Local residents celebrated on Australia Day

Published on 26 January 2021

Macedon Ranges Shire Council is proud to announce the recipients of the 2021 Australia Day Awards, who were presented with their awards as part of the Australia Day citizenship ceremony held at the Kyneton Town Hall on Tuesday 26 January. Awards were presented in five categories: Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Community Achievement, Community Event and Arts Ambassador.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council congratulates:

Citizen of the Year Award—Amanda Gauci

Amanda Gauci moved to Gisborne in 1983 and immediately involved herself in local environment groups. As president of both Friends of Gisborne Botanic Gardens and Friends of Daly Nature Reserve, she has worked tirelessly with the community, and continued her understanding and love of native flora by assisting the 1st Gisborne Scouts in creating a native garden to enhance the scout hall.

Amanda has helped to organise and lead nature walks for grade 3 students from Gisborne Primary School, and as a registered wildlife carer, she finds time to care for weak and injured wildlife including magpies and possums. Her passion for the need for clean waterways has forged strong partnerships with both Melbourne Water and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Elders.

Young Citizen of the Year Award — Miranda Johnson-Jones

Miranda has been a youth advocate targeting improved services for regional mental health. Her contribution has made inroads in evaluating current rural sexual health campaigns and effectiveness within the community, and developing creative and specific future campaigns for sexual health in rural and regional areas using social media.

She has worked in the Macedon Ranges Youth Ambassadors Program with Mary-Anne Thomas MP, delivering specific and direct youth activities and campaigns in the Macedon Ranges. Miranda’s dedication has manifested in the release of a youth social awareness campaign regarding sexual assault and rape titled 'It's Time to Talk' which premiered in 2020. This project aims to improve health literacy and awareness surrounding gender equality and relationships in the local area.

Community Achievement Award—Kyneton Agricultural Society

The Kyneton Agricultural Society members both past and present have ensured that the grand tradition of a local agricultural show is not only alive but thriving in the Macedon Ranges. The largest section of the Kyneton Agricultural Show is its community area. Community groups, farmers, makers, entertainers and the community as a whole come together to celebrate life in the Macedon Ranges. For many community groups, it is the only opportunity to raise awareness of their group and to fundraise.

The show attracts in excess of 5000 people annually. Approximately 100 volunteers are involved in bringing the show to life each year with preparation beginning in February, and continuing steadily up until show day in November. It is an enormous commitment for committee members and many tireless volunteers. In 2021, the Kyneton Agricultural Society will be holding its 160th show.

Community Event Award—Summer Living in Woodend

A group of local residents who work in emergency management roles and volunteer in community groups came together to provide a community conversation space that focused on living in Woodend in summer. Local groups and organisations like the Woodend Library, Woodend Neighbourhood House, local churches, Macedon Ranges Shire Council, Red Cross and the CFA were also engaged with a focus on what would happen if Woodend were affected by an emergency event. The results of the conversations became invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Arts Ambassador Award—Bernadette Joiner

Bernadette's background in primary school education, passion for children's literature and thirst for history drove her to buy local property ‘Dromkeen’ with her husband and sister-in-law in 2013. She runs popular monthly story time sessions, children's holiday workshops and adult workshops. In addition to connecting accomplished writers and illustrators with visitors,

Bernadette enjoys talking to visitors about the history of Dromkeen and the literary treasures that have found their way to the property in recent years. She also assists with learning opportunities in a range of creative pursuits including blacksmithing and weaving. Dromkeen’s main art gallery is a magnificent space for exhibitions and many local artists have benefited from Bernadette showcasing their work.