Australia Day Award is humbling honour for volunteer | Photos

AWARD: Junior Citizen of the Year Emma James with her parents Rod and Cindy James and Australia Day Ambassador Mark Warren. Photo: Susie McDonell
AWARD: Junior Citizen of the Year Emma James with her parents Rod and Cindy James and Australia Day Ambassador Mark Warren. Photo: Susie McDonell

Harden’s June Spencer said she felt “honoured” and “humbled” when announced as the Senior Citizen of the Year at Newson Park.

Mrs Spencer was one of several people recognised on Australia Day.

“It was a very big surprise for me,” she said.

A member of Can Assist since it began and the Hospital Auxiliary, as well Meals on Wheels and the St Lawrence Home in Galong, she said she didn’t think she’d done anything “out of the ordinary”.

“It’s what a lot of other people have done that I’ve done. I just helped when I could,” she said.

Mrs Spencer said volunteering with the Hospital Auxiliary meant extra equipment could be used to assist patients, while she worked with Can Assist after seeing some of her own family members suffer from cancer.

“Small communities have got to pull together and work together.”

Harden’s Emma James was presented with the Junior Citizen of the Year on Australia Day.

Miss James started giving back to the game she loved as a referee during primary school and has kept developing her skills.

As well as playing leaguetag herself, she now is a sideline touch judge for the George Took Shield.

“It’s nice to be recognised,” Miss James said.

While she said refereeing just "something she did in her spare time”, it was not without its challenges, especially during senior mens’ games.

“There’s a bit of pressure on you when you’re on the sideline but if you’ve got the confidence you can weather the criticism,” she said.

“I’ve always liked rugby league and it’s good to be involved with how the womens’ game is going. More women are playing league and not just leaguetag.”

Celebrations were held across Hilltops region and mayor Brian Ingram said the area’s people were its biggest asset.

“I’d like to congratulate each and every award recipient; your efforts throughout the year have not gone unnoticed,” Councillor Ingram said.

“We as a community are very grateful for what you do; your tireless contribution is an inspiration to others.”

Cr Ingram said the region was home to 19,000 people.

“Without doubt, our biggest asset are the people that make up our towns and villages, and ultimately it’s these people, our rich and vibrant communities, that we celebrate today,” Cr Ingram said,.

“I’d also like to thank all those who’ve had a hand in organising today’s activities; from the various Australia Day Committees, to the community groups involved, the Council staff, the Visitors Information Centre staff and to all those who joined us in celebrating a great Australia Day 2018.”


Citizen of the Year: Les Cameron

Senior Citizen of the Year: June Spencer

Junior Citizen of the Year: Emma James for her sporting achievements, roles as primary school referee and teaching skills to students.

Community Involvement in Sport: Narelle White for her work with the swimming club, Shine Shield, soccer, cricket, Murrumburrah Public School, junior netball and basketball, tennis and Little Athletics.

Towncare Award: Wombat Progress Association for the care of Wombat village

Special Community Award: Ken Pearsall for his years of service as a volunteer for the Harden-Murrumburrah Historical Society, SES and Men’s Shed.


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