The City of Mount Gambier is pleased to announce the 2022 Australia Day Award winners. Citizen of the Year will be awarded to Adam Smith, Senior Citizen of the Year will be presented to Joan Osmond and Lorraine Musgrove, Young Citizen of the Year will be awarded to Julia Dangerfield, the Community Event of the Year will be presented to Blue Lake Carols and the Active Citizenship Award will be given to the Mount Gambier Men’s Shed ‘Toy Boys’.
The awards recognise individuals and community groups that have made a noteworthy contribution to the community during the past year, and/or have provided outstanding service over many years.
“There are many members of our community who consistently go above and beyond to help others and it is a real pleasure to highlight their efforts to give back to the community as part of the annual Australia Day Award honours,” City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin said.
“We certainly have very deserving winners this year and I look forward to meeting with and congratulating each of the award recipients on Australia Day.”
Local Mount Gambier man Adam Smith is passionate about assisting those doing it tough. He has organised, coordinated and been involved in events such as the Family Truck Show, the Mount Gambier Hay Run, the Full Monty and truck convoys to benefit disadvantaged children, and truck meets to raise funds for and awareness of mental health issues.
The 47 year old is a husband to Julie and a doting father of three who works tirelessly and with great enthusiasm in his spare time to bring local people together to assist those in need of support. Adam has raised more than $80,000 to benefit causes close to his heart during the past five years.
“I’ve been around trucks all my life, I run a truck detailing business, I just have a passion for it and I always want to give back to my community, I love my town,” Adam said.
He is a co-founder of the Mount Gambier Hay Run, which delivered hay to drought affected farmers in Armidale, Queensland, and to bushfire ravaged farmers in Keilira, Lucindale and Kangaroo Island.
“Everything I get involved with has got to be heart driven, it can’t be anything else but. I am very blessed and honoured to have so many good mates that say, ‘no worries, what can we do?’ The generosity is amazing, blokes just donate their trucks, hay, fuel and anything else required.”
“I tell my kids there is no such word as can’t, it doesn’t exist in my life. If you’ve got all the right people behind you and you give it a go as a team, you can.”
Mount Gambier Hay Run co-founder and long-time friend Scott Simpson said Adam’s input to the event was pivotal to its ongoing success.
“He organised the trucks from all over Australia and handled the logistics around the convoys, the publicity and social media. If it wasn’t for what he does, the Hay Run wouldn’t be where it is today,” Scott said.
“When he gets an idea there’s no stopping him. If you don’t hear from him for a while you know he’s brewing something. Everything he does is successful, and when you’re going through COVID and you look at what he can organise and raise with just his passion alone, he manages to get everyone to jump in and help.”
He is a passionate go getter; he would take the shirt off his own back to help someone else. - Scott Simpson
He literally did when he was dared by a mate to get his chest waxed to raise funds for mental health awareness.
“I rang Bill Burley and said we want to have a low-key function at the golf club, and I don’t want hardly anyone to be there. But then I walked in and the place was full and everyone was talking about it because everyone wants to see me in pain. We raised $5,500 on the night, it was crazy,” he joked.
“A mate of mine also dared me to walk down the main street dressed as a woman for Lifeboat SE to promote walking in someone else’s shoes for mental health, and I said ‘yep’. So Sharon Tuffnell helped me with prosthesis, Wendy Richardson helped me with a dress and high heels and my sister in law did my makeup and I walked down the main street. I raised a couple of grand for that too.”
In 2020 Adam took it all off for the Full Monty, raising money for mental health in the Limestone Coast.
“Most of us have two left feet, but within four weeks we were up and dancing. To raise $50,000 on the night was unbelievable.”
In 2016 Adam organised a charity auction and convoy to the Heywood Truck Show that raised $15,000 for Beyond Blue, a mental health organisation focused on supporting people affected by anxiety, depression and suicide.
Adam was recognised by former Prime Minister and Chair of Beyond Blue Julia Gillard with a personal letter stating how proud and thankful she was for Adam’s hard work in raising much needed funds for Beyond Blue.
