Shellharbour Community Awards Winners Announced

Shellharbour City Council has honoured the contributions and achievements of residents at the Shellharbour Community Awards Ceremony.

The ceremony, held at Shellharbour Civic Centre last night, provided the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate those who have excelled in sport and outstanding services to the community during the past year.

Recipient of the Citizen of the Year was Larry How, while Jackson Walsh was named Young Citizen of the Year. Shellharbour City Mayor Chris Homer said it was an honour to present the awards.

“The awards ceremony is a wonderful way to celebrate those who have made Shellharbour City proud during the past year,” Mayor Homer said.

“Once again, the high quality of the nominees made the judging process quite challenging.

“Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners of our community and sports awards. Your contribution and achievements enrich our city,” he said.

The event also featured Shellharbour City’s 2024 Australia Day Ambassador from the Australia Day Council of New South Wales motivational speaker Uncle Steve Widders.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Shellharbour City Sports Assistance Program, which administers the Shellharbour City Sports Assistance program.

The program provides financial assistance to sportspeople living in the Shellharbour LGA who are chosen to represent their sport at official Country, State or National level.

“The support this program and the Shellharbour City Sports Advisory Committe have provided to local sportspeople has been invaluable, and I congratulate the committee on their continued commitment and valuable contribution,” Mayor Homer said.


• Citizen of the Year – Larry How

• Young Citizen of the Year – Jackson Walsh

Citizen of the Year – Larry How

Larry actively supports fellow veterans in the community as the President of the Albion Park RSL subbranch. He is also the Secretary of The Links Shell Cove golf club and has significantly contributed to the success of the facility through his support and mentorship over the past 14 years.

He is the Director of New Generations at the Rotary Club of Shellharbour, responsible for youth programs including student exchange. He has also served as the President of the Rotary Club of Shellharbour and District President, and has received three prestigious Paul Harris Awards, recognising his service to the community in fundraising.

Young Citizen of the Year – Jackson Walsh

Jackson has been an active member of the Warilla Barrack Point Surf Life Saving Club for more than seven years. He has completed more than 150 hours of voluntary surf patrols between Warilla Barrack Point and Windang SLSC.

He dedicates his time, passion and expertise to providing water safety for the club’s nippers and coaches the juniors.

Jackson also coached the Warilla Barrack Point SLSC Pool Rescue Teams to compete at the NSW State and Australian Pool Rescue Championships, where the team successfully won medals at all levels. He has been a successful competitor at NSW Country, State and Australian Championships.


Environmental Warrior of the Year – Brad Jenkins

Brad has taken the initiative to engage with local and state government to investigate opportunities to achieve better water quality outcomes through improved monitoring systems of the Minnamurra River and Dunmore wetlands. Brad is also passionate about protecting endangered sea birds and has advocated for increased mitigation measures to reduce the threat of dogs in Killalea State Park.


• Sports Star of the Year – Tayissa Buchanan

• Young Sports Star of the Year – Delta Amidzovski

• Athlete of the Year (Disability) – Jack Gibson

• Support Super Star – Oliver Spake

• Coach of the Year – Ben Thurgar

• Sports Team of the Year – Shellharbour Junior Football Club Women’s Youth League Team

Sports Star of the Year – Tayissa Buchanan

In December last year, Tayissa became an Australian junior champion with her win in the Under 18s 800m race at the Australian All Schools National Championships. In 2023, she was awarded NSW All Schools State Champion for the 17yrs 800m race, was a finalist in the Under 20s Nationals, and ran Youth Commonwealth Games Qualifier.

Young Sports Star 2023 – Delta Amidzovski

Delta is an Australian Athletics Dual Gold Champion. She won the 100m hurdles in record time at the 2023 Australian Athletics Championships and took home gold in long jump, marking the fifth consecutive year of winning both events. Delta has also represented Australia at the Youth

Commonwealth Games, where she was successful in bringing home two gold medals for 100m hurdles and long jump.

Athlete of the Year 2023 – Disability – Jack Gibson

In 2023 Jack won gold, silver and two bronze at the Australian age swimming championships, a silver and three bronze at the Australian All Schools swimming championships, two gold in the Australian All Schools Triathlon, and two gold and one silver at the Australian All Schools Cross

Country. He was awarded Illawarra Academy of Sport Para Athlete of the year award in 2022 and 2023.

Support Superstar 2023 – Oliver Spake

Oliver, or “Olly” as most know him, has been a volunteer with Shellharbour Parkrun since it began in 2014 and is currently Event Director. He has been integral in supporting this weekly event that brings hundreds of community members together in the beautiful Killelea State Park,

with almost 300 Saturday mornings volunteered.

Coach of the Year 2023 – Ben Thurgar

Ben has coached the Shellharbour Junior Football Club’s Women’s Youth Grade for over eight years. His ongoing support, guidance and encouragement has led the team to many successes including winning the Champion of Champions Tournament in 2022 and 2023.

Sports Team of the Year – Shellharbour Junior Football Club Women’s Youth League Team

The Shellharbour Junior Football Club Women’s Youth League is at the top of its game, winning the Champion of Champions trophy two years in a row. Last year, their hard-work and resilience also pathed the way to win the State Cup, League Championship and Grand Final.

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