Port Stephens Citizens Honoured On Australia Day

Maya Stewart is now an Olympic Rugby hopeful. Photo: Marian Sampson.


LOCAL Community Groups and champions were honoured at the Port Stephens Australia Day ceremony held at Medowie.

Alongside Port Stephens Citizen of the Year John Chambers, were 10 others who were recognised for their work in the community.

From the environment, to sport and culture our community leaders were applauded for their contribution to our community.

Mayor Ryan Palmer said, “All of our recipients have generously given their time to help others, whether that’s through contributing to community groups and programs, caring for the environment, celebrating our culture or dedicating themselves to help our sporting community.”

Ports Young Citizen of the Year is Daniel Howard who is a basketball coach and mentor with PCYC for the past 9 years.

Throughout COVID-19, Dan used technology to help to motivate local teens to keep fit during the lockdown.

Four Port Stephens Medals were awarded to individuals, organisations or groups for distinguished service to the community.

One of these went to Dennis Peters, the recently retired captain of the Raymond Terrace Fire and Rescue team.

Not only has Dennis stood on the front line for 23 years he has been a community educator, working with young people and our community about the importance of fire safety.

Another went to John de Ridder, the former president of Caring for Port Stephens Youth (COPSY) since he has been working to improve mental health and wellbeing in young people in Port Stephens.

Also awarded was Andrew Smith, a proud Wonnarua man, and a well-respected community leader in our area, and CEO of Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council since 2006.

Andrew is dedicated to advocating for and strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, and to protecting and fostering Aboriginal culture and identity.

Andrew Smith told News Of The Area, “I think this is an excellent recognition of all of those people out there in the Port Stephens Community, they talk about leadership but really it is about servanthood, we have a passion for our people, our environment on both the social and commercial level.

“I think taking time to stop and think and just say thank you is a really big honour and a very humbling experience,” he said.

A fourth Port Stephens Medal was given to the Medowie Girl Guides, a group run by volunteers who give their time to help teach young women new skills, develop independence, build confidence, make friends and become active community members.

Alongside the Port Stephens Medal Winners was Sportsperson of the Year, awarded to Maya Stewart, who is currently vying for a spot in the national Wallaroos squad to participate in the upcoming Olympics and Rugby World Cup.

The Cultural Endeavour went to Kay Newton and Peter Robinson who now reside in New Zealand for their efforts and contributed to historical education in our area.

The hotly contended Environmental Award went to Lia and Ryan Pereira the founders of Sea Shelter, a not-for-profit marine conservation, research and rescue organisation.

They are passionate about preserving the local environment and supporting threatened and endangered animals through breeding programs, research, rehabilitation and rescue.




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