Lachlan Shire Logo

2024 Australia Day Awards Ceremony

Bonnie Merritt from Condobolin has been named Lachlan Shire Citizen of the Year for 2024. Helen Atkinson from Condobolin took out the Lachlan Shire Community Service (Australia Day Award). Elly Jane Ireland from Tullibigeal was recognised with the Sportsperson of the Year Award. Robert Johnson (Condobolin) was the recipient of the 2024 Lachlan Shire Environmental Citizen of the Year Award, while Condobolin brothers Jack and Joe Fitzgerald were named Local Young Citizens of the Year. The 2024 Lachlan Shire Event of the Year Award was presented to both Born to Read Condobolin and Milby Sports Gymkhana. The awards were presented to the winners on Australia Day (26 January) by Mayor Paul Phillips and Australia Day Ambassador Kushaal Vyas at the Sail and Power Boat Club in Lake Cargelligo. Winners and nominees were recognised for their exceptional contribution and outstanding service to the local community.
Following are summaries of all the nominees in the 2024 Lachlan Shire Local Australia Day Awards

2024 LACHLAN SHIRE ENVIRONMENTAL CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD
Robert Johnson:
The Recycling and Waste Transfer Station at Condobolin received a Highly Commended Resource Recovery and Waste Minimisation Award in the category for populations between 1501 and 5000. Lachlan Shire Council was also recognised with a sustainability award at the 2023 Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Tidy Towns Awards. Robert’s hard work and dedication at the Condobolin Recycling and Waste station played an invaluable part in achieving these results.
2024 LACHLAN SHIRE AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE- AUSTRALIA DAY AWARD
John Linnane:
John has held executive roles and is an active member of the Burcher Progress Associations, golf and cricket club, Burcher Fire Brigade, Tennis Club, Burcher Hall etc.
John has been the backbone of the Burcher Community and takes care of all the village mowing and slashing whether it is the streets, vacant blocks, sports facilities or caravan parks. He also does any and all maintenance work village wide.
He has devoted so much of his time, energy and expertise to the betterment of the Burcher Community. He is hardworking, honest, generous and an absolute role model for the Burcher Community.
Leanne Smith:
Leanne is nominated for her commitment and dedication to Early Childhood Education. She is currently the Director of Murrin Bridge preschool and Lake Cargelligo Early Learning Centre. She has been working in this field for close to 30 years and has been instrumental in the expansion of Murrin Bridge preschool.
Leanne has supported and mentored numerous people who are new to the field. Her support and guidance has resulted in a number of people completing their Diploma and Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education. Leanne goes above and beyond for our town and its Children. You would be hard pressed to find a child from Lake Cargelligo who hasn’t been taught by Miss Leanne.
Helen Atkinson:
Helen has been nominated for her work in the Condobolin community. Since retiring from her work as Nurse Manager at the Condobolin Hospital she has continued to work as a volunteer in a full-time capacity and often beyond. She is a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society Conference as well as volunteering in the Vinnies retail shop in Condobolin. She has also taken over the role of Parish secretary within the Catholic Church and, through her own initiative, the Old St Joseph’s Convent is now a 7-bedroom refuge home for victims of domestic violence. Helen’s willingness to help those in need has been widely recognised by her community.
2024 LACHLAN SHIRE EVENT OF THE YEAR AWARD
Born to Read – Spring Story Spectacular:
This year, following a period of COVID restrictions, Born to Read Condobolin was able to host once again the Born to Read Community Party for Children. This was held in September, as in previous years, and was titled “Spring Story Spectacular”. Born to Read Condobolin has been supporting families by promoting the benefit of learning to read and encouraging a love of reading.
In September, 500 children from preschools, schools, and families across the Lachlan Shire, were invited to attend the event where they were entertained by performing story tellers. Born to Read managed to bring together young children and their families form all over the community for a shared purpose – to promote the love of reading. Born to read believed early literacy and language through books is key to becoming successful readers and lifelong learners.
Milby Sports Gymkhana:
Milby Sports Gymkhana has always been deeply ingrained in the fabric of the Lachlan Shire Community. The Milby Sports event as we know it today originated in 1952 and has evolved into an iconic family fund day with a wide range of events to captivate audiences of all ages. Its enduring legacy stands as a testament to the unwavering spirit of local families who have passionately nurtured this event over the years.
What sets Milby Sports apart is not only its remarkable history of 71 years but the unwavering commitment to the community and the exceptional generosity in giving back. Businesses from all around the Lachlan Shire have benefited from substantial donations made by Milby Sports. Through the efforts of dedicated committee members, Milby Sports has supported individuals who excel in sports and academics, aiding them in achieving their aspirations.
2024 LACHLAN SHIRE LOCAL SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR AWARD
Chad Worland:
Chad is an exceptional supercross rider. Chad and his family travelled to Maitland to participate where he qualified for the MX State rounds. He rode his motorbike in the King of MX22 State Finals and finished 13th overall in his age group. He had a podium finish at the 2023 Hattah Desert Race in Victoria. He is the champion of the Champions Local Club and he was also picked by KTM to ride in Junior Supercross at Marvel Stadium.
Chad always has a positive attitude and gives his best efforts in every race. He is a dedicated and determined young man with a great passion for supercross racing.
Elly Jane Ireland:
Elly, a talented all-round sportswoman, was selected for the Australian Auroras Under 18’s team competing in the 2023 International Dragon Boat Federation World Nations Championships, where she returned from the championships with seven bronze medals.
Amongst other impressive sporting achievements, Elly is also the Sports Captain of Denis House at Redbend Catholic College and an exceptional Netball player.
Elly has been described as a hardworking, strong and dedicated, proving to be a credit to herself, her family, her school and her community.
