News: Australia Day 2019 Award Winners

Locals heroes heralded for their work in the community at Australia Day celebrations

Posted: Thursday, 31 January 2019

Barkly Regional Council hosted their Australia Day celebrations at the Battery Hill Mining and Visitor Centre on the morning of 26 January, with some local heroes heralded for their work in the community.

The annual Local Government Australia Day Awards this year showcased some selfless souls, who go above and beyond for our Barkly region.

Get to know the winners here: 

Citizen of the Year Award is in recognition of people who have made noteworthy contributions during the current year or outstanding service over a number of years to their community.

Nominees: Michael Nash, Randall Gould, Father John Kennedy, Hal Ruger

Winner: Councillor Hal Ruger
Born and bred in Tennant Creek, Hal has always held his family and the community close to his heart. Over the years he has volunteered his time to serve on various committees including the Christmas Tree, baseball and gold committees, the Memorial Club, Sporties Club and Primary School. Hal, who is senior technical coordinator for Territory Generation, is keen on growing the town and the Barkly region, turning it into an economic development zone and focusing on renewable energy. He also encourages the younger generation where possible to gain employment in town which contributes to greater economic and development and growth for our town and surrounding areas.  Hal’s dream to install a town clock on Paterson Street came true in August last year with plans to beautify the structure in the pipeline. Hal has dedicated much of his time and passion into building a better community, in spirit and in strength. He continues to make a valuable contribution to the town and region through his role as a councillor; serving on Council since 2008. Hal contributes to this community without expecting praise or gratitude. He is well deserving of this accolade.

Community Event Award recognises and encourages the significant contribution local groups make to community life and promotes national pride and community responsibility

Nominees: Barkly Multicultural Night (Barkly Multicultural Group); Tennant Creek Christmas Tree Event (Christmas Tree Committee); Which Way? Right Way Community Project and Event Launch (Barkly Regional Arts, Tennant Creek Women's Refuge and Territory Families), Barkly Beef Dinner (Barkly Beef Dinner Committee 

Winner: The Barkly Beef Dinner (Barkly Beef Dinner Committee)
The Barkly Beef Dinner, which presents awards for the cattle industry, attracted a large number of guests from the Barkly, including state dignitaries and attendees from as far away as Queensland.  Another focus of the event was to raise awareness about suicide and funds for Dolly’s Dream. This charity was set up in memory of Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett, aged 14, who took her own life after an extended period of bullying and cyberbullying. With an auction on the night raising $17,400 for Dolly’s Dream, this put the Barkly Beef Dinner in the Top 10 list of fundraisers. There were guest speakers from Daniel and Ed, founders of TradeMutt, an organisation raising awareness about men’s suicide in Australia, especially amongst tradies. There was also live entertainment from acoustic duo, Innocent Eve. This was a great night, bringing people from all over the region together and   highlighting the generosity of locals. A truly memorable event.

Student Citizen Award is sponsored by the Northern Territory Government’s Department of Education, and recognises excellent citizenship within the school community. It also recognises students who show a sense of fair play, generosity of spirit, concern for others, cultural understanding, positive attitude and involvement within the school.

Winners: Peta-Lee Haynes and Andrew Green
Peta-Lee is a Year 6 student at the Tennant Creek Primary School. As house captain for the Peko team her leadership qualities came to the fore. She demonstrated a positive attitude in the classroom, playground and throughout the wider community, and is a role model with a strong heart, strong brain and strong spirit. Peta-Lee has worked with younger children at different sporting events, encouraging participants and showing good sportsmanship. She has helped with fundraising for the Year 6 camp to Adelaide and was goal umpire for junior footy games on Saturdays. Peta-Lee is a quiet, diligent student who is respected by pupils and teachers alike, and well deserving of this award.

Sportsperson of the Year Award honours the sporting achievements of individual men and women, of any age, and a male and female category.

Nominees: Pam Dillon, Kevin Stout, Matthew Green and Rachel Noonan

Winner (Male): Matthew Green Born and bred in Tennant Creek, Matthew Green has played most sports, including some notable achievements in athletics and AFL football. Following an outstanding year in 2017 representing both the Northern Territory and Allies at Under 18 level in AFL, Matthew was named in the Level 2 NAB AFL Academy Squad which comprises of 32 of the most promising U18 players in Australia. After graduating from Tennant Creek High School in 2017, Matthew spent his 18th year in Darwin training for the Rookie Me Combines and working as an assistant teacher at Bakewell Primary School. In 2018 Matthew was selected in the NT Thunder U18 squad with standout performances in these matches leading to his selection in the 2018 Allies Squad. He then went on to play four national championship games against South Australia, Western Australia, country Victoria and Melbourne Victoria. On 21 July 2018 Matthew made his NT Thunder senior debut against the Canberra Demons and went on to play another three senior games to round out the Thunder season. Throughout the year he also returned to the Barkly several times to play games for the Spitfires in the Barkly AFL. Matthew moved back to Tennant Creek late last year, and is working as an assistant teacher at the Primary School. He is an exceptional sports person, a quiet achiever and an outstanding recipient of this award.

