Australia Day 2018 Award Winners Announced

Posted Thursday 25 January, 01:23pm

At the Official Australia Day Ceremony, Deputy Mayor Cr Gwenda Allgood and Acting CEO, Ms Colleen White announced and congratulated the winners of this year's Ararat Rural City Council Australia Day Awards 2018.

This year these awards have been selected and provided by Ararat Rural City Council on behalf of the National Australia Day Council.

2018 Ararat Rural City Council Australia Day Award Recipients



This award recognises a person who puts back into our community every day, working tirelessly behind the scenes to achieve great outcomes. Debbie Jackson’s generosity and warm spirit deserves recognition, and is why she is the worthy recipient of the 2018 Ararat Ambassador Award.

Debbie is a champion of the Ararat community. Thorough her business she assists many worthwhile local causes and has done so throughout numerous years of service.

Her record for the past 12 months speaks for itself and highlights her selfless giving nature, not only through her business, but also on a personal level.

In 2017 Debbie made an outstanding contribution to the Oncology Unit at the East Grampians Health Service of eight new chairs – which were valued at $5000 each.

Debbie has always captured the true meaning of volunteering over many years.

It is not unusual to walk into Deb’s Diner and see 5-6-7 different fundraising opportunities on the counter at one time. No worthwhile effort is ever turned down to people looking to assist locals.

In the last year she has assisted with fundraising efforts for the Vanderwaal family, RSL poppies, Ongoing support of Ararat Breast Cancer Support Group, Ararat Rotary Club, Ararat Town Club, Ararat Little Athletics, Ararat College Chaplaincy Fund, Ararat West Primary School fire recovery, Ararat Garden Club, Ararat Skate Park, Ararat Primary School 800, Biggest Morning Tea, Maroona Primary School, Willaura Community, Beaufort Fishing Club, Daffodil Day Cancer Council, Jeans for Genes Day and the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal to name a few.

Debbie’s kindness, generous nature and efforts to make a difference to Ararat, has a prodund positive impact on the community. She always takes the time to listen to each individual request and makes an effort to assist wherever possible.


MULTICULTURAL HARMONY - Filipino Australian Community Inc


The Multicultural Harmony Award this year recognises the Filipino-Australian community of Ararat, which was officially incorporated in June 2017, allowing the election of officials to work towards its goals of celebrating the migrant group’s culture and traditions within the Ararat Rural City.

The Filipino community – which is currently more than 70 residents in and around the district – is very proud of achieving their incorporation, which evolved through the cooperation and energy of their people working tirelessly with Ararat Rural City Council and community representatives. This has very much bought a togetherness of their own cultures, while integrating harmoniously with not only Australian, but other residents of international background throughout Ararat and the surrounding districts.

Members of the Filipino Australian Community of Ararat Inc have over the years since taking up residence in Ararat, keenly engaged within their workplaces and in the local community and all times been proud to promote their own cultures and traditions.

Strong leadership has been paramount to building the awareness of the Group – President, Jaime Batobalani of the Filipino Australian Community Inc works as a draftsman at AME Systems and was one of the first Filipino people to arrive in area 27 years ago. Jaime started at AME Systems 25 years ago in 1993, and is highly respected and has been a valued role model to fellow workers. AME Systems can boast that today more than 30 people from Philippines background are working for the company.

Others who have come are now working as engineers in the region, doctors and nurses working in the Medical and Health Services, at the local Abattoirs and local Car dealerships – all are proactively proud to be part of the Ararat and district community and publicly promote their multicultural status.



The Inspired Healthy Living Award recognises the Elmhurst Blokes Group which has made an outstanding contribution in the promotion and ongoing commitment of healthy living within the community over recent years.

What started out as a small group of men from around that Elmhurst area, who would gather at the local hotel with the aim of connecting with men to support one another and chat about men’s issues soon grew.

Gathering would meet at the hotel for a meal, hear from an interesting speaker, raise some funds for local organisations including the Elmhurst Primary School and Fire Brigade and share some time together.

In September last year, Elmhurst Police Officer, Leading Sen. Constable Grant Healey indicated that he would continue a 9-year tradition of participating in ‘Movember’ and raise money for Beyond Blue. This immediately sparked enthusiasm by the Elmhurst Blokes to get host a fundraising function.

The small committee of four, with the support of local businesses and helpers, delivered a night to remember complete with successful auction, guest speaker Robert Dipierdomenico and most importantly raising $7617 for Beyond Blue and support of mental health.


COMMUNITY SPIRIT - Ararat parkrun

Ararat parkrun is a volunteer based group, which has grown their weekly event in a short amount of time to be a very popular activity within the community.

Parkrun brings people of all walks of life together on a weekly basis in a supportive and encouraging environment, with the focus of improving health and fitness.

This free event, run by a dedicated group of volunteers, encourages participants to perform at their own fitness level – no pressure on winning or finishing the fastest – only giving positive reinforcement.

Since beginning in April 2017, Alexandra Gardens has been a flutter every Saturday morning with various age groups attending, not to mention the many babies in prams and even dogs that join in. Visitors have been recorded from Queensland, Tasmania, Melbourne and even South Africa to participate in our parkrun, while Ararat parkrun registered members also have the option now to participate in other parkruns across the country.

The event continues to build self-confidence and belief in those who take part, it is suitable for all ages and a great chance for family and friends to participate in an activity together, not to mention the coffee and catch up opportunity after at the Gardens Lake Café.


COMMUNITY SPIRIT - Ararat Basketball Association

Our second Community Spirit Awards goes to the Ararat Basketball Association, which in the past 12 months has led the resurgence of not only senior basketball in the region, but also the participation in junior basketball, futsal and senior netball.

Many positives have come out of the rebuild and progressiveness of the Ararat Basketball Association. Volunteers of all ages and walks of life have worked hard together to create an inclusive environment which provides greater opportunity for Ararat’s younger generation to participate in team sport and build social skills which also improving health and fitness.

The Ararat Redbacks return to the South West Country Basketball League competition in recent months has truly been embraced by the community, with it not unusual to have up to 200 spectators turn up to the Ararat Fitness Centre on a Saturday night to show their support.

Traveling to junior and senior basketball tournaments across Victoria and South Australia, Ararat Basketball Association has many young people representing our town, and all members do so in a respectable and professional manner.

Ararat Basketball Association is committed to continuing to enhance the venue at the Ararat Fitness Centre along with its programs, which will boost Ararat’s reputation as a great place to work, live, play sport and raise a family.