Australia Day 2022


A magnificent bright sunny warm morning welcomed the eager crowd at the Churchill & District Lions Club Australia Day awards outside in the Churchill Civic Space at 8am on Australia Day.

Australia Day 2022 Churchill Crowd

A Lions member and two Traralgon Rotary ladies did the COVID check-in procedures. Bill Rowley, well known guitarist, played a selection of Australian country music while the crowd gathered, as well as at intervals throughout the program.

Lions Bill Hurenkamp and President Reg Grisotto welcomed the crowd to the celebration and asked Cathie Halliwell, part time supply minister to the Co-Operating Churches in Churchill to say prayers. Cathie delivered a most fitting prayer for the occasion, and following this, Bill read an acknowledgement of country.

The awards were then presented to the winners after their achievements were read out.

Our young people have done extremely well considering their interrupted last two years. They are a credit to their parents and schools and we can be proud of these future leaders of our community.

Margaret McQuillan who was our Churchill Citizen of the Year spoke after her presentation, thanking the Lions for the amazing work they do. Margaret said she worked with several agencies to carry out the work in which she was involved. A special thank you went to her family who rang the night before, by promising a surprise the following day. The surprise of course her presentation. The family had come for a long way to share the special day with her.

The Lions famous breakfast was then served with efficiency to the hungry participants. Many people lingered to catch up with those they knew and congratulate the winners on their awards.

Citizen of the Year- Margaret McQuillen

2022 Australia Day Honours - Margaret McQuillan

Margaret is a longtime citizen of Churchill who quietly goes about helping and doing good for others without fanfare or looking for public recognition. Margaret has a strong commitment to serving her community and performing charitable work that helps and makes other people’s lives better.

Whether it’s helping struggling needy families, helping international students, her work with Vinnies or the Church, or assisting with catering at the Churchill Cricket and Golf Clubs, Margaret is happiest when assisting and helping others.

Margaret was born in Benalla growing up with three brothers, moving to Maffra, then Morwell and finally Churchill where she still lives today.

Margaret managed a busy life supporting and raising her family, a daughter and three sons as they were growing up, assisting with all the sporting clubs in which they were involved, juggling a number of spare time jobs. Doing community service and charitable work at the same time with boundless energy is a remarkable commitment.

Her strong commitment to the charitable work of the St Vincent de Paul Society is legendary. Margaret’s resolve is that no family in Churchill who is destitute or in danger of eviction will go hungry or become homeless. Her ability to interact with social workers and support agency staff usually ensures a solution even in the most challenging circumstances.

Margaret joined Vinnies in 2006 and has been a very active and prominent member since joining, including four years as President. In addition to providing assistance to needy families, she assisted Indian students at Federation University to find accommodation in the Morwell and Traralgon area. To enable them to find part time work as well as accommodation she also found them furniture and food supplies

Margaret makes a huge contribution to her Lumen Christi Church Community where she does anything from planning and implementing audio visuals, decorating the church, washing the linen used at mass, polishing the brassware and cleaning the toilets. Most people would have no idea of the amount of work she does at the church and still commits to serving the whole Churchill community.

She was also a very active member of the 2009 Churchill Fire Recovery Committee. Her empathy with people and her willingness to assist those in need were ideal qualities in those circumstance at that time.

It is a wonder with all that she does to help others that she still finds the time to play golf at Churchill where she is an active Club member and who represents Churchill in the Ladies Competition.

A truly remarkable woman - Congratulations Margaret

Young Citizens of the Year - Leandra and Jenna McLauchlan

2022 Australia Day Honours - Leandra and Jenna McLauchlan

Jenna McLauchlan, 15 years of age and her sister Leandra, aged 13, are both exceptionally talented young women. They are both accomplished hockey players, and are also extremely valuable members of the community and contribute immensely off and on the hockey field.

Both girls started playing hockey from an early age and now play in the Churchill Hockey Club senior teams despite their age, and hold themselves with poise, maturity, and determination. In addition to their tireless training to excel and develop their skills on the pitch, they are extremely involved in developing the junior competition at Latrobe Valley Hockey Association, spending time mentoring and umpiring junior players in the Under 7s and under 10s competitions, taking the time to share their knowledge and skills with the younger players.

Leandra and Jenna also give support to the senior women and men at the Club and support the coaching teams by keeping stats and often unofficially 'keeping an eye out' for younger children on the side lines, so that their parents can play hockey. This has contributed immensely to the family friendly and supportive culture at the Churchill Hockey Club and has helped in giving confidence to the many returning players and officials who have come back to playing hockey at the Club again.

Jenna played in the girls Under 15 Gippsland Bulls team last year, at the Junior State Championships during the July school holidays. Their team won the gold medal, winning 2-1 against the Central Flames. It was the first time a Gippsland Bulls team had won a gold medal at the Junior State Championship, which also won the Best and Fairest player award.

