2015 Casey Australia Day Award Winners

The annual Casey Australia Day Award winners were announced at a special ceremony on Australia Day, Monday, 26 January 2015.

Casey Australia Day Awards 2015 winners

Casey Citizen of the Year – Veronica Hill

Veronica has demonstrated outstanding service and a long term commitment to the Casey community.  She has been an active volunteer and Committee member with several sporting clubs and community events in the Doveton area, and these roles span over 40 years.  Veronica has been described as a motivating, inspiring and passionate person, who demonstrates care for community members and encourages others to get involved in local events and activities.

Casey Young Citizen of the Year – Brooke McGowan-Grills

Through Brooke’s own initiative and leadership she has established a support network for local children with Type 1 Diabetes.  Brooke has also started Kids with Diabetes camps to enable children and families to relax, find new friends and offer peer support.  She has worked hard to build networks for children with diabetes to ensure they do not feel isolated and can be part of a wider community family.

Casey Senior Citizen of the Year – Rita Hartney

Rita is a published author and a very active citizen who continues to achieve and enrich the Casey community and inspire others to strive for excellence.    She provides opportunities for people to build their life skills and resilience by offering training, networking and contributing tomany local organisations including Casey Radio, Narre Community Learning Centre and Casey Neighbourhood Watch. 

Casey Sportsperson of the Year – Joshua Beaver

Joshua is acknowledged for his sporting achievements as a remarkable swimmer, as well as his contribution to the Casey Tiger Sharks Swimming Club.  In 2014 he was selected to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow which resulted in 2 silver medals and a bronze.  He is an excellent role model and has inspired others through his dedication to his sport, commitment to train hard to overcome injury and to compete at an elite level.

Casey Non-resident of the Year - Mak Utatao

For over 15 years, Mak has shown great dedication to the development of rugby, touch football and softball in Casey.  His leadership within Casey’s Polynesian community has been exemplary and many young people and families have greatly benefitted from his efforts to create positive, supportive and respectful sporting club cultures.

Casey Community Event/Activity of the Year – The Hampton Park Networking Group Inc. for the Hampton Park Central Multicultural Food Festival

The Hampton Park Centre Multicultural Food Festival brought together communities from all around Casey to celebrate their cultural diversity.  The festival provided an opportunity to embrace common values by sharing food, dancing and singing.  With more than 2500 people attending, 60 stalls and over 15 cultural groups the festival embraced artists, sporting clubs, seniors groups, local community houses and learning centres as well as residents from surrounding suburbs.

Casey Community Fundraising Event/Activity of the Year - Cranbourne Narre Relay for Life Committee for the Cranbourne Narre Relay for Life

This event held at Casey Fields in November last year took place over two days and was open to all members of the community with over 600 residents attending.  The event was held to raise awareness of cancer and included many cancer survivors, families, local entertainers and volunteers.   The event raised over $124,000 and all funds were donated to the Cancer Council of Victoria.

Highly Commended Certificate - Jasmine Giesen

Jasmine is only 10 years old and already a community fund-raiser.  This Christmas she organised a free dress day at her school where pupils donated a can of food, which was given to the local Salvation Army.  She is also involved with the RSPCA shelter at Pearcedale making enrichment items for the cats and dogs. Jasmine demonstrates that you are never too young to get involved in your community and help those around you.

Australia Day Study Tour Award Recipients 2015

  • Leia Burrough - Cranbourne East Secondary College, Cranbourne East
  • Trent Buxton - Kambrya College, Berwick
  • Arashdeep Dhaliwal - St Margarets School, Berwick
  • Miriam Fares - Gleneagles Secondary College, Endeavour Hills
  • Jasmine Gonzalez - Fountain Gate Secondary College, Narre Warren
  • Liam Jolliffe - Cranbourne East Secondary College, Cranbourne East
  • Lauren Murrant - Kambrya College, Berwick
  • Jarrod O’Donnell - Gleneagles Secondary College, Endeavour Hills
  • Thomas Velican - Nossal High School, Berwick
  • OlumideYinka - KehindeGleneagles Secondary College, Endeavour Hills

2015 Casey Australia Day Awards nominees

Jake Barnard
Jake has been involved in basketball for 3 years and has coached the under 8’s and under 10’s teams for the last two seasons.  He loves spending time teaching the children new skills, helping them develop their game and coaching them on how to be a team player.  Jake shows great leadership by always being professional, motivated and inspiring others. 

