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Australia Day

Australia Day

Australia Day Award Nominations

Council is encouraging residents to take the opportunity to acknowledge community effort, participation and contribution through nominating residents for a Southern Grampians Shire Australia Day Award.

Individuals can be nominated for an Australia Day Award from Monday 10 October 2022 in the categories of Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, or for the Shire’s own Community Recognition Awards, all of which seek to acknowledge outstanding contributions to the community by an individual.

Nominations are also sought for the Australia Day Community Event of the Year Award, which seeks to shine a light on the benefits brought to our communities by local events (including those held virtually) and the hard working committees behind them.

Nominate online via our digital nomination form, or pick up a hard copy from Council offices at 111 Brown Street Hamilton. Completed nominations forms should be forwarded to or to Southern Grampians Shire Council, Locked Bag 685, Hamilton, VIC 3300.

*Nominations close at 5:00pm on Friday 18 November 2022.


The Southern Grampians Shire Council's official Australia Day Celebration will be held on 26 January 2023 in Hamilton.

Events also take place in towns throughout the Southern Grampians Shire with details to be outlined here soon. Stay up-to-date with event details here or via the Council Facebook page at


For further information please contact Council on 5573 0444 or email

*All events are subject to change.


Congratulations to our Australia Day 2022 award winners

John Graham – Southern Grampians Shire Council Citizen of the Year

John is a life member of the Western District Umpires Association who has been involved in the fundraising and building of the present clubrooms. A Tribunal umpires advocate for many years in the Western Border League and also minor leagues of the South West region, recently John has also been a tribunal member of the Hampton League tribunal panel.

Many school councils have benefited from John’s leadership as President including Good Shepherd Kindergarten, Kent Road Primary School, and Hamilton High School. John was also the volunteer handyman at the Hamilton Special Development School for nearly a decade.

The Hamilton Institute of Rural Learning is a big passion project for John having been secretary from 2014 until present day. His energy and enthusiasm has breathed new life into the organisation with his interest in art, he assisted with the Mud Gallery in Gray St, developed the Pottery studio at HIRL art-craft rooms, and for a number of years ran a drop in art group on a Wednesday night.

John has been instrumental in the Bandicoot recovery program, development of the solar power, sourcing and receiving grants for a number of building additions to the complex.

John has also been one of the chief organisers with Terry Fitzgerald in running a very successful farmers market for over 10 years. You will find John at HIRL most days doing whatever needs to be done and has been a driving force in putting HIRL on a very solid financial base. There is no one who has put in as much volunteer work as John with his expertise in many fields. His leadership and enthusiasm is a positive example to all our citizens. John deserves to be named as Southern Grampians Citizen of the Year.

Mia McGrath – Southern Grampians Young Citizen of the Year

Mia is a role model within her class at SWTAFE where she was the 2021 class captain, the Hamilton basketball community where she plays and coaches, and local sporting groups in general. She exhibits the values and skills which enable her to encourage others and work well in different groups, patient, inclusive and shows kindness towards others, she works hard, complete tasks and commits to helping others and the community.

Mia is always willing to take on roles of responsibility, to do the tasks needed to achieve the purpose and enthusiastically motivates others around her. She has also contributed to the community by being a volunteer at: Hamilton Park Run, fulfilling timekeeper, trail walking and position marker duties and with the Western District Umpires as a canteen volunteer.

Balmoral Easter Market – Southern Grampians Shire Council Community Event of the Year

The Balmoral Easter Market has been a part of the local landscape for many years with many local organisations running it before it became the project of the Balmoral Lions Club just under a decade ago. As the Market has grown over the years so has the event. With all the necessary COVID safe measures, three people spent over 100 combined hours just to make sure that the community could once again venture out and bring back the campers and tourists for the 2021 Balmoral Easter Market. With over 70 stall holders, it was a great success for the town, local volunteer groups, businesses, whilst also being one of the first instances for the locals to gather together and socialise in 12 months. This event has proven over time it is a great event drawing campers and visitors alike into town to take part. It is a big job for a small group of people that do it for their community. Best weekend of the year for the local shops and pub.