Leandra tried out at the Victorian Hockey draft camp and was selected for the Under 13 Victorian girls Hockey Academy. At the Victorian Hockey Academy, she has been training at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Melbourne under development coaches including Phil Burrow’s (New Zealand Black Sticks champion) training.

Leandra also played in the Junior State Championships for the girls Under 15 Gippsland Bulls team and was voted best and fairest winning the award for most goals scored.

Leandra has qualified and will be training and educating programs at this year’s Victorian Hockey Under 15 Academy and vie for U15 State Team selection in February.

Both Jenna and Leandra are exceptional young women, with promising futures as representatives in state and local hockey teams. Both girls are highly regarded by their couches, are leaders and role models to other players and give their time to assist and help others in their community

Well done girls

Kurnai College Junior Campus - Hayden Dent

2022 Australia Day Honours - Hayden Dent

Hayden was nominated by his school Kurnai College Churchill Junior Campus where Hayden attended and completed year ten last year. He is looking forward to going back to complete Year 11 this year at the University Campus.

Hayden is a confident well-spoken and very likable young man whose main interest is to complete and do well in his academic studies with a very keen interest in science.

Last year Hayden completed work experience in disability services in which he excelled and enjoyed. He is presently working part time at McDonalds in Moe but hopes to get a transfer closer to home, as does his dad.

Hayden has many interesting interests which include animal welfare, an area that Haden wants to pursue on completing his academic studies. He loves drawing and art, finding and collecting rocks and story writing. Hayden has begun writing a story about science fiction characters and about life going into the future. It may take him some time to complete, but it could make for some very interesting reading one day.

Like most young students Hayden has his own computer workstation where he does his work, but he also loves being outdoors and can be often seen walking around Lake Hyland.

Hayden is a young man who knows where he wants his life to go, he has great support from his family especially his older brother and is a very worthy recipient, a role model for other young people and to our community.

Well done, Hayden,

Churchill Primary School - Mia Fede

2022 Australia Day Honours - Mia Fede

Mia was nominated by her school Churchill Primary School. Mia will be starting Grade 6 this year and is looking forward to the year ahead.

Mia is a lovely girl, the eldest of four siblings. She is confident, polite, and well spoken. She plays sport and is an active member of the community and is always a fantastic participant in school events.

Mia is sporty, loves the outdoors, likes music and dancing and plays netball, which she started when she started school. She plays for Yinnar and last year won the coveted Best and Fairest player award. Mia loves riding motor bikes, having her own which she received for Christmas this year. She also likes biscuiting behind the boat (sitting on a towable craft) on family holidays on the river at Moama.

Mia also likes to help out whenever she can, whether it is at home helping mum with her new baby brother or at school helping the teachers or helping other children in class to teach music and dancing.

Mia is a popular and respected student who last year was elected Student Representative at Churchill Primary where she had to interact with teachers and other students, attended meetings to discuss and resolve student and school issues which she did with confidence and poise.

Mia is a role model for other students and a leader and has been elected School Captain for this year.

Well done Mia

Churchill North Primary School - Paul Bonnici

2022 Australia Day Honours - Paul Bonnici

Paul was nominated by Churchill North Primary school where Paul completed Grade 6. Paul is the youngest of three and has an older brother and sister. Paul likes the outdoors, loves fishing and is usually the first one to catch a fish when out fishing with the family. “There is nothing like catching a big flatty”. He likes being hands on, fixing things and helping dad fix things around the house. Paul enjoys Taekwondo where he is nearly a Black Belt, also helping out with teaching junior students. He especially enjoys music and uses this to contribute to the community.

Paul is a kind and compassionate person who is always willing to help others. Paul is a member of the Morwell Brass Band helping to teach music. Last year he also gave his time to play at the Churchill ANZAC Day service, alongside his family, where he played the trumpet. After the recent floods Paul helped neighbours and others cleaning up and fixing fences. He was also an active helper at his church where he serves as an altar boy.

Paul is a popular student who sets high standards, upholds school values and was elected a House Captain by his peers and teachers last year. Paul is a leader and a role model for other students and contributed to his school community by assisting in school activities and assisting teachers when required also helping out with music lessons.

Great work Paul

Lumen Christ Catholic School - Edward (Eddie) Fairbrother

2022 Australia Day Honours - Eddie Fairbrother

Eddie was nominated by Lumen Christi Catholic School Churchill where he completed Grade 6, and this year will attend Lavalla College to start his secondary education.

Eddie has three brothers and five sisters. He is a confident polite young man who likes playing soccer, swimming and riding his bike. Like most kids he likes to play computer games and being outdoors especially on the family property, helping out feeding the sheep, pigs and other animals. Eddie likes to help out at home fixing things and learning how to do different things. He is confident to drive the front-end loader under Dad’s close supervision.

