Moyne’s Community achievers recognised in Australia Day awards

Published on 21 January 2022

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Moyne Shire Council’s 2022 Australia Day Awards have recognised individuals and groups who have made outstanding contributions to the Moyne community. 

Moyne Shire Mayor Cr Ian Smith announced the winners of the 2022 Moyne Shire Council Australia Day Awards who are:

Moyne Shire Citizen of the Year – Julie Houlihan, Kirkstall

Moyne Shire Young Citizen of the Year – Michael Killen, Wangoom

Moyne Shire Community Event of the Year – Women on Farms Gathering 2021, Port Fairy

Award winners were nominated by members of the public and selected by Cr Smith and Deputy Mayor, Cr Daniel Meade.

Cr Smith said each was a very worthy recipient who had gone above and beyond to make their communities a better place.

“We had a number of nominees which made our decision extremely difficult,” he said.

“Each of our winners is a very deserving. I congratulate each on their nomination and this recognition.”

Cr Smith said Council’s planned Australia Day event had been moved online in light of the local COVID-19 outbreak.

“While we would have loved to be able to come together and celebrate, the high number of cases locally and the impacts it is having on our business community and our health system – we had to be responsible and not do anything that could potentially make that burden worse,” Cr Smith said.

“The community can watch the live stream of our event on council’s Facebook page beginning with a citizen ship ceremony where we will welcome eight new Australian from 9.30am on January 26.”

Moyne Shire Citizen of the Year: Julie Houlihan, Kirkstall.

The Citizen of the Year Award acknowledges outstanding service and contribution over a number of years given by individuals to their local community.

A tireless volunteer, Julie is heavily involved in the community and sits on various committees, with one of her key achievements being the continued success of the Koroit Truck Show and her ongoing work as the committee secretary. 

The truck show was started 11 years ago as a small event to help support the Koroit Agricultural Society, it has grown to be one of the key annual events on the Koroit Calendar and has made significant donations to community groups across the region. 

Julie selflessly puts her hand up to help whenever and wherever needed. She is secretary of the Koroit Agricultural Society and is a key force behind organising the annual Koroit Show each November. 

She is also secretary of the South West Horse Trials, secretary of Wannon Zone of Pony Clubs 2007 to 2018 and has just taken the role on again. She a member of the Chief Instructors Panel of Wannon Zone of Pony Clubs and a life member of the Wannon Zone.

She is Chairperson of Victoria Park Koroit committee of management, is on the committee of management for the Hexham Equestrian Centre, is a member of the Koroit Progress Association and is part of the working group for the Koroit Flags project. 

She is also a creative thinker - a current project she is working on is designed to help local businesses bounce back after the COVID-19 pandemic had major impacts on the Shire's retail, hospitality and tourism economy. 

Her idea is to create an art trail across the 16 hotels within Moyne Shire Council, with the aim being that tourists and locals can visit local businesses to see murals by local artists and visit some of the region's best places for a meal or a drink.

Her previous volunteer service includes; Equestrian Australia - Victorian Show Horse committee member 2009 to 2011, Warrnambool Agricultural Show Society horse secretary, Kirkstall Recreation Reserve committee member, Macarthur Pony Club committee member and the Warrnambool Pony Club committee member.

Julie and her husband Tony have owned the Kirkstall Hotel for the past 28 years and have turned it into a hub and a meeting place for the locals and visitors alike. The pair work closely with other businesses and are extremely well respected within the local community.

A member of a close-knit extended family and a mother of two, Julie is deeply entrenched in the Kirkstall district. Julie is a quiet achiever and does her work with minimal fuss and without seeking acknowledgment.

Julie is also a great support of other events that she may not have direct involvement in – always on hand to help out or offer her support.

Moyne Shire Young Citizen of the Year: Michael Killen, Wangoom

The Young Citizen of the Year Award acknowledges outstanding service and contribution given by an individual under the age of 30 to their local community.

Michael Killen is a proven young leader and has worked actively to make improvements to the lives of young people across the Moyne Shire.

As a member of the Moyne Shire Youth Council from 2017, Michael has been involved in a wide range of events and activities, including helping to organise two Port Fairy Colour Run fundraisers and worked with the Reach Foundation to introduce a body image and gender stereotype awareness campaign.

