Citizen award finalists embody community spirit image

23 January 2019

Thirteen finalists have been recognised for their contributions to the Albany community as finalists in this year’s Australia Day WA Citizen of the Year Awards.

Along with the award announcements, 20 local residents from the United Kingdom, Netherlands, India, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore and South Africa will gather to take the oath and become Australian Citizens.

Judging of the Australia Day winners is a difficult task with nominations from the indigenous, youth, sports, health, education, religious, and arts communities.

City of Albany Acting Mayor Greg Stocks said it was a very worthy list of finalists, with the winners announced at 10am at the Citizenship and Australia Day Awards Ceremony in Centennial Park Stadium on January 26.

“Volunteers are the bread and butter of Albany and without them many of the services and events in our community wouldn’t be possible,” Cr Stocks said.

“The finalists in these awards are ordinary people who have stepped up and given their time for the people in our City. Their resolve to serve others makes a huge difference and they have earned our recognition.”

Winners of the citizenship awards will be chosen on the level of contribution to the community, demonstration of leadership, inspiring qualities as role models, recognition already received, time they have dedicated to their community, and any special circumstances relating to their contribution.

The nominees for this year’s awards are:

Young Citizen of the Year

Dean Crowley – nominated for his ongoing contribution to community groups and committees such as the headspace Youth Advisory Committee and the WA United Nations Youth Consultation Group, the Albany Senior High School prefect is an advocate for all young people.

Amy May – Amy is nominated for her contribution to the Albany Youth Advisory Council & Local Drug Action Group and St John Ambulance. She has completed more than 1600 volunteer hours and is a fantastic advocate for people with disabilities.

Jasmine Reeves – Jasmine was integral in setting up the Kalgan Settlers Association youth club and running youth events in the Kalgan district. Jasmine is also an active member of Southern Edge Arts, Great Southern Home Education Network and Albany PCYC.

Citizen of the Year

Merryn Bocjun – highly committed to the equestrian community, Merryn has held various roles with local organisations including the Pony Club and Albany Carriage Driving Club. Merryn has also served on multiple committees relating to child protection and family support.

Garry Christiansen – Garry is nominated for his dedication as a lecturer at South Regional TAFE. His students value his belief in their abilities, his patience as a lecturer and his support to ensure they are reaching their potential.

Pastor Steve Marshall – a dedicated Pastor of Grace and Glory ministries, Steve organises the annual free Community Christmas Lunch and the provision of food parcels for those in need.

Kate Thomas – the co-founder of the Albany Death Café, Kate helps raise awareness of death and end of life planning in order for people to make the most of their lives.

Corey Woods – nominated for his time and dedication as an active member of the City’s fire mitigation crew to protect our community.

Julie Wrobel – dedicated to the Albany Roller Derby, Julie has coached over 100 children in the last 12 months while carrying out duties as the club’s Treasurer.

Senior of the Year

Brian Davis – a member of 25 years with the Albany Wood Turners and Woodworkers group, Brian enjoys sharing his tools, skill and love for the art to interested community members. He was also a dedicated member of the King River Bush Fire Brigade.

Vernice Gillies – a passionate leader of the Noongar people, Vernice was nominated for her ongoing work to protect and promote the cultural heritage of her people. Vernice is a member of the Aboriginal Heritage Reference Group, South Coast Natural Resources Management Heritage Committee and WA Aboriginal Justice Committee.

Community Group or Event

ACE Camera Club – voluntarily documenting key events within the community and sharing the images with event organisers, the ACE Camera Club is dedicated to building the photographic capacity of their members. They are also enthusiastic about passing on their skills to young photographers through their Focus in Workshops in partnership with the City of Albany.

Headspace Albany Mad Hatters Tea Party – the annual event created to celebrate mental Health Week attracted more than 400 community members, addressing ways for the community to improve their mental health and wellbeing.


Picture: 2018 Citizen of the Year Award Winner Ms Heather Bell receiving her award