Dungog Shire has recognized the contribution of several outstanding citizens at the 2022 Australia Day Awards.
In winning the prestigious 2022 Citizen of the Year award, committed community leader Marion Stuart, who works with the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce, Dungog Regional Tourism, Meals on Wheels and countless community organizations, was a source of inspiration and support for many inhabitants, especially throughout the events of recent years.
Winners in all categories who were recognized for their significant contributions to the community included:
- JUNIOR SPORTS AWARD: Darcy Booth
- SENIOR SPORTS PRIZE: Andrew Flannery
- COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARD: David (Fred) Longbottom
- ENVIRONMENTAL CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: Dan Lyons
- YOUNG CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: Aaron Fisher, Alec Grainger, Jack Boyton, Jacob Rooke, Aaron Whelan, Ryan Vella and Cooper Edwards
- 2022 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: Marion Stuart
Dungog Shire Mayor John Connors said the awards provided a great opportunity to celebrate the contribution of county citizens from all facets of the community.
“We recognize the contribution of all 2022 nominees to help improve and advance the quality of life for our entire community and congratulate our awardees on this achievement,” said Cr Connors.
“These awards highlight the strong community spirit that exists here at Dungog Shire and allow us to recognize the tireless work of some of our unsung heroes.
“These citizens have achieved remarkable results in sports, volunteer, environmental, business and community initiatives and this platform gives us the opportunity to say thank you.”
Although the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic forced last minute changes to the event, this did not diminish the importance of the occasion.
“While we were disappointed the wider community was unable to attend this event, we continue to make community health and safety our top priority, and I have no doubt that many locals County will share congratulations to all of our winners and nominees for this well-deserved recognition,” added Cr Connors.
The Australia Day Ceremony and Awards featured an address by Australia Day Ambassador and award-winning journalist, Bruce Elder, country recognition and a speech by Cr Connors, a lifting ceremony of the flag and performances of the Dungog Shire Choir.
Read more about the Dungog Shire Australia Day 2022 award winners below:
WINNER: Junior Athletic Award – Darcy Booth
Whether he is refereeing, coaching or playing with his team, Darcy’s passion and dedication make him an excellent role model for those around him.
An all-around sportsman, in 2021 Darcy represented Clarence Town Public School at zone and regional level in swimming, touch football, cross country, soccer and athletics.
He also represents his school in cricket, softball, rugby league and soccer. In addition to this, Darcy is his school’s sports captain and plays representative soccer for Maitland FC, as well as futsal, touch football and cricket.
WINNER: Senior Sports Award – Andrew Flannery
Last year, Andrew took on the role of coaching a brand new soccer team, while encouraging more girls to play the sport.
Although some of his new players had never played the game before, Andrew was undeterred.
Thanks to his careful care, the team went through the season unbeaten, and they were even named Under 12 Minor Premiers.
To add to the awards tally, Andrew was also named ‘Community Coach of the Year’ by Hunter Valley Football for his work with Clarence Town FC last year.
Her caring and positive encouragement ensures that no child ever goes home without a smile.
WINNER: Community Volunteer Service – David (Fred) Longbottom
Fred is commended for the immense contribution he has made to fire safety and threat mitigation within our local community.
Fred has been described by his proponents as “Australia’s quintessential volunteer”, and gives his time, skills and effort freely.
A larger than life figure, Fred has been an active member of the Bendolba-Salisbury Rural Fire Service for over 30 years.
Born and raised in Chichester, Fred’s knowledge of our area’s topography, fire history and environment is invaluable to local RFS teams.
An undeniable ‘do-it-yourselfer’, Fred is also always available to find a safe solution to the technical problems that arise every day for his colleagues.
WINNER: Environmental Citizen of the Year – Dan Lyons
A much-loved teacher, one of Dan’s greatest passions is connecting young people to nature, so they can be the environmental changemakers of the future.
Having worked in outdoor education and bush adventure therapy for over 20 years, Dan is passionate about the positive impact the environment can have on a community.
At Wangat Lodge, he uses his skills to guide and mentor people, and imparts his knowledge on the topics of environmental health, conversation and regeneration.
Over the past year, Dan has spent countless hours helping residents and visitors connect with the natural world around them.
WINNER: Young Citizen of the Year – Aaron Fisher, Alec Grainger, Jack Boyton, Jacob Rooke, Aaron Whelan, Ryan Vella and Cooper Edwards
Knowing the impact that poor mental health can have on a young person’s potential, seven students from Dungog High School wanted to make a real difference.
Together, Aaron F, Alec, Jack, Jacob, Aaron W, Ryan and Cooper took on the “Push Up Challenge” to raise awareness of mental health issues within their school and community.
Year 11 students performed an impressive 78,565 push-ups for a good cause and even raised $20,000 in the process.
This team of caring and dedicated students has given much of their time and energy to help provide tangible mental health support to our local youth.
WINNER: Citizen of the Year – Marion Stuart
Never one to sit still for long, Marion is counted on for her leadership in many important community organizations.
Known for her generosity and willingness to lend a helping hand, Marion has taken on many roles within the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce including Secretary, Vice President and President.
With COVID lockdowns looming, Marion also steered the ship to ensure the Chamber Business Awards could continue successfully online.
A board member of Dungog Regional Tourism, Marion has spent over 20 years as a regular volunteer at the Dungog Visitor Information Centre.
Additionally, she volunteers for Meals on Wheels and has donated blood more than 65 times.