Australia Day is the official national day of Australia and is celebrated across the Tweed each year on 26 January.
Australia Day is for all Australians, no matter where our personal stories began. It is a day we come together to reflect on being Australian, respect each other and celebrate our nation.
Each year, the National Australia Day Council sets a theme to mark Australia Day. In 2021 the theme was: ‘Reflect. Respect. Celebrate – we’re all part of the story.’ See australiaday.org.au
2021 Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony
A highlight of Council’s calendar each year is the Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards followed by the citizenship ceremony. These are traditionally held on Australia Day each year and provide an opportunity to come together and celebrate those that help make the Tweed such a great place to live, work and visit.
The awards highlight the outstanding achievement of individuals and groups in our community over the past year and cover an array of categories including:
- Citizen of the year
- Volunteer of the year (individual and group)
- Young achiever in community service
- Sporting achievement (individual and group)
- Arts and culture
- Community event of the year
Congratulations to our 2021 Tweed Shire Australia Day Award recipients, as well as our 33 newest citizens who pledged their allegiance to Australia during the ceremony.
To find out about becoming an Australian citizen, see citizenship ceremonies.
2021 Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards (3:14 minutes)
Tweed Shire Citizen of the Year
Jenny Hayes was named the 2020 Tweed Shire Citizen of the Year for her unwavering commitment to the community and particularly the protection of the Tweed’s endangered koalas.
A proud Murwillumbah local, Jenny has long been involved with a wide array of community organisations, before founding Team Koala in 2009. Building a strong team of like-minded community members around her, Jenny has become the face of koala protection in the Shire, working tirelessly with others to lobby for the implementation of koala-friendly development restrictions, particularly on the Tweed Coast where the koala population is most under threat.
A mentor to countless school children through her work as a teacher, Jenny has raised significant funds towards care for koalas. She is an inspiring public speaker and has also lifted the profile of the many other charities and organisations she has worked with.
Watch the video for the 2020 Tweed Shire Citizen of the Year - Jenny Hayes
Volunteer of the Year (Individual)
The Volunteer of the Year (Individual) award was awarded to two recipients, Michael Reid and Les Hardy.
Joint 2020 Volunteer of the Year (Individual) award recipient Michael Reid has dedicated his time over the past four years to helping the homeless and needy through his work with Agape Outreach Incorporated. Here he is committed to cooking up to 60 litres of food at a time – at his own expense – on top of sourcing funding and assistance for people in need. At Christmas he can often be found toiling away in the kitchen, ensuring the most vulnerable in the community have a special day to remember.
Watch the video for the 2020 Volunteer of the Year (Individual) - Michael Reid
Joint 2020 Volunteer of the Year (Individual) award recipient Les Hardy is a long-time Pottsville local whose smiling face is well known about town, where he can often be found selling raffle tickets for the many charities and organisations he supports. A keen gardener and fisherman, Les always shares his home-grown produce and catch with others and can be relied upon to assist others when called upon.
Watch the video for the 2020 Volunteer of the Year (Individual) - Les Hardy
Volunteer of the Year (Group)
The 2020 Volunteer of the Year (Group) award went to the Murwillumbah Hospital Coffee Shop Volunteers. This special group provides their service five days a week, 52 weeks a year, offering a welcome smile to the sick and frail and those that care for them. Over the past 11 years, the group has raised more than $580,000 towards chairs, blinds, TV’s and medical equipment for the hospital.
Watch the video for the 2020 Volunteer of the Year (Group) - Murwillumbah Hospital Coffee Shop Volunteers
Young Achiever in Community Service
The 2020 Young Achiever in Community Service award was claimed by 12-year-old Tj Kleeman, who can be found most weeks at her local cemetery, tending to the graves of people unknown to her. The Australia Day Committee was touched by this selfless act and for the love and respect she shows for those Tweed residents who have passed on.
Watch the video for the 2020 Young Achiever in Community Service - Tj Kleeman
Two honourable mentions were also made in this category, with Shantel Gregoraci and Alyce Togo acknowledged for the outstanding work they do in the community.
Community Event of the Year
The 2020 Community Event of the Year award was awarded to the Tweed Valley Equestrian Group, whose annual Power of Pink Fundraiser has become a favourite among horse lovers from as far afield as Coffs Harbour and Brisbane. Over its 11-year history, the event has raised much needed awareness of breast cancer and more than $125,000 towards the cause.
Watch the video for the 2020 Community Event of the Year - Tweed Valley Equestrian Group
The 2020 Sporting Achievement award went to tennis coach Gemma Eaton, for her outstanding work, particularly with younger members of the community. Named Coach of the Year in 2018 and 2019 by Tennis NSW, Gemma works with children who may not always have the opportunity to join a sporting club, and with children who live, learn and compete with a disability. Gemma was recognised for her efforts to create an inclusive and welcoming environment while focused on improving the skills, techniques and sports craft of those she coaches.
Watch the video for the 2020 Sporting Achievement - Gemma Eaton
Australia Day 2021 community events
Every year Council offers financial assistance to support small community events across the Tweed to celebrate Australia Day.
In 2021 there were 4 Council-sponsored events hosted by local community organisations:
The Tweed Shire 2020 Citizen of the Year Jenny Hayes (centre, in pink) is pictured with other Australia Day Award winners at a ceremony at Twin Towns on Australia Day 2021.