Casey Australia Day Awards

About the awards

The Casey Australia Day Awards have been proudly celebrating remarkable Casey citizens since 1981. Every year, when our nation celebrates Australia Day, Casey celebrates the achievements and contributions of eminent Casey citizens at the Casey Australia Day Awards.

The Awards profile leading citizens and groups, either professional or voluntary, who are role models for us all. They inspire us through their achievements and challenge us to make our own contribution to creating a better Casey.

The Casey Australia Day Awards provide Casey residents with the opportunity to recognise individuals or community groups who makes them proud. This could be in any field including sport, arts, humanities or community service.

All eligible nominees and award recipients are acknowledged and celebrated at a formal function on Australia Day, 26 January 2018 at the Casey Australia Day Awards.

If you have enquiries about the awards, please call Council’s Community Support Team on 9705 5200.

2018 Casey Australia Day Award Winners

The annual Casey Australia Day Awards were announced at a special event on Australia Day, Friday 26 January 2018.

Casey Citizen of the Year – Marie Allen

Marie Allen established and supported the Vision Australia Giggles Cooking Group for people with low vision and blindness. This group provides a supportive and friendly environment for those at risk of being socially isolated in the community due to their disability. Marie has low vision herself and is a positive and passionate advocate for others with a vision impairment. The group can attest to her energy and enthusiasm for ‘giving things a go’. She encourages those within the community who may feel isolated to join in activities and find common interests and support with their vision loss and daily living.

Casey Young Citizen of the Year – Katherine Morgan

Katherine Morgan works with people with a disability through the Wallara organisation. She provides a range of different and exciting experiences for people with a disability including: sports events, activities in the mountains, trips to the snow, bush walks and wildlife and nature education field trips. When she's not doing this, she volunteers in the community, supervising and teaching young people at her local church. She also gives up her holidays to volunteer in different countries supporting disadvantaged communities by donating food, clothing, money and time.

Casey Senior Citizen of the Year – Ray Bell

Ray Bell volunteers for CHIPs (Christians Helping in Primary Schools). Ray has mentored children, driven buses, sailed boats for the Sailabilty program, taught children robotics and English as a second language, and provided technical assistance for Christmas activities. Ray has also taught computer skills to older adults and assisted his local church in community work. Ray is a life-long-learner, particularly in the areas of science and the environment. He is a compassionate person who demonstrates selfless service to others. He has helped young people regain hope in themselves and inspires many people through his kindness and good humour.  

Casey Community Group of the Year – Beaconhills College

Beaconhills College has instilled in their students a sense of community and service. During the year the College supported the community through fundraising, donations, creative projects, and over 2,200 hours of student volunteering. This included: raising $50,000 through Relay for Life for cancer research and development; preparing and distributing food for people in need through the Berwick Vinnies Soup Van; donating food, coats, blankets and Christmas gifts to Community Service Organisations in Casey and across Melbourne;  making and donating light globes for people in East Timor and Papua New Guinea;  making books for local vision impaired students; and donating $10,000 to enhance educational facilities in the Ermera District of East Timor.

Australia Day Study Tour Award Recipients

  • Aashvi Parekh
    Cranbourne Secondary College
  • Arshaan Shaikh
    Nossal High School
  • Jordan Mastrangioli
    Cranbourne Secondary College
  • Leo Crnogorcevic
    Nossal High School
  • Megan Colclough
    Berwick College
  • Michelle O’Hanrahan
    Hillcrest Christian College
  • Pranjal Pokhalekar
    St Margaret’s School
  • Saurabh Jhanjee
    Haileybury College
  • Subhashini Singhal
    Nossal High School
  • Tiffany Isgro
    Cranbourne Secondary College                    

Young Citizen Award Nominees

Justine Jaramillo
Justine has volunteered with Casey Youth Services for five years. He dedicates much of his spare time to helping young people in our community, sharing his enthusiasm, skills and knowledge. He is an exceptional leader who continues to prove that young people can take action in our community, create projects that tackle youth issues and inspire participation from other young people.

Michael Pearce
Michael volunteers with the Scouting movement. He has demonstrated great commitment to the Farley pack spending time training, fundraising and planning to ensure meetings are enjoyable and educational for the Cubs. In addition to his love of rugby, Michael has a passion for science and was recently nominated to attend a Young Australians in Science conference in Brisbane

Senior Citizen Award Nominees

Melissa Blackmont
Melissa has volunteered for over 10 years with the TurningPoint Support Centre, preparing meals for members of our community in need. She is dedicated to providing emergency relief on a weekly    basis to families facing financial hardship. She leads by example - encouraging and training other volunteers to cook, and helping people with English as second language to develop new friendships.

Josephine Guichard
Josephine has been volunteering for the Cranbourne Christian Fellowship Centre for more than 25 years. She works tirelessly offering care and assistance to people within the community. She is involved in food relief programs and volunteers at a palliative care facility. Over the years, Josephine has organised care for bereaved families and arranged catering for funerals for families unable to afford them.

