2023 Events and Winners


Full recording - Ngootyoong Laka, Ngootyoong Yana - Walking and Talking with respect


Highlights - Koroit Citizenship Ceremony and Awards presentation 

Congratulations to our 2023 Award recipients.

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Moyne Shire 2023 Citizen of the Year – Alistair McCosh, Koroit

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

Alistair is an outstanding community-minded citizen who has been involved with numerous voluntary responsibilities within Koroit and district for many years.

He has an unwavering commitment to helping improve regional education attainment and had spent countless hours volunteering for various groups and organisations in the Koroit Community.

He is a quiet and modest behind the scenes achiever and a highly respected member of the Koroit and wider south-west Communities. A past president of the Koroit Football Netball Club, a junior football coach and president, committee member of the Koroit Irish Festival, Deputy Chair of Moyne Health Service, school council president, is a director of Beyond the Bell and was deputy chair of Food and Fibre Great South Coast and has had significant involvement in various local projects and events, including the Tower Hill challenge.

Through his work as head of Deakin University’s Warrnambool Campus, he has worked hard to establish greater connections and collaboration between the University and the community, which has been mutually advantageous.

He has been instrumental in retaining and expanding courses and programs at the campus, which has significant benefit for the whole south-west region. The importance of a locally based university campus for helping to improve education attainment cannot be understated and the recipient's passion and drive has been vital in ensuring Deakin has a presence in Warrnambool and the south-west.

Moyne Shire 2023 Young Citizen of the Year –Mitchell Spencer, Killarney 

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. 

Mitchell has been a Killarney resident since age 10. He has been an active member of the community through volunteering, sport, work and business. He runs a successful restaurant in Port Fairy, Bottega Toscana, which currently employs around 12 people and supports various artists performances.

Having experienced hardship, he is driven by a strong moral compass and is constantly looking for ways to give back to the community and help others. The recipient developed a passion for rural community growing up farming and through difficult circumstances realised the value of unity, compassion and a sense of responsibility.

Working as the gardener at Natures Way EcoSanctury, while supervising at Koroit Cherry Farm, he developed strong work ethic from age 14.At 16 challenging himself, he followed a talent for food, working as a dishwasher before being promoted to manager. Due to his entrepreneurial nature, he was offered vendor finance to purchase his current restaurant at 18.

Embracing the challenge through discipline and hard work he worked every single day for 18months to pay it off. He has consistently built his business to become very successful, while never compromising on his morals or loyalty to staff and community even through covid lockdowns. He refused to put off staff instead sacrificing his own wage.

He has remained resilient, diversifying by opening for lunch and coffee when possible and focused on giving back to the community by employing local struggling musicians to play on Saturday to lift morale and have a platform. During lockdowns he provided free food to members of the community in need.

He has donated over 300 meals to Port Fairy Nippers, over $3,000 to flood victims, been the gold sponsor for southwest soccer and sponsored local events. He has provided free meals to service people and established displays for Anzac Day and Remembrance Day with free meals to veterans and run Christmas events with Santa giving out free gifts to kids at his own cost.


Moyne Shire 2023 Community Event of the Year –Heather Holcombe Memorial Melbourne Cup Luncheon, 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 Heather Holcombe Memorial Melbourne Cup Luncheon has been for 22 years and has raised hundreds of thousand dollars for local and national Cancer charity's.

It has furnished a palliative care room at the Port Fairy hospital, mades ubstantial donation to Peter’s project and supported Breast Cancer nurses.

The event is organised by Christopher, Sarah Emma and Julie Holcombe and is a great day for our community to get dressed up, enjoy the auctions and the Melbourne Cup races while supporting a cause which has touched everyone in some way or another.