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Wollongong City Council

Awards and Recognition

We acknowledge people, community groups and organisations that make Wollongong a better place.

Our Recognition Receptions are held twice a year to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of individuals and organisations in our city. This can include national Roll of Honour recipients, volunteers, academics, sportspeople and others who contribute to our community.

If you’d like to suggest someone to be included in a future recognition reception, email or call us on (02) 4227 7111.

Every year, our community nominates people and groups for the City of Wollongong Australia Day Award.

2019 Australia Day Award Winners

Citizen of the Year: Dr Justin Yerbury

Dr Yerbury is an international leader in Motor Neuron Disease (MND) research. He has dedicated his life to studying the disease and searching for a treatment. The Illawarra-based research group he established is a world leader in MND research.

In 2016 Dr Yerbury was himself diagnosed with MND. He is an advocate for people living with MND, and has been actively involved in fundraising and research training at both a national and international level.

Senior Citizen of the Year: Dr James Turner

Dr James Turner has worked in the Wollongong community as a General Practitioner for more than 62 years.

His  accomplishments include introducing an epidural service for Wollongong Hospital's labour ward and establishing Australia's first anti-smoking campaign. He has been involved in programs for drugs and alcohol, and suicide prevention.  Dr Turner received an Order of Australia for his services to general practice.

Young Citizen of the Year: Narayan Khanal

Born in a Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal, Narayan resettled in Australia when he was 12. He is an inspirational advocate for young people of refugee and migrant backgrounds.

Narayan founded the University of Wollongong's Multicultural Society, which has more than 200 members. It promotes social inclusion and the sharing of cultures between international and domestic students. Narayan is also the chairperson of the Youth Advisory Group for Refugee Youth Peer Mentoring Project.

Community Award: Green Connect

Green Connect provides training, support and paid work for over 100 former refugees and their families.

Green Connect also has an important environmental and food-related impact. In 2018 they diverted 2,653 tonnes of waste out of landfill and grew and distributed 20,628kg of fair food (chemical-free and grown locally).

Outstanding Achievement: Andrew and Lyndell Clark

Andrew and Lyndell Clark are the creators of Wollongong's LEGO Robotics Tournament. In 2018, more than 300 children from across NSW took part in this event.

Their dedication to child education over the past two years has seen them engage local students in the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

Outstanding Innovation: plastICS (Preventing Litter and Stormwater Trash at ICS)

This group of Illawarra Christian School students work to educate their peers and families about the impact of soft plastics on the environment. In 2018, the team travelled to America and won their division of the International Future Problem Solving Championships – Environmental Concern category.

Arts and Cultural Award: Dulcie Dal Molin

Born and bred in Port Kembla, Dulcie has shown exceptional commitment for over 50 years to a number of community and cultural organisations. Most recently, she has worked as a dedicated volunteer for Port Kembla's Red Point Artists Association (RPAA), coordinating their gallery exhibition space, creative workshops and monthly 'Art on the Grass' market.

Sports Achievement Award: Peter Fitzgerald

Peter is a founding member and President of the ‘Men of League’ charity. He has helped provide assistance and support for in-need current and past football players and club members. Peter has also sponsored local sporting events and causes over the past 40 years through his business Peter Fitzgerald Real Estate.

Lord Mayor's Special Awards

Joe Alves

Joe is a leader of the Illawarra's Portuguese community, and President of the South Coast Portuguese Association. He also manages the Association's Warrawong-based club, which is a hub for community services and cultural events.

Wendy Akhurst & Lynda Murphy

Wendy and Lynda have worked  as conductor and pianist for the Keiraview Singers. They were recognised for 12 years of  outstanding service to the Illawarra community through their music and choral performances.

Alfred Chidembo

Alfred is an enthusiastic volunteer who supports multiple programs, including Wollongong Living Books, and Aussie Books for Zim which provides second hand books to children in need. He is an honorary member of the International Golden Key Member Society.

Damien Cook

Former Wollongong resident Damien is an outstanding sports person, notably in surf-lifesaving and rugby league. In 2010, he represented the Illawarra in his first National Rugby League grade game for the Penrith Panthers. In 2016, Damien joined South Sydney Rabbitohs as the understudy Hooker to Robbie Farrer and has since become the No.1 Hooker in Australia.

Richard Tognetti

Wollongong-based violinist, conductor and composer; Richard Tognetti has an international reputation for his compelling performances and artistic direction. He has has appeared as director or soloist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Academy of Ancient Music, Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra, Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), Hong Kong Philharmonic, Camerata Salzburg, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Nordic Chamber Orchestra and all of the Australian symphony orchestras.