2014 Brimbank Australia Day Award Winners

Citizen of the Year: Brigitte Baker

Brigitte Baker is a higly valued member of the University Park Primary School, she is President of the Parents and Friends Association at the School, a position she has held for the last two years.  She is tireless in her efforts to raise much needed funds for resourcing the school. While giving hours of her time, in the background she continues to foster children who have often experienced grief, loss or trauma. This has been her life’s work for the last 27 years and although children may bring with them a range of behaviours as a result of their experience, she remains loving, caring, kind and respectful to all children that she works with. Brigitte has fostered over 600 children.

Young Citizen of the Year: Edward Buijs

Edward Buijs (19) is shortly to commence his second year  at Melbourne University studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biomedical Engineering. Edward was previously nominated in this category by Overnewton Anglican College due to outstanding contribution to the school as School Captain and for his ongoing volunteer work. This year Edward was nominated by his employers at Overnewton Castle receptions where he works between 15-20 hours a week.  Edward was the youngest person promoted to a leadership position there.  This year he continues to volunteer tirelessly in our community and additionally travelled to Papua New Guinea to participate in a humanitarian aid program organised by his church to build schools and shelters.

Community Wellbeing Award: The Phoenix St Children’s Centre

The Phoenix St Children’s Centre has recently produced an information guide for the families who attend the centre embedding sustainable practice in their building and business, as well as incorporating it into their curriculum for the children. Children and families are guided through how little choices can make a big difference to our environment. Through their work this year Phoenix St Children’s Centre have enhanced our community’s wellbeing through the multiple benefits of sustainable practices in additional to health and saving money. They have given permission for the booklet to be reprinted for the wider community at no cost.

Environmental Achievement Award: Kara Humphrey and Asha Bannon (The Sugar Glider Project)

Kara Humphrey and Asha Bannon have worked tirelessly to revive the Sugar Glider monitoring project at Organ Pipes National Park. They have made an outstanding contribution to the Brimbank environment by providing researching and monitoring Sugar Glider numbers, health and habits in the park. The results of their work have instigated a program of revegetation along Jackson’s Creek in Organ Pipes which is being now extended into neighbouring Sydenham Park. They conduct walks and talks, produce strong newsletters and marketing materials, have made their information accessible to schools which has resulted in this being part of the new Australian Curriculum which has sustainability as a cross curriculum priority.  Most notably they have used technology and social media to dramatically increase the numbers of volunteers through a younger demographic.

Cultural Achievement Award: Bruce White

 Bruce works full time as Manager of Westpac Sunshine Branch and despite a taxing work load he voluntarily leads and organises The Sunshine Short Film festival, Sunshine Festival Events, Sunshine Street Market along Hampshire Road and Pho Fever.  He is President of the Sunshine Business Association (and represents over 400 traders) and has driven a wide range of initiatives that bring more people, readers and cultural mix to Sunshine.

Educator of the Year Award: Bev Fegan 

Bev Fegan is the Principal at Jackson Special School.  She has implemented Positive Behavioural Intervention programs and implemented Professional Learning Development teams at the school. Bev has applied her lifelong interest in the educational needs of students with disabilities in her role at Jackson school, working collaboratively with staff, students and the wider community to develop a shared vision for all students. Bev leads Jackson every day in establishing a learning community founded on trust and mutual respect that offers authentic, quality educational experiences and enables students to be valued as contributing members of the wider community.

Lifetime Service Award: Lions Club of Sunshine

Lions Club of Sunshine is celebrated 60 years in 2013. The Club has worked tirelessly on community projects to improve the wellbeing of the Brimbank Community.  In the past the Club has not sought recognition for its work, but the 60th anniversary year was timely for them to be noticed and acknowledged.  They pride themselves on being ‘quiet achievers in our community’. The club has raised more than one million dollars which has been poured back into our community for projects such as the Elderly Citizens Centre in Watts St, Sunshine (now sold and converted to a Church). They have delivered much, with only an average membership of 20.