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Australia Day Awards

The Australia Day Awards are celebrated annually in Bayside on 26 January.

Each year, members of the Bayside community are nominated for the awards in recognition of their outstanding contribution to Bayside. The award categories are:

For enquiries email LDavidson@bayside.vic.gov.au or call 9599 4388.

The awards will be announced on Australia Day 26 January.

Previous Australia Day Award winners

2021 winners

Bayside Citizen of the Year

President of Bayside Community Emergency Relief group, Deb Brook is Bayside’s Citizen of the Year 2021.

Deb Brook was presented the award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Bayside through her work mobilising and educating the community to effectively help those in need. 

Alongside a large group of committed volunteers, Deb works tirelessly to provide rapid response support in emergency situations including bushfires, COVID-19, escaping family violence and more.

During the January 2020 bushfires, Bayside Community Emergency Relief mobilised over 6300 people in the Bayside Community to donate requested items for fire ravaged communities and wildlife shelters affected.

Young Citizen of the Year

Sam Higgins was recognised as the 2021 Young Citizen of the Year for his leadership as a young person living with cerebral palsy.  Last year, Sam shared his story on ABC Radio through the Take Over Melbourne initiative inspiring many to not let anything get in the way of achieving their dreams.

Senior Citizen of the Year

The Senior Citizen of the Year Award went to community man Derek Jones to recognise his contribution to keeping Bayside beautiful. As the convenor of the Friends of Bayside Road program, Derek has enthusiastically and effectively driven FoBR administration and management, set strategic directions and maintained team morale.

Community Event of the Year

Bayside Community Emergency Relief Inc was recognised as Community Event of the Year Award for the COVID comfort packs. BCER donated 538 COVID comfort packs to residents in non-for-profit aged care centres and 200 comfort packs for children displaced by family violence. Each pack was carefully assembled by the hands of volunteers over a number of days. 

Environment Award- Individual

John Eichler was recognised as The Environment award for an individual for his extraordinary voluntary contribution to the photo documentation of the flora, fungi and fauna of Bayside and his high degree of skill as a scientific photographer.

2020 winners

Bayside Citizen of the Year

Long time Bayside resident and Grace Heart Church Reverend Bruce Corben was recognised for his outstanding contribution to Bayside through his work at the church where he and his team of over 20 volunteers, work tirelessly to support vulnerable members of the community and provide them with support, resources and opportunities to improve their circumstances.

Some of their initiatives include providing cooked lunches to those who may not have access to a nutritious meal, establishing multiple community groups and providing free information sessions on a range of topics.

Alongside his work at the church, Bruce Corben has been a volunteer for the State DHHS intellectual disability service for 17 years, concentrating his efforts in the Bayside Community.

Young Citizen of the Year

Emily Fairweather was recognised as Young Citizen of the Year for her work through the community initiative she founded, Flourish Programs. Emily advocates on behalf of young people to promote anti-bullying and help teens transition from primary to secondary school.

Community Event of the Year

Highett Neighbourhood Community House was recognised for their important R U Ok Day event where they hosted over 35 community and service organisations to discuss important topics on mental health.

Senior Citizen of the Year

Centenarian Ralph Butcher OAM was recognised for his contribution to the families of Australian Defence Force veterans and his significant volunteering and mentorship positions in Bayside over the years.

Environmental Award - Individual

This was presented to Derek Jones for his work as the Founder of Friends of Bayside Roads and his drive to keep Bayside roads clean.

Environmental Award - Organisation

The Bayside Toy Library took out the award for its work educating community members that frequent the library to share, donate and repair toys for reuse for many years.

2019 winners

Bayside Citizen of the Year

Black Rock resident and 'Pink Lady' Joan McLean was recognised for her outstanding contribution to Bayside over more than 65 years of volunteering in a variety of roles.

At 84, Mrs McLean is in her 31st year of volunteering as a Sandringham Hospital 'Pink Lady'. She has volunteered throughout her life including with local Cub groups for 16 years and ‘Meals on Wheels’ for more than 30 years. She was a Red Cross Blood donor for 30+ years.

Mrs McLean has given tirelessly of herself since the age of 19, donating her time, energy and even blood to help others. She is to be commended on her continuing dedication to her community.

Young Citizen of the Year

Stella Wadeson was recognised for her advocacy on behalf of young people in Bayside and as a peer supporter for South Goulburn Island indigenous exchange students at St Leonard’s College.

Community Event of the Year

The Bayside 100th Anniversary of Armistice Commemorative Service at Green Point, Brighton Beach was recognised as the community event of the year.

Environment Award- Individual

This award was presented to Ms Elizabeth Walsh for championing the cause of Bayside’s wildlife and habitat for many decades.

Environmental Award - Organisational

Boomerang Bags Bayside was recognised for raising awareness of plastics pollution and creating more than 4,000 recycled fabric bags as a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic bags.

2018 winners

Bayside Citizen of the Year

Sergeant Arran Ferguson was recognised for his outstanding contribution to making Bayside a safer place by bringing the police and community together.

The award recognises his efforts to build strong connections between Victoria Police and the local community over his 22 years of service. Sergeant Ferguson has been a champion of community engagement for Victoria Police.

He initiated the extremely successful Coffee and Copper program in Bayside, public safety/security forums and actively engages with the local community via social media.

Sergeant Ferguson is also a dedicated volunteer, contributing time and boundless energy to his community through his work with local clubs, mentoring young people and assisting at community events.

Young Citizen of the Year

The award was awarded jointly to Millicent Roper and Stevie-Lou Answerth for their work to develop an inclusive culture at Firbank Grammar and other local Bayside schools.

Community Event of the Year

The PRG 24 Hour Charity Bike Ride raised valuable funds for Sandringham Hospital.

Environmental Award – Individual

Ms Meren Reid and Mr Robert Saunders were recognised for their long-standing volunteer contribution to Bayside’s wonderful natural environment.

Environmental Award – Organisation

1st/14th Brighton Sea Scouts took out the award for their innovative “Leading on Litter” beach monitoring program which is contributing to better understanding of plastics pollution in Port Phillip Bay.