The winners of the 2020 Brimbank Australia Day Awards were announced at the Brimbank Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony and Community Breakfast on Sunday 26 January at the Kevin Wheelahan Gardens in Sunshine.
Mayor of Brimbank, Cr Georgina papfotiou presented the Brimbank Australia Day Awards as part of the Australia Day celebrations
Citizen of the Year: Dr Selvanayagam Selvendra
This award is presented to a member of the community (over the age of 26) who has made a noteworthy contribution during the current year/or has given outstanding service to the local community over a number of years.
Dr Selvanayagam Selvendra is a retired doctor and surgeon. He was born in Sri Lanka, and arrived in Australia in 1974 after training as a general practitioner and surgeon in Ireland, England and Scotland, and working as a doctor in Sri Lanka for several years.
Dr Selvendra served the Sunshine community as a general practitioner for 45 years, working at practices in both West Sunshine and North Sunshine.
He also worked as a surgeon in Melbourne for 20 years, including at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
He fully retired on 30 June 2019, after a total of 59 years of service to his patients —including 45 years in the Brimbank community.
Dr Selvendra still performed house calls for patients who were too sick or unable to get to the clinic up until his retirement. He also regularly gave patients his home number so they could contact him if any issues arose outside of hours.
Dr Selvendra is also a talented musician and artist in his spare time, and has performed free concerts and donated paintings for auction to help raise funds for various community causes.
Young Citizen of the Year: Mr Eangano Singehebhuye
This award is presented to a young person (under the age of 26) who has made a noteworthy contribution during the current year and/or has given outstanding service to the local community over a number of years.
Mr Eangano Singehebhuye is a community engagement officer and coach at Football Empowerment, and Founder and CEO at not-for-profit Acts of Random Kindness Victoria Inc.
Mr Singehebhuye runs events that aim to inspire and empower youth across Brimbank. He has lived in Brimbank since moving to Australia as a child in 2005, and his passion for football is clear.
Mr Singehebhuye has run events including free after-school soccer programs for children, soccer programs to help empower young women aged 13-29, as well as leadership and empowerment workshops.
He achieved incredible results in a short period of time. By 2016, he had established a fully-fledged program that catered to 103 primary school-aged children, 47 young women, and 153 young men.
Mr Singehebhuye has an exceptional ability to bring people together and to unify people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
He has also partnered with local football clubs in Brimbank, Albion Rovers FC and Westvale SC, to give young women the opportunity to play club football.
Australia Day Honours for Local Residents
A big congratulations to all the local recipients of the Medal of the Order of Australia whose work was recognised on Australia Day 2020.
Sunshine resident and Artistic Director of the Ilbijerri Theatre Company Rachael Maza was awarded for significant service to performing arts. She is also an actor and has performed in Australian film and television.
John Lo Piccolo, from Hillside, was also recognised for service to the performing arts. Mr Lo Piccolo has recorded several albums and singles during his long career that started in 1969.
Managing Director of Freestone’s Transport, Paul Freestone, was honoured for his service to the road transport industry and to the community spanning several decades. The Keilor Village resident has also been a competitor in car and truck racing for over 30 years.
Sunshine Community Brass Musical Director Wayne Bowden was also recognised for his service to music. He has been a musical director, conductor and player of several bands since the 1970s.
Gregory Hitch, from Cairnlea, received an Australian Fire Service Medal for 32 years involvement in fire and emergency management. He is currently Regional Controller – North West Metro.
Thank you for your outstanding contributions.