Adelaide Hills

Australia Day Awards celebrate community spirit out of the ashes of bushfire

Adelaide Hills Council has bestowed a number of awards on local community members, many of whom were recognised for outstanding achievements in the wake of the Cudlee Creek Bushfire.

Adelaide Hills Council has bestowed a number of awards on local community members, many of whom were recognised for outstanding achievements in the wake of the Cudlee Creek Bushfire.

Mayor Jan-Claire Wisdom acknowledged the important role these annual awards play in our community.

“Our Citizen of the Year Awards are a valuable opportunity to pause and reflect on some of the amazing contributions being made by community members,” she said.

“No matter what challenges we are facing, there are always people who continue to go above and beyond, and we are grateful to the community for nominating them and bringing their efforts to our attention.”

Citizen of the Year, Adam Weinert, lost his family home during the fire, but this did not deter him from immediately taking a leadership role in community recovery.

“Adam was the leading force behind the community-led recovery group that coordinated volunteers to help with emergency accommodation, mental health first aid, animal welfare, and liaising with Council about what was needed at the time,” said Mayor Jan-Claire Wisdom.

“His community advocacy extended to lobbying government for financial aid, and appearing before the Royal Commission into National Disaster Arrangements.”

“We are incredibly fortunate to have someone like Adam sharing his skills and generosity with our community, and proud that his efforts were recognised at the state level with the inaugural Award for Active Citizenship, presented by the Governor last week.”

The 2021 Young Citizen of the Year is only 9 years old, but is already carving out a reputation as an Adelaide Hills leader.

Sebastian Ascott is the founder of Bushfire Kids Connect, a community outreach program that was developed to give children in the bushfire area fun and diverting activities during recovery.

“Sebastian’s home was saved by the CFS, but some of his neighbours and friends were not as fortunate, so Bushfire Kids Connect was his way of showing support to those children,” said Mayor Wisdom.

“With the wonderful support of his mother Carly, Sebastian has run events that encouraged creativity, recreation, and building resilience.”

“He is now working with the Red Cross to develop a similar program that can be rolled out nation-wide and connect children from our community with those in other fire-affected states.”

“He truly is a remarkable young man that we’re privileged to have in our district.”

The Community Event of the Year was bestowed upon two projects initiated by Matt Hawkins, who pulled together venues and musicians to raise community spirits and charitable donations.

“Matt’s passion for helping our fire-affected community was evident in his development of the Lobethal Community Garden Bushfire Support event and follow-up event, Hillstock,” said Mayor Wisdom.

“He was able to muster 40 musicians to each event, and create joy at a time when the community really needed something to smile about.”

“The thousands of dollars raised for local businesses and the CFS was a community benefit that simply lifted this event over and above our other nominees.”

In addition to these three major awards, Adelaide Hills Council bestowed Civic Awards upon 14 recipients for their efforts in their communities including immeasurable hours of volunteer work, skills sharing, and overall support. One of these Civic Awards encompasses a number of community groups who were nominated under the umbrella of “catering volunteers” who assisted BlazeAid during recovery efforts in early 2020.

A full list of recipients is included below.

CITIZEN OF THE YEAR
Adam Weinert of Lobethal

YOUNG CITIZEN OF THE YEAR
Sebastian Ascott of Woodside

COMMUNITY EVENT OF THE YEAR
Lobethal Community Garden Bushfire Support and Hillstock, by Matt Hawkins

CIVIC AWARDS

Billy-Jo Brewer of Lobethal
Brian Parker of Uraidla
Colin Checker of Kersbrook
Cynthia Weyland of Lobethal
Dianne Liebelt of Uraidla
Jodie Turpin of Lobethal
Karen Palmer of Mylor
Kelly Johnston of Balhannah
Linda Keen of Cromer
Margarete Ehrhardt of Millbrook
Metod ‘Ted’ Setnikar of Crafers
Stephanie Bettison of Mylor
Tremaine Kerber of Woodside, and

BlazeAid Catering Volunteers from:

  • Aldgate Church of Christ
  • Birdwood Catholic Church
  • Birdwood Lutheran Church
  • Birdwood United Church
  • C3 Church Adelaide Hills
  • Gumeracha Uniting Church
  • Kersbrook Churches of Christ
  • Hahndorf and Districts Lions Club
  • Lions Club of Onkaparinga
  • Lions Club of Torrens Valley
  • Lobethal Reception Centre
  • Mount Barker Anglican Church
  • Mount Pleasant Men’s Shed
  • Salem Baptist Church of Gumeracha
  • St John’s Lutheran Church Unley
  • St Michael’s Lutheran Church
  • Springhead Community Association
  • Uniting Church of Echunga
  • Woodside Lutheran Church
  • Woodside Uniting Church, plus
  • Robyn Voy
  • Glenis Nimmo
  • Desma Morris, and
  • Nicole Dienelt.

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