Lismore Australia Day Awards 2016

Jodie McRae, a cancer survivor and founder of local charity Jodie’s Inspiration, has been named Lismore’s 2016 Australia Day Citizen of the Year.


Image: Lismore’s 2016 Australia Day Citizen of the Year, Jodie McRae.

Jodie was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer in 2013 and after being given the all-clear, was diagnosed with secondary cancer in 2014. The mother of two and local business owner channelled her energy into establishing Jodie’s Inspiration, which in six short months has raised $105,000 for new medical equipment at Lismore’s oncology units.

“I am truly thrilled to name Jodie the Citizen of the Year,” Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said.

“Jodie’s Inspiration is the name of the charity Jodie founded but those who know this amazing woman also know that Jodie is an inspiration to many people in everything she does and in her attitude to life. Jodi’s motto is ‘Live Life Large’. That’s what she does every day and it is most fitting that Jodie is Lismore’s 2016 Australia Day Citizen of the Year.”

Jodie, who was in Sydney and unable to attend the ceremony, said she was taken aback to be awarded the top Australia Day honour.  “I was blown away… it’s just awesome. Best thing ever!” she said.

“There are so many people out there doing such a great things for our community, and you never expect something like this to be given to you. I’m so passionate about Lismore and the whole community, because it’s given me so much. My input is minimal compared to what I see other people doing.

“The generosity and the kindness of people in Lismore – people who expect nothing and will go out of their way to help you – is truly amazing.  “Just the other night I had dinner out with my niece and nephew, and I went to pay the bill and it had already been paid!  It took me a week to work out who it was!

But I feel like you don’t get that everywhere; it’s something unique about the Northern Rivers. It’s such a close-knit community.”

Other Australia Day Award winners were:

Aboriginal Citizen of the Year: Thelma James
Thelma has been chairperson of the Lismore Reconciliation Committee for over 10 years, and gives strong support to other committees for reconciliation. Thelma is involved in many community projects such as the Banyam Baigham Landcare Group in North Lismore, Rous Water’s ‘Reconnecting to Country’, Sorry Day and NAIDOC Week. She is described as an inspiration, and a patient and good listener who represents the Bundjalung people with dignity and pride.

Young Citizen of the Year: Holley Somerville-Knott
Holley is the CEO and founder of the Stardust Foundation charity and a songwriter who hopes to inspire solutions to social justice. Holley is a speaker for the United Nations and was recipient of the inaugural Young Sustainability Champion Award at the Green Globe Awards in 2014. Holley is creating a comic book to inspire others to be compassionate and kind.

Sustainable Environment: Judi Emmett
Judi is secretary of the Keerrong Gas Squad, an active member of Gasfield Free Northern Rivers, and gatekeeper of Lock the Gate. As part of the anti-CSG movement, Judi organised marches, stickers, bumper stickers, pamphlets and a host of other merchandise.

Art and Culture: Amber Gooley
Amber is a volunteer with Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA). She is also a tireless volunteer for LightnUp Inc. She is described as an effective and efficient administrator and a reliable, kind, honest and trustworthy person.

Services in Community (Individual): Ross McDougall
Ross started the Dunoon Men’s Shed. He formed a small team and energised the group to make the project work. Ross is also captain of the local fire brigade and puts in time and effort to improve the local community.

Services in Community (Group): LightnUp Inc
LightnUp Inc is a community-based arts organisation in Lismore. It provides individuals, artists, volunteers and community members with the opportunity to create artwork inspired by light and shadow. The group conducts workshops for school groups, people with disability, disadvantaged and isolated people. Programs provide employment and support people with disability, youth, the aged and migrants.

Junior Sportsperson: Keea Parrish
Keea has been selected as team and tour captain in the Under 16 Australian Futsal team to tour Brazil. At 15 she was selected to play in a Premier Division team, was the Golden Boot winner in 2015, and is the youngest student to play open girls soccer for Trinity Catholic College. She is also a zone, regional and state representative in athletics.

Lismore City Council Media Release. Published 27th January 2016. (Links inserted by Big Volcano Tourism)


‘First lady of first aid’ named the Tweed’s Citizen of the Year

Residents celebrated on Australia Day for community contribution

Some of the Tweed’s leading contributors were recognised when the 2015 Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards were presented as part of the main celebration and citizenship ceremony at Kingscliff High School.


