Port Stephens residents recognised in Australia Day Awards

Award winners, nominees and distinguished guests.
Award winners, nominees and distinguished guests.

 

THE official ceremony to announce the nine Port Stephens residents honoured with Port Stephens Annual Awards at this year’s Australia Day celebrations was a very special affair.

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With passionate addresses by Uncle Neville for Welcome to Country, Peter McLean as the Australia Day Ambassador and Mayor Ryan Palmer opening the proceedings, the tone was set for a very moving ceremony.

All nominees for each category were acknowledged for their ongoing contribution to the community and presented with a certificate and pen.

This year, former Councillors Sally Dover and Geoff Dingle were awarded the prestigious title of Freeman of Port Stephens for their extensive dedication to the community and over ten years’ service on Council.

Freeman of Port Stephens is an honour given to individuals who have distinguished themselves with the highest order of community service.

Geoff Dingle, one of the newest Freeman of Port Stephens, told News Of The Area, “I unfortunately wasn’t available to attend on the day, so I look forward to receiving my certificate at an upcoming council meeting.”

“Congratulations to all the winners, in particular Colleen for all the wonderful things she does within her community.”

The Citizen of the Year award was taken out by Raymond Terrace businesswoman Colleen Mulholland-Ruiz, who has been a passionate advocate for the Raymond Terrace community for the past two decades.

Colleen has been an active patron of the Positive Behaviour for Learning framework, which aims to create safe teaching and learning environments for local schools.

Ten-year-old Mackenzie Bell was the deserving recipient of Young Citizen of the Year for her tireless fundraising efforts for multiple sclerosis. Mackenzie was just two years old when her mother Deanna was diagnosed with the condition, and Mackenzie raised a huge $1,860 by participating in the MS 24 hour Mega Swim at Sydney Olympic Pool.

The remaining awards on the day were presented to a selection of Port Stephens residents from all walks of life.

Robyn Killen was the proud recipient of the inaugural Cultural Endeavour award for her dedication to the Port Stephens Community Arts Centre.

Rugby league stalwart Colin Machon was recognised as Sportsperson of the Year for his pivotal role in the expansion of the competition over the past 25 years.

Three deserving community members were awarded the Port Stephens Medal for their contributions to community.

The worthy recipients were Geoffrey Basser, Leon Lindsay and Peter Clough.

 

By Rachael VAUGHAN

 

Citizen of the Year Colleen Mulholland-Ruiz with Cr Giacomo Arnott and Kate Washington MP. (left) Young Citizen of the Year Mackenzie Bell. (right)
Citizen of the Year Colleen Mulholland-Ruiz with Cr Giacomo Arnott and Kate Washington MP. (left)
Young Citizen of the Year Mackenzie Bell. (right)

 

Colleen Mulholland-Ruiz being presented with her award by Mayor Ryan Palmer and Australia Day Ambassador Peter McLean. (left) Port Stephens Medal Winner Peter Clough with Australia Day Ambassador Peter McLean and Mayor Ryan Palmer. (right)
Colleen Mulholland-Ruiz being presented with her award by Mayor Ryan Palmer and Australia Day Ambassador Peter McLean. (left)
Port Stephens Medal Winner Peter Clough with Australia Day Ambassador Peter McLean and Mayor Ryan Palmer. (right)

 

Port Stephens Medal Winner Leon Lindsay with Australia Day Ambassador Peter McLean and Mayor Ryan Palmer.
Port Stephens Medal Winner Leon Lindsay with Australia Day Ambassador Peter McLean and Mayor Ryan Palmer.

 

Sportsman of the year, Colin Machon, with Mayor Ryan Palmer and Australia Day Ambassador Peter McLean.
Sportsman of the year, Colin Machon, with Mayor Ryan Palmer and Australia Day Ambassador Peter McLean.

 

Mayor Ryan Palmer with Cultural Endeavour Award winner Robyn Killen and Australia Day Ambassador Peter McLean.
Mayor Ryan Palmer with Cultural Endeavour Award winner Robyn Killen and Australia Day Ambassador Peter McLean.

 

Cr Glen Dunkley, Australia Day Ambassador Peter McLean, Stephen Crowe from Port Stephens Council, Kate Washington MP and Mayor Ryan Palmer.
Cr Glen Dunkley, Australia Day Ambassador Peter McLean, Stephen Crowe from Port Stephens Council, Kate Washington MP and Mayor Ryan Palmer.

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