Mandy Batten
Mandy has been involved in the Girl Guides for over 20 years as a Unit Leader, District Leader and more recently Regional Leader.  Mandy is the liaison for the Kooronga Campsite and has given countless hours to maintain and improve the Endeavour Hills camp.  Mandy’s work over the years has ensured that hundreds of local Girl Guides have learnt about resilience, how to work in a team, realistic body image and leadership skills.

Helen Comport 
As a widow Helen brought up her four pre-school aged sons alone and throughout their lives she has been inspirational and supported their schools by fund-raising, offering reading assistance, support at special events and Maths tutoring.  Helen is very community minded and has also been involved with cubs, scouts and sporting clubs.  More recently she has shown resilience and determination to set up ‘Quilts for Valour’ in Australia in support of Australian service personnel and their families. 

Raymond Exell
Raymond is a member of the Harkaway community and has been a volunteer at the Harkaway cemetery for over 20 years.  He is committed to maintaining, marking out and locating memorial sites at the cemetery and willingly donates his time, experience and energy for the benefit of the community.  He has contributed to the Harkaway community for over 55 years through his voluntary work and is an inspiration to all. 

Pastor Drew Gormlie
Drew has developed youth programs that currently support over 275 young people living in Narre Warren South.  He has worked diligently to raise awareness of youth suicide prevention, delivering training programs and increasing the safety of local young people. He also led a group of volunteers in renovating a local factory to become a Youth/Community Centre. Drew demonstrates honesty and integrity in every area of his work as well as community focus and leadership. 

David Haynes
For the last eight years David has been volunteering on various local community learning centres and neighbourhood house committees.  As President of the Oakgrove Community Centre he has worked towards ensuring the centre is a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for the local community.  David has a very strong work ethic and gives his time generously to ensure the success of the centre for the community.

William Hinde
William is actively working to promote the safety and security of his local community through his involvement in the Cranbourne and Hampton Park Fire Brigades.  As a firefighter William teaches community awareness through CFA programs and raises money for local charities on a regular basis.  Last year he took on the Eureka Tower race in full breathing apparatus and raised over $8000.

Matson Lawson
Matson is member of the Casey Tiger Sharks at Casey RACE .  In 2014 he represented Australia in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and in 2012 at the Olympic Games in London.  He regularly volunteers his time at the club for functions, school talks and other events.  He is a constant example to others young members of the club with his hard work, dedication and commitment.

Trevor O’Donnell
Trevor has been a key volunteer at Doveton Football Club for 20 years, for which he has been awarded Life Membership. He is the coordinator of user groups at both Robinson and Reid Reserves. Trevor is an energetic and diligent person and always gives 100% effort to whatever task he is doing or club he is supporting.

Demetria Reyes
Demetriafounded the Younger Generation Filipino Seniors Club in Endeavour Hills in 1996. The club has fostered a sense of pride and belonging in the community with the example being set by Demetria their President.  She leads by example, being a person who values harmony within the multicultural community, and is a wonderful example of someone who is actively ageing positively.

Brianna Santos
Brianna is a young person from our community who has shown resilience and determination on a daily basis, overcoming many personal challenges.  She recently saved her friend’s life by performing CPR for nine minutes before the paramedics arrived to take over.  She had never performed CPR before.

