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22 January 2024

Australia Day Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in the community

2022 Citizen of the Year Joan Henderson is Tweed’s 2024 Australia Day Ambassador

Australia Day generic

A series of Australia Day activities, including the Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards ceremony, will be held across the Tweed this week.

The Tweed community will reflect, respect and celebrate what it means to be part of the unfolding national story on Australia Day this week.

The Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards, due to be held in Tweed Heads on Thursday 25 January, will recognise outstanding achievements by members of the community.

This will be followed by a citizenship ceremony which will see 32 residents from 13 different countries – from as far afield as Colombia, Taiwan and Brazil – become Australian citizens. As in previous years, this is an invitation-only event for recipients and their families.

The following day, on Australia Day (Friday 26 January), a series of Council-sponsored community events will be held across the Tweed, at Crabbes Creek, Murwillumbah, Tumbulgum and Tyalgum.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry said the Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony 2024 would provide an important opportunity for the Tweed community to celebrate the achievement of outstanding community members and welcome new citizens to the Tweed.

“It’s a time to come together to reflect on what a supportive and vibrant community we have here in the Tweed and to celebrate the incredible achievements of members of our community,” Cr Cherry said.

“We reflect on our nation’s past, which began more than 65,000 years ago and the impact of European settlement on the First Australians, the world’s oldest continual culture.

“Australia Day is also an opportunity to celebrate our cultural diversity and rich migrant heritage which is very much part of our unique Australian identity, and we look forward to welcoming 32 new citizens in the Tweed.”

Cr Cherry said this was the first year Tweed Shire Council had elected to host the ceremony on the day before the Australia Day public holiday.

“In December 2022 the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, The Hon Andrew Giles MP, announced an update to the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code to allow councils to hold Australia Day citizenship ceremonies on or around Australia’s national day,” Cr Cherry said.

“Before this announcement, councils were required to hold a citizenship ceremony on Australia Day, however they are now able to host their ceremonies on any of the three days before or after 26 January.

“At Tweed Shire Council’s ordinary meeting on Thursday 20 April 2023, a motion was carried to hold a combined Australia Day Award ceremony and Citizenship ceremony on Thursday 25 January 2024.

“Hosting the Tweed’s Awards and Citizenship ceremony a day before the public holiday will allow invited guests to attend the Thursday event and then spend Australia Day with their family and friends or attend one of the exciting community activities across the Tweed, which Council is supporting through sponsorship.

Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards Ambassador

The Ambassador for this year’s Tweed Shire Australia Day official ceremony will be Joan Henderson, a community volunteer and retired social worker who embodies compassion and inclusivity in the Tweed community.

Mrs Henderson was recognised as the Citizen of the Year at Tweed Shire’s 2023 Australia Day Awards.

With a wealth of experience in the health sector and providing services for people with a disability, Mrs Henderson recently spent five years at the Shaping Outcomes service at Tweed Heads, where she worked with families of children identified as having developmental delays.

She currently volunteers with the Books ’n’ Boots program – collecting and delivering books to remote First Nations communities – with the aim of closing the literacy gap by enabling children to have reading resources available at home.

Since 2013, she has worked in a voluntary capacity to support and advocate for refugees and asylum seekers. She is a member of the Uki Refugee Project (URP) team who organise regular Friendship Weekends to the Tweed Valley for newly arrived refugees, fundraise to provide practical refugee support and advocate to governments for policy change.

With the support of the URP team, Mrs Henderson has worked tirelessly over the past two years to secure asylum for Afghan people who face the most imminent danger from the Taliban because of their alliance with the allied forces.

Winners of the Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards will also be announced at the ceremony. There are seven categories in total, including the newly introduced Senior Ambassador category:

  • Citizen of the Year

  • Arts and Culture

  • Community Event of the Year

  • Senior Ambassador – in its inaugural year

  • Sporting Achievement (Individual and Group)

  • Volunteer of the Year (Individual and Group)

  • Young Achiever in Community Service.

Community events in Tweed Shire

Council-sponsored events at Crabbes Creek, Murwillumbah, Tumbulgum and Tyalgum will feature community awards and family-friendly activities.

The Crabbes Creek festivities begin at 8 am in the Crabbes Creek Community Hall with a traditional Aussie barbecue breakfast, followed by local awards.

At Murwillumbah, the combined Rotary Clubs of Mt Warning AM (Murwillumbah) and Murwillumbah Central are hosting a free community event at the Murwillumbah TRAC pool facility from 10 am to 2 pm. Entry is free and includes pool and slide entry, Aboriginal dances, craft, free sausage sizzle and drinks. No tickets required but facility capacity requirements apply.

Tumbulgum’s celebrations start at 8 am at Rangers Soccer Club with a traditional Aussie barbecue breakfast, followed by music, a photographic display by Tumbulgum Public School and local awards. Finish the morning cheering along players in the village’s traditional cricket match – Tumbulgum Village People v. North Tumbulgum Cavaliers.

At Tyalgum, Australia Day activities begin at 9.30 am at the Tyalgum Community Hall with a flag-raising and Acknowledgement of Country, followed by a decorated bike parade and community awards at 10 am. Visit What’s on Tweed for details of community events.

For more information on Australia Day in the Tweed, visit tweed.nsw.gov.au/AustraliaDay.

Joan Henderson

2022 Tweed Citizen of the Year Joan Henderson will be this year's Tweed Australia Day Awards Ambassador.


Photo 1: Australia Day generic
Caption: A series of Australia Day activities, including the Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards ceremony, will be held across the Tweed this week.

Photo 2: Joan Henderson
Caption: 2022 Tweed Citizen of the Year Joan Henderson will be this year's Tweed Australia Day Awards Ambassador.

Connection to Council’s Community Strategic Plan:

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Tweed Shire Council wishes to acknowledge the Ngandowal and Minyungbal speaking people of the Bundjalung Country, in particular the Goodjinburra, Tul-gi-gin and Moorung – Moobah clans, as being the traditional owners and custodians of the land and waters within the Tweed Shire boundaries. Council also acknowledges and respects the Tweed Aboriginal community’s right to speak for its Country and to care for its traditional Country in accordance with its lore, customs and traditions.
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