Citizen of The Year Award
The Citizen of the Year Award acknowledges outstanding service and contribution over a number of years given by an individual to their local community.
It is thirty-two years this month since Frank Huglin arrived in Hawkesdale, and nearly that long since he met and teamed up with lifetime resident Anne-Maree. Their impact on the town, together and individually, has been profound. Barely any aspect of community life in Hawkesdale has been left unaltered by their enthusiasm and generosity.
Frank was twenty-eight when he arrived to take up a teaching job at Hawkesdale P‑12 College. He immediately took up a role on the school council – a role he has filled for thirty years, along with a continuous teaching presence, which now spans generations of local children.
And it was in Hawkesdale that Frank met the woman who would become his wife, collaborator and the mother of their three children: Anne-Maree Sheen.
In the early years of their highly productive partnership, Frank became Secretary and trainer at Hawkesdale Football Club (now Hawkesdale Macarthur Football-Netball Club), while joining in training and occasionally filling in for the Reserves. He is now a life member of the club and has received the VCFL Recognition of Service award.
In roles such as his Presidency of the local CFA brigade and as a Cubs/Scouts Group Leader, Frank has worked to create a better town for his children, and in the process has raised his children as contributors to the town: all three of the Huglin children - Emily, Timothy & Georgia - were participants in the local Alternative to Schoolies program, and Emily was awarded Moyne Shire’s Young Citizen of the Year in 2012. Frank’s earlier roles in the cricket club have translated into his son Tim playing in A‑grade and T-20 premierships last year.
Frank is not above taking up tools himself in aid of Hawkesdale: he alternates between working bees for the pool, where he is a volunteer, the Racecourse Reserve, the school and the township itself.
At the creation of the Hawkesdale & District Development Action Committee in 1998, Frank took on the Presidency and then became Secretary, a position he still holds. These roles have placed Frank at the centre of community market days, Australia day breakfasts, ANZAC Day dawn services, street-scaping, sesquicentenary celebrations, and many more local events and issues. The Hawkesdale mural, town signs, common rotunda and walking trail are lasting monuments to Frank’s boundless efforts.
It says much of Frank’s modesty that his personal highlight isn’t any of those committees, positions or public works, but the chance he had in 2006 to run the Port Fairy leg of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Baton Relay.
Anne Maree Huglin
Anne-Maree grew up in the Hawkesdale house that is still her home; an extended railway cottage that belonged to her railway-worker parents. That long continuity has given her a passion for Hawkesdale and its history, and made her the ideal co‑ordinator for the many reunions that take place in the town.
Anne-Maree met Frank while she was working as a volunteer aide at the (then) Hawkesdale Primary School. They married in 1992. Before then, and for many years since, Anne-Maree was heavily involved in local sport. For nearly fifty years, she has been an integral part of the local netball scene, representing the Mininera and District Netball Association as a junior, senior player, coach and administrator. She was made a Life Member in 1999, and was Association President from 2005–2016.
At local club level, Anne-Maree has been Secretary and Vice-President of Hawkesdale Netball Club, as well as multiple stints on the committee of its successor, the HMFNC. She was made a life member in 1980 and played in three A-Grade premierships in a row (1985-‘87) alongside her sister Christine Sheen.
In tennis, Anne-Maree has also been involved at both local club and association levels, serving multiple terms as Secretary of the (then) Hawkesdale and District Tennis Association (and now Hawkesdale and Purnim Districts Tennis Association). The year she served as President of the Hawkesdale Tennis Club is book-ended by forty years as a player with Hawkesdale, Minhamite and Woolsthorpe, playing in a large number of grand finals and winning quite a few of them.
When aerobics was at its height between 1983 and ’92, Anne-Maree was there, conducting sessions twice a week in Hawkesdale for ten years. More recently, she has followed her role co-ordinating Milo Cricket by becoming the local Cricket Club Secretary for the past seven years. She has co-ordinated the Active After / Now Sporting Schools Program at Hawkesdale P-12 College for the past thirteen years, and her sports volunteering has won recognition with both the South West Sports Assembly and the Koroit & District Sports Association.
Outside of sports, Anne-Maree’s deep interests in the history and progress of Hawkesdale have become part of both.
