At a civic event last week, Hepburn Shire Council announced winners of 2023 Community Awards.

The award recipients were:

  • John Drife – Citizen of the Year
  • Atticus Punt-Trethewey – Young Citizen of the Year
  • The Great Dividing Trail Association Reconciliation Walks – Event of the Year.

Mayor, Cr Brian Hood congratulated the recipients and recognised their significant contribution to the local community.

“We had some outstanding nominations this year. It’s incredibly impressive to hear of the achievements of the award winners and all nominees,” said Cr Hood. “We have a wonderfully generous community and these volunteers provide an enormous breadth of opportunities, events and support to our community.

Citizen of the Year – John Drife

John is a well-known and pivotal part of the community in and around Clunes. He is on many committees and community groups, including the CFA (a member for more than 50 years!), Waubra Wind Farm Community Fund Committee, Mt Bolton/Beckworth Landcare Group, Clunes & District Agricultural Society Committee and many more. John has coordinated multiple fundraisers for individuals and groups, in particular he played a central role in Bushy’s Cutout fundraiser in 2018, which raised more than $85,000 to support local shearer Tony ‘Bushy’ Hill in his battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

Other nominees for Citizen of the Year were Terry Bolton, Gayle Chappell, Michelle Clifford, John Drife, Margaret Giles, Natasha Hall, Jennifer Hind.

Young Citizen of the Year – Atticus Punt-Trethewey

Atticus initiated and organised the free youth music event, AltWave. Atticus engaged a team of young people, young musicians and entertainers and coordinated support of adults, community groups and businesses. AltWave gave people the chance to come together and enjoy live music, and provided young musicians with an opportunity to perform. The successful event raised awareness and money for youth mental health.

Other nominees for Young Citizen of the Year were Flossy Haughie, Lucinda Lowe, Sasha Taylor and Atticus Punt-Trethewey.

Event of the Year – The Great Dividing Trail Association Reconciliation Walks

As part of the Guided Walks and Rides Program, the Great Dividing Trail Association (GDTA) held guided walks to local sites where Aboriginal Protectorates had been established in the mid-1800s. These were places where First Nations peoples were resettled from their traditional Country, where they were taught English, European farming and Christianity, where Indigenous languages were forbidden and where attempts were made to extinguish Indigenous cultures and knowledge. The walks highlighted the early post-contact history of First Nations peoples and emphasised the need to acknowledge their mistreatment as a step in the reconciliation process. The Reconciliation Walks had strong support from Djarra people and are a regular feature of the GDTA guided walk program. The walks were organised and led by Dr Barry Golding.

Other nominees for Community Event of the Year were AltWave Youth Music Event – Daylesford Community Op Shop, Hepburn Region Blue Light and Atticus Punt-Trethewey, CresFest – Creswick Neighbourhood Centre,  Wombat Trees Festive Project – Daylesford Men’s Shed.

Australian Citizenship Ceremony

The civic event also included an Australian citizenship ceremony, with 21 people who took the pledge to become Australian citizens. The new citizens hailed from Argentina, Britain, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Israel, Italy, France, Germany, New Zealand, Philippines, Romania and United States.

“We offer our newest citizens a very warm welcome and congratulate them on choosing Hepburn Shire as their home,” said Cr Hood.

New Australian citizens were inducted at the civic event.