Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council announces Australia Day award winners

Clare Valley Park Run has been awarded community event of the year (northern area) for Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council.
Clare Valley Park Run has been awarded community event of the year (northern area) for Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council.

Successful nominees will be presented their awards at the 2018 Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council Australia Day breakfasts. 

With five community members and two organisations recognised, the celebrations will touch each town in a different way. 

The communities of Auburn, Clare, Saddleworth and Riverton will host their respective breakfasts on January 26, commencing at 8.30am followed by award presentations.

Retired Clare veterinary surgeon Dr John Koch has been named Australia Day Citizen for council’s northern area for the work he has done in value-adding to the community which has impacted on individuals within and beyond the area.

Dr Koch, who is a former Clare & Gilbert Valleys councillor, has introduced a range of sustainable business models into the community, in partnership with his wife Dr Larelle Fenner. He moved in to Clare in 1980 and began work as a veterinarian, in the mid-1990s he was involved in the establishment of Kirribilly Viticulture.

He has been a local business owner and operator for more than 30 years, supporting the employment and skills development of the community.

Having served on many local community committees during his time in the Clare Valley, he was a Councillor for 13 years, including holding the position of deputy mayor.

He was inaugural secretary of the Wool, Wine and Wheat Country Youth Education Fund and continues to support the growth and development of his regional community in myriad ways.

A driving force behind the Sister City twinning arrangement between the communities of the Clare & Gilbert Valleys and Japan, Dr Koch has led delegations since 1994, which have seen more than 260 regional residents visit Japan and make lifelong friendships.

Young Citizen of the Year Etabez Donato will receive her award at the Clare breakfast.

Etabez served her school community as a prefect and head prefect, has been school sports captain and won various sports achievement awards, including a Pierre de Coubertin Award which recognises secondary school students who demonstrate values which are consistent with the Olympic Movement through participation in sporting activities.

She has served on the Youth Advisory Committee for the past three years and as chair for the past 12 months.

Etabez has become an adept public speaker, speaking at Rotary, Clare Bowls Club and the Clare Zonta International Women’s Day Breakfast abut her return to her home country of Ethiopia after fundraising $2500 to purchase 300 text books and cement for four classroom floors in the local village school.

A hard working, compassionate and community-minded young woman, Etabez has a proven excellence in her chosen sport of hockey, winning the Best and Fairest Medal U18, co-ed and B Grade Women’s (Clare Association) A-grade women’s (Port Pirie) and was selected as a member of the U18 State Women’s Team and the U21 Australian Women’s Country Hockey Team which played in Fiji last month.

Community Event of the Year for the northern area is Clare Valley parkrun.

Established in 2016, parkrun is held every Saturday morning from 8am at the Clare Showgrounds.

The free, timed 5km event is open to people of all ages and is managed by a small band of volunteers, attracting people from throughout Australia and even the world.

Results are recorded and tracked allowing participants to set goals and achieve personal best times if they desire.

Initiated by Clare resident, Natalie Clothier, parkrun is held on the Riesling Trail and provides another ongoing attraction to the Clare Valley. 

Brendan Hrycek is the central area’s Young Citizen of the Year and will receive his award in Auburn on Australia Day.

Although Brendan now lives in Adelaide he has been a great part of the Auburn Community in making himself available to play the bugle for the Last Post and Reveille for the past 15 years for both Anzac and Remembrance Day services.

He has also contributed by becoming an associate member of the Auburn RSL Sub-Branch, to which he has contributed financially as well as with his expert bugle playing. Over the past two years Brendan has also played for the Watervale community’s Anzac Day service.

Brendan received the Prime Minister’s Award for Skills Excellence in 2007.

Watervale resident Doug Handley is the central region’s Australia Day Citizen of the Year.

Mr Handley has held a career with the South Australian Government, Department of Road Transport, servicing the Clare and Gilbert Valleys region for 25 years, giving outstanding customer service.

A popular public speaker on the topic of road safety, first aider and ambulance officer, Mr Handley also assists young people to study for their Learner Driver’s permit and trains people with a disability and seniors who need to sit a driver’s examination.

A quiet achiever, Mr Handley received the St John Ambulance Order of St John Award as well as the Public Service Medal from the Commonwealth Government and the Emergency Services Medal from the South Australian Government.

Central district Community Event of the Year has been awarded to performing arts organisation HATs Inc from Auburn for their 2017 Adelaide Fringe Festival event Bri+nging the World to the Clare Valley.

HATs successfully brought an impressive, diverse and high-quality program of international standard to the Clare Valley during the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

An outstanding community event, it attracted more than 1200 people to Auburn and the region with a range of events at Auburn’s heritage listed courthouse to enjoy performers ranging from the Drum Rhythms of West Africa, Italian marionettes from Barcelona, an internationally acclaimed quartet from London, the 2016 Australian National Busking Champions, the String Family Band and an engaging ‘Journey in Song of a 10 Pound POM’.

HATs is a not-for-profit organisation that also delivers a creative and entertaining performing arts program to the local community throughout the year, providing regional access to high quality National and International artists.

HATs have developed a strong community network in the town, collaborating with other community groups, providing prizes for fundraising initiatives, is involved in town enhancement activities and makes the Courthouse building accessible for meetings and workshops.

Recognition of the fine work of HATs has come through a number of awards, including the Ruby Arts Award, Community Group of the Year, Regional Community Event of the Year, SA Community Event of the Year.

Southern Region Citizen

Tarlee resident Trevor Hayden started with St John Ambulance in 1984 and is now divisional officer as a first responder with 33 years of service at hand.

Trevor has served on the Riverton & District Ambulance Benevolent Trust since its inception, has assisted in the re-establishment of the Gawler Motorcycle Club in 1972 and rode competitively while also holding various club committee positions. He is a life member and public officer of the club and continues to work behind the scenes to support riders and the organisation.

Through his business, T&R Manufacturing he is a proud sponsor of local community and sporting groups. He will receive his award at a ceremony at Riverton on Australia Day.