2024 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARDS
Nominations for 2024 Awards will close on 18 November 2023.
Each year, South Australia celebrates the achievements and contributions of outstanding members of their communities through the Citizen of the Year Awards. These individuals demonstrate extraordinary service every day within our communities so often invisible to most of us. This contribution builds the social and cultural fabric of our society, making a significant difference to the people of our state. The Citizen of the Year Awards program is proudly conducted by the Australia Day Council of South Australia in partnership with each of the 69 Councils across our state. The Citizen of the Year Awards provide everyone with the opportunity to recognise any commynity member who makes them proud.
The Citizen of the Year Awards, Young Citizen of the Year Award, Community Event of the Year Award and Award for Active Citizenship are presented annually to local citizens and community organisations who have made outstanding contributions to the South Australian community. The Awards are provided by the Australia Day Council of South Australia (ADCSA) and are administered by Local Government Authorities throughout the State on behalf of the Council.
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South Australia Citizen of the Year 2023 Recipients
Citizen of the Year 2023
Stella Braund of the City of Unley
There are many people within our community whose lives have been profoundly transformed through the persistence and dedication of Stella Braund’s contribution to improving domestic violence, sexual assault, and mental health services. Stella has demonstrated outstanding leadership in helping to establish the National Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Helpline – 1800 RESPECT, which has had a far-reaching impact across Australia, enabling vulnerable individuals and children to access crisis supports and counselling and begin their journey to recovery from family violence and abuse.
Utilising her lived experience of childhood domestic violence, sexual assault and trauma, she has devoted her personal and professional life to improving mental health and social services, reducing stigma and discrimination and suicide, ensuring their delivery is person centred, with a trauma informed approach. Stella is a tireless advocate for marginalised and vulnerable communities, dedicated to turning obstacles into opportunities, by building a recovery orientated approach supporting people living with mental ill health, their carers and families to access appropriate services and opportunities to live fulfilling lives.
Stella provides advice regarding mental health policy, planning and safety on a range of committees for SA Health across the state. As a Lived Experience advocate at the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist of SA, Stella promotes codesign and collaboration in the area of policy development, quality improvement, clinical governance, risk management, evaluation of health services across government and non-government agencies, emergency services such as SA Ambulance Service, Urgent Mental Health Care Centre and Drug and Alcohol Services.
Stella’s focus stems from a deep desire to make a difference to the mental health system from a lived experience consumer and carer perspective, improving patient and family experience of services. Stella has developed learning and development opportunities by developing training materials for the Lived Experience workforce, and delivering training to psychiatrists, doctors, social workers, psychologists, and nursing staff across SA Health, to ensure services are inclusive, wholistic and responsive to the needs of people in the South Australian, especially during the pandemic.
Young Citizen of the Year 2023
Hannah Allen-Jordan of the District Council of Tumby Bay
A passionate champion for our regional communities and an inspiring voice for youth leadership. At the age of 21, trailblazer Hannah was the youngest person to be elected to an Eyre Peninsula Council and was also the District Council of Tumby Bay’s first female Mayor. Across the past eight years serving the community, Hannah was an actively involved member of many committees and Associations such as the Progress Association, Colour Tumby a collaborative and community led festival and sporting clubs such as the Tumby Bay Netball Club. All this volunteering has contributed to creating a more progressive, inclusive, and vibrant place to live and work in the District Council of Tumby Bay.
Young Citizen of the Year (Commendation) 2023
Alex Bruhn of the City of Adelaide
Alex is the Community Builder at Youth Inc., a school that seeks to reimagine education and Curator of Global Shapers Adelaide – an initiative of the World Economic Forum. In collaboration with a myriad of local, national and international stakeholders, Alex focuses on ushering in innovative programs which address some of our most challenging and prevalent systemic issues. Alex seeks to represent the unique voices of the young people she serves in these discussions and has contributed significantly to the City of Adelaide via her work co-leading Conscious Cities Festival – a global initiative seeking to investigate the consciousness of cities and urban design and its relation to human identity. Alex was a key team member for the Foundations for Tomorrow: Awareness to Action report. Australia’s largest youth-led consultation that reveals insights into what matters most to young people.
