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2019 Maroondah Australia Day Award recipients announced

Published on 26 January 2019
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The 2019 Maroondah Australia Day celebrations exemplified what makes Maroondah, and Australia, a great place to live.

Maroondah Mayor, Councillor Rob Steane, said it was always an honour to welcome new citizens and recognise those who make a significant contribution to our community.

“At this year’s event, 60 community members publicly pledged their loyalty to Australia, as the final step in obtaining their Australian citizenship, in a ceremony that can’t help but make people proud to live here,” Cr Steane said.

“I also had the privilege of announcing the annual Maroondah Australia Day Award recipients. The awards are presented each year to those citizens who make a significant contribution to the community,” he said.

“It is always a difficult decision choosing one recipient in each category when we have such an outstanding field of nominees. It certainly makes you proud to live in an area that has so many people willing to take time out to help others in their community.”

Citizen of the Year

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The 2019 Citizen of the Year was awarded to local sporting community stalwart, Ian Barnes.

“Ian ‘Barney’ Barnes celebrates his 50th season at the Ringwood Football Club this year, having started out as a junior player in 1969 he later became the club’s head trainer and a committee member, duties he continues to perform to this day. His commitment however goes far beyond training and committee roles, often working his shifts as a firefighter around his club duties,” Cr Steane said.

“His name is synonymous with the Ringwood Football Club and the Ringwood Spiders All Abilities Club, of which he is both a life member. He is also one of only two ‘legends’ of the Ringwood Football Club.”

Young Citizen of the Year

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Young Citizen of the Year was awarded to Prateeti Sabhlok for her significant contribution to female participation in sport.

“Prateeti has successfully established the first ever Adult Synchronised Swimming Session in Victoria at Aquanation in Ringwood. Despite receiving no outside funding or support, she persevered for more than two years, dedicating her time and energy to see it succeed and grow.

“She is the co-founder of the Eastern Sirens Synchronised Swimming Club, through which the sessions are run, and is involved in all aspects of the sport, from competing and coaching to judging and participating at committee level. The club also made its debut at the National Championships in 2017 and continues to be represented at both state and national level competitions.

“As one of only three synchronised swim clubs in Victoria, and the youngest club of its kind in the state, it currently has the highest membership rate in Victoria. This is a testament to the hard work Prateeti has put into growing synchronised swimming in Maroondah.”

Community Event of the Year

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Russ Haines

The Community Event of the Year was awarded to the Ringwood and District Heritage Open Day.

The Ringwood & District Historical Society held its inaugural open day in October 2018, celebrating the history and heritage of Ringwood, as well as the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Ringwood & District Historical Society.

“Last year’s inaugural open day at North Ringwood Uniting Church was six months in the making and literally saw hundreds of items and stories filling the entire church building, making it one of the largest historical moveable or fixed museums in the area,” Cr Steane said.

“Congratulations to all our deserving nominees, it is thanks to you that we have such a strong sense of community spirit. I’d also like to thank the people who took the time to submit a nomination to recognise the outstanding efforts of their fellow citizens,” he said.

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