Pastor Keith Vethaak
Keith’s commitment to the vulnerable and elderly members of the Casey community is truly remarkable. His passion for helping the community has led to him establishing the Transit Soup Kitchen in Narre Warren. Keith also coordinates volunteers within the community who want to have a positive impact on improving the welfare of others. Keith’s compassionate heart inspires those around him.

Robert Waugh
As a resident of Casey for over 25 years Bob has always been an enthusiastic and active contributor to various community groups.  Berwick RSL, the Legacy Foundation (supporting families of defence force personnel), the Berwick Benevolence Society and Berwick Bowling club to name but a few.  He leads by example and is always willing to assist members of the Casey community.

Sinke is an active member of the Oromo community within Casey, organising events and festivals. Her passion is encouraging young people to develop their skills and qualifications whilst recognising their culture.  Sinke is a role model within the community acting as a teacher, leader and mentor to many young people.

Ross Wilkie
Ross has been a member of the Tooradin Foreshore Committee of Management for over 20 Years.  He has a huge input in organising the annual Christmas foreshore event for the community. His knowledge of and commitment to the area is enviable and he works tirelessly to maintain the reserve and educate others on its beauty and environmental importance.

Anzac Day Commemoration, Berwick RSL Women’s Auxiliary
At the Berwick Anzac Day commemoration in April last year, the Berwick RSL Women’s Auxiliary provided refreshments in the RSL Hall for all community members who attended the ceremony.  The event attracted more than 1000 local residents all of whom were catered for by this small group of diligent women who provided catering and comfort to their fellow community members.

Annual Gathering 2014, Casey Multifaith Network
The Annual Gathering organised by the Casey Multifaith Network is a community event that aims to promote ‘Harmony in Diversity’.  The event consisted of performances from local groups from over 15 different faiths.  The event encouraged social cohesion, sharing of cultural backgrounds and an opportunity for members of the community to ‘connect’.

Berwick Cemetery Tour, Narre Warren & District Family History Group
This tour was conducted during ‘History Week’ last October and made Berwick Cemetery a focal point for local history.  The community were introduced to the stories gathered over the last 150 years of the cemetery which included early pioneers, the bush fires of 1983 and an unsolved murder from over 90 years ago.

Hampton Park 70th Anniversary Expo and Family Day, Hampton Park Fire Brigade
This event was attended by over 800 Casey residents and was an opportunity for the community to learn about fire safety and CFA volunteers.  There were rescue demonstrations, fun activities for children and a variety of stalls both educational and edible.  It was a valuable opportunity to raise fire safety awareness in the community.

Kaleidoscope Festival, Oakgrove Community Centre
In November last year the Kaleidoscope Festival brought together over 400 Casey residents from 12 different nationalities in a family environment.  The event was an opportunity for community members to try something new and learn about the exciting cultures of the countries which participated.

Lynbrook Lake Lantern Festival, Lynbrook Residents Association
Held at Banjo Paterson Reserve, the Lynbrook Lantern Festival is a family friendly event that welcomed more than 3000 Casey residents.  The aim of the event was for families to join together to make lanterns which were floated on the lake, to meet their neighbours and make new friends. The event focussed on keeping costs for attendees low to ensure all members of the community could participate. 

TurningPoint Support Centre Christmas Dinner,TurningPoint Support Centre 
Several hundred local families and residents in-need attended this annual Christmas Dinner which consisted of a BBQ meal with desserts and salads.  The event included activities for children, a visit from Santa and all families went home with a food hamper.  The event promoted sharing, community inclusiveness and an opportunity for locals to make new friends.

West Gippsland Cricket Association All Star Game, Devon Meadows Cricket Club
This event, held in November last year brought together the local community to celebrate grass roots cricket and raise funds for The Ponting Foundation and Senior Representative Cricket team.  It included cricket matches, entertainment as well as raffles and prizes. In total 20 West Gippsland Cricket Association clubs were represented and the day was well supported by many spectators.