Australia Day awards

The Australia Day Awards are proudly presented by the Australia Day Council of NSW and administered by local Councils.

The Awards promote and recognise outstanding examples of citizenship and achievement during the current year, and/or outstanding service over a number of years to a local community or over and above normal employment duties.

Council provides awards for outstanding citizens, sports persons and cultural person in the Local Government Area, as part of the national Australia Day Awards.

Nominations closed at 5pm on 10 January 2022, recipients will be announced at Australia Day events on 27 January 2022.


History of Award Winners

A full list of award winners from 1981 to current can be found here. (PDF 2MB)



2022 Cultural Person of the Year Award – Fred Randell

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Dubbo acknowledge the contribution to the cultural community in Dubbo made by Fred Randell, and congratulate him on being named as Dubbo’s 2022 Cultural Person of the Year.

Mr Randell is the current and recent President of the volunteer group SOMAD (Songwriters and Original Musicians Association of Dubbo). In that role he spearheaded efforts to boost original music and live music in general for several years in Dubbo.

Mr Randell is not only the president and treasurer of SOMAD, a significant organisation in the cultural development of the city of Dubbo, but is key in their operations, including event management, sound and lights, and organisational promotion.

Mr Randell designs many of the posters, builds relationships with venues and government staff and, through events, gives opportunities to many young and emerging musical artists.

He is the event coordinator for the Under Western Skies music festival, our own home-grown music festival from 2019-2021.

In addition to his work and achievements as part of SOMAD, he is also:

  • On the board for the Dubbo Conservatorium of Music;

  • A talented local musical artist, heading up the band ‘Civil Hands’ and ‘The Exchange’;

  • Involved with the DREAM Festival including running several events (ZooCoustic) and assisting with the market event.

As a volunteer, Mr Randell is an excellent asset to our city, but also as a cultural practitioner – his band Civil Hands released an LP in 2021, Skylines Fall, which won several awards at the Dubbo Original Music Awards 2021, including:

  • Album of the Year

  • Song of the Year

  • Film Clip of the Year

It is this tireless dedication to the Dubbo cultural scene, along with various other volunteer roles, that makes Mr Randell a worthy winner of the 2022 Cultural Person of the Year Award.


2022 Services to Sport Award – Peter Heywood

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Dubbo acknowledge the contribution made by Peter Heywood to Dubbo’s Croquet Club, and congratulate him on being named as Dubbo’s 2022 Services to Sports Award winner.

Mr Heywood has been a valuable member of the Croquet club and has dedicated his time within the club as a committee member for 13 years.

Over this time he has held various positions on the committee such as Secretary, President and Treasurer.

Mr Heywood was the convener of the grant applications to move the club from the old croquet courts to their new home at Muller Park.

He was the coordinator of the club’s 100-year celebration with a detailed history of the early years on display boards.

Mr Heywood project managed the works project of the installation of new synthetic surface, which included the clearing of surface area, court design, hoops, artificial surface selection, lighting and shaded seating.

Mr Heywood is also proactive in enhancing player skills and introducing new members to the club.

The sound position of the club and the sport in Dubbo is due in no small part to Mr Heywood’s dedication and that is why he is such a deserving recipient of the 2022 Services to Sport Award.


2022 Young Sportsperson of the Year – Dylan Eather

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Dubbo acknowledge the contribution of Dylan Eather to the sport of cycling and congratulate him on being named Dubbo’s 2022 Young Sportsperson of the Year.

Mr Eather is rapidly developing into one of the best of the current crop of Dubbo cyclists, cementing his place with a group of riders that regularly win gold at the national level.

Mr Eather has been specialising in longer duration track races and road. Taking gold in the state points race in early 2020 and winning the Tolland Classic in Wagga Wagga in 2019 were indicators of bigger things to come. At Wagga Wagga not only did he take out the U19’s, he was first across the line, beating the elite athletes. On top of this he backed up the next day and came third in the 70km event – True Grit.

