POT Stephens has announced that Dianne Ball will be the region’s Australia Day Ambassador.
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Di Ball has been blazing a trail for many years and has been recognized for her contribution to the community receiving an OAM in 2020 for her services to the Indigenous community of the Hunter.
Ms Ball was the first Aboriginal woman to graduate Year 12 in her country of Gumbangerri (Armidale), she moved to Port Stephens in the mid 1990’s where she co-founded the Wahroonga Aboriginal Corporation in 1994 in response to local need.
The organisation guides service users through programs including emergency relief, family support, housing, employment and medical services.
She is now Executive Director of the service and also serves as a member of the Port Stephens West Local Health Committee, and is CEO of the Karuah Aboriginal Land Council as well as serving as Deputy Chair, of Awabakal Ltd., an organisation that provides health care, aged care and family services to Aboriginal people in the wider Newcastle region.
She is also a founding member of the Raymond Terrace Driver Training Program, which aims to help disadvantaged young people learn vital safe driving skills.
Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said he’s proud to have a respected local leader as this year’s Australia Day Ambassador.
“Di Ball is a well-known and respected member of our community who has recently been recognised for her service to the Indigenous community of the Hunter.
“She’s an active member of our community who is always dedicating her time to helping others in whatever she does, whether that’s through the Wahroonga Aboriginal Corporation, Awabakal, or as a founding member of the Raymond Terrace Driver Training Program.
“We’re very proud to have Di as our 2021 Australia Day Ambassador,” he said.
Mayor Palmer said this year’s Australia Day theme is ‘Reflect. Respect. Celebrate.’
“Australia Day is a time to reflect on the contribution of the Traditional Owners of the land in Port Stephens, the Worimi people, to our community.
“This year, we also pay our respects to our frontline workers, who have put their lives and health on the line to help keep our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“And we take this time to celebrate our Australian spirit, our mateship and the incredible community we have here in Port Stephens,” he said.
Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington told News Of The Area, “It’s wonderful for Port Stephens to have a strong, local woman as our ambassador for Australia Day.
“Every day, Di Ball works hard for our community, ensuring everyone is treated with respect.
“Di represents everything worth celebrating on Australia Day, she’s the heart and soul of Raymond Terrace,” she said.
By Marian SAMPSON