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Buloke Celebrates Australia Day Winners 2022

Buloke Celebrates Australia Day Winners

Publish Date: 26 January 2022

Some of Buloke’s outstanding contributors were recognised for their dedication to the community at Buloke Shire Council’s Australia Day Eve Awards, presented at Berriwillock Community Centre on Wednesday evening.

Among them, Len Storey of Wycheproof, was named Citizen of the Year, Tessa Fitzpatrick of Charlton, was named Young Citizen of the Year, and Event of The Year Award joint-winners; International Mountain Day and Lions Club of Wycheproof Show and Shine.

Australia Day Ambassador Alistair McCooke OAM was the guest speaker and explained how volunteering paved his pathway to becoming a paramedic.

Australia Day Ambassador

Raised in Sea Lake, Alistair became involved in volunteering at a young age, building his self-confidence to later become a volunteer Surf Lifesaver. He rescued dozens of people from dangerous surf during his decades-long experience in Ocean Grove and Coolangatta. 

This experience prompted a passion for caring for others and he studied to become an intensive care paramedic, leading him to help establish emergency response service programs in Saudi Arabia and assisting the United Nations with landmine clearance projects in Iraq.

Alistair is a passionate campaigner and educator for Heart Safe Communities, ensuring that automatic external defibrillators (AED) are made available at private and public events. 

In 2013, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. Being a strong believer in the power of positivity and self-belief, Alistair draws strength from the challenges presented by his ongoing fight to overcome his illness. Public speaking engagements continue to drive the hopefulness of living with cancer and promoting his strategies to think positive.

Buloke Australia Day Ambassador 2022 Alistair McCooke with Mayor Warren

Pictured above (l-r): Australia Day Ambassador Alistair McCooke with Mayor Cr Daryl Warren at the Australia Day Eve event in Berriwillock.

Citizen of the Year

Citizen of the Year Len Storey’s life is filled with everyday acts of kindness, reacting as he sees a need, repairing or improving aesthetic features around town, working solo, without others noticing. However, he is in his element with he is collaborating and engaging with others.

In collating his contributions, his nominees quickly realised he is an altruist to the extreme. He truly embodies the aphorism that giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and happiness.

Born and raised at Wycheproof, his family’s hard-working farming ethic and iconic traits of a ‘true Australian and Mallee boy,’ were instilled from a young age. At the core of these was the importance of having passion as the foundation of giving.

“There is nothing Len hasn’t contributed to across the Wycheproof community – over time he has been part of everything”, wrote Mick Giddings. Len is presently active in the celebration of ‘The Bill’s Water Trough’ structure at Bakery on Broadway and is finalising the details for the official plaque.

He is also busy erecting an historic windmill structure in the re-furbished Wycheproof P-12 College school-grounds.

Len is always on top of weed control management at Railway-place, church precincts and other landmarks about town as he believes it reflects community pride.

In recent months, he has engaged with local students in creating entries for the Steampunk on Broadway Exhibition, completed minor storm damage restoration works to the Glenloth Hall and Wycheproof Cemetery, created floral art installations to ‘lift people’s spirits’ during COVID-19, celebrate National Wattle Day and the re-opening of Bakery on Broadway.

He has been a keen athlete and tennis player his entire life and this enthusiasm evolved into volunteering and serving as a committee member and President of many clubs in and around Wycheproof.

They include but are not limited to; the Lawn Tennis Club, Lions Club, Cemetery Trust, Football Club, Men’s Shed, Agricultural and Produce Society, Landcare, Young Farmers, Hospital and Hostel, Railway Group, Historical Society, Museum Court House and the town’s former historical education centre, Glenloth/ Teddywaddy Fire Brigades, Charlton/Wycheproof Citizens Band, St Michael’s Parish Wycheproof and Wycheproof Roman Catholic community, now East Wimmera Parish.

Len’s natural leadership ability and professionalism also elevated him to representative positions on the Victorian Farming Federation Board and other similar consultative groups.

He did not relish the spotlight, rather the opportunity to share his infectious passion for community, which has complimented his endless contributions throughout his entire life.

Australia Day Citizen of Year 2022 Len Storey with 2021 winner Marg Pollington

Pictured above (l-r): Last Year's Winner of the Citizen of the Year Award, Marg Pollington, presents the Citizen of the Year Award certificate to Len Storey.

Buloke Citizen of the Year 2022

Pictured above (l-r): Mayor Cr Daryl Warren pictured with Len Storey.

