Citizen of the Year Award – Marie Hobson

Gunnedah Shire 2024 Citizen of the Year Marie Hobson, centre with plaque, pictured with family members Cathy Roberts, Shannon Ramadge (Newcastle), Samantha Hillier (Maitland), Shaun Ramadge, Sofia Ramadge (Newcastle), Karen Hobson and (front) Miss Georgia Hobson.

Marie Hobson was “honoured, privileged and humbled” to be recognised as the Gunnedah Shire 2024 Citizen of the Year.

The long-serving newspaper journalist, devoted historian, grandmother and fiercely proud Gunnedah resident accepted the award at last week’s Australia Day awards ceremony.

Ever gracious, she used her acceptance speech to praise the Gunnedah community.

“As I look around the town hall and see the many incredible people who do so much to make our community the wonderful place it is – you all go beyond the call of duty and are amazing citizens – this award is also for you,” Marie said.

Read more about Marie receiving Citizen of the Year here: Gunnedah’s Citizen of Year 2024 ‘honoured, humbled’ by proud community recognition – Gunnedah Times


Ossie and Beryl Campbell Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award – Coralie Howe

Ossie and Beryl Campbell Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award recipient Coralie Howe, with Cathy Roberts, daughter of the late Ossie and Beryl Campbell.

Awarded to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the community in a voluntary capacity.

Coralie Howe was recognised as a life member of Gunnedah CWA, for generosity and willingness to be involved in many aspects of our Gunnedah community.

The nomination stated Coralie is always willing to offer assistance to those in need and her efforts to ensure members can attend meetings and functions are always appreciated.

“It was an honour to be nominated, in the first place, and to win. I was very humbled to receive the award,” she said.

Coralie takes on a mammoth load of Gunnedah’s volunteering including being the president of the CWA, volunteer at the Garden Club, Gunnedah Show Ladies Auxiliary, Meals on Wheels and assisting at the sing-a-long at the Mercy Home.

She has been volunteering in Gunnedah since 1999 when she moved to town. She has lived “everywhere” and wherever she ended up, the volunteering spirit followed her.

“Anything that had to be done [volunteers] get in and do it,” she said.

She made mention of examples such as the CWA helping when the floods were prevalent.

The CWA also won a Gunnedah Shire Australia Day award and to top it off second place for its table display at the ceremony.

“It made a big night for us all.”


Community Achievement Award – CWA Gunnedah –Leonie Harley Hon. Sec

Gunnedah’s CWA accepted the Community Achievement Award on Thursday night. Pictured from back is, Christine Pease, Jenny Randall, Gwen Coddington and Jo-Anne Little. Front, Judith Law, Kat Haenga, Coralie Howe, Marlena Bladwell, Elaine Kennedy, Leonie Harley and Kris Scott.

Awarded to a person or group who has made a significant contribution to the community through dedication and efforts in a specific organisation, community initiative or civic duty.

The nomination said leaders, advocates and members of Gunnedah CWA have been involved in the community since 1922.

In recent years, coordinating practical support for drought, flood and education have been major projects, along with fundraising and lobbying government on important issues.

The nomination said CWA members have a ‘can do’ attitude and strive to bring women and families together to form a network of friendship and support.


Cultural Achievement Award – Agnes Kin Thurston

Agnes Kin Thurston with Maree Wilkinson.

Awarded to a person or group who have made a significant contribution to the community through any means of cultural diversity.

Agnes Kin Thurston’s nomination described her as passionate about being involved in the community, showcasing not only her own Polynesian and Melanesian cultural descendency, but all the multicultural opportunities presented in the shire today.

Agnes has been involved in the Multicultural Women’s Association, Multicultural Playgroup, Gunnedah Pre School, supporting Harmony Day, welcoming the Princess of Tonga, supporting Gunnedah Shire Library with language and cultural weeks and working for Gunnedah Family Support.


Eve Turner Perpetual Trophy – Edmund Heap

Eve Turner Perpetual Trophy recipient, Edmund Heap (right) and Leonie Harley.

Awarded to a retired person who has continued to dedicate their time and efforts to impart their knowledge and skills to others in the community, and to assist people to attain higher goals in life.

Edd Heap has been integral in Gunnedah’s community chess club for over 36 years – at teaching level, competition level and social level. Edd has long been involved in teaching primary and high school students to play chess, encouraging them to play and compete in tournaments.

The annual Australia Day chess competition and the ‘Speed Chess’ competition during the Weeks of Speed are examples of his commitment and achievements.

Edd has played a vital role in nurturing a sense of community among the Gunnedah shire’s chess players.


Max and Mikie Maas Good Neighbour Award – Ian Franke

Good Neighbour Award recipient Ian Franke with Marina Maas (left).

Awarded to a person who is a quiet achiever, lives quietly out of the public eye but is well known to family, friends and neighbours as someone who gives freely of their time to lend a neighbourly hand, without looking for anything in return.