2024 LACHLAN SHIRE LOCAL YOUNG CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD
Chad Worland:
Chad is an exceptional supercross rider. Chad and his family travelled to Maitland to participate where he qualified for the MX State rounds. He rode his motorbike in the King of MX22 State Finals and finished 13th overall in his age group. He had a podium finish at the 2023 Hattah Desert Race in Victoria. He is the champion of the Champions Local Club and he was also picked by KTM to ride in Junior Supercross at Marvel Stadium.
Chad always has a positive attitude and gives his best efforts in every race. He is a dedicated and determined young man with a great passion for supercross racing.
Jack and Joe Fitzgerald:
The enthusiastic young entrepreneurs live with 700 orange trees and while discussing what to do with the fruit with their family, they decided making juice was a journey they were willing to take. It’s aptly named Jack and Joe’s and is bringing you freshly squeezed, 100% orange juice with no preservatives. Years of drought saw the trees left to wither, but after months of hard work the farm is back up and running. The boys pick about 50 oranges a day before they use a blending machine to juice the fruit in the farm’s shed. The juice is then poured by hand into bottles that the boys designed and sourced themselves.
The brother’s orange juice has become a feature of the local cafes and restaurants in Condobolin. The brothers put all of the money made from selling the orange juice towards supporting their local sporting clubs.
2024 LACHLAN SHIRE LOCAL CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD
Ann-Marie Seaton:
Ann-Marie has been the driving force behind the Condobolin Black Dog Ride for the past decade. She has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Her leadership has been pivotal in fostering a sense of community and support, breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health.
Beyond her impactful work with the Black Dog Ride, Ann-Marie also plays a crucial role in preserving Condobolin’s history. Her volunteer efforts at the Condobolin Historical Society highlight her dedication to safeguarding the community’s cultural heritage. She is also a volunteer for the Last Friday Picture Show in collaboration with Lachlan and Western Regional Services and has regular involvement as a volunteer with the Condo 750. Ann-Marie consistently demonstrates her commitment to making a positive impact.
Bonnie Merrit:
For over 60 years Bonnie has been part of the fabric that makes up the Condobolin soccer, junior and senior rugby communities. Mother Merritt is known as the “Football Queen” and it is a role she cherishes and loves. Mother Merritt was a founding member of the Condobolin Soccer Committee along with her husband Ron and several other well-known community members.
Bonnie actively participates in NAIDOC week Human Library sessions sharing her story as a “living book” to younger generations. Students eagerly listen to the experiences their elders had while growing up in Condobolin. Bonnie has also spent her life fighting for the rights of her people and continues to do so. She has given forty years volunteering for Legal Aid service where she was available day or night often attending the Sydney Supreme Courts and still found time to foster over 30 children.
Donna Davies:
Donna is kind and generous and she serves the Condobolin Community. She has been an employee of the Condobolin Health Service for 22 years is known for going above and beyond for the patients she cares for. She is a volunteer at St Vincent de Paul and supports cancer awareness days at the hospital with her special baking skills. Her care and compassion go beyond the patient with kindness extended to families. Donna is always ready to whip up something special in the kitchen to sustain her patients and their families.
Donna is a quiet achiever and down to earth. With her lovely sense of humour she lifts the mood of many a sick patient. Donna’s support has been known to make the very difficult and private times of grieving families more bearable.
Jean Piper:
Jean’s altruistic spirit is evident in her extensive volunteer work, particularly in the education sector. She has been an integral part of the school community serving breakfast to children at the local public school. Her dedication and involvement in the Country Women’s Association and Central West Family Support Group is nothing short of exemplary.
In addition to her community involvement, Jean has been a devoted member of the Condobolin community choir and an active participant in the Church of England. Her impact on the Condobolin community is immeasurable and her legacy of compassion continues to inspire those who are fortunate enough to know her.
John Linnane:
John has held executive roles and is an active member of the Burcher Progress Associations, golf and cricket club, Burcher Fire Brigade, Tennis Club, Burcher Hall etc.
John has been the backbone of the Burcher Community and takes care of all the village mowing and slashing whether it is the streets, vacant blocks, sports facilities or caravan parks. He also does any and all maintenance work village wide.
He has devoted so much of his time, energy and expertise to the betterment of the Burcher Community. He is hardworking, honest, generous and an absolute role model for the Burcher Community.
Leanne Smith:
Leanne is nominated for her commitment and dedication to Early Childhood Education. She is currently the Director of Murrin Bridge preschool and lake Cargelligo Early Learning Centre. She has been working in this field for close to 30 years and has been instrumental in the expansion of Murrin Bridge preschool.
Leanne has supported and mentored numerous people who are new to the field. Her support and guidance has resulted in a number of people completing their Diploma and Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education. Leanne goes above and beyond for our town and its Children. You would be hard pressed to find a child from Lake Cargelligo who hasn’t been taught by Miss Leanne.
Robert Johnson:
The Recycling and Waste Transfer Station at Condobolin received a Highly Commended Resource Recovery and Waste Minimisation Award in the category for populations between 1501 and 5000. Lachlan Shire Council was also recognised with a sustainability award at the 2023 Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Tidy Towns Awards. Robert’s hard work and dedication at the Condobolin Recycling and Waste station played an invaluable part in achieving these results.
**Australia Day Award Nominee information provided by Lachlan Shire Council.

Latest News

Merit Award Winners

04/03/2024|

Tullibigeal Central School presented the Merit Awards to the week [...]

Induction Mass

04/03/2024|

On Thursday 15th February, Trundle St Patrick’s Parish School held [...]