Australia Day Awards

Each year on Australia Day, Hindmarsh Shire Council presents awards at the Australia Day events held throughout the shire on the day.

The Australia Day Awards recognise outstanding community service to the Hindmarsh Shire community during the current year and/or outstanding service to the community over a number of years. The Awards are provided by the Australia Day Committee (Victoria) and are administered by Local Government Authorities throughout Australia.

These awards include:

  • Hindmarsh Shire Citizen of the Year
  • Hindmarsh Shire Young Citizen of the Year
  • Hindmarsh Shire Community Event of the Year
  • Hindmarsh Shire Lifetime Achievement Award (new award)

Past Australia Day Award Recipients:

2024 Hindmarsh Shire Citizen of the Year

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Rhys Webb of Nhill has been announced as Hindmarsh Shire Citizen of the Year for 2024.

Since Rhys moved to the Hindmarsh Shire almost 10 years ago, he has been an active member of the Hindmarsh community. He’s been a member of the Nhill Township Advisory Committee for 3 years, has been the Secretary of the Nhill RSL since 2016 where he has reinvigorated the local branch and played a key role in growing its membership and is the President of the RSL Flag Committee which he co-established and which will implement the posting of flags in the Nhill Cemetery on the graves of those who served in the Australian Defence Force.

Rhys is currently the Worship Master of Nhill’s Lowan Lodge 107, Vice President of the Victorian Blue Lounge Social Club, District Youth Representative on the Wimmera District Coordinators Panel and the Vice Chairperson of the West Wimmera Holy Royal Chapter.

In 2021, Rhys became Divisional Manager of the Horsham Division at St John Ambulance Victoria which involves providing first aid coverage of all Hindmarsh Shire localities and many events including the Nhill Show, Nhill Air Show, Pony Express and Nhill Anzac Day. He has been a St John Ambulance member for 27 years.

Amongst all of that has been mentioned, Rhys also works as West Wimmera Health Service’s Executive Manager of Community Health, as well as provides informal mentoring to locally based Samoan / Pacific Islander migrant residents; provides much valued informal social support to a number of older men in the local community; and regularly attends to provide relevant information to various local groups including Rotary, Lions, sporting clubs, the SES and the CFA.

For a person that is 32 years in age, and has been in Hindmarsh for nearly 10 years, Rhys involvement in the community and local groups is outstanding.

Congratulations Rhys!

2024 Hindmarsh Shire Young Citizen of the Year

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Chelsea Elliott of Dimboola has been announced as Hindmarsh Shire Young Citizen of the Year for 2024.

Chelsea, age 11, contacted Hindmarsh Shire Libraries in November 2023 to ask whether she could run a Christmas Giving Tree Appeal in the Dimboola Library. This was soon spread out to all four Hindmarsh Shire Libraries, and in a matter of time, each library had a Christmas Tree and drop off location for the community to donate presents for a great cause.

In total, Chelsea collected 190 gifts that were generously donated throughout the Shire and delivered them personally to the Salvation Army in Horsham on 18 December 2023 just in time for them to be redistributed to those in need for Christmas.

Chelsea is thoughtful and caring, and is dedicated to fundraising in order to help others less fortunate than herself. She has founded a fundraising group at her school, St Peter’s Lutheran School Dimboola, by encouraging gold coin donations for dress up and casual dress days. Because of this, money has been raised for a number of charities including Phoenix Pet Rescue and the Good Friday Appeal. She has also participated in the MS Readathon for the last four years, raising over $1,000 in that time.

She has been a great role model for those around her, which has also encouraged others to participate in fundraising activities and to help those in need within our community.

Congratulations Chelsea!

2024 Hindmarsh Shire Community Event of the Year

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The Dimboola Wimmera Steampunk Festival has been announced as Hindmarsh Shire’s Community Event of the Year for 2024.

The Wimmera Steampunk Festival was held in the main streets of Dimboola on 22 April 2023, being the second time this event has been held in Dimboola. It was organised and run by the Dimboola Township Advisory Committee (now known as the Dimboola Progress Association Inc) amongst many other individual volunteers and volunteer groups, with a special mention to Chan Uoy.

