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Australia Day

Australia Day


The Southern Grampians Shire Council's official Australia Day Celebration will be held on Tuesday 26 January 2021 at the Hamilton Botanic Gardens, from 10.30am.

The 2021 program includes flag raising, performances by local musicians and Hamilton Brass, Citizenship ceremony, Australia Day Award presentations and free light lunch.

The wet weather venue will be Hamilton Indoor Leisure and Aquatic Centre.

Events also take place in towns throughout the Southern Grampians Shire.

Seymour Park, corner of Glendinning and Stirling Streets.
Flag raising, Unveiling of Seymour Park new signage, guest speaker and free community breakfast.

Coleraine Tourist Information Centre, Pilleau St.
Flag raising ceremony, award presentations, guest speaker Cr David Robertson & free Lions Club community breakfast

No event.

Penshurst Botanic Gardens, Martin St
Flag Raising Ceremony, National Anthem, Penshurst Citizen of the Year.

Café Catalpa
Flag Raising, Guest Speaker & Free Community BBQ Breakfast

No event.

No event.

No event.

No event.

For further information please contact Council on 5573 0444 or email

*All events are subject to change.

**This is a COVIDSafe Event. Please view our COVIDsafe plan for more information.


Southern Grampians Shire Council welcomes community members to nominate individuals, groups and events for an Australia Day Award. If you know a Southern Grampians Shire resident who is a great asset to the region and whose contribution deserves to be recognised, or would like to highlight an outstanding event that has enriched our community, then nominate now.

Australia Day Award categories include Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year (for people aged under 25), Community Event of the Year and the Council's own Community Recognition Awards. Awards will be presented at the official Southern Grampians Shire Australia Award celebrations held on January 26 in the Hamilton Botanic Gardens.
Note: unsuccessful nominations in the Citizen of the Year category are automatically considered for a Community Recognition Award.

Australia Day Award Winners 2020

CITIZEN OF THE YEAR – Colin Thompson

Colin has always selflessly tried to make a difference in our local community and to make Hamilton a better place to live. He has given countless hours working for the Hamilton community over many years. Colin has been involved with many volunteer groups across the region including the Hamilton Regional Business Association, Hamilton Brass, North Hamilton Fire Brigade, Standing Tall, Top of the Town Charity Ball and Baimbridge College Music Auxiliary, along with many more. All of these community organisations are volunteer run and require the dedication of a considerable amount of time, expertise, passion, and commitment- all of which Colin has delivered time and time again.
As a qualified accountant, Colin has worked for banks and an accounting firm in public practice. He has conducted many training courses for the community in areas such as record keeping, monitoring business performance, cash book records and computer programs. He is also a valued and highly sought after Business Mentor with the Victorian Small Business Mentoring Service. Colin is people focused and enjoys helping others achieve their business-related goals.

YOUNG CITIZEN OF THE YEAR – 4 Little Birds (Bella Manson, Ella Sevior, Jessica McLaren and Abbey Hill)

Over the past three years, 4 Little Birds have been raising money for Hamilton families in need using their school holidays to create, make and bake goods to sell with all proceeds going to local families. These girls often have no connection to the family but have simply heard about their situation and decided that this was the best way they could help.
The funds are 100% donated to their chosen family, most recently totalling $3,044. It is wonderful walking up to their stand knowing young people in our community are so passionate about helping those who need it the most.
Their work is absolutely inspiring and encouraging to everyone in this community. These four chirpy little birds are the epitome of what the Southern Grampians community should strive to be: selfless, passionate and positive.
Bella, Ella, Jess and Abbey have shown what a huge impact a small gesture can make, their selflessness, passion and initiative is something significant to be recognised.

EVENT OF THE YEAR – Rural Women’s Day

Rural Women’s Day, held on 15 October 2019 was organised by Jackie Elliott. The event was designed to showcase rural and regional women of the Western District and beyond.
Jackie attended the Great Hamilton Events Forum to get a better understanding of running an event, marketing and applying for grants. Jackie was successful in receiving grants to find the event from Glenelg Hopkins CMA, Look over the Farm Gate, Bendigo Bank, and Southern Grampians Shire Council Greater Grants program. The day was also supported by over 30 local businesses.

The event focused on rural and regional women who presented on a range of topics, with a high importance of real stories from real women, aiming to inspire and encourage attendees that they can do anything.
There was a ‘kick off’ event with a networking dinner in Hamilton on Monday 14 to bring an extra event to women of the district who couldn’t attend the day event.
Many women attended the Rural Women’s Day event with friends and mothers/daughters. It was a fantastic day out for networking and celebrating our rural and regional women.


A CFA Volunteer of 30 years, Fred has had experience in a large number of positions, first with Tarrington and now with Hamilton. Fred was also an original member involved with setting up the Hamilton Airport for firefighting with aircraft.
He not only attended incidents within our Hamilton and Greater Hamilton region but also travelled with crews to attend fires in other fire areas. Fred competed in three World Transplant Games, each time using the opportunity to promote Hamilton and our region.
Fred (with his wife) was a founding member of Tarrington Laternenfest which is now in its 25th year. This has won a Victorian award and has given great coverage to our greater region.
Recently he acted as a guide/translator for passengers of Cruise ships in Portland and promoted our region.
Over the years Fred has been involved in many more volunteer activities. He has now eased off in his commitments a little but as always, if anyone needs a hand or any assistance, he will always do his best.

