Celebrating our local heroes on Australia Day 2019

Published on 26 January 2019

Macedon Ranges Shire Council is proud to announce the recipients for the 2019 Australia Day Awards, which will be presented as part of the Australia Day celebrations to be held at the Kyneton Mechanics Institute on Saturday 26 January at 10.30am. 

There are five award categories this year: 

  • Citizen of the Year
  • Young Citizen of the Year
  • Community Achievement
  • Community Event
  • Arts Ambassador 

Citizen of the Year Award

Robert Renton

Since 2003, Robert Renton has worked tirelessly as a pension and welfare officer at the Kyneton RSL. Robert is a Vietnam veteran with a strong passion to help fellow veterans and war widows from our community.

Robert draws on past experience to help other service personnel and their families navigate available welfare services, and goes above and beyond what is required to ensure that clients’ needs are met.

A positive and humble disposition, willingness to stop to listen and answer questions, attend and participate in community events, encourage young people or just have a sarsaparilla and soda with a mate ensures Robert is a much-loved community member.

Robert is a constant and integral part of the RSL and Kyneton community at large and is often seen visiting a sick mate and is ready with a cheeky smile, a quick joke or sound advice no matter who you are.

Young Citizen of the Year Award

Jessica Cockerill-Wright and Shaylyn Blyth

About Shaylyn Blyth:

Shaylyn’s work with Cobaw Community Health’s House of Awesome projects that aim to improve the mental health of LGBTQ+ young people has been inspiring.

Shaylyn has created a healthcare video for LGBTQ+ inclusive health care called Healthcare under the Rainbow, and a youth podcast called Out There with House of Awesome and Highlands FM.

Shaylyn is one of the founding members of her Pride Crew at Gisborne Secondary College, a Youth Ambassador for Macedon Ranges Shire Council as well as being a previous Live4Life crew member.

Shaylyn won a Community Initiative award in Council’s Youth Awards in 2018 and was also a Young Leader on a three day Pride Camp run through Cobaw Community Health.

About Jessica Cockerill-Wright:

Jessica is the first woman in Kyneton CFA to be elected to the position of Lieutenant in its 134 year history. She attends schools and school fetes to promote safety in our community, and is also involved with junior CFA members.

Jessica was awarded the Community Leadership Youth Award for 2018, and Fourth Year Apprentice of the Year 2018, as well as organising a fundraiser to support farmers with the ongoing drought.

Jessica’s achievements have been recognised in parliament by Mary-Anne Thomas MP.

Arts Ambassador

Dr Jacqueline Ogeil

Dr Jacqueline Ogeil, artistic director and co-founder of the Woodend Winter Arts Festival, works tirelessly bringing artistic and cultural opportunities to the Macedon Ranges. Jacqueline’s artistic direction of the festival over the past 15 years has seen Australian and international performers, writers and artists bring cultural change to the Macedon Ranges, and has helped increase tourism visitation, providing great community and business benefits.

Through her previous position at Duneira, Mt Macedon, Jacqueline designed artistic programs year round that complemented the festival's activities, bringing a wide range of cultural experiences to the Macedon Ranges. Jacqueline has performed locally, regionally and overseas, worked as an arts educator, music teacher, and has just been appointed executive director of Montsalvat, Eltham.

Community Achievement Awards

Jason Azzopardi

Jason Azzopardi is a dynamic person who has a passion for supporting the youth of Macedon Ranges be it by listening to a troubled person, obtaining professional help for them when they need advice in either a legal or health issue, or mentoring them when they have no person to guide them.

Jason is the driving force and cofounder of the organisation called KidzFlip where young people are encouraged to respect themselves as well as their community. Since cofounding this organisation, Jason has performed an incredible feat of gathering support from local people, industry, professionals, school principals as well as clergy.

For this dedication and hard work with young people in the Macedon Ranges, Jason is more than worthy of receiving recognition for all of these endeavours.

Community Event of the Year Award

Malmsbury Town Hall 150th Birthday Celebration

The Malmsbury Town Hall’s 150 Birthday Celebration involved a diverse number of people from the community who created a wonderful event to celebrate the building’s history.

The Kyneton Brass Band led a welcome to local dignitaries, a re-enactment of the opening of the Town Hall was held by Malmsbury Primary School students, an elderly resident of Malmsbury cut a celebration cake, and the Mayor unveiled a watercolour of the town hall.