An impressive list of 21 individuals and two community groups for a total of 23 nominations have been received in the 2019 Port Stephens Annual Awards.
Winners of the awards will be announced by Port Stephens Council at the Australia Day civic ceremony in Riverside Park, Raymond Terrace on Sunday from 9am.
Nominees are not allocated to a particular award, but are selected based on their list of merits.
The awards categories are:
- Freeman of Port Stephens: A distinguished citizen who has contributed eminent service to the community over many years.
- Citizen of the Year: A citizen which has made a significant and demonstrable contribution to the community during the preceding 12 month period.
- Young Citizen of the Year: Awarded to a young citizen (25 years or under) who has made a significant and demonstrable contribution to the community.
- Port Stephens Medal: Awarded to individuals, organisations or groups for distinguished service to the community. Nominees should demonstrate community leadership, promote the principles of cultural diversity and social equity; showing a tireless approach to community life and participation.
- Sportsperson of the Year: Awarded to individuals who have exhibited outstanding service to the sporting community of Port Stephens or who have attained a high level of achievement in the wider sporting community.
- Cultural Endeavour: Awarded to individuals who have exhibited outstanding service to the cultural community of Port Stephens or who have attained a high level of achievement in the wider cultural community.
- Environmental Citizen of the Year: New in 2019, this category is awarded to individuals, organisations or groups who have shown significant service to the environment of Port Stephens over the past 12 months.
The award nominees are:
Nominated for: Working to support business and women in business in Port Stephens
Leah is a current active member of Rotary Salamander Bay, president of Tomaree Business Chamber and member of Port Stephens Women in Business. Leah works tirelessly for the community and is well respected. Leah has been president of the chamber for two years and is a champion of the Real Futures project - a youth education and employment program.
Nominated for: Commitment and service to several volunteer groups in Port Stephens, function coordination and fundraising
Lorraine has been described as 'a pocket rocket of our community. Small in stature and large in energy'. Over many years Lorraine has given her time to organise countless functions and events and fund-raise thousands of dollars for numerous Port Stephens charities, and is an active member of several clubs and committees across Port Stephens.
From: Hunter Region Botanic Gardens
Nominated for: Services to the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens since its inception
Kevin is a life member of the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens (since its inception in 1986) and one of the pioneers who advocated for its development in 1982, and current senior botanical educator. Kevin's coordinates Garden's activities including Children's Discovery Day events, national tree day and biodiversity month, as well as leading guided tours.
Nominated for: Fundraising and promoting awareness of Battens Disease
At 13 years of age, Lily is an active participant in fundraising for a cure and promoting awareness for Battens Disease - a rare genetic disease that sadly took her older's sisters life at age 9. School discos, a yearly gifts donation drive, and writing a children's book are just some of the activities Lily has helped organise and coordinate fundraising for.
From: Hunter River High School
Nominated for: Enthusiasm and efforts in supporting young people's education
Deb is the current principal of Hunter River High School. Deb has provided the leadership in steering the school to outstanding ATAR/HSC and apprenticeship results, and has been a pioneer in the P-Tech program - a fantastic transition to work program.
From: Port Stephens Suicide Prevention (PSSPN)
Nominated for: Volunteer efforts and championing suicide awareness initiatives.
Treasurer and supported the PSSPN to become a registered charity. Has been instrumental in supporting and championing several PSSPN initiatives including suicide prevention training for community members and welfare staff, and the annual Boat Harbour 'Walk with us' walk raising suicide awareness and promoting community connections.
From: Plastic Free Port Stephens
Nominated for: For advocating and raising community awareness on environmental sustainability
Alicia is the founder of Plastic Free Port Stephens. Alicia established PFPS with the aim of supporting Port Stephens residents and businesses find innovative ways to reduce single-use plastics and educate the community on waste reduction and eco-friendly plastic alternatives.
From: Tilligerry Landcare Group
Nominated for: Handyman services to the Tilligerry Landcare Group
Barrie has been volunteering with the Tilligerry Landcare Group for the past 15 years. He is handyman of the group and is always willing to install park signs, clean the Tanilba Foreshore hall, fix seats, paint outdoor furniture, whipper snip, mow and general handy duties.
Ralph de Ville
From: Mallabula Parks and Reserves
Nominated for: Volunteer services to the Mallabula Parks and Reserves and innovative approaches to weed control and management
Ralph de Ville is chair of Mallabula Parks and Reserves and has volunteered with the group for many years. Some of Ralph's work for the Port Stephens environment includes trialling non-chemical approaches to weed control, using sugar to treat buffalo grass at Rookes Point.
