Council's Australia Day Awards 2023 are a chance to recognise members of the community who help make the Macedon Ranges a great place to live, work and visit.
Citizen of the Year
An individual who has made a significant contribution to the community in the past year or has demonstrated community service over a period of time.
Winner: Sue Anderson, Gisborne
Sue has dedicated her life to serving her community and going above and beyond to help others. For over 20 years, she has been a wildlife volunteer, working tirelessly to assist injured wildlife and support various wildlife and charity communities, making her an inspiration and well-known figure within our own community and afar.
Sue is well-known to many organisations throughout our shire and beyond, often being called upon by police departments to assist with injured animals. She has also been a selfless volunteer in times of need, assisting communities during disasters without ever seeking recognition.
Throughout her years of service, Sue has completed thousands of rescues, and her contributions to her community are truly immeasurable.
Connecting Communities Award
An individual or group who has made a significant contribution to community life either through physical connections such as trails, paths, open spaces or other infrastructure that enables the community to connect and participate, or social connections that ensure people have access to services and which create a sense of community and belonging.
Winner: Romsey Ecotherapy Park Committee
Romsey Ecotherapy Park Committee (REP) Inc. was instrumental in bringing people together and fostering a sense of community spirit during the planning and development of the newly opened Romsey Ecotherapy Park. The committee worked tirelessly over 14 years to raise funds and help bring the project to fruition.
Officially opened in October 2022, the Romsey Ecotherapy Park is a unique and special place where people of all ages and abilities can seek wellness, connection and play. It offers a sensory and therapeutic experience unlike any other. Visitors can engage with nature in a variety of ways, whether it be through exploring the natural landscape, participating in educational programs, or simply enjoying the beauty of the surroundings.
The project is testament to how significant contribution from the community can achieve a great outcome for the region.
Healthy People and Healthy Environment Award
Awarded to a group or individual who has made a significant contribution to promoting healthy lifestyles for all ages and abilities such as supporting mental health, recreation, community safety or arts and culture, or promotes protection of the natural environment such as biodiversity, climate change and waste reduction.
Woodend Masters Football Club
The Woodend Masters Football Club is a community sports team for men aged 35 and older, and are part of the AFL Country Victoria Masters Football League. The club currently has over 52 members registered and is dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles and wellbeing for all ages and abilities. The club also welcomes anyone in the community who would like to help or just come down and support it, making it a truly inclusive community club.
This club has also been active in supporting the community through fundraising and other activities. The club attends working bees for club members or community groups to assist, and provided support during the storm damage of 2021. Excess funds raised by the group are also used to support local sport or groups, particularly junior sport.
With their commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles and supporting mental health and community safety, the club has made a significant impact in the community.
Friends of Daly Nature Reserve
The Friends of Daly Nature Reserve is a dedicated group that works on public conservation land in cooperation with the Council's Environment team. Established in 2013, the group is a member of the Jacksons Creek Eco Network and Gisborne and Mount Macedon Districts Historical Society Inc. They work collaboratively with the Upper Deep Creek Landcare Network, 1st Gisborne Scout Group, and the Gisborne Primary School.
A key initiative of the group is their work with Traditional Owners to communicate the traditional seasons of the area with the community. The group also carries out regular working bees, conducts photo point monitoring to document changes in the reserve, participates in Clean Up Australia Day, and coordinates nature walks with the local primary school.
The group is strongly dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles, protecting the natural environment, supporting education and cultural awareness and community engagement.
Business and Tourism Award
Awarded to a group or individual who has demonstrated a significant achievement or ongoing community contribution to the economic vitality of the shire, including tourism, agribusiness, small business and local employment.
Winner: Matthew Barry, Woodend
Matthew is the leader of one of Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group's action groups and has been at the helm of the Woodend Community Farmers’ Market for three years. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, his leadership and commitment ensured the market remained open throughout.
Matthew was instrumental in implementing COVID-safe measures, including enlisting up to 25 volunteers to ensure customer compliance and support. The market has grown significantly, now offering up to 75 stalls, providing income for local producers and growers, and is highly regarded by the Victorian Farmers Market Association.
Matthew’s leadership and dedication to the community have helped enhance the economic vitality of the shire, demonstrating he is a true leader and community champion.