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Australia Day Awards recipients

The Maroondah Australia Day Awards recognise the achievements of Australians and the contribution they make to the Maroondah community. Awards are presented in three categories:

  • Citizen of the Year
  • Young Citizen of the Year
  • Community Event of the Year.

Australia Day celebrations 2019

Citizen of the Year – Ian Barnes


Ian “Barney” Barnes this year celebrates his 50th season at the Ringwood football Club, having started out as a junior player in 1969.

In 1981, following a knee injury which abruptly ended his playing career, he became the club’s head trainer and a committee member – duties he continues to perform to this day.

His involvement with the Ringwood Football Club’s senior, junior and veteran sides and the Ringwood Spiders All Abilities teams has earned him a life membership for both Ringwood Football Club and the Ringwood Spiders All Abilities Club, and has also been named a ‘legend’ of the Ringwood Football Club.

As a display of his commitment and passion, Ian would often work his day job roster as a firefighter around his club duties.

In 2018, Ian was awarded a Letter Under Seal from Council for his service to the community. He has received numerous other awards, including a Victoria Award (in 2018) and a Deakin Community Award (2014), an initiative that recognises unsung community leaders who go above and beyond in their service to the community. 


Young Citizen of the Year – Prateeti Sabhlok


In 2017, Prateeti 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, determined for it to succeed and grow.

She has single-handedly contributed to an increase in participation in the sport through planning, advertising and running adult sessions. Participants up to the age of 45 years attend her sessions, many of whom have no background in synchronised swimming.

Prateeti started synchronised swimming at age 10 after she became bored with swimming laps. She has competed for Australia at World Cup 2014 and at numerous national competitions.

As co-founder of the Eastern Sirens Synchronised Swimming Club in 2015, Prateeti is involved in all aspects of the sport, from competing and coaching to judging and participating at committee level. The club made its debut at the National Championships in 2017 and continues to be represented at both state and national level competitions.

The club is one of only three synchronised swim clubs in Victoria, and although the youngest 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 – Ringwood and District Heritage Open Day


Russ Haines from the Ringwood & District Historical Society

The Ringwood & District Historical Society held its inaugural Ringwood and District Heritage Open Day in October 2018.

The event was organised to celebrate the history and heritage of Ringwood, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Ringwood & District Historical Society.

The day included hundreds of historical displays from various groups and organisations, including Heathmont History Group, the Wonga Park History Group, the Ringwood Saints Baseball Club, the Ringwood Field Naturalist’s Club and the Maroondah Plant Society.

More than 200 people, some from country areas, attended the day.

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