Mr Eather’s opportunities to perform were severely limited in 2020 due to COVID-19 and he was extremely unfortunate to break his hand at the National Track Championships in December 2020 after leading NSW to Bronze in the Teams Pursuit. For many riders the combination of these unforeseen events may have ended their careers, however Mr Eather bounced back two months later dominating the NSW U19 Sate Championships at Dunc Grey Velodrome taking Gold in the Omnium, Pursuit, and Team Sprint and Silver in the Time Trial. He then carried this red hot form to the National Track Championships in Brisbane in March 2021, taking Gold in the Scratch Race and Silver in the Time Trial.

Mr Eather’s commitment to training is outstanding, and his tenacious ambition on the bike belies his humble and quite attitude off the track. He is also a team player, and has a reputation for digging deep when the team is under pressure, pulling super human efforts to get his team back into medal contention. And then being able to back up event after event.

Mr Eather is an extremely motivated and hardworking cyclist and it is his dedication to his sport that makes him a very deserving recipient of the Young Sportsperson of the Year award for 2022.


2022 Sportsperson of the Year – Rachelle Darcy

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Dubbo acknowledge the contribution of Shelly Darcy to the sport of touch football and congratulate her on being named Dubbo’s 2022 Sportsperson of the Year.

Ms Darcy has had an outstanding 2021 in the sport of Touch Football.

She was a member of the successful Hunter Western Hornets Women’s 40’s team who competed at the National Touch League in Coffs Harbour in March 2021.

Ms Darcy’s team defeated the Sydney Scorpions five touch downs to four in the final with Shelly playing strongly and being named ‘Player of the Final’.

In June 2021 she represented NSW and excelled in her first State of Origin Touch Football experience.

She starred for the NSW Women’s 40’s side at Coffs Harbour helping the Blues to an overall series win over Queensland.

Her efforts in the 2-1 series win were recognised with the ‘Player of the Series’ prize but she was quick to praise teammates for their efforts rather than her own.

As well as her own successes in the representative arena, Ms Darcy is also an active and valued member of the Dubbo Touch Association, coaching the U12 Girls Representative team, guiding and mentoring junior players in the senior competitions.

For the above reasons and her commitment to her sport of Touch Football makes her a very deserving recipient of the Sportsperson of the Year award for 2022.


2022 Young Citizen of the Year Award – Taje Fowler

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Dubbo acknowledge the contribution made by Taje Fowler, and congratulate her on being named Dubbo’s 2022 Young Citizen of the year.

Miss Fowler has had a tremendous year of supporting the community and representing regional youth. A proud descendant of the Wurundjeri nation with family connection to the Wiradjuri nation, Miss Fowler’s dream is to see the young people she works with and advocates for achieve their goals and aspirations. She is the first in her family to complete a university degree and recently completed her studies of Bachelor of Community and Social Development for Indigenous Communities.

Miss Fowler started volunteering at Apollo house assisting with Skillbuilders afterschool activities. She instantly fitted in and was welcomed by the community and adored by the kids and her peers alike. Ms Fowler is a talented painter and has helped the kids create community murals for NAIDOC Day and another that was recently on display at the Western Plains Cultural Centre with a simple but important message “Let’s Grow ….Our Kids ….Our Community”.

Miss Fowler is often found strolling the Dubbo river walk early in the morning, walking alongside young people experiencing complex mental health issues.

During the recent COVID-19 crisis in Dubbo, Ms Fowler quickly rolled up her sleeves to support the community, especially those living in Apollo Estate. She developed kid’s packs to keep kids busy in lockdown and volunteered her time on the weekends to complete a mobile testing unit with NSW Health, committed to running a pop up

vaccination clinic at Apollo House and started a 24-hour social media platform so young people could always have someone to talk to.  She also baked home cooked meals to deliver to people in isolation.

She was appointed as a member of the NSW 2021 Regional Youth Taskforce, where she represented the Central West and Orana region with 17 other members from across regional NSW.

Miss Fowler has a relentless desire to help kids lead a life of purpose, she truly is humble and quietly works away to change the lives of kids having a tough time.

It is this incredible commitment to young people in her community and her own achievements makes her a very deserving recipient of the 2022 Young Citizen of the Year Award.