As a committee member of the Hall Committee of Management, she is currently sourcing funding for improved facilities. On the Hawkesdale and District Development Action Committee, she has established a History Trail around the township, and in 2011 she co-ordinated the town’s 150th celebration weekend, commemorative book and reunion. And these are only isolated examples of her countless civic achievements. She is a twenty-year Recreation Reserve Committee Member, was the Racecourse Reserve’s Vice-President for six years, and was a member of the ground-breaking committee that fought for a family services centre in Hawkesdale, a result that was ultimately achieved after six years with the opening of the centre in 2006.
Anne-Maree has held roles in the Hawkesdale CFA brigade, the School Reunion (including; again, the production of a book), and the Historical Society. Her involvement in the lives of Hawkesdale residents is literally cradle to grave, stretching from organising the Playgroup and Pre-school (as both Secretary and President), through Cubs and Scouts, the Parents’ Club and the Cemetery Trust.
Frank and Anne-Maree are well-known for the annual Christmas lights at their Hawkesdale home. Families pass by on warm December nights to admire the display. In devoting their family life to the service of their local community, the Huglins have made themselves a bright light for others to follow.
Community Event of the Year
The Community Event of the Year Award is presented to the person or group who has staged the most outstanding local community event during the year.
In one of those curious quirks of history, Purnim recognises its founding moment as the opening of a post office in 1868 but it was never gazetted as a township, meaning that the precise date of its birth is a matter for conjecture.
But its fame is beyond argument: the small town on the Hopkins Highway northeast of Warrnambool was home to World War One flying ace Paul McGinness DFC, DCM (1896-1952), who after the war co-founded QANTAS; and to Aboriginal war hero Captain Reg Saunders (1920-1990), who became Australia’s first Aboriginal commissioned officer, and whose medals have recently been purchased by the Purnim community for permanent display in the town. As a child, acclaimed musician Archie Roach lived in the nearby Framlingham Aboriginal Settlement, and returns to the area regularly to perform.
The Purnim Community Group was recently formed to help celebrate this history and to build a sense of community. As the 150th anniversary of the post office date neared, the ‘Purnim 150-ish years’ event was created – the ‘ish’ being added in a nod to that uncertainty. A community event was set down for 25 March 2018, featuring a host of local musicians with Archie Roach at their apex, along with sales of a specially-commissioned history booklet/DVD, food stalls, vendors and a conversation marquee.
The production of the Purnim 150 Years booklet and DVD was a major component of the sesquicentenary event. Created by the Moyne Shire Youth Council, it showcased some remarkable stories from the community and from the nearby Framlingham settlement, featuring people from all sorts of backgrounds who have served for decades at the Recreation Reserve and have built the history of local schools, halls, churches and hotels. A reprint of Ron Best’s Purnim Mechanics’ Institute Hall 1901 was also available for sale on the day.
Focusing the anniversary event in the present, as much as the past, a fundraiser was held to provide funds for the local fire recovery effort following the previous weekend’s devastating St Patrick's Day fires. That fundraiser generated significant donations to the Purnim CFA, who participated in the fire response, and also to ReGreen4FireAid, a community group that evolved as a result of the fires to assist with community fire recovery.
On the day, an estimated 400 people came along and celebrated with music, food and stories. After a welcome to country by Aboriginal elder Rob Lowe, Archie Roach led fellow musicians Cooper Lower, Nancie Schipper, Gabby Steel, Brett Clarke, Blake Rudland, Bruce Campbell Collective and Flynn Gurry in a musical tribute to Purnim as a place and a community of people.
More than $800 was raised in raffles and donations through the CFA. The event was supported by the Moyne Shire, the Victorian government and the communities of Purnim and Framlingham Aboriginal Settlement.
In addition to running the Purnim 150 Years, the Purnim Community Group have initiated many other community projects and events such as the Purnim Community Planting Day, hosting the Moyne Shire township budget presentations in February 2018 and creating the idea of Community Film Nights to attract new townsfolk to activities that build a sense of community. The group also lodged a successful bid to secure funds for the return of Reg Saunders’ war medals and to build a community BBQ and shelter.