6 February, 2024
Thanks for your contribution
Somerset Australia Day Award 2024 recipients were announced by Mayor Graeme Lehmann, in a special awards ceremony in Esk on Australia Day.
The awards were presented by Somerset’s Australia Day Ambassador, Dr Robert McGregor, who has dedicated his professional life to improve the life of children.
The Somerset Australia Day Award recipients were:
Citizen of the Year – James Wager;
Arts & Culture Award – Jim Filmer;
Community Group of the year – Esk Men’s Shed;
Event of the Year Award – Valley of the Lakes Garden Club Esk Garden and Lifestyle Fair;
Sports Award – Nicole Rowling. While the Citizen of the Year was unable to attend, his father Rob accepted the award and spoke on James’s behalf.
“James donates a staggering amount of time to our community. Many hundreds of hours every year and in ways many people don’t see or understand,” Rob said.
“By taking time off work to manage the recent fires in the region, he has used all his holiday leave from his job…His family only see him briefly in passing during fire season. It is tough.
“But he is not alone. There are volunteer firies all over Somerset who put in just as much time as James.
“And James doesn’t feel worthy to be singled out. He wants it known that he is accepting this award on their behalf too.”
To conclude, Rob said, “To all those who volunteer, who love where we live and who try to make it a better place, James wants to share this award with you.”
The Sports Award winner, Nicole, represented Australia in the World Blind Games in England last August.
Nicole said she felt honoured and proud when she received the Somerset Australia Day Sports Award.
“I felt like it was an excellent opportunity to create public awareness about the game of blind cricket and women in sport,” she said.
“It has inspired me to continue to work even harder promoting the sport, and fundraising for future events.”
Somerset Regional Council chief executive officer (CEO) Andrew Johnson acknowledged the award recipients.
“We are so fortunate that so many members of our community work so hard to make Somerset such a great place to live,” he said.
“I would like to congratulate all award recipients and nominees and thank them for the significant contributions they make to our community.”
The Somerset Australia Day Awards is intended to showcase and recognise Somerset residents and groups who have made an impact in the community.