Wollongong ready to thank you on Australia Day to those who tirelessly making valuable contributions in the community

Recognising contributions: Robyn te Velde, Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and Grant Plecas call for nominations for Australia Day Awards. Pics: Greg Ellis.
Recognising contributions: Robyn te Velde, Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and Grant Plecas call for nominations for Australia Day Awards. Pics: Greg Ellis.

Australia Day Award nominations are open for people and community groups who make a difference in Wollongong.

The 2018 City of Wollongong Australia Day Awards winners will be announced at an  Australia Day dinner on January 23 and the winners will then participate in the annual celebrations at Belmore Basin on January 26.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery said the awards were a great way to honour and recognise outstanding community members.

Cr Bradbery said the annual awards were an opportunity to acknowledge the many people in the community who contribute much to making Wollongong the welcoming, creative, innovative, diverse and successful city it is.

He said with seven categories people in a board range of fields were recognised. That includes professional, sporting or academic achievement, community work and those who are inspirational role models.

“There is a category for everyone. The idea is to give someone a Gong and an opportunity to be recognised,” he said.

Cr Bradbery said the annual awards were among the highlights of each year in his role as mayor.

“It is exciting because there are many things I discover about people doing exceptional things and contributing to our community in ways that can just go under the radar. So this is a means by which they are not only drawn to my attention but also the whole city,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for out volunteers and people who contribute so much we would be a much poorer community. I think Wollongong is very rich not only in terms of its beauty and natural amenity. But our people and what they is amazing.”

Cr Bradbery said thanks to them Wollongong was a better place to live and work.

No limit: The way hundreds of volunteers welcomed cruise ship visitors in an IRT/Destination Wollongong ambassador program was recognised last January.

No limit: The way hundreds of volunteers welcomed cruise ship visitors in an IRT/Destination Wollongong ambassador program was recognised last January.

As the present Wollongong Citizen of the Year Robyn te Velde said it was an honour to win that title but every award and every nomination was an absolutely wonderful way to recognise many people in our community.

Mrs te Velde said there were many unsung heroes in Wollongong worthy of nomination and encouraged as many people as possible to put someone forward.

“There are many in the Illawarra and everyone out there knows someone who deserves to be acknowledged,” she said.

Former winner Grant Plecas attends the awards every year to honour all those nominated. He said those who put their names forward were also making a wonderful contribution to their community by focusing a spotlight on those humble contributors who quietly go about what they do not seeking any attention.

“Being a past winner in 2012 highlighted to me how important our community is and from then on I have been focused and conscious of how I can continue to help,” he said.

“I also want to keep promoting how good it is to be part of our community. Not everyone looks for recognition but it is an important part of encouraging other people to get out in the community.”

Wollongong’s Australia Day Awards are supported by the Fairy Meadow Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank.

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Wollongong’s 2018 Australia Day Award categories;

  • Citizen of the Year
  • Senior Citizen of the Year
  • Young Citizen of the Year
  • Arts and Cultural Achievement
  • Community Group Award
  • Sports Achievement Award
  • Outstanding Achievement or Innovation

The 2017 award recipients;

  • Citizen of the Year – Robyn te Velde
  • Senior Citizen of the Year – James Powell
  • Young Citizen of the Year – Alyssa Norris
  • Community Group Award – Wollongong Ambassador Program
  • Arts & Cultural Achievement Award – Wollongong Botanic Garden Florilegium Artists
  • Sports Achievement – Chloe Heffernan
  • Outstanding Achievement or Innovation Award – Professor Gordon Wallace
  • Lord Mayor special awards – Clarence Slockee and Dr Bob Wheway