Arie is a personal support worker with Southern Stay Disability Services, an advocate for people with bi-polar, and a very proud father of three young children.
He has battled through periods of homelessness, unemployment, mental health issues, sole parenting and the stigma that goes along with these experiences.
Aries’ dedication to helping other people to break down the barriers that he has experienced has seen him go public with his own story and to advocate for others who are struggling with complex problems, helping them gain access to much needed services.


Chris Cole is a significant contributor to the Hamilton and Southern Grampians region. He has worked as a volunteer at the Hamilton Institute of Rural Learning (HIRL) since 1995 during which time he was chiefly responsible for the day to day running of the facility and continued viability of the organisation.
In recent times, Chris was the driving force behind the creation of the Mud Gallery in Gray Street and many of the ongoing art and craft programs at HIRL. Chris was one of the founding members of community big band TRAX which provides opportunities to mentor and foster young musicians within our community and has also been a proud supporter of Ivy’s Army.
Chris has long been a passionate supporter for the arts, science, and people.
Regardless of what Chris has on, he always finds time to quietly and cheerfully help others and to positively contribute to our community.


Les has made a significant contribution both on and off the sporting field throughout the Southern Grampians region. Les reached representative level in every sport he participated in and always represented Hamilton and district with passion and pride.

Les is a quiet achiever and has gone about his life not seeking recognition or reward for his achievements. Les has been a mentor and coach for hundreds of junior cricketers and basketball players male and female, many of which have gone onto higher echelons in their chosen sport.

Les comes from one of the oldest and most highly respected farming families in the Hamilton district and has lived and worked all his life in the district. Les is also recognised as one of the leading fat lamb and beef cattle producers in the district and continues to achieve above average returns in the livestock markets.


Social Support Groups provide support for people to live well at home by providing caring, healthy activities and music options. The program is designed to enhance independence by promoting physical activity, cognitive stimulation, good nutrition, emotional wellbeing and social inclusion.
The women and men who make these visits are filled with kindness, patience and empathy, bringing much light into the lives of those who they visit.


Merrons’ efforts in promoting our greater Hamilton region are outstanding.
Merron started the “I Live in Hamilton” Facebook page in 2008 which has grown to over 7,500 members. She updates our region with regular posts including upcoming events and happenings in our region.
Many locals as well as former residents look forward to her posts. These are always informative and helpful as well as being positive, and aim to spread the good word about our region. Merron also has a website about western district families covering the past 150 years.


Kylie has volunteered for the Coleraine Football Netball Club for many years helping with anything from netball time-keeper, first aid, catering in the canteen, scorer and coaching the little ones.

Always there for working bees and cleaning up or setting up, Kylie was the one who encouraged the entire Coleraine community to get behind the MND ice bucket challenge with the footy club raising $25,000. She went down the slide herself, against doctors’ orders but said, “If everyone can do this for me, I can do it too”.

The quiet one behind the scenes, Kylie has worked helping the karts committee, kinder committee, and primary school functions. Kylie is a wonderful role model with three daughters following her example and volunteering within the community.


Ann Hayes has been a heart and soul volunteer for numerous groups and clubs for many years, including a life member of the Hamilton Karting Club and a Paul Harris Fellowship Award recipient with the Rotary Club of Hamilton North.

In recent years, Ann's major contribution to the community has been organising her much loved "Challenge Camps." The Hamilton camp provides kids that are suffering from cancer a country experience.

Ann works tirelessly for the 12 months leading up to each camp to ensure the children have an exciting schedule full of fun and new experiences and that showcases our beautiful district. Many volunteers help with the camps, including the allocated carers, however it is Ann's dedication and passion that brings the whole weekend together for these beautiful young people.


Ashley resides in Coleraine and is involved in many community and sporting groups in the district. He is the President of the Coleraine Football Netball Club. During his time with the club, he has introduced many new initiatives focusing on mental health and the wellbeing of players and members.

Outside the locker room, White Ribbon Day, Beyond Blue Round, and Good Sports Club accreditation are just a few of the initiatives that Ashley has been involved in.

Ashley has also been a member on the St Joseph’s Primary School Advisory Board, where his children attend primary school. He was an integral part of this board and was always the first to put his hand up to help out with anything that needed to be done.

Ashley has been involved with other sporting committees – the President’s role of the Coleraine Senior and Junior Tennis Club, the Coleraine Badminton Club and is currently on the Coleraine Sports Ground Committee.

Ashley has also been involved with HRBA through running his own business. Ashley is an all-round good egg and is the sort of person that everyone wants involved with their community group.

COMMUNITY RECOGNITION AWARD - Australian Breast Feeding Association (Hamilton Branch)

The Australian Breastfeeding Association Hamilton Group have been contributing to and supporting the wellbeing of Southern Grampians families for more than 10 years.

Currently the volunteers facilitate talks at antenatal and first parents groups, run breastfeeding education classes, monthly discussion sessions and monthly nature play/coffee catch ups. ABA Hamilton Group also support community events with feed and change spaces and promote up to date evidence based information on breastfeeding to local businesses and community initiatives including GenR8 Change.

ABA Hamilton Group moved just over 12 months ago to the Hamilton Institute of Rural Learning (HIRL). This has enabled a great partnership between local not-for-profit community groups.

It is a wonderful example of local volunteer groups supporting each other and working collaboratively within our community on an ongoing basis.

*These bios are taken directly from the nominator applications.

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