The winners of Adelaide’s 2021 Citizen of the Year Awards

The Australia Day Citizen of the Year Awards are presented annually to local citizens and groups who have made outstanding contributions to the community.

Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor presented the Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Community Event of the Year awards at Adelaide Town Hall today in conjunction with a special citizenship ceremony.

The Australia Day Citizen of the Year Awards are presented annually to local citizens and groups who have made outstanding contributions to the community.

The Awards are provided by the Australia Day Council of South Australia and are administered by Local Government Authorities throughout the State on behalf of the Australia Day Council.

Selection criteria for the Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the year award, is based on the individual’s contribution to the community, if they are an inspirational role model, and the impact they have on the City of Adelaide. Whereas, for Community Event of the Year Award is based on the quality of the event, impact on the City of Adelaide, and the contribution to the community.

Each year, the City of Adelaide receives many nominations over the course of a six-week period, with the recipients of each category being decided by Council.

“Despite all of the difficulties we faced during 2020, there were so many people in our community who rose to the challenge and achieved incredible things for our city,” Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor said.

“It is a great privilege to acknowledge members who are contributing to our community by honouring them with such prestigious awards.”

Citizen of the Year
Haydyn is a well-respected Adnyamathanha man and is a trained teacher with over 20 years of education experience. In addition to working in education, he has also gained experience in fields of social justice and industrial rights. He has held many leadership positions both in national and international roles. In recent years, Haydyn has been conducting extensive cultural awareness seminars, sharing his deep cultural knowledge and personal experiences. He has also been a guest lecturer at university campuses across Adelaide. Now, as Owner of Bookabee Australia, Haydyn continues to provide Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training to businesses across the City of Adelaide and afar. A great ambassador for this year’s Australia Day theme ‘We are all part of the story’.

Young Citizen of the Year

Wathnak Vy recently graduated from the Bachelor of International Development and Bachelor of Social Science at the University of Adelaide with major in anthropology and clinical mental health counselling. While continuing his further study in Master in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Wathnak is a senior counsellor, case manager at Relationships Australia South Australia. Since the start of pandemic, Wathnak volunteered his time more than 3 hours a day since March 2020 to assist and create a youth support group for those who have been impacted from COVID19 across the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia and Finders University, at the moment he has more than 700 active student members. As a result, Wathnak was named the 2020 Mental Health Youth of The Year
awarded by the Mental Health foundation of Australia. Wathnak was born and grew up in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with Vietnamese and Cambodian heritage. His family and himself immigrated to Australia in 2012 in support of his higher education. Wathnak is also engaged in many professional activities in Australia also community development back in Cambodia and continuing inspirited diverse young people across Australia.

Community Event of the Year

Organised by Kelly Noble from Glam Adelaide and Steve Testar from Showcase South Australia, the SA4SA Bushfire Appeal Gala Dinner was 2020’s largest indoor event, with 1400 tickets sold in just one week of sales. Kelly and Steve also initiated “The Glam Adelaide Foundation” so that all funds raised at the event could all stay specifically in South Australia. An incredible $381,340 was raised for South Australian families and businesses affected by the State’s bushfires at the event. $279,086 of the money raised will be donated to the State Government’s SA Bushfire Appeal, which will go directly to those impacted by the fires. The remaining $102,254 was raised by auction items donated by Duncan Welgemoed (Africola) and his fantastic network of inspiring chefs. Funds from the dinners were donated to the Adelaide Hills Wine Region Bushfire Appeal, the Country Fire Service, and two of the hardest hit wineries, Tilbrook Estate and Vinteloper.  

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