New Honorary Freeman of the City

Published on 18 September 2023

Freeman of the City Bernie Capicchiano and Graeme Lorimer.

Two members of the Maroondah community have been conferred as our newest Honorary Freeman of the City.

Council conferred Mr Bernie Capicchiano and Dr Graeme Lorimer at an event on Tuesday 12 September, in recognition of their long and outstanding contributions to the community.

Bernie and Graeme each received an Illuminated Address under the Seal of Council, acknowledging their achievements and in recognition of the Honour.

Mayor of Maroondah, Councillor Rob Steane OAM, congratulated Bernie and Graeme.

“I extend my congratulations to both Bernie and Graeme and thank them for their wonderful contributions to Maroondah and the wider community over many years,” Cr Steane said.

Bernie was recognised for his contributions to music in Maroondah and the wider community, while Graeme was acknowledged for his work in environmental conservation, education and research.

As the Founder and Owner of Bernies Music Land, his family business since in 1977, Bernie has shared his passion for music with many. He has been a major sponsor of The Ringwood Eisteddfod since 1984 and has served as President since 2016, following 11 years as Vice President. Through this involvement, Bernie has assisted countless music students to perform and receive a critique from Australia’s top adjudicators.

He has also held roles as a member and event sponsor of the Ringwood Chamber of Commerce, President and Treasurer of the Australian Music Association, and Board Member of Australian New Zealand Cultural Arts (ANZCA), among others.

Bernie received the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) award in 2018, and The Ringwood Eisteddfod was recognised as the Community Event of the Year in 2022 as part of the Maroondah Australia Day Awards.

“To me, helping people make music and sharing music is what it’s about. I’m very blessed to be able do to what I do,” Bernie said.

“I’m very honoured to receive this award. I’ll treasure it for many years.”

Dr Graeme Lorimer has been a dedicated educator, conservationist and volunteer for many years. His work has led to many positive environmental outcomes in Maroondah, including the protection of the rare Kilsyth South Spider-orchid. His Sites of Biological Significance in Maroondah 1995 to 1997 and Biodiversity in Maroondah (2020) Volumes 1 and 2 have also helped inform local biodiversity management.

Graeme’s experience spans various local, state and national roles. These include Convenor of the Friends of Bungalook Conservation Reserve since 1988, Fellow of the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand, an Honorary Research Associate of the Royal Botanic Gardens and a member of the Maroondah Environmental Advisory Committee, among others.

In recognition of his contributions, Graeme received the Citizen of the Year award in 2018 as part of the Maroondah Australia Day Awards and the Bill Wilkins Volunteer Award in 2020.

“I’m very honoured to receive this award,” Graeme said.

“Making a difference for the local community is something that I value, and being recognised by people in your local community counts for something that you don’t often get from many other broader awards.”

Videos of Bernie and Graeme will soon be available on Council’s website and online channels. The videos provide a record of their achievements and tell their story about what Maroondah means to them.

The distinction of Freeman of the City is the highest honour a Council can bestow on an individual. Bernie and Graeme join only seven other Maroondah residents to have received this distinction from Maroondah City Council.

Learn more about Maroondah’s Honorary Freeman of the City

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