Australia Day 2016 | Riverina celebrates

Our Honourees

Dr Ken Mackey AM, Lockhart: After 44 years in the medical industry and 27 years in Lockhart Dr Ken Mackey has been recognised for his work with an Australia Day Award. Continue reading

Dr Paul Mara AM, Gundagai: Dr Mara has been inducted as a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to medicine, particularly through the recruitment and retention of medical practitioners in rural and remote areas. Continue reading

Thomas McMullen OAM, Wagga: A devoted husband who established the city’s first cancer support service after watching his wife’s battle with breast cancer has been recognised with an Order of Australia Medal.  Continue reading

The late Stuart McWilliam AM, Griffith: Mr McWilliam was recognised for his services to the community, including being a benefactor of St Vincent’s Private Community Hospital, helping set up Pioneer Lodge and other numerous contributions. Continue reading

Mike Mullins, OAM, formerly of The Rock: On Australia Day, 1981, director Mike Mullins was arrested during a performance art political protest called The Lone Anzac. On Australia Day, 2016, he will be awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his service to theatre and the arts. Read more

Colin Smeeth, AFSM, Griffith: After a close call with a power line in 2015, volunteer firefighter Colin Smeeth has been awarded an Australian Fire Service Medal. Mr Smeeth, group captain for MIA Zone Region South, joined the Wyangan Brigade in 1967.  Continue reading


STAY SAFE, POLICE URGE: Police police have implored locals to celebrate safely this Australia Day, as the increase of alcohol and drugs pose a growing danger. 

STORMS TO ‘CLAP OUT’ AUSTRALIA DAY FUN:River floats, inflatable pools and beach bashes have almost become a compulsory part of Australia Day in Wagga – and the weather forecast is sure to keep celebrators happy if they get in early on Tuesday.

PATRIOTS BEEF UP CELEBRATION STOCK AHEAD OF AUSTRALIA DAY:Try not to butcher your Australia Day celebrations this year – and buy meat. It is a sentiment shared by the majority of the Riverina, who are mincing trends of turning to alternatives and instead tucking into traditional meals of beef and lamb more than ever. 

CALLS FOR NEW AUSTRALIA DAY GROWING: With Australia Day celebrations becoming increasingly steeped in controversy, a rapidly growing local movement is calling to change the date of the iconic day.

DROP THE FLAG-WAVING JINGOISM AND CONSIDER WHAT REALLY MAKES US GREAT | OPINION: Is there  any other nation on Earth as ambivalent about celebrating its national day as Australia? Honouring people, not draping ourselves in flags, should be the real message of Australia Day.

PAYING TRIBUTE TO LOCAL LEGENDS: Cootamundra is fortunate to have a plethora of community-minded people on our doorstep, keen to do their bit. 

COLEAMBALLY CELEBRATES AUSTRALIA DAY: Danny Graham has been named Coleambally’s Citizen of the Year for 2016. Mr Graham was given the award for his involvement with the Coleambally Football Netball Club as well as captaining the local fire crew and helping with St Peter’s School board.

ATHERTONS, POTENT AND MAYOR STEAL THE SHOW AT HARDEN: Fine weather greeted the Harden Murrumburrah and district residents at Newson Park on Tuesday morning as the shire officially celebrated their official Australia Day celebrations where a sizeable crowd from the local community gathered for a barbecue breakfast and to be reminded of what it means to be Australian.

Local Award Winners



  • Citizen of the year: Jasen Crighton
  • Achievement award (Gavin Johnston): Ethel O’Donnell
  • Young citizen of the year: Jasmine Gregory
  • Sport achievement: Jodie Hicks
  • Event of the year: Hay Bowling and Golf Club’s June bowls carnival
  • Community group: Angel Flight
  • Citizen of the year: Doug and Kate Lonergan
  • Young citizen of the year: Ashleigh Heritage
  • Sportsperson of the year: Lachlan and Mitchell Deep
  • Commitment to Community: Beverley Chalmers, Jennifer Cash


  • Citizen of the Year: Sheila Brady
  • Young Citizen of the Year: Alexandra Louise Cox
  • Junior Citizen of the Year: Claire Murray
  • Community Project: Lions Club of Griffith - Care Alert
  • Citizen of the Year: Danny Graham
  • Young Citizen of the Year: Joshua Fattore
  • Lifetime Achievement Awards: Bruce Lamont, Brian and Helen Kelly
  • Event of the year: Teachers’, Tradies and Townies’ Games
  • Sporting Team of the Year: Coleambally Golf Club Lugsdin Shield Team
  • Sportsperson of the year: Neil Smith
  • Junior sportsperson of the year: Harrison Tooth
  • Sub-junior sportsperson of the year: Charlotte Young
  • Cultural award: Swag ‘n’ Billy Bush Band

Urana Shire

  • Citizens of the year: Jimmy Beale, Dr Giri Yaramati
  • Young citizens of the year: Elise Dore, Mary Sandral
  • Community events of the year: Boree Creek Centenary Anzac Day service and honour roll monument opening; Urana’s Mirror Mirror on the Screen project; Oaklands CWA womens dinner


  • Citizens of the year: Robyn and Paul Atherton
  • Community involvement: Stewart and Helen Bruce
  • Senior citizens of the year: Pauline Randall, John Daley
  • Junior citizen of the year: Kayla Daley
  • Citizen of the year: Fran Artese
  • Achiever of the year: June Dilorenzo
  • Young citizen of the year: Brianna Celi
  • Young achiever of the year: Sky Bloomfield
  • Event of the year: Leeton Show Society centenary celebrations
  • Group of the year: SteppinOut4Youth
  • Organisation of the year: Leeton Volunteer Rescue Association

West Wyalong

  • Citizen of the year: Todd Periera
  • Young citizen of the year: Danielle Steele
  • Community group of the year: West Wyalong Men’s Shed
  • Community event of the year: Ungarie Bogeye Cup
  • Achievement in sport – individual: THomas Preston
  • Achievement in sport – team: West Wyalong Rugby League Club