Congratulations to our 2018 Australia Day Award winners
27 January 2018
Australia Day Award winners
Citizen of the Year Patricia (Trish) Keilty
In 2003 Trish founded Avocare, an organisation that provides a range of support services to the local community. She is also a founding member of the City of Greater Dandenong Food Alliance, and a member of many other working and support groups. Through her passion, hard work and ongoing dedication to the City of Greater Dandenong community Trish has improved the lives of thousands of individuals and their families experiencing hardship.
Young Leader of the Year Aishwarya Pokkuluri
Since graduating from the City of Greater Dandenong’s Young Leader’s Program in 2016 Aishwarya has fully immersed herself in volunteering. While juggling full time study and part-time work she has also been actively promoting the benefits of volunteering to her peers. Aishwarya sits on a number of committees and is passionate about giving our city’s most vulnerable and marginalised young people a voice.
Volunteer of the Year Maria Mastroianni
Maria has dedicated more than 25 years to volunteering in our city. Together with her husband Ernie she commenced volunteering with Meals on Wheels in 1993. She shares her own local historical knowledge with visitors to Heritage Hill, is a well-known and respected volunteer at the Drum Theatre and has been a Council Ambassador for the past eight years. She is also heavily involved with St Mary’s Catholic Church and started a walking group for elderly citizens, which encourages people to walk, connect and socialize.
Leadership Award Sarah Williams
Sarah is a co-founder of Footprints Enterprises Inc, which was established in 2008 to bring about social change through the arts. She works as a multicultural youth worker, and is a strong advocate for multicultural communities through her involvement with several peak bodies. Sarah was recognised by the Foundation for Young Australians for her work on The Grounded Project, where young people from diverse backgrounds are mentored through arts engagement to create social change. Sarah is an advocate, mentor and friend to many young people in our community and has dedicated the past 10 years to helping people in the City of Greater Dandenong.
Multicultural Award Manzoor Nazari
Since 2014 Manzoor has volunteered with the City of Greater Dandenong’s FReeZA youth music event committee. He also graduated from Council’s 2016 Young Leaders Program and has volunteered with many other organisations including Youth Links and Footprints Inc. Manzoor is a positive role model to other young people from diverse backgrounds and is passionate about helping others. As part of the Young Leaders Program he has delivered a range of community initiatives including an Entrepreneurship forum and an art exhibition celebration diversity and tackling discrimination.
Sportsperson of the Year Nilesh Vaheesan
Nilesh was named the Male Athlete of the Year at the City of Greater Dandenong’s Sports Awards last year, following his elevation from school competition to Under-18 Victoria 110m hurdles champion. Nilesh joined the Dandenong Springvale Athletics Club in 2016 and has become an inspiration and mentor to many athletes at the club by proving that hard work and dedication leads to success. Nilesh’s goal is to represent Australia at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Corporate Citizen of the Year Award Maria Peters
Maria has worked at Chisholm Institute for the past 30 years. She was CEO until she retired last year. Maria has a passion for people, particularly for helping students from a migrant background. Maria is also committed to the revitalisation of the City of Greater Dandenong through her position on boards, her ongoing support of industry training and her work with the Migrant Resource Centre. She supports the Greater Dandenong Regional Employment Taskforce and the Chisholm Skills and Jobs Centre in working collaboratively with Council. She is also the educational representative on the Premier’s Taskforce into Family Violence Prevention at a state level.
Community Hall of Fame Colin Robinson
Colin has been the Town Crier for all major community events and citizenship ceremonies for the past 10 years. He joined the Springvale and District Historical Society in 1996 and was named president in 2001. Now aged 81, Colin is highly regarded for his dedication in preserving history and showcasing exhibitions to the local community. Colin also visits schools and uses objects from his own collection to demonstrate how Australian domestic life has changed over the years. He is a long-time member and leader of the local scout groups and the Victorian Re-enactment Society.
Sports Hall of Fame Christine Ware
Christine is a former Councillor and Mayor of the City of Dandenong, and has long been a role model and advocate for sport in Greater Dandenong – particularly the sport of netball. She is considered the heart of operations at the Gloria Pyke Netball and Sporting Complex and has held the role of administration manager at the Dandenong and District Netball Association. She has also driven a wider program of health, education and wellbeing classes offered at the centre.