Adam shies away from accolades for his volunteer work, but is grateful for the opportunity to showcase the causes he believes in.
“I am still in shock, recognition is not why I do it, it’s very humbling and I felt very emotional, it has taken me a lot of time to get my head around it,” Adam said about receiving the Australia Day Citizen of the Year award.
“I think that he gives his heart and soul for the betterment of everyone else and it’s about time he got acknowledgement for his work as an individual. He just gets things done and does it to help other people. He deserves this recognition,” Scott said.
Joan Osmond has dedicated her life to family, community involvement and service. At 92 years old she continues to actively volunteer for local community groups, organisations and services regularly.
Joan is known for her selfless and unassuming manner and lives by the philosophy that it is vital to give, assist and serve others to keep the community connected.
Joan was born in Robertstown South Australia on 6 September 1929 and grew up on the family farm as the eldest of five children. Her mother died when Joan was 22 years old leaving her with the responsibility to raise her siblings and take care of the house and farm when her father fell ill.
“When I was brought up we had the depression and then the war, so we didn’t have anything, nothing much. It was good because it taught us how to live,” Joan said.
Joan moved to Mount Gambier in 1956, got married and had two children Jenny and Greg. She now has four grandchildren.
“In between looking after my grandchildren, I just wanted to do something in the community as I like to be busy and I hate sitting at home. I think volunteering is very important and rewarding.”
Joan has been a Board Member of not for profit service Miroma Incorporated since 2003 and will have served 20 years on the Board this year, including four years as chairperson.
“We look after people with dual disabilities which can include intellectual disability, mental illness and physical disability. When I started there were only a handful of carers, but we’ve got a really good group of carers now and it has grown to be a big organisation,” Joan said.
Joan has been involved in significant decision making in relation to Miroma’s growth and transition to becoming a National Disability Insurance Scheme service provider. Miroma CEO Anneliese Bates nominated Joan for the Senior Citizen of the Year Award and says that her contribution as a volunteer has improved the lives of others.
“Joan’s focus is to ensure that the sick and vulnerable are not forgotten and their lives are enriched and comfortable. This attitude in turn has assisted Joan to protect her own physical and mental well being. Helping others has allowed Joan to become empowered in her own life,” Anneliese said.
Joan was also a volunteer at East Gambier Football Club for more than 40 years, a volunteer and committee member at the Reidy Park Tennis Club, the Kiwanis Club, the Heart Foundation, Mount Gambier Community Health and the Mount Gambier Hospital Auxiliary.
Joan continues to actively volunteer with the Probus Club and the Mount Gambier Cancer Support Group.
“I will continue to volunteer until they kick me out,” Joan joked.
Modest and unassuming, Joan was surprised to receive the call to let her know that she would receive the 2022 City of Mount Gambier Australia Day Senior Citizen of the Year Award.
“I am still in shock and I am greatly honoured to be chosen. I just do things and I’m not looking for accolades for it, I love doing it and that is enough for me.”
More than 100 people attended Joan’s 90th birthday celebration in 2019, testament to the friendships she has formed over many decades of voluntary work for the community.
“Joan is admired and respected by so many people in Mount Gambier and the surrounding areas. She has a wonderful ability to be able to relate with people of all ages, nationalities, religions and walks of life. Our world is a better place because of Joan,” Anneliese said.
I do not know of any other individual who has volunteered so actively in the community. When you meet Joan you would not realise how much she has contributed over the years as her selfless, unassuming manner belies this fact. - Anneliese Bates
“Over the years you do get to know different groups of all sorts of people and that’s pretty special,” Joan said.
Lorraine Musgrove has worked diligently as a member of the Mount Gambier Cancer Support Group since 1994 and chairperson since 2012. Lorraine is well known for supporting clients diagnosed with cancer and provides people with an empathetic ear during times of need.
Lorraine was born in North Fitzroy, Victoria on 30 July 1946, moved to Mount Gambier in 1958, married Leonard Musgrove in 1967 and has three daughters and six grandchildren.