Ian Franke’s nomination described him as having a happy, caring nature that stands out to his neighbours and who is always reliable. He demonstrates his pride in the community of Gunnedah through his assistance to neighbours. Ian was nominated as he takes the stress and worry about how things will be done from his neighbours’ lives. From mowing lawns, fixing leaky taps, small odd jobs, to looking after houses and gardens when people are away, Ian is generous with his time and is highly esteemed.


Junior Sports Person of the Year – Hugo Holmes

Hugo Holmes with his 2024 Junior Sports Person of the Year award and Cr Jamie Chaffey.

Gunnedah motorcyclist Hugo Holmes has been named Junior Sports Person of the Year for the second consecutive year.

The Gunnedah Motorcycle Club rider also claimed the 2023 honour at last year’s Australia Day awards.

The award recognises a member of a sporting association within Gunnedah shire for the last 12 months who has made a significant contribution to their sporting club.

This year’s nomination described Hugo Holmes, 11, as a proud member of the Gunnedah club.

His 2023 achievements include traveling to Illinois in America to win their Flat Track Grand National Championship in the 65cc production class and being named the Motorcycling NSW Junior Dirt Track Rider of the Year (17 years and under).

Hugo has also competed successfully regionally, interstate and nationally over the last year, as well as being recognised as a valued member of his local club.


Sports Person of the Year – Ms Khobi Devine

Gunnedah’s 2024 Sports Person of the Year Khobi Devine with Gunnedah shire mayor Jamie Chaffey.

Australian Rules player Khobi Devine has been named Gunnedah’s 2024 Sports Person of the Year.

The Gunnedah Bulldogs AFL club member was presented the honour at Gunnedah’s Australia Day awards ceremony last week.

The award recognises a member of a sporting association within Gunnedah Shire for the last 12 months who has made a significant contribution to their sporting club or chosen sporting field.

In a club double for the Bulldogs club, Gunnedah’s Poochettes women’s side, captained by Khobi, was also named Senior Sports Team of the Year.

Read more about Khobi’s award here: Khobi named Gunnedah’s Sports Person of the Year 2024 – Gunnedah Times


Senior Sports Team of the Year – Gunnedah Bulldogs Women’s AFL Team – Poochettes – (Captain Ms Khobi Devine)

The award recognises a senior sports team who have been members of a sporting association within Gunnedah Shire for the last 12 months and made a significant contribution to their sporting club.

The Gunnedah Poochettes Senior Women’s AFL Team represent Gunnedah in the North-West Australian Football League, and proudly achieved the 2023 North-West Women’s Premiership. With a playing squad of about 30, the Poochettes provide a safe and inclusive place for women to come together and play AFL.

The team won the premiership with a home grand final.


Ivan Towns Memorial Award Coach of the Year – Andrew Frend

Kate Sills presenting the Ivan Towns Memorial Award Coach of the Year to Andrew Frend.

Andrew Frend was presented the Ivan Towns Memorial Award for Coach of the Year.

This award is in recognition of the work that is done by a coach. It recognises commitment to training and passing on knowledge.

The award nomination highlighted Frend’s broad range of coaching accreditation and over 20 years experience coaching athletes at international, national, state, regional and local levels. Andrew is a successful professional coach and also contributes by volunteering his time to local schools and little athletics.

He was recognised for his outstanding knowledge of athletics – specialising in sprints, hurdles and relays – and his ongoing efforts to share this knowledge with younger coaches and athletes.


Environmental Citizen of the Year – Sandy Thomson

Environmental Citizen of the Year, Sandy Thomson, with Gunnedah shire deputy mayor Rob Hooke.

This award supports efforts to preserve the environment, including demonstrating the ability to foster partnerships that achieve litter reduction and recycling outcomes.

The nomination for Sandy Thomson described her as an active member of Gunnedah Urban Landcare Group for nearly 20 years and treasurer for nearly 10 years. As a resident of Gunnedah and neighbour of Porcupine Reserve, Sandy has a passion for the management of this reserve and personally makes a considerable effort with weed control and rubbish removal. Sandy is always keen to lend a hand, planting trees, helping out at the plant stand at the markets and fully supporting the work of Gunnedah Urban Landcare Group. In her role as treasurer she has had to manage significant funding applications which will have long term benefits for the environment.

Young Citizen of the Year – Lewis Donaldson

This award goes to someone 20 years of age and under who has demonstrated commitment to the community, shown a high level of achievement and is involved in extra-curricular activities Lewis Donaldson’s nomination described him as community-focused young man who exhibited a high level of dedication to the role of captain at St Mary’s College in 2023.

He initiated change regarding the school’s waste management program, was involved in the organisation of numerous school fundraisers and inspires his peers and younger students. Lewis advanced in both the Lions and Rotary public speaking competitions and, outside of school, coached tennis.

Lewis’ leadership and mentoring qualities are recognised in his achievement of this award.

Lewis was unable to attend the awards ceremony.



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