Hindmarsh Shire Australia Day Awards 2023

Published on 26 January 2023

Australia Day Awards 2023.png

Australia Day started early in Hindmarsh Shire on Thursday 26 January 2023, commencing with a BBQ breakfast in Rainbow at 7.30am, followed by ceremonies in Jeparit, Dimboola, and finally Nhill.

Hindmarsh Shire Council Mayor, Cr Brett Ireland, attended all four events on the day where he addressed the crowd and presented Hindmarsh Shire’s 2023 Australia Day Awards for Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Community Event of the Year.



Christine Dufty of Nhill has been announced as Hindmarsh Shire Citizen of the Year for 2023.

For over 32 years, Christine has contributed to West Wimmera Health Services (WWHS) and to the wellbeing of the community in many different ways. Over the recent years, Christine’s knowledge and skills on infection prevention has been an asset to the community.

During the pandemic, Christine has been unwavering in her support of staff, and has been the go-to person for advice on management of infection prevention, vaccination, isolation, visitor management and a variety of other issues and challenges that have arisen. She coordinated the vaccinations of the elderly and vulnerable, staff, the community, and local businesses. 

Christine has gone above and beyond when caring for the community. She has travelled to businesses to vaccinate staff, visited the homes of vulnerable people, cared for residents in WWHS and other ages care facilities, and played a key role in operations of the COVID-19 testing station at the Nhill Truck and Trailer Exchange, community vaccination clinics and vaccination clinics for Children.

Outside of work, Christine has been involved in the Rotary Club for over 20 year and was the first female member of the Nhill Rotary Club, which once was an all-male club. During her time on the Rotary Club, she was heavily involved in the rehabilitation of the Nhill Swamp Boardwalk, saving it from being destroyed.

Christine is also a long-time member of the Nhill and District Sporting Club as a hockey player, volunteers for the Nhill Hockey Club and is a life member of the Wimmera Hockey Association.

In 2022, Christine was awarded the Employee of the Year Award at the ACE Radio Business Awards.

Cr Brett Ireland, Mayor said, “On behalf of Council, I thank Christine for her outstanding contribution and support to the community over the years, particularly throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Cr Ireland continued, “I am very honoured to be presenting this award and congratulate Christine as a very deserving recipient of the 2023 Hindmarsh Shire Citizen of the Year Award.”



Ayla Roberts of Rainbow has been announced as Hindmarsh Shire Young Citizen of the Year for 2023.

Ayla is an excellent role model for younger members of the community. In 2022, Ayla organised a White Ribbon Awareness Day that included a number of information sessions and activities for students. This day also included a community lunch where she spoke about the cause in front of a large crowd and a fund-raiser where she raised over $3,000 (including sales of merchandise) which was donated to White Ribbon Australia and West Wimmera White Ribbon.

Ayla has been chosen as a School Captain for Rainbow P-12 College in 2023, often assists in fund raising events for Rainbow P-12 College and is a member of the College’s SRC and Wellbeing Team.

She is involved in the Rainbow Jeparit Football and Netball Club and a member of the Rainbow Junior Badminton Club.

When Ayla isn’t at school or playing sport, she cares for her mother who has mobility issues. She is open about her own mental health struggles and is very passionate about promoting an inclusive community.

Cr Ireland said, “On behalf of Council, I am honoured to be presenting the 2023 Hindmarsh Shire Young Citizen of the Year Award to Ayla Roberts.” Cr Ireland continued, “Ayla is a phenomenal young leader that leads by example and who has had made such a positive impact by raising awareness on issues that are important to her. I wish Ayla all the best for 2023 and congratulate her on being a very deserving recipient of this award”.



The Peter Taylor Memorial Barefoot Tournament and Night Jump has been announced as Hindmarsh Shire’s Community Event of the Year for 2023.

The Peter Taylor Memorial Barefoot Tournament and Night Jump was held on Friday 18 February 2022 in memory of a great barefoot waterskiing legend, Peter Taylor, who sadly passed away of cancer in 2017. It was organised and run by the Dimboola Boat and Water Ski Club with the help of the Dimboola Rowing Club, Dimboola Netball and Football Club and Dimboola Town Committee.

The event consisted of very talented barefoot water skiers of all ages showing off their barefoot skills along the Wimmera River in Dimboola with the night jump being the highlight of the night. The whole tournament was live broadcasted so those who were unable to attend could still tune in and watch it.

This event attracted 2,500 attendees from all over Australia and was a reminder of how great it is to be able to hold large events again following COVID-19 restrictions.

Not only did the event attract a large crowd and provide great entertainment for the community and visitors to Dimboola and the surrounding region, but it also raised between $4,500 to $5,000 which was donated to Wimmera Against Cancer in Kids (WACK) and Wimmera Mental Health.

Cr Ireland said, “Congratulations to the Dimboola Boat and Water Ski Club and all organisers involved for putting on such a successful event.” Cr Ireland continued, “Events like this wouldn’t be made possible without the hard work of the organisers, volunteers and sponsors. I look forward to attending the next Peter Taylor Memorial Barefoot Ski Event in 2024.”


“On behalf of Hindmarsh Shire Council, I sincerely thank everyone who took the time to submit nominations for the 2023 Hindmarsh Shire Australia Day Awards and congratulate everyone on their nominations across all categories” added Cr Brett Ireland. “I enjoy acknowledging, thanking and shining the light on the wonderful community members, groups and volunteers that Hindmarsh Shire has, and it was an honour to be able to present these awards to the successful recipients on behalf of Council.”

Cr Ireland concluded “I would also like to sincerely thank and extend our gratitude to the volunteers who ran the Australia Day events in 2023 – Lions Club of Rainbow, Jeparit Town Committee, Dimboola CWA and Lions Club of Nhill.”

Greg Wood
Chief Executive Officer