Lorraine’s empathy and understanding for those dealing with cancer began when her husband was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1988.
“We had to travel to Adelaide every three weeks for treatment and I think it makes you realise just what other families are going through,” Lorraine said.
“I had a very dear friend who nagged me to join the Cancer Support Group in 1994 so I went to a luncheon and knew quite a few people there who were friendly and welcoming and that’s how it all started.”
Sadly, Leonard passed away after a long battle with cancer in 2002.
Lorraine continued to support others going through cancer as the group’s client coordinator.
“When we get referrals from the oncology unit, I organise support for our clients and visit them and see what their needs are. We have four in our team and we work together to be readily available to provide information and funds to local families,” Lorraine said.
“I think across the board the journey through cancer is very different, some clients need a lot of support, others just need for us to pop around and say hello or make a phone call, every client and their families are all individuals.”
“Sometimes people want to talk to us outside of the family as another person to listen. Everything is confidential and it doesn’t go anywhere else.”
Fellow group member Jeannette Breda nominated Lorraine for the Senior Citizen of the Year Award and says the support group wouldn’t exist without Lorraine’s ongoing dedication and guidance.
Lorraine has got a lot of compassion, she knows the right words to say and when to say them. She is one of God’s angels, she can calm people down, she is just a wonderful person and friend. - Jeannette Breda
Lorraine has led fundraising efforts for the group for the past 15 years, gaining donations from businesses, individuals, sporting groups and group activities.
“We have organised fundraisers, raffles, the West Gambier Football gate, badge days and we receive a lot of support from the community and businesses.”
Lorraine drew on her personal strength and resilience to fight her own cancer battle in recent years.
“Lorraine is a cancer survivor herself, she had bowel cancer about five years ago and had treatment including surgery and chemotherapy locally. She took it in her stride with no fuss, that’s our Lorraine,” Jeannette said.
Lorraine has also been a long-time member of the Naval Association of Australia, the Mount Gambier Girls Quilting and Sewing Group, the Mount Gambier Chat and Craft group, North Gambier Primary School canteen, Mount Gambier Swimming Club and West Gambier Football Club.
“I enjoy volunteering, I find it rewarding and I encourage others to go out and volunteer, it’s a wonderful service to give to the community, it doesn’t matter what you volunteer in,” Lorraine said.
Lorraine was shocked to hear that she was a recipient of the City of Mount Gambier 2022 Senior Citizen of the Year Award.
“My phone rang when I was down the street so I hopped in the car and if anyone had have walked past they would have thought that I had received a sad phone call because I was crying, I couldn’t even speak, I was just blown away it’s just so overwhelming.”
Julia Dangerfield is known for her dedication to and care of Australian native wildlife as a volunteer wildlife rescuer on call to undertake animal rescues and provide emergency care.
The 26 year old animal lover was born and raised in Millicent before moving to Adelaide for university.
“I’ve just always really liked animals ever since I was a kid, I started volunteering out at the Animal Welfare League as soon as I turned 16 and then I moved away to university and studied animal science and got involved in wildlife rescue up there, so it has always been a passion of mine,” Julia said.
Julia returned to live in Mount Gambier after a stint in Victoria and aims to educate the community about the importance of wildlife conservation and rehabilitation through the Mount Gambier Wildlife Carer social media page, advocating for injured animals and encouraging people to report native animals in distress.
“When I came back here I noticed there was still a need for wildlife rescuers in the area, so I started off doing some rescues and created a Facebook page to try and help raise general awareness about some of the issues around here like people hitting animals and leaving them injured on the side of the road, or what to do if you see a wallaby in town. It has exploded from there, it keeps me busy, some days I get five to 10 calls a day.”
Julia responds to call outs and deals with initial rescues and short-term care before the animals are distributed to carers throughout the region. In the past year alone, she dealt with more than 50 kangaroo and wallaby joeys.