**Southern Grampians Shire Council Community Recognition Awards**

Dr Brian Shepherd Coulson

Dr Brian Coulson is a health professional who has a practice located here in the Southern Grampians Shire Council in Coleraine as well as Casterton. Over the years, Brian has travelled extensively around the world to attend many medical conferences. He has continually upgraded his skills and knowledge to keep abreast of new treatments and medications to benefit his clients. His depth of knowledge is incredible. Training doctors always appreciate his patience and willingness to share his knowledge, with the trainees able to ask questions and participate in the examinations.

Leigh Coggins

Leigh Coggins is the person you need when promoting our beautiful Hamilton Botanic Gardens. Her knowledge through studying for an Associate Diploma in Horticulture at Burnley College, her own interest in gardens together with her network of horticultural and botanical people are a great asset.

Leigh has had a long love affair with the Hamilton Botanic Gardens being an active voluntary member of The Friends’ Committee for nearly 20 years. During this time, Leigh has been president, official tour guide, active on the Stakeholders Group formed to implement the Master Plan and is the official Project Control Group Co-ordinator for the Friends. Leigh worked assiduously to obtain a Master Plan for the Gardens so that there was a botanical document as a reference, historically and for the future development. Leigh puts in many hours behind the scenes working towards projects and assisting in obtaining grants. Projects such as the interpretative signs, the restoration of the historic fence and the Thomson Fountain.

Robyn Agnew

Second Bite in Hamilton has a wonderful volunteer in Robyn. Starting out she thought it would be a valuable lesson to teach her young son that giving is far better than receiving.
In the lead up to Christmas, Robyn and her son Kane decided to make 10 hampers filled with groceries and toiletries all purchased by themselves and take them to the uniting church for the church to then distribute to those that were less fortunate than others. Unfortunately, one year Robyn broke her elbow and so reached out to the community for help to make the hampers happen for the church. The response from the local community was overwhelming.

Robyn has been organising these hampers for five years now and last year alone helped 120 hampers of food be distributed.

Ama Cooke

Ama’s focus is to make Penshurst a better place for everyone. For her, caring literally begins at home, where she is the carer for her mother.

Since Ama moved to Penshurst, she has been involved with the Show Committee, the VDC Committee, the Hall Committee, the Penshurst Men's Shed, Penshurst Progress Association, in which during that time she created the Penshurst Victoria website and Facebook page, the Mt Rouse News & Views Community Newsletter and Penshurst Creative Arts Inc that will be hosting its 7th Art Exhibition and 1st Photography Competition in 2022. She is also secretary of the Penshurst Uniting Church and has an Advanced Diploma in Theology and Ministry.

Over the past nine years, Ama has applied for and received many grants for the various organisations, including the extension of the Men's Shed and ongoing renovations at the Hall. Her question is always 'What next can we do'?

People, communication and making a difference continually drives her commitment to do more. She knows the importance of community spirit and loves the sense of community that she has found in Penshurst, believing life should be celebrated and we should never stop creating a better world, one step at a time.

Ashley Binny

Over his life Ashley has had a deep commitment to the Uniting Church. Through the generosity of the Hamilton and District Community, the Uniting Church regularly received donations of furniture and other items. Eventually this led to the establishment of the Argyle Shop. The benefits of such a project were threefold: people would have somewhere to donate unwanted items, the public would have the opportunity to purchase second-hand items, and the Church could make some money for its own purposes. Importantly, the latter to include being able to work with other agencies as well as in its own right to provide items for needy families at either no cost or very low cost. Ashley has been a prime mover in the establishment and running of the Argyle.