This Festival attracted 4,000 people from all over Australia, with some coming from as far as Perth and Brisbane, and even an international visitor from Singapore. There were over 250 visitors from Melbourne and more from South Australia than Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong combined demonstrating the interest in our region and events from the South Australian tourism market. Around 46% of attendees were from outside the local Wimmera Mallee region bringing in substantial tourism dollars from outside our region.

The event saw impressive light shows lighting up Lochiel and Lloyd Streets, market stalls and displays, a variety of food stalls, and excellent live music throughout the evening in Lochiel Street and at rear of the library.

A special mention must be made of the enormous amount of work done by the organising committee and volunteers that planned and ran the event, along with all the sponsors. All the hard work resulted in a fantastic event that will continue to grow in scale and reach.

Event Tourism is one of the main contributors to the visitor economy, and important marketing and awareness opportunities to local attractions and revisitation.

Congratulations to all organisers involved in the Wimmera Steampunk Festival!

2024 Hindmarsh Shire Lifetime Achievement Award

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The Hindmarsh Lifetime Achievement Award is a new category that Hindmarsh Shire Councillors have created this year. This is presented to any person who has continuously contributed to the Hindmarsh Shire community for a number of years, whether it be through volunteering, running a local business, offering a helping hand when needed and/or being a positive advocate for the community and people.

John Deckert of Nhill has been presented the Hindmarsh Shire Lifetime Achievement Award for 2024.

At the age of 16, John started his long journey of volunteering in the community by joining the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and becoming the Assistant Secretary at the Winiam Football Club. Since then, he has contributed an outstanding amount of his time and hard work to local volunteer groups, organisations, events and more.

Over the years he has held a variety of positions such as CFA Captain, Secretary and President of the Nhill Camera Club, Inaugural President of Nhill Jaycees and Board member of the Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre since the moment it formed in 2008.

He has been a member of the Nhill Historical Society, Tourism and Agricultural committees, Nhill Church choir, Council committees and the Nhill Silo Committee, just to name a few.

He taught himself how to play button accordion and has performed at many concerts, dances and events since. He started his own book and map publishing business in Nhill, wrote his own book on the history of Kinimakatka, Winiam and Winiam East, and has been a Councillor for Shire of Lowan.

In 2019, John attended the Victoria Senior Awards hosted by the Victorian State Government where he was presented a COTA Senior Achiever Award by the Governor of Victoria, which is a huge accomplishment that he should be very proud of.

There are no number of words that can perfectly sum up everything that John has achieved in his lifetime, because he has achieved a lot. This is what makes him a very deserving recipient of this award.

Congratulations John!

Hindmarsh Shire Citizen of the Year Past Recipients

2023 - Christine Dufty, Nhill
2022 -
Merv Schneider OAM, Nhill
2021 - 
Pauline McCracken, Nhill
2020 - Catherine Bates, Nhill
2019 - Annette Creek, Nhill
2018 - 
Joy Wheaton, Nhill
2017 - John Millington, Rainbow
2016 - Bill Hutson, Rainbow
2015 - Dawn Petschel, Rainbow
2014 - Pamela Budde, Dimboola
2013 - Margaret Millington, Nhill

Hindmarsh Shire Young Citizen of the Year Past Recipients

2023 - Ayla Roberts, Rainbow
2022 -
Caleb Zanker, Nhill
2021 - 
Jack Kalms, Dimboola
2020 - 
Shannon Smith, Nhill
2019 - 
Danni Haebich, Dimboola
2018 - 
Tha Blay Sher, Nhill
2017 - 
Charlotte Kube, Nhill
2016 - 
Louise Bone, Nhill
2015 - 
Mikayla Farmers, Nhill
2014 - 
Jamie Harding, Nhill

Hindmarsh Shire Community Event of the Year Past Recipients

2023 - Peter Taylor Memorial Barefoot Tournament and Night Jump, Dimboola
2021 -
 Rainbow Desert Enduro Rises 240
2020 - 
Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre Nhill Airshow 2019
2019 - 
Nhill Lutheran Church Christmas Tree Exhibition
2018 - 
Fight MND Ice Dunk Challenge, Nhill & District Sporting Club and Dimboola Sporting Club
2017 - 
Dimboola Food Festival
2016 - 
Nhill Air Show 2015
2015 - 
Karen New Year 2014
2014 - 
Winiam Cricket Club's Pink Stumps Day