2022 Senior Citizen of the Year Award – Fay Angel

Dubbo Regional Council and the Citizens of Dubbo acknowledge the contribution made by Fay Angel, and congratulate her on being named as Dubbo’s 2022 Senior Citizen of the Year.

Ms Angel has been integral in the development and enhancement of the Walan Community Garden for the past four years, and has helped to develop it into a space that is inclusive and accessible for all. Over the past four years the garden has transformed from a bare paddock to a thriving, visually spectacular organic community garden.

Part of Ms Angel’s varied role is recruiting volunteers, which she does through her community and social service networks.

The Community Garden is an approved Community Service Agency for Corrective Services NSW Community Service Scheme. Ms Angel is a certified volunteer supervisor for the gardens and is responsible for the supervision of offenders who are required to complete community service hours as part of their sentence. She has built a great rapport with these participants.

Ms Angel was a big proponent of treating everyone as an equal and with respect, no matter what their past. She knew that being out in the sun, physical activity, completing projects and receiving acknowledgement and praise would improve the self-esteem and the mental health of the participants.

The Clontarf Foundation and PCYC also bring their clients to the garden to engage and to share in the delight and education of growing and enjoying real food. Peppercorn Day Care Centre also bring the children to experience the garden, pull out endless supply of carrots which they enjoy crunching on while running and playing outdoors in the garden.

Not only is Ms Angel a great coordinator and motivator she is also very hands on. Ms Angel is involved in designing garden beds, planting, weeding, watering, mowing and spreading mulch and compost with her team of volunteers.

She is also involved in the new wellbeing garden at the Western Cancer Centre at the Dubbo Hospital, which has been receiving wonderful feedback.

When you meet Ms Angel you immediately feel at ease because of her friendly, pragmatic and authentic approach and it is this, and her dedication in helping people from all backgrounds, that makes her a very deserving 2022 Senior Citizen of the Year.


2022 Citizen of the Year Award – Matthew Hansen

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Dubbo acknowledge the contribution made by Matthew Hansen, and congratulate him on being named Dubbo’s 2022 Citizen of the Year.

Mr Hansen’s volunteer work started with a single raffle down the main street of Dubbo, and has now grown into an incredible organisation that has bettered the lives and opportunities for thousands of people in Central Western NSW. For more than a decade he has not only raised an incredible amount of money for the Dubbo community and region but has made a huge impact on the health of inland rivers and waterways, significantly enhanced recreational fishing opportunities and generated immeasurable positive social outcomes for people residing in Dubbo and central NSW.

Mr Hansen founded the volunteer recreational fishing group ‘The Inland Waterways Rejuvenation Association (IWRA)’, and in his position as the volunteer president he has established a strong volunteer committee of like-minded recreational fishers that have conducted numerous high profile fundraising initiatives.

The group has hosted the not-for-profit Lake Burrendong fishing classic fundraiser for nine years, engaging over 15,000 recreational anglers since 2010. This event alone has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars which has been put towards improving river health in Dubbo and across NSW.

Mr Hansen has organised the release of hundreds of thousands of native Murray Cod and Yellowbelly into the region’s waterways through dollar for dollar restocking. He has actively campaigned to open fish passage in the region to create better breeding opportunities for native Murray Cod, Yellowbelly and the endangered Trout Cod in the region’s waterways

Mr Hansen is also the co-founder of the River Repair Bus work for the dole project that has been working to restore large stretches of the Macquarie River for the past four years. The IWRA group contributed almost $60,000 in cash to purchase a 12-seater bus and heavy duty river repair trailer. This group alone have planted 7,000 native trees and removed over 300 trailer loads of rubbish from the banks of the Macquarie River in the Wellington, Dubbo and Narromine districts.

There is so much more that Mr Hansen has been involved in but too many to mention today.

It is Mr Hansen’s wide-ranging involvement and significant contributions over the past decade that makes him an extremely worthy recipient of the 2022 Citizen of the Year award.


Community Service Award – Doug Morley

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Wellington acknowledge the contribution made by Doug Morley to the community through volunteer work and congratulate him on being presented with a Community Service Award.

