Hawkesbury announces Australia Day Winners and welcomes new citizens

Hawkesbury City Council proudly hosted this year’s Hawkesbury Australia Day Citizenship and Australia Day Awards at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery in Windsor on Sunday morning, 26 January 2020. The awards are an integral part of Australia Day, recognising and honouring the outstanding achievements of everyday Australians in the Hawkesbury.

As part of the ceremony, Council acknowledged the traditional custodians of the land, the Darug people, and showed respect for elders past, present and future and extended that respect to all Aboriginal people.

The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Barry Calvert said Council was very proud to host the awards.

“Congratulations to all of our Australia Day Award recipients,” the Mayor said.

“Thank you for the many wonderful contributions you have made to our Hawkesbury community.

“Thank you also to the nominators, family and friends of the winners who have come to celebrate and honour the efforts of their loved ones and friends.”

NSW Rural Fire Service –Hawkesbury Superintendent Karen Hodges addressed the community about the bushfires as part of the ceremony.

Mayor Calvert acknowledged the impact of the 2019/2020 bushfires on the Hawkesbury community and the wider Australian community.

“We have witnessed so much destruction during the bushfires that started in spring 2019 and which are still burning,” he said.

“These fires have caused so much devastation to our beautiful country. Ravaged lands, lives lost, wildlife decimated and properties and National Parks burnt.

“As this tragedy unfolded, we also witnessed the incredible devotion of volunteers giving literally months of their own time, during Christmas and the holiday season, and even now, to save our lives, our homes, our towns and environment wherever possible – at great personal cost,” Mayor Calvert said.

“Thank you to the Hawkesbury Rural Fire Service, the NSW Rural Fire Service, the State Emergency Service, the Police, the RAAF and Defence Force, the State and Federal Government, and to our community members and everyone who has helped in any way.

“You are all making us proud to be Australian.

“This is a crucial time in our country, when we all need to keep our optimism and strength in the face of a crisis, at a time when all levels of government and their policies need to work with our community to make real changes to the way we respond to our climate, working together.

“The journey ahead will include rebuilding properties and businesses as well as replacing critical infrastructure destroyed or damaged in the bushfires. Importantly, it will also include mental health support for the many bushfire affected Australians, including our community members.”

When making his address at the ceremony, the 2020 Hawkesbury Australia Day Ambassador, Peter Frazer brought home the importance of road safety in our community.

In 2012, Peter Frazer’s daughter, Sarah, was tragically killed in a totally avoidable Hume Freeway crash while her broken-down car was loaded onto a tow-truck. Peter now devotes his life to advocating for those who are vulnerable. He has founded Safer Australian Roads and Highways and National Road Safety Week.

The Hawkesbury also welcomed 45 new citizens in the special citizenship ceremony also held on the morning of Australia Day at the Gallery.

“I congratulate all of the Australia Day citizenship candidates on making their decision to become Australian citizens,” Mayor Calvert said.

The new citizens were welcomed from a range of countries including the United States of America, Canada, China, Taiwan, Malta, Fiji, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Croatia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark and Italy.

Council thanks North Richmond-Kurrajong Rotary and Windsor Girl Guides who hosted the BBQ lunch for both ceremonies.

2020 Hawkesbury Australia Day Award Recipients



Malcom Bobrige

Citizen of the Year

Jesse Wijnans

Young Citizen of the Year

Diane Sweeny

Volunteer of the Year

Madyson Disbray

Community Arts Award

Michelle New

Local Hero Award

Richie Benson

Local Hero Award

Pink Finss Charity

Community Organisation of the Year

Hawkesbury Remakery

Environmental Award

Hawkesbury Schools Harvest Project

Windsor High School

Cultural Heritage Award

Renee Hardy

All Abilities Sports Person of the Year

Sandy Freeman

All Abilities Sports Person of the Year

Madaline Boyle

Sports Person of the Year

Jasper Sinclair

Junior Person Sports of the Year

2020 Citizen of the Year Award – MAL BOBRIGE

Mal has been a volunteer with the NSW Rural Fire Service for over 38 years, with 27 of those years serving in the Hawkesbury, he joined the rural fire service in 1980 and has been an active member at the Blaxland Ridge Rural Fire Brigade, being the longest standing Captain after taking on the role in 1995, he continued in that role for 13 years. In 2008, Mal was awarded a life member that same year he became a Deputy Group Captain of Hawkesbury RFS. Over the years, Mal has also held several positions on the brigade executive and is also a member of Colo Heights RFS.