Denise Hartzenberg
Denise volunteers with The Bridge in Narre Warren, a support centre for people with a disability. She is a multi-skilled contributor whose friendly approach and positive attitude are contagious.  She assists craft groups with practical activities, supports the Centre’s basketball activities, and has helped establish a successful partnership between The Bridge and the local Uniting Church

Liseby Lapierre
Liseby has spent her life dedicated to the wellbeing of children, women and families in Casey.  She visits people isolated at home, supports families who are struggling and brings people together to create a sense of belonging and community. As a founding member of the Mauritian community group, CHARM and current leader of the Hampton Park Women’s Friendship Café, Liseby has created great relationships within the community.

Jacqueline Manning
Jacqueline has been President of the Women's Auxiliary at the Berwick RSL for many years.  She raises funds for the RSL by selling Anzac Tokens and Poppies prior to Remembrance Day and is well known within her Berwick community. Jacqueline also supports the Women's Auxiliary every year to provide refreshments on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day after services in Berwick.

Margaret Prior
Margaret has volunteered with the Salvation Army in Doveton for many years, supervising the distribution of food and emergency relief to people on low incomes.  The practical assistance and support Margaret provides and the empathy she brings to her role, enables clients to cope with the emergencies they face, and to make informed choices about how they achieve their financial goals.

Raymond Rickards
Ray has been involved with the CFA for nearly 60 years. After hanging up his firefighting helmet he found his next calling in educating children about the importance of being fire safe at home. Ray is passionate about child education and presents at kindergartens and schools throughout Casey.  He teaches children that emergency workers are there to help them and to go to them for help when they are hurt or scared.

Margaret Tinschert
As an independent person and Justice of the Peace, Margaret provides a vital service for vulnerable young people in the Casey community.  She strives towards building their self-esteem, confidence and resilience, ultimately hoping to divert them away from the justice system. Margaret has also been a volunteer with the CFA for 22 years, providing catering for the firefighters and emergency services.

Citizen Award nominees

Amanda Bell
Amanda has been volunteering with 2nd Chance Cat Rescue for the last 18 months and is passionate about animal welfare.  She developed an informative Facebook page to educate the community in cat ownership, wrote grant applications on behalf of the group and co-published a cat manual book. Amanda also attends weekly Adoption Days during kitten season to promote responsible cat ownership.

Matthew Brew
Matthew has transformed a struggling football club, the Hallam Hawks, through his leadership, knowledge, persistence and work ethic. Over the past 2 years, he has taken on all aspects of the club’s operations, including working behind the bar and seeking sponsorship. Matthew has volunteered tirelessly on week nights and weekends to make sure his club grows and functions at a higher level.

Susan Carroll
Sue initiated and managed a new community service program for year 7 students at Lynbrook Secondary College. Students who volunteered at Lynbrook Kindergarten, Lifeview Willow Wood Residential Care Home and Mums Supporting Families in Need enjoyed the experience and the program helped the College build relationships and partnerships with these organisations.

Ben Clissold
Ben is the longest serving chair of the Narre Community Learning Centre and his leadership over the past 10 years has seen the Centre go from strength to strength. Ben also coaches his daughters’ football and netball teams and is a skills coach at Cranbourne Auskick. As well as making sure that children enjoy their first experience of football, Ben organises the Club’s annual fundraising auction.

Frank Cutuli
Frank volunteers at The Bridge, a not-for-profit support agency working with people with disabilities. He is passionate about providing support and education for people with disabilities.  Frank has helped participants to gain further skills in numeracy, literacy and computer technology and has also provided an opportunity for participants to connect with each other socially.

Michael Gonsalves
Michael's involvement with the community has had far reaching benefits for many people and organisations. He has contributed to the Narre Warren North Carols, Narre Warren Tennis Club, Narre Warren North Primary school and two other local community committees. He consistently shows responsibility for bringing people together and for creating a sense of community spirit.

Nicole Hayes
As an Electorate Officer and Office Manager, Nicole has assisted hundreds of residents to resolve their problems. She is an effective and resourceful advocate who goes out of her way to help those in need. Her positive relationships with community organisations, enable her to help Casey residents find their way to the right local services. She also supports activities that empower women of diverse backgrounds.

Michelle Jankovic
Michelle is a member of Council’s Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee. Giving a voice to residents with a disability, she organises workshops for families in local schools about healthcare services.  Michelle is also the team manager of a wheelchair basketball group that trains at Endeavour Hills.  Her aim is to encourage maximum community participation and for the group to compete locally.

Kerrigan La-Brooy
Kerrigan contributes to the City of Casey professionally and through his volunteer work as a singer, songwriter and entertainer. As the founder of the Gethsemane Church he provides opportunities to bring Casey’s culturally diverse Casey community together and builds social cohesion among families, neighbours and local businesses through the Clyde Christmas Carols - a free event for community.

Matthew Victor Pastor
Matthew Victor Pastor is an Australian filmmaker of Filipino heritage from Hampton Park. He makes feature film narratives about Filipino issues in Australia, with some of his film productions having taken place here in the City of Casey. Matthew’s work has screened at several film festivals around the world and one film ‘Jupiter the Biggest Planet’ was nominated for an academy award qualifying award.

