Active citizens awarded on Australia Day image

26 January 2019

Championing end of life conversations within the community in a positive way that helps people make the most of their lives has won a local woman Albany’s Citizen of the Year award.

Instead of avoiding the tough conversation about death, Kate Thomas has been confronting the topic head-on through an initiative she co-founded called Albany Death Café, volunteering for many years to break down the stigma around death and ensure families and individuals have a plan regarding the end of life. 

A trained nurse and end of life celebrant, Kate spends her time helping those she interacts with make the most of every day. In co-founding the Albany Death Café, Ms Thomas has helped provide a safe and welcoming environment for community members to share stories, advice and grieve.

Ms Thomas was one of 13 individuals and organisations nominated in Albany’s Australia Day Active Citizenship Awards for outstanding contributions to the community. This year’s nominees featured volunteers and community members from the indigenous, youth, sports, health, education, religious and arts communities, highlighting the rich diversity of the Albany community.

Winner of the Young Citizen of the Year Award is Jasmine Reeves who initiated the Kalgan Youth Club, providing opportunities for youth in the district to meet. Miss Reeves is also a valued member of Southern Edge Arts and is highly involved in PCYC activities.

Vernice Gillies is the Senior Citizen of the Year, recognising her dedication to promoting and protecting the cultural heritage of the Noongar people. Highly involved in the return of Menang items from the British Museum, Vernice has also served on numerous boards and organisations in the community.

Headspace Albany won the Australia Day Active Citizenship Award for a community group for its Mad Hatter Tea Party event held during Mental Health Week in October for the past five years, involving more than 400 people from the community in activities to improve mental health and wellbeing. 

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington congratulated the winners at a ceremony at Centennial Stadium on Australia Day morning, and encouraged all finalists to continue their fantastic work in the community.

“There are so many incredible people who work hard to make our city the wonderful community that we enjoy. To everyone who nominated someone for these prestigious awards, thank you for helping us recognise their invaluable work,” Mayor Wellington said.

Albany welcomes new citizens

Albany joined towns and regions across the nation in welcoming our newest Australian citizens as part of Australia Day 2019 celebrations.

Twenty new citizens from nine countries took the oath and officially became Australian citizens at a citizenship ceremony hosted by the City of Albany at Centennial Stadium this morning.

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said today is a significant day to reflect on the privilege of Australian citizenship and what it means to be Australian.

“Australia Day is a time for us to give a warm welcome to our newest citizens and acknowledge the importance of what it means to become a member of the Australian community,” he said.

“This year marks 70 years since Australian citizenship was introduced into law, creating for the first time a legal status of being uniquely Australian.” 

Mayor Wellington said citizenship is the common bond uniting all Australians, whether you are an Australian by birth or by choice.

An Australian citizenship affirmation ceremony was also part of this morning’s celebrations, allowing all Australians present an opportunity to publicly affirm their commitment and loyalty to Australia.

They joined thousands of Australians affirming their citizenship in regional and metropolitan communities across the country.

“I congratulate those becoming Australian citizens on making their commitment to Australia, and thank everyone who joined in the local celebrations this Australia Day,” Mayor Wellington said.