Australia Day

Nominations Event funding Previous winners

Australia Day 2023 collage

Next year Council will be holding the Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony on Thursday 25 January in response to the Australian Government giving local councils the flexibility to choose when to hold their ceremonies.

Visit the National Australia Day Council website for more information.

Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards

Nominations for the 2023 Australia Day Awards are now closed.

Nominations will be assessed by the Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards Selection Panel and awardees will be acknowledged at the Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony on Thursday 25 January 2024.

The awards provide an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate those who put back in to make a difference and those who make Tweed an easy place to live and love.

Refer below for the 2022 Tweed Shire Council Australia Day Awardees

Australia Day Community Event Funding

Council is offering financial assistance to community organisations across the Tweed who plan to hold small community events three days either side of Australia Day 2024.

Applications will open on Tuesday 29 August and close on Friday 29 September 2023.

Any community organisation requesting financial assistance for an event must be Tweed-based, an incorporated body and hold public liability insurance.

The 3 categories of funding support on offer are:

  • Category 1: $300 for events up to 149 attendees
  • Category 2: $400 for events with 150 - 249 attendees
  • Category 3: $500 for events with more than 250 attendees.

Community organisations applying for the first time will be assigned to Category 1 grant funding.

Eligible application will be assessed by the Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards Selection Panel on Thursday 19 October 2023.

For eligibility criteria, and to apply visit

Winners of last year's Australia Day Awards 

Citizen of the Year

Joan Henderson

The Citizen of the Year Award went to tireless refugee advocate Joan Henderson.

Joan is an active member and co-convenor of the Uki Refugee Project, a community group offering support and advocating on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.

Joan and the group lobby politicians for policy change and encourage wider community awareness through fundraising events, as well as organising friendship visits for refugees to the Tweed.

Following the fall of Kabul into the hands of the Taliban in 2021, Joan has taken upon herself the almost impossible task of bringing to safety some of the people at the highest risk of arrest and death. She is relentless in her work of preparing visa applications, keeping communications open day and night with people who are hiding in the mountains.

Watch the video for Citizen of the Year winner - Joan Henderson

Arts and Culture Award

Allira Cornell

Allira has a passion for bringing arts and culture to the Tweed, providing a venue for a diverse range of films, live performance, and theatre. Her work restoring the much-loved Regent Cinema has brought an important cultural icon of the Tweed back to life. Allira is also a great supporter of the community. On many occasions, she has provided the venue at discounted rates and even for free for non-for-profit groups and charities.

There was also an Honourable Mention awarded in this category which went to Murwillumbah Arts Trail.

Watch the video for the Arts and Culture Award Winner - Allira Cornell

Community Event of the Year

Kinship Festival

The festival is a celebration of Aboriginal art, dance, community, and culture for the whole community to enjoy. The committee is dedicated to realising the vision and striving towards communicating to the community the meaning of Kinship and the Aboriginal culture that encapsulates culture, belonging, responsibility, participation and connection to land, and people. The event provides an opportunity for people from all walks of life to see and appreciate local Indigenous culture that’s alive and thriving.

There was an Honourable Mention awarded in this category which went to Tyalgum Music Festival.

Watch the video for the Community Event of the Year Winner - Kinship Festival

Sporting Achievement of the Year - Individual award

There were joint winners in the 2022 Sporting Achievement of the Year - Individual award.

Xane Bowen is a 16-year-old triathlete who last year placed second at the National All Schools Triathlon and is the NSW Champion. In 2021 he won the title of Youth Champion of Australia. He began his journey as a young junior member of the Tweed Valley Triathletes. Xane is dedicated to his training, even after he and his mother had to seek temporary accommodation for months when their family home was severely impacted by the 2022 flood.

Watch the video for Sporting Achievement of the Year - Individual (Joint winner) - Xane Bowen

Chloe Covell is an impressive young street skateboarder who is well on her way to qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics, after being placed 7th overall while representing Australia at the qualifying event in Rome. In 2022, she competed at the open women’s level at XGames Japan, where she received a bronze medal, and at XGames USA, scoring a silver medal. These medals make Chloe the youngest XGames athlete to achieve 2 medals before the age of 13.

Watch the video for Sporting Achievement of the Year - Individual (Joint winner) - Chloe Covell

Sporting Achievement of the Year - Group

Tweed Dragons Inc.

The Tweed Dragons provide opportunities for people aged 12 to 70+ to be included in the wonderful community activity of dragon boating. Having success at state, national and world titles is icing on the cake for this community-minded group. After 2 years of pandemic-affected championships, their 2022 results speak for themselves – 3 gold, 6 silver and 3 bronze placings at the State titles and one gold and 5 silver medals at the National titles. If they’re not on the water competing, they’re out celebrating life – socialising, volunteering or supporting charities and local communities.

Watch the video for the Sporting Achievement of the Year - Group Winner - Tweed Dragons Inc.

Young Achiever in Community Service

Lily O'Sullivan

Eighteen-year-old Lily is an outstanding young athlete who spent many years volunteering with Cudgen Headland Surf Life Saving Club and now works protecting lives as a lifeguard on the Gold Coast. At the Youth World Life Saving Championships in Italy, she won 7 out of a possible 7 surf events, broke a world record in the 25m Manikin relay with her team, as well as scoring a bronze in another event. Apart from her sporting achievements, Lily spends time giving back to her community through volunteer lifesaving, training nippers and working with children through the NDIS. She assisted in ferrying to safety any affected by last year’s flood and volunteering at the evacuation centre at Kingscliff TAFE.

Watch the video for the Young Achiever in Community Service Award - Lily O'Sullivan

Volunteer of the Year - Individual

Alex Dale

Alex is one of the unsung heroes of the Tweed. He has worked tirelessly for decades for environmental causes, planting trees for groups such as Fingal Dune Care and Friends of Cudgen Nature Reserve. He has also given 100s of hours to Team Koala, organising fun days for families at Pottsville and setting up for markets. Alex’s tireless dedication, his ability to encourage and work with others and his vision for the Tweed are remarkable.

Watch the video for the Volunteer of the Year - Individual Award - Alex Dale

Volunteer of the Year - Group

Cudgen Rural Fire Brigade

The brigade is a diverse group of volunteers who all share the same passion and commitment for volunteering in their local community, spending many thousands of unpaid hours assisting others. The respected brigade responds to more than 100 incidents a year, including house and bush fires, vehicle accidents and automatic fire alarms. The Cudgen Rural Fire Brigade played a very big role in last year’s floods, spending more than 2 weeks sandbagging, rescuing residents and in the clean-up in Chinderah, Tumbulgum and Condong. Families and children also thank them for their popular Santa Runs along the Tweed Coast and out to Tumbulgum.

There was an Honourable Mention awarded in this category to Volunteers Agape Outreach.

Watch the video for the Volunteer of the Year - Group Award - Cudgen Rural Fire Brigade