From the formation of the committee to investigate the viability of the project through to its present day existence, Ashley has been a key driving force. He chaired the initial management committee, recruited volunteers, negotiated with property owners and local government, served as co-ordinator for some years, continued helping with the physical work and did everything he could to establish a good profile for the Argyle.

Heather Funk

Heather Funk has been a significant contributor to the Dunkeld & district community over many years. She’s been a member of the Mothers Club at the Dunkeld Consolidated School, a member of the Moutajup & District Red Cross, a trustee of the Dunkeld Cemetery Trust, a member of the Dunkeld Community Centre Project Steering Group and continues to be an active member of the Hamilton Embroidery Group which has donated many beautiful embroideries to community facilities in Hamilton and Dunkeld.

She has also been a significant contributor to the Dunkeld Museum, serving as the Research Officer for a number of years, and as President. Heather is a Life Member of the Dunkeld Museum.

In all of the organisations in which Heather has been a volunteer and continues to volunteer, she has been a committed contributor, participating in working bees, fundraising activities and other events.

Like many of the volunteers in our community, Heather has been a significant contributor who has seen the opportunity to make a difference to her community and has committed time and effort to making her community a better place to live and work.

David Mutch

David is a part of the Balmoral community and is always the first to put up his hands to help out. He takes an active role as the Vice President of the Balmoral Lions Club, previously our Lions Tamer (who welcomes guests and introduces them and calls meetings to order), member of the Balmoral RSL branch and recently the booking officer. David looks after the RSL lawns and makes sure that they are nice for Anzac Day and any other events that are held there.

The older generation of the Balmoral district see him out and about on weekends and knows that he will give assistance where possible without hesitation. David is a great man that says that he's just doing what he can for the community but all little things eventually add up to big things. He is the best person to do a Bunnings BBQ with as he keeps you entertained all day.

Jackie Peacock

Have you ever met someone that has chased their goals and supported so many in the community while doing so? Jackie Peacock is compassionate and dedicated to bringing awareness of mental health to all parts in her community.

She decided to tackle the famous motorbike race, “Finke”, which is one of the biggest annual sporting events in the Northern Territory and Australia. It has the reputation of being one of the most difficult off-road courses in one of the most remote places in the world. All while preparing physically and mentally for the race, Jackie also raised over $20,000 for Beyond Blue! A true champion in our community.

Neil Henry

Neil has lived his whole life in Glenthompson and is a quiet achiever who does most of his community work behind the scenes. Over the years, he has been involved with the Glenthompson Primary School Council, the Glenthompson Tennis club, Glenthompson Junior Cricket Club, and the Glenthompson/Dunkeld Lions Club holding various executive positions. Neil has also been a member of the Glenthompson Fire Brigade for almost 50 years.

Two committees Neil has had a long association with - the Glenthompson Recreation Reserve and the Glenthompson Cemetery, where you will often find him mowing, spraying weeds, and generally keeping an eye on the facilities.

It is people like Neil, who take on executive positions on committees while doing a thorough job manage to quietly help maintain and enhance communities.

Robert Baillie

Robert has been an active member of the Penshurst and Hamilton community’s all his life.

A member of the Penshurst Youth Club, Golf Club, Flower Show and 30 years in the CFA. His involvement within the Lions Club district chairman took him all over Australia.

Robert was also on the Victorian State Committee of Crime Watch, President of the Hamilton Combined Probis Club. With numerous acts of kindness for friends and neighbours Robert has spent a lifetime helping his community.

Dunkeld Public Lands Committee

The Dunkeld Public Lands Committee does an outstanding job managing and maintaining many areas of public Land in Dunkeld including walking tracks, parks, playgrounds, picnic areas, tourist attractions and a caravan park.
The committee have worked extremely hard to develop the caravan park into a successful community enterprise with Cabins and powered sites which now employs full-time caretakers.

Dunkeld public Lands Committee are a small group of volunteers who are committed to improving Dunkeld for both the community and tourists and in turn contributing to a better economy and community for Southern Grampians Shire Council.

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