Photo caption: From left:  Sporting Achievement Award winner Max Bryant, Betty Metcalf  (15 Minutes of Fame – Arts and Cultural Achievement Award), Quota club representatives Sue Wickham and Barbara Lee (Community Event of the Year), David White (15 Minutes of Fame), Citizen of the Year Fay Gleave, Volunteer of the Year Kenneth ‘Mark’ Eglington, Australia Day Ambassador George Ellis, Young Achiever in Community Service Award winner Elizabeth Kirk, and far right; 15 Minutes of Fame representatives Jenny Clarke, Marilyn White and Jenny Unwin (Arts and Cultural Achievement Award).

The highest honour, Citizen of the Year, was awarded to Tweed resident Fay Gleave, who has been sharing her knowledge on saving lives for 41 years. Ms Gleave first became involved with St John Ambulance in 1958, gaining a number of certificates along the way and becoming a lecturer and examiner on first aid in 1974.

In 2015 alone, she taught the finer points of first aid to more than 2000 students in northern NSW as part of the St John First Aid School program. Through the program, students were introduced to techniques such as checking airways, dressing cuts and phoning for help.

Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Kirk received the Young Achiever in Community Service Award for juggling an ongoing commitment to community service, volunteer work, high academic achievement at school and two part-time jobs.

Elizabeth will be undertaking her Year 12 HSC at Murwillumbah High School this year but continues to mentor students through the Student Representative Council, maintains the rank of Leading Seaman in the Naval Cadets and also achieved the highest Scouts award, the Australian Scout Medallion.

She has also completed the MAX potential program, a Rural Fire Service cadetship, assisted with the Cool Heads program for youth in the region and volunteered at the Murwillumbah Show.

The monthly ’15 Minutes of Fame’ event at Stokers Siding/Dunbible Memorial Hall won the Arts and Cultural Achievement Award. It is completely staffed by volunteers and has attracted a wide variety of professional and amateur performers of all ages.

Kingscliff resident Max Bryant took out the Sporting Achievement Award for his outstanding accomplishments in cricket and rugby league. At just 16 years of age, Max was selected in cricket for an Open North Coast Cricket Team, the Gold Coast Dolphins 2nd grade team, the Queensland Under 17 team to play in the Australian Championships and the Gold Coast Titans Under 16 rugby league team, among many others.

A service project for Remembrance Day, organised by Quota International of Tweed Heads/Coolangatta, was the Community Event of the Year. The service group knitted and crocheted 1327 red poppies that went on display and opened the doors of conversation for locals, visitors, Quota members and returned soldiers.

Kenneth ‘Mark’ Eglington was celebrated as Volunteer of the Year for more than 25 years of service with the NSW Rural Fire Service.   Mr Eglington rose through the ranks from fire fighter to Captain of the Cudgen Brigade, receiving the Rural Fire Service National Medal along the way.

As a well-respected member of the local community and self-employed small crop farmer, Mr Eglington advises land owners on fire permits and laws controlling pile burns. He received the Rural Fire Service National Medal, a testament to thousands of voluntary hours.

Mayor of Tweed, Councillor Katie Milne, said: “One of the loveliest things I find about the Tweed community is that we not only care for each other but we are also passionate about this environment, and care for the other residents of this Shire, the wildlife, too.

“Like the First Australians, the traditional Custodians of these lands, we all need to be custodians to care for this country.  Each one of us needs to do our part to give back to this country that gives so much to us.”

Courtesy: Tweed Shire Council Newsroom (links inserted Big Volcano Tourism aka Big Volcano Visitor Guide)
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Tyalgum village is set to celebrate Australia Day with an Aussie bush style community get together, including Anzac biscuit and Damper baking competitions, and a street parade with prizes for the best bikes, vehicles, people and four legged companions.


Focal point of the community; games activities for the kids, an Aussie sing-along and morning tea will be held at Tyalgum Hall, along with a Fire Brigade display and novelty events.

After the parade and presentations, all eyes will turn to the annual Tyalgum Australia vs India cricket match, a keenly contested tradition with the teams drawing on locals from both backgrounds.

A BBQ food, soft drinks and a licensed bar will be available at the Oval during the cricket, with visitors welcome to BYO eskies.  Local cafes, the general store and the pub will be open to provide visitors with a warm Tyalgum hospitality during the day.