Mr Morley is an active member of the Wellington community helping to support local community groups. He is constantly looking for new ways to grow local groups and is someone who enjoys helping others, never looking for thanks in return.

Mr Morley has been an active member of the town band for more than 25 years, volunteering as the band assistant for three years and is currently the band conductor, helping to organise the town band and teach beginners.

He was a member of the Wellington Town Fire Brigade for 15 years receiving the long service medal in 2013. Doug is a current volunteer of the Geurie bush firefighting crew, having served for more than 22 years. He also volunteered in the 2019/2020 black summer bushfires travelling with crews throughout NSW.

Mr Morley also volunteered his time through his work with the Wellington Correctional Centre social club to raise money for charities such as Men’s Health, Cystic Fibrosis and the Cancer Council.

He also has been a supportive member in the local Uniting Church community helping to maintain the church grounds.

Community Service Award – Penny Cook

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Wellington acknowledge the contribution of Penny Cook and congratulate her on being presented with a Community Service Award.

Ms Cook is extremely community minded. She has strong values and is generous to the community with her time. She volunteers at the Wellington Show, Made in Wello shop and is a WIRES carer.

Ms Cook goes out of her way to make people feel welcome and included. This is evident with the way she interacts with tourists and locals alike in her volunteer role in ‘Made in Wello’.

Ms Cook is the only volunteer for WIRES in Wellington, helping our injured and orphaned native wildlife. This involves call outs to assist native animals in distress and fostering of orphaned animals until they are released. Also involved is night feeding, and when old enough transitioning animals to be able to be released back into the wild.

Ms Cook’s speciality is wombats and she released a wombat in the Pilliga area. During the recent drought the Wombat found its way to Pilliga Pottery where it found water and carrots in the garden and, being human raised, was quite comfortable around the owners and often visits.

Ms Cook also will look after joeys until they can go to a specialist kangaroo/wallaby carer. This involves trips to places such as Parkes. She also regularly transports animals to the zoo for veterinary treatment.

Ms Cook also volunteers for the Wellington Show running the photography section and assisting with the baking section each year.

Community Service Award – Ian Darney

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Wellington acknowledge the contribution of Ian Darney and congratulate him on being presented with a Community Service Award.

Mr Darney has volunteered for at least 16 years for various organisations, including Rugby Union, League, Legacy and Wellington Race Club.

He joined the race club committee more than two decades ago and has been president for close to 10 years, and only recently re-elected again to the position.

During his tenure Mr Darney has been instrumental in gaining much additional racing sponsorship and prizemoney. Last year Racing NSW increased prizemoney for the Wellington Boot 1100 metre feature event to $200,000 and the two-day racing carnival total prizemoney exceeds $360,000 - the richest fixture west of the great divide.

Nearly every day you will find Mr Darney out on the track moving irrigation sprays and piping or potting (filling-in) horse-hoof print divots on the track, the results of track work training of race meetings.

The club has been successful under his presidency due to his charismatic approach to life and fellow volunteers. There is nothing he would ask that he either wouldn’t do himself or has actually done and needs a hand.

Mr Darney has also done a lot of charitable work for families in need though would never seek recognition of these acts of kindness.

Community Service Award – Pip Smith

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Wellington acknowledge the contribution of Pip Smith and congratulate her on being presented with a Community Service Award.

Ms Smith is one of those people who is always super busy but who is always first to put her hand up to assist anyone with their events or when volunteers are needed. She is very community minded and needs to be recognised for her contributions to Wellington.

Ms Smith gives a huge amount to the community and in particular the Wellington Eisteddfod. Wellington Eisteddfod is one of the biggest in NSW and Ms Smith has been involved from a young age.

In 2021 with COVID-19 ramping up for the second time, the eisteddfod planning was on standby for a long time. Ms Smith spent many hours on the phone with parents of the competitors, creating COVID plans and rearranging the event delivery to ensure a COVID-safe event that met all the restrictions around performances. With restrictions changing mid-event, she was again on the phone advising parents and rearranging events, moving performance times due to competitors’ travel restrictions, even having to make the difficult decision to cancel portions. Events like eisteddfods are the gateway for many students in pursing university spots and career opportunities, if cancelled, there is a huge pressure on the organisers, increasing the importance of Ms Smith’s efforts in this space.