Winner (Female): Rachel Noonan Rachel Noonan has been supporting the people of Tennant Creek in their endeavours to become a stronger, healthier community since her first group fitness class started here in January 2018. She is a passionate, young woman determined to provide a fun, safe and encouraging atmosphere for people – both male and female – of all ages and fitness levels. A qualified personal trainer, Rachel created True Form Fitness so participants could make health and fitness a priority. She was fed up with the growing amount of incorrect information about exercise, and quick fixes like fad diets, being fed to the public so she became a qualified person trainer to remedy the situation. She also gained qualifications to train post-natal women to exercise properly. Rachel’s classes are accessible, affordable and family friendly which for people with children is a life saver. She caters for all ages – from young to old – and for all fitness levels - from beginners to hard-core fitness fanatics. Rachel adopts a personal approach to her classes. She gives feedback, answers questions and is always quietly encouraging to ensure everyone reaches their full potential without feeling pressured. She has brought about a whole new love of fitness for people from all walks of life whether they’re police officers, young mums, grandmothers, office workers, bank tellers, paramedics, or tradies. Rachel has made a truly noteworthy contribution to the Tennant Creek sport and fitness community and her efforts and knowledge deserve to be recognised.

Volunteer of the Year Award recognises a person who has made a noteworthy contribution as a volunteer during the current year or given outstanding service over a number of years to their community.

Nominees: Michael Baker, Nicole Civitarese, Roddy Calvert, Pene Curtis 

Winner: Pene Curtis
For many years Pene has volunteered willingly, effectively and with resilience across many organisations. A long term member of the Country Women’s Association Tennant Creek branch, and Tennant Creek Rotary Club, as well as being the foundation member of the E-Club of Outback Australia, Pene has made significant contributions to all these organisations.
She is currently a board member of the Barkly Region Alcohol and Drug Abuse Advisory Group Incorporated, the Tennant Creek Women’s Refuge and the Tennant Creek Centralian Health Board where her extensive knowledge of bush communities has proved invaluable. Pene is one of life’s quiet achievers.
A good friend to many people, she has balanced her family, work and voluntary commitments with aplomb. She volunteers her time with good cheer, enthusiasm and without complaint. Pene is also community spirited and tireless in her commitment to making this town a better place to live and work in.

Young Citizen Award is in recognition of people under 30 years of age who have made noteworthy contributions during the current year or outstanding service over a number of years to their community.

Nominees: Rifky Noorizal, Trent Wilson

Winner: Trent Wilson Trent works two days a week at the Tennant Creek Hospital under a school-based traineeship. He is passionate about his job and his supervisors say he is hard-working, dedicated and a real asset. In his spare time Trent runs his own business doing gardening jobs around town, works at Red Rooster and still does odd jobs around the house. This young man has a real can-do attitude, putting himself out so as to not let anyone down. Each year he represents Tennant Creek in the NT 8 Ball Junior Titles but last year he broke his left collarbone. Despite being in a lot of pain, Trent chose to be driven to Darwin so he didn’t miss out. He didn’t win a lot of games but was glad he took part. Although young in years, Trent shows a maturity and dedication to his community. He goes above and beyond to do as much as he can to help everyone.

Senior Citizen of the Year Award is in recognition of people over 60 years of age who have made a noteworthy contribution during the current year or given outstanding services over a number of years to their community.

Winner: Councillor Noel Hayes
Councillor Noel Hayes is a lifelong resident of the Barkly region; growing up in Barrow Creek and then moving to Ali Curung. A Kaytetye man, he is an active advocate for his community and keen to give people in the bush a voice.
Over the years Noel has held numerous governance and positions of authority in both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal structures. He is also actively involved in a number of organisations, including being chair of the Ali Curung Local Authority, on the board of Anyinginyi Aboriginal Corporation and a member of the NT Government’s remote public housing reference group.
A strong leader, Noel believes in leading by example, holding fast to his integrity, being 100 per cent committed to the committees and organisations he represents, and speaking up strongly for the people of his community. Noel has been busy in his battle to improve remote housing in the Barkly, identifying any problems and working with Barkly Regional Council and the NT Government to resolve any issues.
Noel is a well-respected community member not just for Ali Curung but the broader region. While some people would want to retire at 75, Noel is committed to listening to and helping all people on community get a better quality of life.

Citizen of the Year:
Bob Bagnall
Elliott Sportsperson of the Year: Deakin Kingston

Sportsperson of the Year:  Jameson Billy
Young Citizen of the Year: Meril Toby
Community Event of the Year:  Community Christmas Party (Warte Alparayetye Store)
Senior Citizen of the Year: Laney Tracker
Citizen of the Year: Doreen Kelly