Young Citizen of the Year

Young Citizen of the Year Tessa Fitzpatrick has been described as an inspirational role model for the youth of Charlton.

She began adding her ‘voice of youth’ to many community organisations from an early age, broadening these natural leadership abilities beyond her secondary school roles in School Representative Council, as House and Sports Captain, to becoming an ambassador on Rotary Exchange to Canada.

Throughout this time Tessa was active in the local Youth Group.

Her passion for participation in local sports, as a Charlton basketball and hockey player, has also been enriched with hockey umpiring and coaching, and as the Junior Girl’s Coordinator of Charlton’s Basketball Association.

Her willingness to put her hand up to make a difference in Charlton is amplified by the number of organisations she quickly reconnected with and reached out to, since her return to Australia from Canada, where she also worked briefly.

Tessa chose to work locally and study online to continue to live in the community.

She is current President of the Charlton Hockey Club, has just nominated for a second term to the Charlton Neighbourhood House (CNH) Committee and continues as an active member in a promotions and media capacity with the local Agricultural and Pastoral Society.

One of the CNH’s link committee members for OK-Hotels, she coordinates community engagement between stakeholders, as well as the roster of local hospitality staff. Tessa’s passion for the natural environment has been pivotal to reinvigorating the Charlton Landcare Group’s activities, as without her energetic injection it’s activities may still be dormant.

Her influence has also ensured that the ‘natural environment’ is now considered as part of the CNH future strategic planning. Elected as President mid-year in 2021, she has commenced the mammoth task of rebuilding this organisation.

In this short window, she has already delivered two well-attended diversity walks, and submitted applications for funding bird hides along the Avoca River and at the Wooroonook Lakes.

Tessa Fitzpatrick and Cr Milne

Pictured above (l-r): Winner of Young Citizen of the Year, Tessa Fitzpatrick, is presented a certificate by Cr Graeme Milne.

Australia Day Awards 2022 Mayor Warren_Tessa Fitzpatrick

Pictured above (l-r) Mayor Cr Daryl Warren pictured with Tessa Fitzpatrick.

Event of the Year

The International Mountain Day event, celebrated at Mount Wycheproof, drew international attention and reconnected us to this significant geological wonder, known as the ‘Smallest Mountain in the World’.

The event engaged and reunited the community on a number of levels.

ABC Wimmera Radio broadcasted their Breakfast Show from the top of the mount, inviting past and present residents to be interviewed or call-in and contribute to the live discussion, or just listen and reminisce.

Preparation for the event involved significant restoration works to the site, including improved public access, renewal of walking tracks for preservation the natural environment.

One of the key drivers, Jackie Noonan, who collaborated with the Friends of Mount Wycheproof to envision and create such a wonderful event, is given special mention.

President and Cr Simpson International Mountain Day (002)

Pictured above (l-r): President of Friends of Mount Wycheproof, Martin Duke, receiving the award for Event of the Year from Cr Bronwyn Simpson. 

Buloke Event of the Year 2022 International Mountain Day

Pictured above (l-r): Dual winners of the Buloke Shire Council Event of the Year; ‘International Mountain of the Year’ – Friends of Mount Wycheproof; Jackie Noonan, Alex Morrison, Mayor Cr Warren, Martin Duke, Rebekah Lowe (Breakfast Presenter ABC Wimmera) and  Andrew Kelso (Producer ABC Wimmera).

Lions Club of Wycheproof Show 'n Shine is a major fundraiser for the community and many other charities that the Wycheproof Club supports.

The 2021 annual event was the fifth time it’s been held on the Sunday of the March long-weekend.

The number of beautifully restored cars, motorbikes and trucks, and distance these enthusiasts travel to be part of the event continues to climb. Organisers remain committed to being inclusive of new ideas to put the Wycheproof on show and reinvigorate the activities program complimenting the event.

President and Cr Simpson Lions Show n Shine

Pictured above (l-r): President of Lions Club of Wycheproof, Barry Crockett, receiving the award for Event of the Year from Cr Bronwyn Simpson.

Buloke Event of the Year 2022 Show n Shine Wycheproof

Pictured above (l-r): Dual winners of the Buloke Shire Council Event of the Year ‘Show 'n Shine’ – Lions Club of Wycheproof pictured with Mayor Cr Daryl Warren (L-R): Ian Marquis, Alex Morrison, Barry Crockett, Phil Gilleland, Elaine Ison Ritchie, Lynda Rumbold, Suzy Morrison and Len Storey. 

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