Jessica Quinn
Jessica established and runs the Selandra Playgroup. She has created a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere in which children can participate in a variety of activities.  Jessica inspires others by her inclusive approach, encouraging families from all different social and cultural backgrounds to attend. The group celebrates being multicultural and everyone is made to feel welcome.

Larry Sebastian
Through his ongoing support for One Voice, Christians Helping In Primary Schools – CHIPS, and other local organisations, Larry strives to create an inclusive community that values people who are homeless and treats everyone who is disadvantaged with respect and dignity.  Larry puts his heart into supporting members of the Casey community through times of trouble

John Yousif
John established the Urban Gym where he is head trainer. Once a refugee to this country, he has dedicated himself to helping others, so they too can help their community. His commitment and dedication to the fitness industry inspires and motivates a whole community. His enthusiasm extends beyond health into local charities and community work. John inspires and motivates through example. 

Community Group Award Nominees

2nd Chance Cat Rescue
2nd Chance Cat Rescue actively works in the Casey community to promote responsible cat ownership. In 2017 the organisation re-homed over 500 cats, a reflection on the dedication of its volunteers.   The group holds adoption days on a regular basis and undertakes ‘Meet and Greets’ at home. It advocates for the de-sexing of cats and participates in community events to educate and inform Casey residents.

Bakhtar Cultural Association
The Bakhtar Cultural Association promotes understanding and awareness of Afghan culture and values in the Casey community and helps young Afghan men and women develop their skills as poets, artists and musicians.  The Association organises cultural celebrations such as Afghan New Year and EID, that enable all members to have a voice, share ideas and connect with the wider Casey community.

Berwick Little Athletics
Berwick Little Athletics provides a sport that is suitable for all children, regardless of ability and background. The Committee has created an environment where children feel welcome and thrive on improving each week. The club has equal numbers of males and females participating. The family friendly atmosphere with high parent involvement, creates the opportunity for parents to belong to the community and create lifelong friendships.

Chinese Xinjiang Senior Citizens Association of Australia (pronounced Zin-shan)
The Association provides a social platform for senior citizens with limited English capabilities to meet and socialise. Many might otherwise spend their days at home in social isolation. Activities include card games, social dancing, cultural songs, tai-chi, elementary English classes and digital literacy classes, to name but a few. The group fosters inclusiveness and welcomes diversity.

Inner Wheel Club of Narre Warren
Volunteers from the Inner Wheel Club of Narre Warren provide Christmas hampers to St. Vincent de Paul Narre Warren and funds to the Salvation Army and Cancer Council. The Club also provides food vouchers to young mothers within the Casey Community. Members have donated and planted trees and bushes in two areas in Wilson Botanic Park and support local hospitals on a regular basis. 

Lynbrook Residents Association
Lynbrook Residents Association is a volunteer run group that delivers significant community events in Lynbrook. These events attract thousands of local Lynbrook and Lyndhurst residents and hundreds from the surrounding Casey suburbs.  The Association promotes an inclusive and connected community, advocates for community issues and provides a conduit between residents and the Casey Council.

Narre Warren and District Family History Group
The Narre Warren and District Family History Group promotes and conducts cemetery tours at Harkaway Cemetery highlighting the pioneers of the district. The Group encourages an interest in living history by delivering informative stories about founding families in the area. It has a membership of over 100 people and all tours and refreshments are provided by a group of dedicated volunteers

Narre Warren North Community Association
The Narre Warren North Community Association provides a forum where local issues and concerns are raised, and actions are coordinated with great professionalism. The Association is well recognised in Casey as being a passionate, invigorated and fair-minded community group. It is inclusive of all the community and has built positive and enduring relationships with other local groups.

Neighbourhood Watch Casey
Neighbourhood Watch Casey actively delivers programs to increase community awareness of crime and public safety.  The group engages with car owners, encouraging them to safeguard their property by holding secure number plate events. It has launched a children's safety book and attends early learning centres and events teaching children basic safety. The group makes new residents feel welcome and informed.

Our next group nominated is Sikh Volunteers Australia
The members of Sikh Volunteers Victoria volunteer at a variety of community events in Casey, from ANZAC Day and Tree planting days to the Lynbrook Lake Lantern festival. In 2017 they initiated a free food truck for those in need around Casey. The group’s volunteers are happy to assist in any way they can, and are always the first to put their hands up and support other local groups with their events.

TurningPoint Support Centre
For over 20 years TurningPoint Support Centre has been providing food, financial support, counselling, life-skills training and friendship to residents who are disadvantaged. The Centre is run by a team of volunteers from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. The Centre assists around 300 individuals and families per week, including new refugees, migrants and the homeless. 

Vision Australia’s Hallam Social Support Group
The Hallam Social Support Group provides activities for people that live with blindness or low vision at the Hallam Seniors Citizens Centre.  The Group encourages members to give back to the wider community by opening its doors to all, and by teaching other members of the community how to play bingo and indoor bowls for the blind.  The Group also participated in the Ageing Positively Festival in October 2017.