From: Soldiers Point Landcare
Nominated for: Volunteer services to the Soldiers Point Landcare group including supporting the planting and maintenance of koala feed trees in Soldiers Point
For the last 20 years Ted has been an enthusiastic and passionate volunteer helping to conserve and maintain Port Stephens' bushland with the Soldiers Point Landcare. Ted has helped to ensure the survival of the newly planted koala feed trees in the Soldiers Point area which will benefit the Port Stephens koala population greatly.
Nominated for: Murals and rescuing wildlife
Rhys is a local and talented artist, using his creative expertise to add colour and life to our town centres. Rhys is responsible for several murals across the Port Stephens region, including works at the recent Anna Bay 7-day makeover.
From: Cerebral Palsey Alliance Run Squad Program
Nominated for: Supporting the Cerebral Palsey Alliance Run Squad Program at Newcastle University
Local Hunter River High student, Maddison, or 'Maddy', has been integral to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Squad Program at the University of Newcastle. Maddy helps to support teens with disabilities find their spark through social and physical activity.
Nominated for: Representation in netball, AFL and touch football; sportsmanship and conduct and volunteer efforts
At only 13 years of age, Taylor Smith is an outstanding sportsperson and role model for youth in sport. Taylor has represented Nelson Bay Netball, Nelson Bay touch football, Junior Marlins AFL, Hunter AFL, Hunter touch football and the Sydney Swans Academy, and has won several awards for her sporting achievements. Taylor also regularly volunteers as a coach and umpire.
From: Raymond Terrace Junior Rugby League
Nominated for: Coaching and mentoring a group of young women play rugby league
At 17 years old, coached a team of 11 year old girls play rugby league - most whom had not played before - and were successful in making it the semi-finals. Team played mostly against boys teams. Has also volunteered with League Safe - a safety awareness initiative that looks to keep everyone safe before, during and after a game.
Nominated for: Fundraising efforts for Spina Bifita awareness and active community involvement
Worked tirelessly to raise funds for Spina Bifita awareness, travelled to children's parliament, played live music at Raymond Terrace community events and is an active member of the schools SRC. She has participated in the COWS (Celebration of Words) competition.
From: Rural Fire Service Salt Ash
Nominated for: Dedication and service to the Salt Ash Fire Service, and recent firefighting efforts in Northern Rivers fires.
Nathan was extremely active during the recent bushfire crisis in NSW, travelling with Salt Ash RFS to assist local brigades in the Northern Rivers area.
Nominated for: Service to several volunteer groups in Port Stephens
Nigel is a community champion of Port Stephens who has given his time to numerous volunteer groups across Port Stephens including EcoNetwork Port Stephens, Port Stephens Greens, Climate Action Port Stephens, the Tomaree ratepayers and Residents Association, and the recent Anna Bay 7-day makeover. Nigel is passionate about making Port Stephens a great place.
From: Nelson Bay Jnr Rugby Union
Nominated for: Volunteer services to Nelson Bay Jnr Rugby Union Club in all facets
Since joining the Nelson Bay Jnr Rugby Union Club in 2009, Dion has supported the running of the club in every way you can imagine - from coach, assistant coach, manager, trainer, referee, junior and vice president, and secretary to grant writer, grounds manager, merchandise coordinator and line marker. Always willing to put his hand up, Dion is an outstanding example of local volunteering.
Donald "Steve" Jones
From: Seaham Volunteer Fire Brigade
Nominated for: Firefighting efforts
Fire chief for over 30 years. Fighting and coordinating fires, organizing the Xmas Santa run, and still being deployed to fight fires in other areas despite now being in his mid-60s.
Nominated for: Volunteering with Rural Fire Service, SES, and recent firefighting efforts.
Brandon is a 25 year old volunteer firefighter and SES volunteer from Medowie. In the last two years Brandon has responded to over 100 callouts with the RFS including bushfires and motor vehicle accidents. Brandon is passionate about helping others and his community.
Nominated for: Fostering 11 children over seven years and services to Soldiers Point Tennis Club
Paul has been nominated for an award for his services to the Soldiers Point Tennis Club over a number of years, and for his service to the community in fostering 11 children over a 7 year period - a remarkable achievement.
Mambo Wanda Wetlands, Reserves and Landcare Committee
Nominated for: Dedication to protect, rehabilitate, restore and conserve the wetlands, flora and fauna
Since 1999 this dedicated Committee has been quietly working to conserve and protect the Mambo Wanda wetlands. The Committee has been responsible for tree planting, weed reduction, revegetation, rejuvenation of native gardens, water quality testing, and koala tree planting. The Group has been the recipient of several significant grants to support their ongoing work, as well as several awards.
Nelson Bay Civic Pride Group
Nominate for: Beautifying gardens across the Nelson Bay town centre with the support of volunteers
This dedicated group of volunteers works tirelessly to beautify the gardens of Nelson Bay CBD, and has brought local businesses along on their mission with the introduction of their 'adopt a garden' program.