Eddie was a popular member of the Lumen Christi school community being elected School Vice-Captain last year, where he had to attend meetings with teachers and other student representatives to discuss and resolve school and student issues, and assist and carry out different tasks with the School Captains. His biggest regret is not being School Captain because the School Captains get to do more.

Eddie is always willing to help and assist other students, helping the teachers when required such as setting up morning assembly and always looking out for the younger junior students. Eddie is a role model to other students in the way he conducts himself at school not only academically but for his care and his desire to help others and make a difference.

Congratulations Eddie

Hazelwood North Primary School - Chase Hickman

2022 Australia Day Honours - Chase Hickman

Chase is the Lion’s youngest winner being in Grade 1. He was nominated by his school Hazelwood North Primary School. Chase has an older brother and a new baby sister. He likes to help out at home and at school, is kind, caring and committed.

Chase likes the outdoors and loves horse riding which he has been doing for two years now. He has his own horse named Teddy, which he was given at Christmas. Chase likes being the little cowboy riding and looking after Teddy.

Chase likes swimming, does Ju Jitsu and likes art and being creative. He likes to fix things, helping out around the house and being responsible especially with Teddy his horse, making sure Teddy is fed and comfortable and safe.

At school Chase gets involved in school activities such as the Jump Rope for Heart to raise money for the Heart Foundation. Chase jumped and skipped for nearly seven hours exhausting his mother. But that didn’t matter as he was determined and committed to raise as much money as possible, which he did with a whopping $1,200 dollars.

These words are from his Principal. “Chase is a motivated, responsible and cheerful member of his class. He displays an amazing level of enthusiasm for every learning task that he completes. Chase shows a genuine interest in all areas of the curriculum, and he is a diligent and conscientious worker. During Remote Learning, Chase completed all his learning tasks to a very high standard, his attitude towards learning remaining extremely positive. The videos that he uploaded showed the care and thought that he puts into each task. He sets an example for others with his outstanding behaviour, both within and beyond the classroom and is a wonderful role model. He can be relied upon to complete additional jobs with minimal supervision, is trustworthy and he always tries his best.”

Congratulations on winning this special award Chase!

Australia Day Prayers

Loving God,

We are grateful that we have the freedom to gather, that we live in a country of some hard times but of abundant blessing. We are thankful for the rain that breaks the heat of summer.

Creator God, we are all part of an Australia that is growing and changing, finding our identity, with each other, and the world. We seek to be a country that honours you, that gives a fair go and builds peace.

God, you created all people in your image. We thank you for the astonishing variety of races and cultures in this country. Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of friendship and show us your presence in those who differ most from us. Help us to remember to be open and listen to other voices, to learn and grow from one another. To respect with compassion.

We pray for blessing upon those who will be recognized today.
Young people who will be our future leaders,
The older who share their wisdom with the next generation,
We thank you for our community and all those in it,
For the volunteers who help keep us together, who serve others
For our schools and community groups
For our civic leaders

Loving God, we pray for your blessing today and always:

“May the road stretch endlessly before us.
May blue skies and the sun smile upon us.
May gentle rain refresh us.
May we find rest in the shade of gum trees.
May good friends accompany us along the way.”  (Helen Warmingham)

May we know your presence as we journey.
May Jesus be our companion
And may the Spirit lift up our lives. Amen.

Australia Day Boolarra

After a topsy-turvy COVID inspired 2021, and a number of cases in the local community we weren’t really sure what to expect for Australia Day this year.

There was a lot of additional regulatory oversight required to stage the event this year, and considerable angst in the community about the pros and cons. The week before Australia Day our committee had had around half an hour of debate on the whether we should proceed, before finally deciding to go ahead. It is the mark of a good committee that even those who spoke against the proposal gave it their full-blooded support once the decision was made to go ahead.

Things were a bit shaky to start with, as the in situ BBQ’s in the park were not operating, and Chris was having trouble with the Koffee Kart. A couple of quick phone calls and the CFA came to the rescue with their mobile BBQ trailer. Thanks, Rob, for organising that at extremely short notice. Thanks also to the footy club, especially Russell and Jackie McGlade, for providing their BBQ.

Given the community COVID concerns, and the run of hot weather we had been experiencing, we weren’t sure what our numbers would be like, and we had catered for a crowd of 80, well down on our normal numbers. So we were very pleased to have around 90-100 attendees.

Jenny Clark did a great job at short notice running the kids’ games, with sack races, gum-boot throwing and egg and spoon races keeping the younger cohort entertained. Interestingly, this year we supplied primarily fruit juice packs, rather than soft drinks, and they were much preferred by the kids. The older crowd members were kept on their toes by Australiana Trivia questions. Surprisingly, no one was aware that Novak Djokovic had been appointed the new batting coach of the English Cricket side, because the poms were so impressed it had taken Australia two weeks to get him out!