Community Service Award – Cathy Donnelly

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Wellington acknowledge the contribution of Cathy Donnelly and congratulate her on being presented with a Community Service Award.

Ms Donnelly has volunteered her time with Binjang Community Radio for the last nine years. She is an on-air presenter and during that time she has proven to be reliable and effective in her regular time slots four times a week. She also anchors outside broadcasts every two weeks on average. She has been a director for Studio Coordination organising and updating the presenter rosters each week. Ms Donnelley has also organised Radio Station events.

She has shown outstanding dedication and determination from the day she began training to the current day. She has developed into a solid presenter with a respectful following in the community. The amount and length of time she volunteers is above and beyond that of her peers. Ms Donnelley is an avid supporter of Binjang Radio whose interests she passionately defends.

2022 Community Event of the Year Award – Art Trail – Wellington Arts Centre

Wellington Arts Centre Inc were active during 2021 despite COVID-19, where they ran four significant events which greatly helped and contributed to the wellbeing and profile of the local community.

Of these four events, the Art Trail has stood out as the event of the year.

The Art Trail was a highly successful event which was run across the Local Government Area in mid-April. The Art Trail featured 42 artists at 14 different venues/studios located between Rawsonville and Bakers Swamp over two days.

The trail attracted 600 visitors from 35 different postcodes. This lifted the profile of local artists and raised the awareness of the tremendous talent present in our local community.

It is events like this that are all encompassing which benefit the community and it is why they are awarded the Community Event of the Year 2022.

2022 Young Sportsperson of the Year Award – Josie Clarke

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Wellington acknowledge Josie Clarkes’s contribution to touch football, and congratulate her on being named Wellington’s 2022 Young Sportsperson of the Year.

Miss Clarke has been involved with touch football in our region for more than 10 years, beginning her touch with the St Mary's Wolf Pack and Wellington Touch Association.

Over the years she has been been selected into:

-Bathurst Diocese Team to play at the NSW CCC and Polding Trials;

-NSW Polding Team that won silver at the NSW PSSA Championships in Coffs Harbour;

-NSW CIS Team to play at National Youth Championships in QLD;

-NSW Hunter Western Hornets over the past seven Years and last year being involved in the U18s Team that won Gold at the Junior Regional Championships;

-U18's NSW Merit Team;

-Selected into the Australian U20s Squad to play in the YouthTrans-Tasman Championships against New Zealand.

And this year, Miss Clarke has been selected into the SUNS Women’s Premier Team to play at the National Touch League Championships in March at Coffs Harbour.

Miss Clarke is a player that competes on every set in the game of touch football. She has always set an excellent example to her teammates and younger peers by always displaying good sportsmanship, coaching younger players and refereeing in the junior and senior competitions.

Over the years Miss Clarke has had her share of injuries and disappointments but her hard work, commitment, resilience and courage is something for which she should be commended. It is these qualities which have pushed her through to be rewarded last year with the NSW Merit Team and Australian Squad. She sets an amazing example for our community.

Miss Clarke has demonstrated high resilience and determination not just through the COVID-19 period but her entire sporting life, and to be picked in the Australian Squad is a huge reward for that hard work. For these reasons she is a very worthy recipient of the Young Sportsperson of the Year for 2022 award.

2022 Sportsperson of the Year Award – Katherine Bell-Pitomac

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Wellington acknowledge the contribution made by Katherine Bell-Pitomac, and congratulate her on being named as Wellington’s 2022 Sportsperson of the Year.

Ms Bell-Pitomac started her riding career in 2002, being described as ‘promising’ after her first race as a young apprentice.

In March 2021, 19 years later “Just for Racing” journalist Ric Chapman wrote that even though she was still an apprentice “That wee snip of a lass” who still claims three kilograms on the city tracks, booted home Old Harbour to win by a half-head at the Country Championships at Mudgee.