“There is no government funding, it’s all out of pocket which does get quite expensive especially with the macropods, their milk isn’t cheap I think it’s $40 to $50 a kilogram and I can go through one or two kilograms a week depending on how many joeys I have in care. That’s just a small part of the costs with things like vet bills too, so I don’t go on holidays and most of my money goes back into rescuing.”
One of her latest foster animals is Panda, a seven-month-old orphaned wallaby.
“Panda’s mum was hit and killed by a car, someone was driving home from work Tantanoola way and found him standing next to his mother. Thankfully they stopped and picked him up, took him home and gave us a call.”
“He will be raised in care and stay in care for the rest of his life, we can’t release kangaroos and wallabies in South Australia, so he’ll end up in a sanctuary where he’ll get to spend the rest of his life safe and protected,” she said.
“It is hard to let them go as a short-term carer, but there is always more. You pass one on and the next two more come in, so it’s a constant revolving door. I have the least I’ve had now for a while, I’ve got two wallabies, two kangaroos, a wombat and a couple of birds.”
While Julia predominantly cares for macropods, she is part of the State Government’s Wombat Program. She raises orphan wombats, who can’t be released into the wild, until they are old enough to be placed in zoos and wildlife parks for breeding programs in Australia and overseas.
“One of the little wombats I have just finished raising is in quarantine at the moment waiting to fly over to go to the Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic. I love how she can go overseas now, but we’re all still stuck here. A wombat will get a first-class flight there no doubt,” she joked.
Julia is currently studying a Master of Business Administration online through the Australian Institute of Business and hopes to use her newfound knowledge to influence government policy and regulations to benefit native wildlife.
I want to change people’s views and perceptions on wildlife. Living in a rural community some of them are seen as pests and as over abundant, I really want people to view our native wildlife the same way they do cats and dogs, if you saw an injured dog you’d call someone about it or if you hit a dog you’d do something about it. - Julia Dangerfield
As a final step in completing her university studies, Julia plans to set up a not for profit charity organisation, Limestone Coast Wildlife Rescue.
“At the moment I do this myself, so I’m looking at setting up a not for profit organisation but obviously there is a lot of work that goes into it because you have to have a constitution and a committee so I’m planning on doing this as my final project for my MBA. It would be nice to be able to fundraise some money to be able to give other carers in the region a hand.”
Julia was surprised to find out that she was the recipient of the 2022 City of Mount Gambier Young Citizen of the Year Award.
“I didn’t expect it, it’s lovely and I feel a bit embarrassed. I’m one of thousands of volunteers around Australia taking on the caretaker role and responsibilities for injured wildlife out of their own pocket.”
Julia says volunteering helped her on the path of discovery towards her dream career and encourages other young people to consider volunteering in some capacity.
“If you’ve got something you’re interested in, go out and volunteer in a similar field and get some experience, you’ll be amazed what you learn. You’ll see whether you like it or not, you’ll make different contacts that can get you involved in different projects and potential job opportunities later on and you’ll learn a lot of valuable skills which employers will really like later on as well.”
COVID and SA Health restrictions around large scale events meant that the Blue Lake Carols Organising Committee had to innovate in an effort to continue to bring the iconic event first held in 1947, to the community to spread some festive cheer.
The 2020 and 2021 events were recorded live on stage at the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre and streamed via Facebook and YouTube in December. In 2020, more than 5,000 individual streams of the event occurred on the night, conservatively putting the viewing audience at more than 20,000 people. The event was simultaneously broadcast on radio 5GTR FM and Lime FM in the South East and on 107.9 Life FM in Adelaide, adding thousands more to the total views.
“COVID has changed everything for everyone. I keep saying we’re all in different boats but in the same storm and it has been a chaotic year. I think our community and our region beyond that need peace and hope and I think just having the Blue Lake Carols on again this time, like the previous year via livestream is incredibly important for all of us for our mental health,” Blue Lake Carols Organising Committee Chair Rudy Furlong said.
