Lithgow City Council Mayor Maree Statham welcomed the community to the Australia Day Ceremony held at Queen Elizabeth Park on 26 January 2024.
Australia Day celebrations once again provided a significant opportunity to reflect on the issues, achievements and challenges facing our community and Australia in general, to pay respect to first nations people, acknowledge local people and organisations who have contributed to the community and to witness the conferring of Australian Citizenship on eight new citizens.
The event was filled with entertainment provided by Lithgow City Band and local musician Dave James the One-Man Band. Lithgow Lions Club provided refreshments to the crowd.
“Australia Day is a day for all Australians to reflect, respect and celebrate. It is a day to come together and celebrate the values, beliefs and freedoms we share,” said Lithgow City Council Mayor Maree Statham. “Australia Day is also a day when we can acknowledge the contributions of local people and organisations by awarding the Local Citizen awards. We are also excited to be celebrating eight new citizens who took the Citizenship Pledge at the ceremony.”
The Ambassador’s Address was given by Tradies in Sight founder Bruno Efoti. Tradies In Sight uses food and fire to create an atmosphere of safety and connection for tradesmen and their families to learn new skills about emotional wellbeing. “We don’t do feelings well in Australia and its time that changed,” said Mr Efoti. Coming from another culture gave him fresh eyes to see the way men were thinking and how to help them learn new skills and insights, to do the whole “Mental health” thing differently.
Welcome to Country Address
Aunty Helen Riley, a local elder representing the Wiradjuri nation through the Mingaan Wiradjuri Aboriginal Corporation, delivered the Welcome to Country address.
Local Citizen Awards
The Mayor presented the Local Citizen Awards which recognise those individuals and groups who make a significant difference to our community.
“We are so excited to be celebrating our local citizens for the incredible service they have given to the community. There are so many people that tirelessly give their time, creativity and energy to make wonderful things happen in our community and I am so lucky to be able to honour them today.”
The Citizen of the Year Award acknowledges people who through their efforts and commitment have made our community a better place.
· The Young Citizen of the Year Award was awarded to Ollyvar Baker for his contribution to the cultural landscape of Lithgow including membership of Lithgow Youth Council and his performance at the school spectacular in 2023 where he was an inspiration to all young people wanting to follow a career in the arts.
- The Open Citizen of the Year Award was awarded to Judith (Sue) Holt has been a very active member of Lithgow Quota since 1979 and Lidsdale/Wallerawang CWA since 1996 where she has held many official positions.
The Volunteer of the Year Award acknowledges people who have given their time freely to help the community within the Lithgow LGA.
- The Young Volunteer of the Year Award was awarded to Emily Waru who volunteers every week at the Nannas Touch Community Connections soup kitchen, has spearheaded the Nanna’s Touch Christmas drive initiative and has volunteered with the Cancer Council in Lithgow and Bathurst for several years.
- The Open Volunteer of the Year Award was awarded to Louise Cameron, a very genuine and committed volunteer whose achievements include volunteering with the Australian Red Cross since July 2009, ARC Emergency Services, Lithgow Community Transport and Lithgow Aged Care Auxiliary.
The Service to the Community Award is for organisations which aim to enrich the lives of the people in the Lithgow area.
- The Service to the Community Award was awarded to the Vale Ladies, who have given unwavering support to the Lithgow community for over 80 years, including recently fundraising over $35,000 for two dedicated palliative care rooms at Lithgow Hospital to open in 2024.
The Heritage Conservation Award is for an individual or an organisation that has made significant contribution to the preservation of the heritage of the Lithgow LGA.
- The Heritage Conservation Award was awarded to the Glen Museum for making a significant contribution to the preservation of the heritage of the Lithgow LGA and promoting the museum as an attraction for locals and tourists alike.
The Outstanding Event of the Year Award recognises the significant contribution that special events make to our region.
· The Outstanding Event of the Year Award was awarded to the 100thRydal Show. More than 2,500 people attended the 2023 Show which brought together the local community to showcase what Rydal has to offer and injected considerable funds into the local economy.
The New Resident Award acknowledges the initiative and contribution of a new resident (less than 2 years in Lithgow) to the area.
- The New Resident Award was awarded to Foty Loupos. Since recently becoming Principal of Lithgow High School, Foty has implemented significant changes to the school and developed new initiatives which have improved the school’s assets and curriculum and demonstrate that Lithgow High School is truly the centre of the Lithgow community.
The Mayor presented a Recognition Award to Brodie Moss, a young man from Portland, for his brave actions in intervening to assist people during a recent violent street assault.
Australian Citizenship Oath
Eight local people took the Australian Citizenship Oath at the event. “It is such a privilege to be part of the process of these local community members becoming Australian citizens.” concluded the Mayor.
Following conclusion of the ceremony, the Mayor and Ambassador attended the Australia Day ceremonies in Wallerawang and Portland.