Mal was awarded the National Medal in 2004 for his diligent service to the NSW RFS. This medal recognises long service in organisations that protect life and property at some risk to their members. He was also awarded the RFS 30 years long service award in 2012.

The Hawkesbury community has greatly benefited from Mal’s achievements over the many years of his service as he has been a protector and first responder over many years when our community has been at their most vulnerable. Through his astounding commitment and leadership, he has inspired many others to devote themselves to the protection of our community.

Mal’s commitment to the Hawkesbury has stabilised community preparedness for fire dangers and has enabled the community to become aware of dangers and formulate appropriate fire plans in response. This has not only protected individuals, but the Hawkesbury community.

2020 Young Citizen of the Year – JESSE WIJNANS

Jesse is a youth group leader who regularly volunteers at community events to support young people. Jesse uses his hearing and speech delay as an asset to teach others to be inclusive.

Jesse also volunteers for deaf camps, McHappy Day, Hawkesbury Youth Fest and Hawkesbury Community Outreach Services. Jesse is a fantastic example of the youth in the Hawkesbury and he has shown true resilience and leadership. Jesse is currently studying a Certificate II in Community and Family Services as he wishes to work in this field in the future.

2020 Volunteer of the Year – Diane Sweeny

Diane Sweeny has been a fulltime volunteer at Hawkesbury City Salvation Army for six years. As part of this, Diane coordinates and runs the Hope Market that runs every Tuesday. It is a place where members of the community can come have a chat, receive food and get help paying their bills. Every week, Diane selects and prepares donations of produce and goods to be ready for the Tuesday Markets.

2020 Community Arts Award – Madyson Disbray

Madyson is an inspiration to local youth, supporting local musicians and increasing awareness of the local talent within the Hawkesbury. This assists in building a stable and strong local music economy. Madyson supports the Hawkesbury youth in increasing their self-esteem and supports the youth in turning their talent into a career.

Madyson organised a music night at The Church Bar Windsor in 2019 and she has also supported local charity organisations such as Reclaim the Night, Windsor Rotary Drought Relief Fundraiser, YouthFest and many more.

2020 Local Hero Award – Michelle New

Michelle New is the Founder and CEO of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Specific Resource Centre, an organisation that provides services, education and programs to encourage a more connected community. All programs are aimed at encouraging community participation, while also addressing loneliness, isolation and mental health issues.

Michelle has been through many personal struggles with her own mental health. She is always eager to help others. The organisation that Michelle leads creates such a great environment for its volunteer team and enthusiastically encourages further education.

2020 Local Hero Award – Richie Benson

From setting up a composting system and vegie garden at his Hawkesbury primary school to successfully creating the hugely popular Koala Fest in the Hawkesbury, local community member Richie Benson’s contribution to the local environment has been significant. The 21-year-old has been named the winner of the Young Landcare Leader award by Greater Sydney Local Land Services.

Richie founded the Cumberland Reach Landcare group to improve the riverbank through regular planting events and managed to raise awareness among his neighbours to get them on board. He also established Koala Fest which saw more than 1000 people attend and learn about the importance of preserving the local koala population and their habitat.

2020 Community Organisation of the Year – PINK FINNS CHARITY

Pink Finns Charity was established in 2010 to support, educate and help women and their families who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. It provides an important connection between the community and those in need.

In 2017, the Pink Finns expanded to assist all women’s cancers, not only breast cancer. Pink Finns has secured a home in the Old Hawkesbury Hospital that provides a much-loved space for monthly support group meetings, treatment rooms for oncology massage, office space, yoga and meditation classes. The Pink Finns charity helps the Hawkesbury community in many ways. This year Pink Finns Charity is proudly celebrating 10 years of being a registered charity.

2020 Hawkesbury Environmental Award – HAWKESBURY REMAKERY

Hawkesbury Remakery has made the Hawkesbury more aware of reducing, reusing, recycling and up cycling through their workshops, presentations and any other opportunities they have found. They have made connections throughout the Hawkesbury with community gardens, businesses, charities and community events to bring a unified approach to up cycling in the Hawkesbury and reducing our footprint. Their work has resulted in items being redirected from landfill and put into use in the repair cafe and resource recovery shop.

