Australia Day Civic Awards - 2020 Winners

Whitehorse News - February 2020

Congratulations to all our wonderful winners, presented with their prestigious Council awards at a ceremony on Australia Day this year.

Citizen of the Year – Valerie Donlon

Valerie is an excellent example to anyone wanting to take part in community life and create positive change for those around them.
After decades living in Whitehorse and a full career behind her, Valerie joined U3A Nunawading in 2012 before becoming president of the organisation from 2015 until 2019.

During her tenure as president, Valerie transformed the organisation into a contemporary business in a move that won U3A Nunawading the City of Whitehorse Excellence in Business Community award in 2018.

Middle: Valerie Donlon with Whitehorse Mayor Councillor Sharon Ellis

Young Citizen of the Year – Olivia Armitage

Olivia, 19, was Council’s Young Person of the Month in April last year, an achievement that has led to this Australia Day award.

Olivia completed VCE in 2018 at Mitcham’s Mullauna College where she was a member of the student union and was Performing Arts Captain, House Captain and School Captain. While at school, she spent years as a volunteer at a local nursing home with her local Lion’s Club.

Australia Day Trophy – The Whitehorse United Soccer Club

This soccer club is a welcoming and family-friendly club that is culturally and socially inclusive. Players of all abilities are encouraged to join, and the club has 542 members, from 4 to 40 years old.

Particularly commendable are the club’s programs to increase participation for females and juniors and offering internal opportunities for coaching.

Over the past year, the club grew from having one junior girls’ team to four junior girls’ teams, and its “Kick Off” skills program for children aged 4-6 years grew to include 110 children.

Left: Enrico Marrone, President of the Whitehorse United Soccer Club, accepting the Australia Day Trophy award on behalf of the club.

Community Achievement Awards

Chris Miller 
Chris has spent more than 60 years helping Alkira carry out its important work throughout the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Alkira supports those with an intellectual disability, helping them lead a fulfilling, fun and interesting life. From fundraising to marketing, Chris has worked tirelessly to keep Alkira a welcoming and invaluable community resource.

Margaret Rackham
Margaret has been committed to volunteer roles that enhance Whitehorse’s natural environment and sense of community for  more than 40 years. She is a founding member of the 42-year-old Nunawading Community Gardens, the first community garden 
in Australia, where she continues to organise presentations and newsletters to educate members.

Anthea Swann
Anthea has helped maintain a cherished aspect of Whitehorse for more than 30 years with her passion for the Blackburn Creeklands. Anthea has worked with the Blackburn Bushlands Advisory Committee over that time, as treasurer, acting chair and in the production of newsletters and educational information.

1st/8th Blackburn Scout Group 
This scout group is continually striving for ways to improve, maintain and enhance the local environment. The group is a keen participant in Clean Up Australia Day events each year, and has planted the land around its scout hall with indigenous plants to enhance the local environment and streetscape.

U3A Box Hill 
This group is entirely run by volunteers and provides post-retirement seniors with social and educational opportunities. This U3A offers more than 60 courses each term in physical, artistic and intellectual pursuits and has more than 500 members from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Chinese Stroke Support – Sunshine Group 
The Sunshine Group is part of the Chinese Stroke Support Group, consisting of volunteers who positively contribute to the personal wellbeing and health of stroke survivors. The group, based in Box Hill, provides health education, fitness and social activities.