He was also part of the advisory group who developed the community engagement plan and was a participant on the Moyne 2040 Community Vision panel to ensure the voices of young people were represented.

Michael volunteered his time to work on and helped overhaul the Warrnambool and Moyne Youth Achievement Awards to ensure they were more inclusive and targeted a range of young people.

He was also a member of Moyne Shire Council’s Youth Parliament Team addressing issues of rural and regional road safety and sustainable agriculture – debating the bills in youth parliament and presenting ideas to Government Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and other local stakeholders.

Michael was also a participant in the Lead4Innovation Program where he was involved in the development of casual counselling service within local secondary schools called Kentucky Fried Counselling.

It is aimed at destigmatising mental health and present support workers in casual and relaxed setting over KFC – to build a foundation to make sure people know where the support is available, feeling comfortable and safe to access support.

The program has been trailed at Emmanuel College in Warrnambool, the program and Michael, have been accepted by Youth Future Crew for headspace Geelong.

Michael is also involved with St Vincent de Paul Society and had been a Footsteps of Frederic Conference member since January 2020. This involves volunteering at a Vinnies store and attending an annual leadership retreat and worked with a group to help solve outdated intra-organisational communication strategies within Vinnies.

Michael is currently studying Psychology at Deakin University and when asked about his service to the community he said “I really don’t think I’m anything special, it’s just a willingness to get involved. I feel like I could always do more”.

Moyne Shire Community event of the Year: Women on Farms Gathering 2021, Port Fairy

The Community Event of the Year Award is presented to the person or group who has staged an outstanding local community event during the year.

The 32nd Women on Farms Gathering 2021 was held in Port Fairy and attended by 120 participants from across Victoria and interstate, it was officially opened by the Moyne Shire Mayor, Cr Daniel Meade.

The Gathering came under the umbrella of the Moyne Shire Council’s support for a diverse range of agricultural initiatives. That support included training and information on COVID-19 issues.  Sponsorship was also received from local and state agricultural industries and the State Government.

The Women of Farms Gathering started in Warragul in 1990 and has developed over the years to become a truly inspiring experience for women on farms. In the 32 years since the first Gathering, a momentum has built that the committee did not want the pandemic to interrupt. The committee prepared and moved ahead month by month with their preparation and planning in the hope that all would be well in March 2021 – and it was. Working within the Victorian Government COVID-Safe guidelines, the Gathering miraculously took place as planned. The committee were so proud to finally open registrations for the first time solely online.

The theme for the Port Fairy gathering was Women For All Seasons  - as women’s careers and lives in farming mirror the raw, ever-changing, often beautiful and always powerful elements of the seasons - it was a time to refresh, learn, enjoy networking and support each other.  The Gathering incorporated important issues, current and relevant to agriculture and rural women in all their diversity.

The Aim of the Gathering was to inspire women in agriculture to grasp the opportunities for personal and industry advancement.

There were three objectives:

  • To encourage young women to pursue careers in agriculture as professional farmers, in agricultural research and science, or in any of the industries that service agriculture.
  • To focus on the status of women in agriculture.  The Gathering encouraged further civic knowledge and participation, presented information on micro-enterprises and to further sustainability practices through the presentation of workshops, guest speakers and tours.
  • To offer an enjoyable event with a broad cultural, agricultural and tourism focus and to encourage social connections.

The Gathering showcased the spirit, skills and dignity of the women who produce so much of the food and fibre for state, national and international markets – while showcasing environmental and sustainable opportunities throughout the Moyne Shire.

Over the three day weekend, speakers represented an interesting mix of industry and lifestyle interests. Skills and practical workshops were offered to keep participants up to date with legal issues, technology advancements and hands-on demonstrations - such as how to safely use power tools. There were also artistic, creative and musical workshops offered - with the opportunity to learn the Ukulele, how to keep bees and much, much more. The tours went to places of cultural interest including local Indigenous and Irish history.

The myriad of workshops, activities and networking throughout the weekend - provided future tourism opportunities and an infusion of funds to the many businesses, professional bodies and individuals - who provided venues, products and services for the Gathering.

 

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