Auriel Bartrim will be at the Hall at 9am to accept entries in ANZAC and Damper comps – with (lucky) locals Peter and Normie judging these, so you might want to butter them up.

1st/2nd/3rd places in each category will be announced and awarded in Hall prior to morning tea.

Bruce Bartrim is heading the parade and will marshall participants at Norco Park at 9am.

Prizes will be awarded for best decorated bikes, horses, people etc.  Judges are appointed on the day and prize money to come from $300 TSC grant.

The flag raising, National Anthem, and School Captain’s addresses will take place at the Flagpole, and the MC will introduce Bruce for the welcome, with the presentation of parade prize winners following.

Aussie Sing along with keyboard – MC and all singing.  Word books will be placed or passed around and collected at finish.  (10/15 mins.)

Morning tea starts at around 1030am, with games activities for the kids outside, looked after by Karen Townson, while morning tea is taken.   Karen has submitted a lively list of games, and Tyalgum Ridge Retreat is kindly donating ice-cream and other games requirements.

The cricket starts 1130am at Bruce Bartrim Oval, with a BBQ, soft drinks and licensed bar available, and the raffle will be drawn at Cricket when time is right.

Contact details

Information kindly provided by Bob McDonald.  For more information or to get involved, please contact Bob on 0439 722 851, or Peter Meadows on 0428 793 055.


Assemble at Norco Park @ 9.00 am
Parade commences at 9.30 am
ANZAC biscuits and damper competition entries to hall by 9.00am.

•    Tyalgum School Captains’ Address
•    Flag raising
•    National Anthem
•    Welcome (Mr Bruce Bartrim)
•    Presentation of Australia Day Awards
•    Presentation to winners  (junior & senior– ANZAC biscuits / damper)
•    Best decorated prizes (bikes / floats) awarded
•    Aussie sing-a-long ( Mr Dennis Scanlon)
•    Morning Tea
•    Children’s Activities (Mrs Karen Townson)
•    Australia Day raffle drawn

Fire Brigade display and novelty events 

Bruce Bartrim Oval
Food and soft drinks available / BYO eskies

Top musical director announced as Tweed Shire Australia Day Ambassador

International award-winning musical composer and conductor George Ellis, has been named the Tweed Shire’s Australia Day Ambassador for 2016, and will join the Tweed’s celebrations.

With countless stage, screen and classical credits, Mr Ellis is one of Australia’s top musical directors and conductors, presenting concerts in Paris, London, Venice, Rome, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles, Athens, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, just to name a few.

Mayor of Tweed, Councillor Katie Milne, said George Ellis would address the audience as part of the Tweed’s Australia Day celebrations to be held at Kingscliff High School.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have George Ellis visiting us and speaking about his experiences and pride in being an Australian,” Councillor Milne said.

“It is particularly important we acknowledge the local Aboriginal community past and present, who first walked this land many thousands of years ago and pay tribute to their ongoing cultural connections with this beautiful place.  “We are extremely lucky to be Australian, and even more fortunate to live in this special region of the Tweed,” she said.

Photo: Gondwana rainforest, Border Ranges National Park.  D Palmer, © by Big Volcano Tourism.

“The Federal Government has named the region as one of Australia’s eight National Iconic Landscapes and some of the best remnants in Australia of our ancient Gondwana rainforests, which date back around 100 million years, can still be found in this Shire today.”

George Ellis said being a past Ambassador was extremely memorable, and his favourite thing to do on Australia Day was enjoy a barbecue with great company.

“Serving as an Australia Day Ambassador in beautiful rural NSW these last three years has been my favourite Australia Day experience,” Mr Ellis said.  “I have met some incredibly inspirational and selfless people who love to help others.”

Newly-appointed Australia Day Committee chair Alan Downes, said George Ellis would tap into the cultural side of the Tweed while complementing the region’s traditional Australia Day celebrations.

“Australia Day is a great day to get together with your community with a wide range of family friendly events held at Tumbulgum, Burringbar, Kingscliff, Tyalgum, Pottsville and Jack Evans Boat Harbour,” Mr Downes said.

As details are finalised for the various celebrations throughout the Tweed they will be available at

For more information, contact Tweed Shire Council on (02) 6670 2400.

Courtesy: Tweed Shire Council Newsroom
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See also: Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural CentreIntroduction to Gondwana Rainforests of Australia | Big Volcano (clickable) Visitor Map