cultural life of our region encompasses: being a practising visual artist in a number of disciplines; voluntary work as researcher, curator and writer for the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery (SRG) and the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum (JBMM); fundraising for community arts organisations and festivals such as, Jervis Bay and Basin Arts Inc. and the SeeChange Jervis Bay Arts Festival;
Outstanding Contribution to Arts & Culture – Highly Commended Ona Frazier. For more than 30 years Ona has been enriching the lives of others through the art of classical music. A classical opera singer and a tireless advocate for promoting classical music throughout the region. With students from the age of five to ninety-five, Ona’s great love for music has been inspiring. Ona has been involved in working with and fundraising for many community groups including: Shoalhaven Eisteddfods, Shoalhaven Lydian Singers, Albatross Musical Theatre Company, Noah’s Ark, Royal Institute for the Deaf and Blind and Parkinson’s Support Group.
Outstanding Emerging Artist – Karen Akehurst is the Director of the inaugural Shoalhaven Readers and Writers Festival Karen has dedicated her time and energy to promoting the Shoalhaven arts community.
The festival brought together Shoalhaven readers and writers, so they can connect with each other.
Karen has been acknowledged for promotion of literacy and building awareness of books, reading and writing throughout the Shoalhaven.
2019 Shoalhaven City Council Sporting Hall of Fame Inductees
Shoalhaven Elite Athlete Category
Alexander Halank boasts more than 14 national windsurfing titles across multiple disciplines including, Wavesailing, Freestyle, Slalom, Freerace, Bic Techno 293 Plus, Raceboard and Formula. At 15 years of age, the St Georges Basin resident represented Australia in the sport of Windsurfing and continues to grow as a highly skilled windsurfer.
In 2018 he represented Australia in the World Sailing Youth Championship in Texas, USA, his third year representing the Australian Sailing Youth Team.
Christopher Coulthart like many people with physical limitations, Christopher Coulthart has never let them stand in the way of him achieving his goals in his chosen sport. As a rugby player he has represented at
the highest levels, as both an able-bodied athlete and adaptive sportsperson, including representing Australia.
A proud Shoalhaven resident Christopher has played more than 330 senior games for Shoalhaven Rugby Football Club including 240 first grade games. Christopher became one of the first team members of the Australian Deaf Rugby Team (ADR) that played against South Africa in 1994. He went on to play further games for the ADR against New Zealand and Japan during 2001-2002 and was also part of the team that and contested the inaugural Deaf Rugby World Championships in New Zealand in 2002.
In 1992 Christopher was part of the NSW Country Rugby Union 1st XV team that played the touring Scottish national team and was also part of the squad when they took on the Italian national team in Nowra in 1994.
Christopher has represented Australia in his chosen sport and has continued to be involved in rugby in Shoalhaven. While achieving personal success in the sport he is currently an active junior coach for the Shoalhaven Rugby Football Club and was named in two ‘teams of the decade’ at the Club’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations in 2018.
Jack Murchie -Canberra Raiders player Jack Murchie played his Junior competitive football with the Milton- Ulladulla Bulldogs. The 21-year-old National Rugby League (NRL) professional has forged a career through the Canberra Raiders junior system playing at the highest junior representative level.
In 2018 the talented forward made his first-grade debut with the Canberra Raiders against Cronulla Sharks in Round 19. Throughout the 19 games of that season, Jack scored eight tries, made 217 runs for 2262 metres, had nine line-breaks, 52 tackle breaks, four try assists and made 435 tackles.
Kaitlyn Bryce- Born in the Shoalhaven Kaitlyn Bryce is a professional netballer with the Adelaide Thunderbirds who has competed in her chosen sport at the highest level.
Kaitlyn started her netball career when she was eight years old with the Rebels Netball Club Nowra Inc. and went on to represent the Shoalhaven in the Under 12, Under 13, Under 14, Under 15’s at club and NSW state titles.
As a teenager, she was selected to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) for her netball talent and her versatility as a player. Her career blossomed as she was named in several State, National and Australian Under 17’s, Under 19’s and Under 21’s Australian Captain.
In 2016, Kaitlyn was selected to play with the NSW Swifts. During this time, she returned to the Shoalhaven to support the junior netball community holding training and coaching clinics.
At 23 years of age Kaitlyn has been identified as a rare talent mid-court netball player and in 2018 was contracted to the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the Suncorp Super Netball series.
Kalinda Commerford – is an Australian field hockey player who started her junior sporting career in the Shoalhaven.
As a former Ulladulla Jets player, at the age of 11 Kalindi began playing for Wollongong University and Jamberoo Hockey Club. Kalindi has represented the South Coast at State Championships in both indoor and outdoor hockey and was selected for the Hockey Australia Development Squad.
In 2016 she made her international debut with the Australian Hockeyroos’ and scored a goal that enabled the team to beat New Zealand.
Victoria Davies - Inspirational dressage rider Victoria Davies, 34, has won every major Australian FEI Para Equestrian title and has called the Shoalhaven her home for more than 25 years.
Diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at age nine and undergoing multiple major joint replacements, Victoria was also later diagnosed in 2016 with serious neck condition of Basilar Invagniation and spinal cord compression, Victoria has not let challenges stand in the way of a highly successful career in Equestrian.
Victoria’s achievements show her dedication and passion for her chosen sport and aims to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Shoalhaven Sporting Hero Category
Alan Clark - has made an outstanding contribution to Shoalhaven Cricket and gone above and beyond to ensure the history of his favourite sport is accurately recorded for future generations.
Alan first became involved with the Shoalhaven District Cricket Association (SDCA) as an umpire and became the official district recorder for the Shoalhaven in 1976 a position he held until 2012. As a sports reporter for the South Coast Register newspaper, he maintained and recorded much of the Shoalhaven’s cricket history and achievements.
In 1980 he compiled a history for the Nowra Cricket Club and went on to publish another six books for the SDCA and its clubs, recording the centenary of the association and the jubilee of the junior grades.
In 1990 his weekly column ‘Behind the Stump’ chronicled the history and achievements of the region’s clubs and players. Alan’s integral role in sports media has been acknowledged on several occasions by Cricket NSW.
From 1981-82 Alan represented the Shoalhaven at the South Coast and Highlands Cricket Council and in 1985 became the registrar. Alan continued in that role when the Cricket Council body became Southern Zone Cricket Incorporated until his retirement in 2012.
Shoalhaven Sporting Animal Category
Andaluka Elegido Shoalhaven’s International award-winning dressage champion Andaluka Elegido has been described as one of the most prestigious performance PRE-Spanish stallions within Australasia.
Foaled 2005 and standing 16hh, the talented stallion is affectionately known as ‘Eddy’ taking his owner/ trainer Victoria Davies, an FEI Para Equestrian rider to Elite level success.
The International champion first made history in 2013 by becoming the first PRE-Spanish horse to be selected for an Australian High-Performance Squad, holding this title for 4 years until his retirement in December 2017.