What a night. The 2018 Clarence Valley Australia Day Awards held at the Angourie Rainforest Resort was an evening of celebration. Celebration of the outstanding winners, celebration of all the wonderful nominees, and a celebration of the Clarence Valley and the wonderful community spirit it contains.
The 2017 Award winners presented trophies to our outstanding Clarence Valley 2018 Australia Day winners.
The Clarence Valley Young Citizen of the Year was awarded to Jeremy Jablonski. Jeremy has been passionate about youth and community from a young age, he started volunteering at youth focused programs and events from the age of 16. Even through his two businesses Hip-Hop DownUnder and Jempire Events, Jeremy almost always has a focus on youth. Jeremy acts as a natural mediator and mentor for many of the young people within the Clarence Valley. He commits many hours as a youth worker, volunteer and event manager ensuring young people are listened to, supported connected and having fun.
The Clarence Valley Local Hero award was presented to Phil Bailey, who has lived and quietly contributed to the Clarence Valley nearly his whole life. Although part of many sporting and community groups, his assistance to people is mainly through his own initiative and get up and go. He is always the first bloke to help a mate out. In typical Aussie form, he loves a laugh and to make others laugh, sometimes through harmless practical jokes. Phil has helped people save their homes from fires, fixed their broken down cars, and offered endless hospitality. He makes the Clarence Valley a great place to live.
The Clarence Valley Community Achievement award was presented the Clarence Valley Conservation in Action Landcare (CVCIA), a group of ‘hard core, on the ground’ volunteers committed to undertaking local projects that actively help out the environment and native animal species that live in the Clarence Valley. Their unofficial motto is ‘Come on, do something’. The CVCIA is the only Landcare group in NSW that specialises in controlling the pest species of the Common Myna bird and the cane toad, with the Clarence Valley being at the southern frontline for the cane toad infestation on the Australian east coast. The group is out and about stopping the pests themselves but also educates local people about what to look for to control the spread of these pests in their own backyard.
The Clarence Valley Citizen of the Year was just too difficult for the selection panel to split, so we are lucky enough to have two this year. The award was presented to Melissa Livermore and Des Harvey.
Melissa is affectionately known as “Aunty Mel’ She is a member of the Kamilaroi Nation and she has devoted her life to loving and caring for young people. Mel’s home is always open to any young person who needs somewhere safe, a meal, somewhere to sleep and someone to talk to. Mel also works as a youth worker at Camellia Cottage in South Grafton and much of the Cottage’s success can be attributed to Mel’s ability to win the respect of young people. Mel creates programs bringing together Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to participate in personal development. She is also heavily involved with the successful Grafton Midnight Basketball program. Melissa is extremely humble and has orientated her life towards helping others.
Des is a passionate and devoted advocate for the Clarence Valley. Never one to shy away from supporting causes close to the heart of the community, Des has been involved in the Grafton Chamber of Commerce, Jacaranda Toastmasters, Rotary and Midday Rotary, City Centre Traders, Grafton and Maclean Show societies and Grafton Jacaranda Festival just to name a few. Des has been successful in promoting and securing advancement for the Clarence Valley and its community and has been a leader in the business community.
Special thanks to Cr Greg Clancy the 2018 Australia Day advocate as well as the selection committee: Margot Scott, Joy de Roos, and Samantha Willis.
Left: Des Harvey – [A passionate advocate and leader in the business community and dedicated supporter of community groups within the Clarence Valley]
Mr Harvey said that he wanted to congratulate all the other nominees.
“It’s been a great night and there are an awful lot of other people, deserving of the awards,” Mr Harvey said.
“It’s great that these people are recognised and I believe that recognition encourages people to do more and be involved in the community.
“I must admit that recognition is not something that I have thought a lot about; you do things because you want to do them, as far as the community goes.
“You see things that you want to do; and you do them,” he said.
Right: Melissa (Mel) Livermore – [for her loving, selfless and devoted work with youth – including midnight basket ball]
Tears ran down her face as an emotional Mel Livermore received her Citizen of the Year award.
“I’m shocked,” said an overwhelmed Mel.
“It’s not something you do for recognition; it’s my passion.
“I was up against so many other awesome people who do so much for the community and I’d like to congratulate them for being nominated too.
“I’d like to thank my family and friends and those who have helped me along the way including the midnight basketball committee and Bryan [Robins] for nominating me,” she said.
Image: Lynne Mowbray.