Community Event of the Year 2023
My Tree Project of the City of Charles Sturt
This community event was inspired by an 11-year-old boy who would sit in his mulberry tree to read and feel creative. The My Tree Project delivered through the City of Charles Sturt, empowers children to actively address the challenges of climate change and create a healthier local environment. The inaugural project invited students from two western suburb primary schools to propagate a seed, nurture and plant the seedlings at school or home, as well as create artworks about the vital role of trees. This exciting community initiative enables children to gain a greater understanding of sustainability through biodiversity, Indigenous culture, water management and connection with nature. My Tree Project showcases active citizenship at its best and highlights the power of art. It raises awareness on the importance of connection, health and wellbeing, and gives hope for a more livable and sustainable future. The My Tree Project was supported through SA Water’s Community Partnership Program and Fawn Cooper, and managed by the Western Adelaide Coastal Residents Association.
Community Event of the Year (Commendation) 2023
Renmark Rowing Club of the Renmark Paringa Council
The Wharf to Woolshed Long Row is proudly delivered by the Renmark Rowing Club within the Renmark Paringa Council. This is an event that connects rowers from all over South Australia and interstate to experience a 36km upstream row from Renmark to the Woolshed Brewery. This inclusive event encourages rowers of all abilities and has grown from 40 participants in its first year, to 148 participants in 2022. A community event that heavily relies on the ongoing commitment and support of its volunteer committee and ground crew all ensuring participants have a safe and memorable experience. Established in 1919, the Renmark Rowing Club has continued to uphold its purpose of social connection, health and wellbeing and creating a sustainable future for the community. The welcoming and inclusive culture of the Club is evident through the diversity of its members, with participants ages ranging from 12 to 93 years old.
Award for Active Citizenship 2023
Evette Wolf of the District Council of Yankalilla
Evette Wolf of the District Council of Yankalilla formed the Yankalilla Youth Theatre in 2020 and has facilitated and showcased eight youth performances during the last two years – an incredible achievement during COVID. Her passion and enthusiasm for youth theatre is contagious and is demonstrated through Evette’s ability to connect with young people. This engagement is valued by students, parents, and the wider community. Through Evette’s leadership the Yankalilla Youth Theatre has a provided an inclusive and nurturing environment for young children and teenagers to develop confidence, self-esteem, and identity through the creative arts. Furthermore, Evette has created free excursion opportunities for young people within Yankalilla to visit theatre spaces in surrounding metropolitan areas to inspire future learning pathways. Evette’s leadership has also ensured that the Theatre is inclusive of all within the community and she facilitated a generational project where people from all generations shared stories about their own childhoods. Youth Theatre participants have developed these ideas into a play called “World’s Worst School Days” which will be performed in April 2023.
Award for Active Citizenship (Commendation) 2023
Pat Munden of the City of Marion
Known as the matriarch of Cooinda, Pat Munden has generously shared her time and become a friend to those that are lonely within the City of Marion for more than 37 years. Pat is a dedicated volunteer at the Cooinda Neighbourhood Centre and delivers activities that bring people together and create meaningful connections. Pat infuses the Cooinda Café with compassion which is evident through her cooking and loyal customers. While Pat loves the kitchen, her expertise lies in ceramics as she handmakes the clay for her weekly led ceramic classes. Pat is an active citizen who makes our community a better place and finds meeting new people the most gratifying element of volunteering – “It’s the people that you get to know and care about. Even after-hours, caring about those people that are older. I just love them. I just love to be in touch with them all and visit them. If I’m not here, if they need something or need a feed, I’ll make sure they have it.” – Pat Munden.
Award for Active Citizenship (Commendation) 2023
Pieter Dawson of the City of Salisbury
Using his own experiences as a veteran having served in the Vietnam War, Pieter has generously contributed his time supporting and advocating for Vietnam Veterans within the City of Salisbury. For almost a decade, Pieter has voluntarily provided outstanding support to the Vietnam Veterans Association Northern Suburbs Sub-Branch and has progressively transformed the sub-branch into a high-performing Incorporated Body and Registered Charity. This significant development has enabled the association to provide programs and improved facilities, such as the establishment of a Memorial Garden that offers a place for remembrance and to honour those who served our country. Pieter is an exemplary active citizen who has dedicated many years to ensure veterans, and their loved ones experience a safe, supportive, and respected space where they feel a sense of belonging and opportunity to create lifelong friendships.