2023 Australia Day Awards in Campaspe Shire


The winners of the 2023 Campaspe Australia Day Awards were announced at events across the shire today.

Mayor Cr Rob Amos congratulated the winners for their outstanding contributions to their local communities.

“The Australia Day Awards are an important way to formally recognise the dedication and commitment of hard working members in our municipality, nominated by members of their community,” Cr Amos said.

“We are very fortunate to have remarkable citizens who generously give of their time, knowledge and skills to increase social connections, opportunities and improve the health and wellbeing of residents.”

Awards were presented in three categories, with the overall shire award winners as follows:

Citizen of the Year: Michael (Mick) Simpson of Kyabram

Young Citizen of the Year: Cameron Barnes of Echuca

Community Group of the Year: Girgarre Development Group Inc.

In addition to the overall shire Australia Day Award winners, the districts of Echuca, Kyabram, Rochester, Tongala and Waranga each had their own winners who were presented at local events during the day.

“On behalf of Council and the community, I congratulate all nominees and subsequent winners and of the Australia Day Awards across the shire. We are privileged to have such outstanding individuals and groups in our region who inspire us all through their generosity of time and passion for community,” Cr Amos said.

Citizen of the Year, Michael (Mick) Simpson was diagnosed four years ago with Lewy Body Dementia, and has since made it his goal to learn as much as possible about the disease, as well as raise awareness about dementia within his local community. Over the past three years, Mick has completed multiple walks to raise dementia awareness and much-needed funds for Dementia Australia. Together with the Kyabram Community Learning Centre, Mick was instrumental in the formation of a support group, aptly named ‘Don’t Demention It’.

The group meets once a month at ‘Dementia Café’ and encourages local people with dementia to join and share information. Mick is an active member of the Kyabram community; in particular, as a member of the local Lions Club. Mick is part of the club’s working party which regularly maintains the grounds at the Kyabram Fauna Park, and recently assisted with moving furniture for people impacted by the flood in Rochester.

Young Citizen of the Year, Cameron Barnes has been an active member of the 1st Echuca Scout Group since 2011 and is currently the Unit Chair. Cameron leads the unit in volunteering and participating at community events as well as mentoring and supporting the younger scouts. He is a member of the Youth Advisory Group which advocates to Campaspe Shire Council about issues that affect young people in our community.

Cameron is currently studying Certificate IV in Personal Fitness with the goal to work in the field of disability and rehabilitation, and enjoys volunteering at the Elders exercise program at Njernda’s Nyini Health and Wellness Centre.

The Community Group of the Year, the Girgarre Development Group is an umbrella group consisting of representatives of all local community organisations. The group has overseen the revival of the town by uniting the community to work together towards a shared vision for future generations.

Some of the group’s achievements include the establishment of regular events to invigorate the town, such as the Girgarre Markets and the Girgarre Moosic Muster, both of which attract large crowds of visitors and locals. The group has also been instrumental in fundraising and establishing several notable attractions including the Sound Shell, Sound Walk, Girgarre to Stanhope Rail Trail and the imminent Gargarro Botanical Gardens, which will celebrate indigenous history and be home to an unrivalled collection of native plant species. The group also supports the revitalisation of community facilities such as the Memorial Hall and the kindergarten.

District Award Winners

Echuca and district

Citizen of the Year – Sarah Peake

Young Citizen of the Year – Cameron Barnes of Echuca (overall shire winner)

Community Group of the Year – Echuca Moama Community Radio EMFM 104.7

Kyabram and district

Citizen of the Year – Michael (Mick) Simpson of Kyabram (overall shire winner)

Young Citizen of the Year – Will Mitchell

Community Group of the Year – Ky Project Committee Inc.

Rochester and district

Citizen of the Year – Rochester Township

Young Citizen of the Year – Georgia Matthews

Community Group of the Year – Not awarded

Tongala and district

Citizen of the Year – Winner awarded – Winner declined to participate in the awards program.

Young Citizen of the Year – Bailey Marsh

Community Group of the Year – Tongala Development Group Inc.

Waranga Ward

Citizen of the Year – Gavan Poole

Young Citizen of the Year – Josh Francis

Community Group of the Year – Girgarre Development Group Inc. (overall shire winner)

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