Shire of West Arthur

Australia Day Award Winners

Published: Monday, 28 January 2019 at 10:57:00 AM

2018 West Arthur Australia Day - Active Citizenship Awards

Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s awards and thank you for all that you do in our community. Thank you to all the volunteers, sponsors and donations for another successful Australia Day breakfast.

Event/Group – Darkan Sheepfest

In September last year a group of passionate and like-minded people came together to participate in the Shire’s Enterprising Communities workshop. This workshop identified needs and solutions which needed to be driven from the ground up by communities. One of the Long Term goals identified by the group was an annual event to put Darkan in the spotlight and encourage visitors, whilst providing an event for locals.

Despite it being a Long Term goal, some community members had other ideas and the event known as the Darkan Sheepfest was immediately created. The event was put together in only 13 weeks and gained media coverage around the state as an example of a ‘grass roots’ country show. With gold coin entry and free kid’s entertainment, competitions, fashion parades and produce stalls the event attracted over 1000 people throughout the day. It was a huge community effort and the Darkan Sheepfest Committee and long list of volunteers are to be congratulated on their hard work and commitment and we look forward to the next Sheepfest in February and for years to come.

Young Citizen of the Year – Amy Lubcke

According to those that know her, Amy has always wanted to help others and in 2018 an opportunity arose for Amy to fulfil that desire. Amy connected with Lauren Jackson, of Collie, Co-founder of the Children of Maasai Educational Programme. The charity’s focus is to assist in providing basic needs such as health care and education to children in the Maasai area of Kenya, Africa. Amy set out to visit Kenya at her own cost and volunteer for a month at Lauren’s charity.

To help raise awareness and funds for the visit in November, Amy, with the help of West Arthur WIFE, organised an evening of "Inspiration and Donation" at the Darkan and Districts Sports Complex. Amy organised raffle prizes and asked for donations of children’s underwear and any second hand clothes. By the end of the evening over $600 was raised and over 30kgs of clothes collected.

The money was used to buy medication to run two medical clinics in rural Kenya, where people normally would have no access to medical facilities. The money also assisted with worming children and buying food packages for families.

Amy is also a member of the Southern Dirt Young Farmers Association, part of the main organisers of their Winter Ball last year and the March sundowner this year.

Amy’s independence and passion for helping others has already made a difference in many lives and she demonstrates genuine leadership and citizenship in our community.

Citizen of the Year – Heather Cook

The winner of this year’s citizen award is an extremely humble person, never seeking the spotlight but often the mechanics behind a lot of projects. She is a respectful and diplomatic person who can communicate with people of all ages and faces, recognising and embracing differences making her an asset to any community.

During the different stages of her life this person would have been involved with most of the groups in Darkan, however, of note is that she has been a long term President of the Darkan Tennis Club and long term Secretary of the Darkan and Districts Sports Complex playing an integral role in the extension and formation of the co-located facility.

In her work life with early childhood education this person has never viewed her role as just a job, genuinely caring for the wellbeing and growth of her students and continuing to further her qualifications to assist children with learning difficulties.

Whilst these achievements alone make this person a worthy recipient it was her acts of generosity and selflessness supporting Jack Boyle and his family during his battle with Leukaemia that really made her stand out this year. This person initiated and co-ordinated community "Cook Ups" to make meals for the family during this time. She was a major support in the family fundraising event held at the Complex where she even had her head shaved to raise money and awareness for the Leukaemia Foundation. Those that know her also know that this is the sort of generous deed she would do for anyone in our community.

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