The committee moved the event from the Cave Garden to a larger venue at the Rail Lands about eight years ago. The event was then relocated to the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre in 2019 due to COVID restrictions.
“We live in a digital world these days and you’ve got to remain relevant, and I think to remain relevant especially as a large community event, we thought we’d just use Facebook and YouTube digital platforms.”
Rudy said it takes about four months to coordinate and package the entire festive family event.
“About a month out from the livestream event we’ll have two practice sessions with everyone on board and then we go to actually recording the event at the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre.”
“People have said you’re only as good as your team and we’ve got an incredibly talented team. Everyone that is giving their time is doing it for the love of the city because it’s all free and we’ve got quite a few professionals amongst the group, we’ve got an ARIA award winner, we’ve got a runner up in the X Factor and many others that contribute.”
“We’ve also got five committee members including stage managers, emcees, a videographer and a music director that give their time in addition to the performers.”
The committee hopes to return to a live format at the Rail Lands in 2022.
“It’s our 75th anniversary and we’re looking forward to the event being live, back at the Rail Lands and we’ve got some ideas on how to make it much more professional as we’re always looking at improving,” Rudy said.
Rudy was pleased to receive a call to notify him that the Blue Lake Carols event had won the 2022 City of Mount Gambier Community Event of the Year Award.
I was really humbled to get a call from the Council, we work very hard as a committee with all the artists and band members and it is great recognition from Council and the wider community that it’s a worthwhile event, a real stamp of approval. - Rudy Furlong
For the past five years members of the Mount Gambier Men’s Shed known as the ‘Toy Boys’ have handmade and painted wooden toys for donation to the Mount Gambier Community Mayor’s Christmas Appeal.
The Toy Boys will receive the Award for Active Citizenship on Australia Day for their efforts to bring some Christmas cheer to little faces within the local community.
“It all started after a conversation with Peter Heness back in 2017, he approached me to ask what I used to do in Adelaide and I told him that I was involved with toy making group the Woodville Toy Boys. The next day he told me that we had been approached to make toys for the Mayor’s Christmas Appeal and if I had any designs that would be suitable,” Ian Bond said.
The toys are made using donated timber and paint for children from the age of one to 10 years old.
In the first year the men crafted 80 toys which increased to 200 toys by 2020 when they worked from their own personal sheds during the COVID shut down period to ensure that disadvantaged local children received a gift on Christmas day.
“Peter and I have machines at home, so we raided the timber stocks, put together pots of paint, sandpaper and anything else they guys would need and they came around and picked up the packs from me to continue working. We were working eight hour days, 40 hours a week from April to August,” Ian said.
The Toy Boys have already begun to plan for their next donation to the 2022 Mount Gambier Community Mayor’s Christmas Appeal.
Peter has already got a list of five new toys to make this year. It gives me and the guys something to do, it’s nice to hear that we’re helping by doing something for someone else. - Ian Bond
The Australia Day Awards are administered by local government authorities throughout the State on behalf of the Australia Day Council of South Australia.
Due to a surge in local COVID cases, City of Mount Gambier Australia Day celebrations will be modified to reduce risk to the local community.
“It saddens me to announce that Council will not hold the much-loved annual community event in its usual format. Due to concerns around the spread of COVID, we have cancelled the public breakfast and program of music and will relocate the Australia Day Awards presentation to include a small gathering of invited guests,” Mayor Martin said.
“The safety of our community during these uncertain times is at the forefront of our minds in making this decision.”
The City of Mount Gambier Australia Day Awards will be presented to recipients at an invitation only event to be held at City Hall on Wednesday 26 January between 9:00am and 10:00am.
“Award recipients and a very limited number of guests will be invited to attend this event to ensure that we are able to socially distance from one another and minimise the risk of the spread of COVID.”
The awards ceremony will be livestreamed to Council’s YouTube channel for those who would like to tune in at https://www.youtube.com/user/CityOfMountGambier/live
Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Media and Communications Coordinator Sharny McLean on 8721 2401 or firstname.lastname@example.org