Hawkesbury Remakery secured a grant to fund a facility that allows their up cycling to grow and expand. Loder House was the perfect fit for the Hawkesbury Remakery. It allows for greater social inclusion in the creative community, which is at a higher risk of social isolation and loneliness due to the nature of the work they undertake. The space also allows for cultural experiences for the wider community and long-term sales opportunities for local makers.

Cultural Heritage – The Hawkesbury Schools Harvest Project – Windsor High School

Food is an important part of cultural heritage in that it connects people and places. The Hawkesbury Schools Harvest Project is about developing a food culture that is inclusive in that it looks at practices, attitudes and beliefs around the production, distribution and consumption of food. Each year, a primary school is chosen to engage in a 14 week program with Windsor High School.

The program has been run by Windsor High School for around 10 years and demonstrates the school’s commitment to a program that provides a practical demonstration of end to end food production, as well as providing connection between older and younger students.

The program also involves four hospitality and two agriculture students from Windsor High. The Windsor High students assist and mentor students from the guest school. As part of the program, the high school students develop leadership and demonstration skills, while the primary school students experience an aspect of high school and working in a group.

All Abilities Sportsperson of the Year – RENEE HARDY

Twelve years ago, Renee started in Athletics at the age of four to help with her coordination, as she is visually impaired, and legally blind in one eye. Since then she has represented her school, Windsor High School, at Zone, Regional, State and National Level for the past four years. She has been Age Champion at Club, School, Zone and Regional levels. She holds many club records, for multiple events in all age groups, Zone and Regional records in race walking, as well as a State Record, Renee has also won many State and National medals in race walking.

In 2015 she won the State Cross Country and Road Walking Championships, held at Scheyville National Park. Due to injury and ongoing knee issues, she has had to recently give up race walking and is currently concentrating on Hammer Throw. She has won seven consecutive State Hammer Throw titles and is the current National Hammer Throw Champion for her age group.

All Abilities Sportsperson of the Year – Sandy Freeman

Sandy began swimming as a four year old and she has been a member of Windsor Swim Club for many years. She first represented Australia at the Special Olympics in 2011 as the youngest competitor.

In 2015 Sandy won five medals and broke two World Records; 200m Backstroke and 4 by 100m Freestyle Relay at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles. In 2018 Sandy won five Gold medals in Adelaide representing Special Olympics NSW. In 2019 Sandy won gold in the 1500m Open Water swim, bronze in the 800m Freestyle pool event and silver in the 4 by 100m Team Medley Relay.

Sandy has her AUSTSWIM credentials and helps to coach swimmers with a disability; she is also a mentor within Special Olympics for athletes with a disability.

2020 Sportsperson of the Year – Madaline Boyle

Madaline started her archery career in 2013 at the age of 12. She has a long list of achievements including state and national records. In 2018 Madaline represented Australia in the World Indoor Championships in Yankton USA. Madaline’s strong and high performances at her international debut in Yankton lead to the prestigious invitational sport scholarship from Lindsey Wilson College in Colombia, Kentucky USA.

Madaline was ranked as the best female archer in Australia for the first quarter of 2018. She is identified as a talented and gifted archer by Archery Australia and invited to be a part of the development squad. In the 2019 NSW State Championships she was awarded gold in the junior female weights and opens category. At the 2019 NSW State selection dinner Madaline was awarded the Kumite Junior Sports star of the year.

Junior Sportsperson of the Year – Jasper Sinclair

Jasper is an excellent all-rounder and has achieved excellence in all sporting arenas in which he has played and competed such as tennis, rugby league, AFL, cricket, soccer, swimming, athletics and cross country. He has proudly represented the Hawkesbury at school, club, district, regional, representative and state levels.

In 2019, Jasper was the captain of the North Richmond Cricket Club U13s, he was awarded the best utilities player for the Hawkesbury Saints U12s, Jasper also represented the Kurrajong Bilpin Little Athletics at District Level and several other achievements in various sports.

Like and Follow Hawkesbury Events Facebook www.facebook.com/hawkesburyevents to see the photos from the Australia Day Awards, Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony and Australia Day on the Hawkesbury.

/Public Release. View in full here.