The volunteers on the BBQ started at 7.30 to ensure the hungry masses were very well catered for, with some on the fly decisions to relocate, and how and where to set up. A special thanks to the Rotary Club of Traralgon, who provided some financial support and also the help of several volunteers, including two COVID marshalls; they were greatly appreciated. Well done also to Chris Wareham for bringing the Koffee Kart along and providing free coffees to the masses.

A big thank you also to the staff at Latrobe City, especially Wendy Hrynyszyn, for their assistance in working through the approvals maze to stage the event in a COVID-compliant manner. A number of Australia Day events in Latrobe Valley were unable to proceed this year because of the additional regulations, and Wendy did a mighty job in assisting us, and other towns, to jump through the hoops, and Latrobe City also supplied a range of extra signage, registration forms and even a cleaner for the day.

Australia Day 2022 - Boolarra

Boolarra Community Awards are nominated by people in the community who like to take the opportunity for recognising the efforts of people who have in their own individual way worked for the benefit of the community. 2021 was a very unusual year as we all know, and very many of our normal activities were curtailed by the COVID-related restrictions. This was reflected in the fact that instead of our normal 8-10 community award nominations, we only had four this year.

Matt Ryan was nominated for his hard work and commitment over many years to the community of Boolarra. In 2016 Matt took on the role of Treasurer for the Boolarra Link, and has done a wonderful job in improving the efficiency and processes associated with advertising and accounts for the Link. The Link is a very important asset to the town and it is the hard work of volunteers such as Matt that enable it to continue.

Boolarra Community Development Group, on behalf of the entire Boolarra and District community, recognised the significant contribution of Roger Pither for his dedicated and professional support of the Boolarra Community Hotel for many years, working to enhance the amenity and continuity of the pub as an asset for the wider Boolarra community.

Ross Bramley has been recognised for his willingness to provide his time, expertise and equipment, without fanfare or fuss, to help out people and organisations in need within the community, and always with a smile. Ross is the classic quiet achiever who is the backbone of small communities such as Boolarra.

Finally, this year Boolarra lost one of its community stalwarts, after Sue Warren passed away after a long struggle with ill-health. She has been recognised today for her hard work and commitment over many years to the community of Boolarra. Sue was the backbone of the Multipurpose Building through her role as Secretary. Sue also coordinated the Red Cross activities in Boolarra for many years. Unfortunately Sue’s husband David was unable to attend as he was rostered on to work, but her son Ben made the trip down from Melbourne to accept the Community Recognition Certificate.

Finally, I’m pleased to advise that assisted by the sterling efforts and musical support of Alex Stevenson and Dee Stephenson, we were able to provide a solid delivery of the Australian National Anthem. We missed the rousing tones of Neil and Kate Cartwright, who unfortunately were in isolation, but I’m sure they will be back next year bigger and more boisterous than ever, and Alex and Dee are also planning some further musical accompaniment for next year’s event.

Colin Brick, OA
style="font-style: italic;">Boolarra Community Development Group

Australia Day Yinnar and District 2022

The weather on Wednesday was a welcome change from last year but unfortunately numbers were down.

Australia Day 2022 - Yinnar

The Yinnar & District Lions club kicked off the festivities with another brilliant egg and bacon feast.

This was followed by the entertainment with Jay and Patrick McGown playing some great renditions of Australian ballads together with other well-known music.

The Historical Society supplied tea, coffee and biscuits to the spectators.

Formalities commenced with Herb Smith reciting Welcome to Country. Following this Yinnar & District Community Association President, Luke Townsend, gave an official welcome to the crowd.

Members of the Yinnar scout group, Rory Brown and Alicia Ewen, led by leader Jess Cook, then raised the Australian flag.

The captains from Yinnar Primary School, Rose McColl, Abbey Plozza, Finn Mahoney and Lavinia Benson gave a stirring recital of “What is Australia Day” and were given a standing ovation.

Councillor Melissa Ferguson gave a short presentation pledging the support of Latrobe City.

The Yinnar Young Citizen of the year was awarded to Patrick McGown for his outstanding contributions to the local music scene. He has supported the community over several years at many events. He has also featured with the Kurnai College music program at local primary schools, entertaining and encouraging kids to pursue or become involved with music.

The Yinnar Citizen of the Year was awarded to our most popular and hardworking sculptor, Nicole Allen. Nicole has organised and run three biennial Gippsland Sculpture exhibitions in the township of Yinnar. These exhibitions are unique events in our Latrobe Valley area and create opportunities for local artists and those outside the area to show case their talents.