Australia Day 2019
Thank you to everyone that came along to help celebrate this year’s Australia Day across our region.
Eleven very special local community members and event organisers from across our area were acknowledged for their contribution to our region. From tireless volunteers to incredible young role models, sporting heroes to cultural events for the whole community, this year’s winners are to be congratulated for helping to make the MidCoast region a better place for us all to live and work.
Citizen of the Year
Jade-Marie Spencer – Gloucester Region
Peter Craig – Great Lakes Region
David Denning – Manning Region
Young Citizen of the Year
Andrew Hughes – Gloucester Region
Marylyn Sendah – Manning Region
No nominations were received in the Great Lakes Region
Community Activity of the Year
Need for Feed – Lions Club of Gloucester – Gloucester Region
MotorFest – Tea Gardens Hawks Nest Motor Club – Great Lakes Region
Red Umbrella Appeal – Taree Quota Club – Manning Region
Sportsperson of the Year
Courtney Webeck – Gloucester Region
Riley Van Haren - Great Lakes Region
Josh Hook – Manning Region (Ken McDonald Memorial Sportstar of the Year)
Citizenship ceremonies were also part of our program, welcoming 37 new citizens to the MidCoast region.
The Australia Day Ambassador for the Manning and the Great Lakes is Kylie Hilder, a passionate sportswoman who has played national level touch football, with 57 appearances for Australia between 2001 and 2015. She has also just been named in the Touch Football Australia Golden Jubilee Mixed Open Team as one of the 14 best mixed players from the last 50 years.
Kylie began playing touch football in 1994 in Wingham and went on to be chosen in State under 20, then Opens, Australian mixed and Open Women’s touch football sides. She was inducted into the Greater Taree City Sporting Hall of Fame in 2008.
Now 42, Kylie is in fine form playing NRL Women’s with the Sydney Roosters who came second in the inaugural NRL Women’s premiership. Kylie’s love for the sport extends to her career, currently working as a women’s participation officer for Country Rugby League.
She was a member of the Country Women's Rugby League team in the first City/Country clash last year and was primed for a position in the NSW State of Origin team until a knee injury ruled her out. Joining the Fox Sports commentary team instead, she lent her expertise to the coverage of the game. She has also played Rugby League for NSW and Australia and doesn't look like slowing down any time soon.
Kylie is a wonderful representative of the MidCoast region and a fantastic role model for our young sport stars.
Brett Stibners, OAM
Gloucester will celebrate with Ambassador Brett Stibners OAM, or “Sticky” as his friends call him, a former member of the Australian men’s wheelchair basketball team who has won a gold and a silver medal at consecutive Paralympic games.
As a very talented sportsman, Brett played indoor hockey for Australia at both under 21 and senior level. At age 21, Brett was driving home when he fell asleep at the wheel and suffered a severe accident.
In 2003, Brett began competing in wheelchair basketball. He made his first Australian wheelchair basketball team in 2006 and competed at the Gold Cup in Amsterdam. Brett describes his first Paralympic Games in Beijing as a dream come true. He was a key contributor in the spectacular Games performance that earned the Rollers their first Paralympic gold medal in 12 years.
Brett's most unforgettable memory was at the Beijing Paralympics when the Rollers had finished their first training session on one of the training courts behind the main arena. Peaking through the curtain that separated the two courts, Brett saw the officials practising the flag raising ceremony. Although no flags were raised, the Australian National Anthem was playing. Brett joked with one of his team mates about it being a sign of their imminent gold medal win.
In 2009 Brett received an Order of Australia Medal for Service to Sport. Brett volunteers his time to help others. He is the current ambassador for the 'Stay Awake Campaign' , which highlights the early signs of fatigue and regularly speaks to school and corporate groups about safety and living with a disability.
Brett was part of the 2010 World Championship Rollers team that won gold. Most recently Brett competed at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. The team won a silver medal after a hard fought final match against arch rivals Canada.
Brett currently plays for the Wollongong Roller Hawks and was a key figure in Wollongong winning the 2011 and 2012 NWBL titles.
Brett retired from international competition at the completion of the London Paralympics to spend more time with his young family.