He stated that she was masterful as she rode him on the fence, saving ground, then forcing her way into a gap at the top of the straight and urging him past Australia’s champion jockey, Hugh Bowman, and Sydney’s champion apprentice, Robbie Dolan, to win.

Ms Bell-Pitomac had taken time off to become a mum and then returned to the sport.  The Country Championship win in Mudgee was followed by her first ride at Randwick in February 2021 where she came third.

In her riding career, Ms Bell-Pitomac has had to overcome injuries, such as in 2015 when she was literally squashed by a horse that she was breaking in, breaking her back in three places. She underwent many hours of physiotherapy and hours of swimming in the pool to make her miracle comeback possible. Again in 2019, whilst rising to riding fame, Ms Bell-Pitomac was involved in a dramatic fall at Tamworth Country Championships which saw a total of four jockeys hospitalised.

Ms Bell-Pitomac has shown courage to overcome her injuries and ride again. She rides track-work most mornings at Wellington race course and her most recent Wellington performance was a big win on Diggers Reach for local trainer Garry McCarney in the 900 metres Over the Line Maiden Plate.

A jockey’s life is very early mornings riding at track work, and plying the trade by taking their mount to its best performance on race day. Ms Bell-Pitomac does this brilliantly and her dedication, commitment and hard work are why she is to be awarded with Wellington’s Sportsperson of the Year award 2022.

2022 Citizen of the Year Award – Lisa Thomas

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Wellington acknowledge the contribution made by Lisa Thomas, and congratulate her on being named as Wellington’s 2022 Citizen of the Year.

Ms Thomas is the current president of Wellington Arts, a position she has held for five years. In this role she oversees multiple events that provide avenues for community participation with an emphasis on inclusivity for the whole of the community. She negotiates multiple funding avenues all benefiting the Wellington region. Her focus is always on celebrating Wellington and its community and respecting cultural history.

Under Ms Thomas leadership Wellington Arts has grown into a vibrant volunteer organisation. It provides a wide range of arts-related events and activities for the local community.

In the face of COVID-19, Ms Thomas has guided Wellington Arts through all the challenges that they have faced and the organisation has not lost any of its vitality. She was responsible for ensuring that comprehensive COVID-19 Management plans were in place for every event mounted during the year.

Events that ran during the year included the highly successful Art Trail (across the LGA), the Australian Threatened Species art competition, and the Portrait Artist of the Year.

Also under the leadership of Ms Thomas, the Art and Sculpture Festival and Fong Lee Lane Festivals have become highlights on the annual Wellington calendar of events.

The Wellington Arts Gallery in the Western Stores Building opened last year to promote the work of Wellington artists to locals and tourists alike. Procurement of the gallery space in the centre of town owes much to the goodwill Wellington Arts has earned with Lisa at the helm. The Gallery has also ensured another shop front remains open in town, which Ms Smith is passionate about.

Ms Thomas is a great ambassador for Wellington, Wellington Arts and the region. She has also recognised and driven Wellington Arts’ increased social media profile, which in turn benefits Wellington’s public profile.

Ms Thomas is the personification of positivity, her passion for celebrating and promoting Wellington and her inexhaustible energy in making a difference to her community make her an extremely deserving 2022 Citizen of the Year.

2022 Senior Citizen of the Year Award – Nyasa Holmes

Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Citizens of Wellington acknowledge the contribution made Nyasa Holmes, and congratulate her on being named as Wellington’s 2022 Senior Citizen of the Year.

Mrs Holmes has been volunteering for the Wellington Community for over 50 years for multiple organisations, even whilst she was employed as a nurse for 30 years.

Organisations that have had the benefit of her tireless work are:

Red Cross;

Meals on Wheels;

Wellington Pony Club;

Assistant to Wellington Show secretary and steward;

Wellington Eisteddfod;

Nails at Maranatha House;

Wellington Primary School canteen;

WATS performer;

Womdomnom volunteer.

Mrs Holmes is a very kind, community minded and generous person willing to help those in need in any way that she can and for these reasons, she is a very deserving Senior Citizen of the Year for 2022.

Last Edited: 06 May 2022

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