All female line-up win Colac Otway’s 2018 Australia Day Awards
January 26, 2018

In an all-female line up of award winners, Colac local Jenny Todorovic is Colac Otway Shire’s 2018 Citizen of the Year.

Ms Todorovic has served the community through her leadership role with University of the Third Age (U3A), an organisation for people aged 55 and over offering programmes for members to minimise social isolation and stimulate a positive attitude to life.

Since moving to Colac with her family in 1985, Ms Todorovic has been an active and supportive participant in many community organisations including as President of the Colac Botanic Gardens.

Ms Todorovic was one of five people who received Australia Day honours at a ceremony at Colac’s Memorial Square.

The other recipients were Tapanga Barnhart, Young Citizen of the Year; Prue Campbell, Community Service Award; Pam Radcliffe, Arts Award; and Aileen Kettle, Sporting Service Award.

Mayor Joe McCracken congratulated the people who received Australia Day honours and thanked them for their dedication to the community.

“Australia Day is an opportunity to celebrate one of our best assets which is the diversity of our community.

“On Australia Day we acknowledge the valuable contributions the award recipients have made to their community and also welcome new citizens to Colac Otway Shire.

This year’s Australia Day celebrations at Colac featured an address by Sue Calwell, author and former director of Australia’s premier tourism promotion authority.

Council and the Colac Otway community collaborated to stage a day of celebration and music in the city’s memorial square to follow the official Australia Day proceedings.

Activities included a performance by Mighty Duke and the Lords sponsored by COPACC, free children’s activities, a community market and food stalls.

Cr McCracken paid tribute to the Colac Otway community for all contributions made toward making Australia Day 2018 a success.

“Each year Council’s events team works with various community organisations across the shire to put on an Australia Day celebration, we thank everyone for making it such a great day,” Cr McCracken said.

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Citizen of the Year Award – Jenny Todorovic

Jenny Todorovic has been described as a person who provides leadership to create benefits which flow on to many people throughout the wider community.

“Jenny has a gift for identifying a need that will benefit the wider community and providing the appropriate skills to effect the realisation of her vision,” said Michael Allison, President of U3A in Colac.

In her role working with Adult Community Education, Jenny became aware of U3A (University of the Third Age) and recognised the benefits of bringing U3A to the Colac and district community.

With the support and encouragement of Colac Otway Shire Council along with Adult Community Education and Barwon Health, Jenny worked tirelessly toward establishing a Colac U3A - an organisation for people aged 55 and over offering programmes for members to continue exercising their bodies and brains.

As Chairperson of the Steering Committee, Jenny provided the leadership to establish the U3A in the Colac Otway region in 2006.

Since then Jenny has continued to serve on the U3A committee and in various roles, including as Convenor of the Courses Committee, offering a wide range of courses and activities to the 327 U3A members which aim to minimise social isolation and stimulate a positive attitude to life. Jenny has placed an emphasis on delivering a wide range of courses and activities through her leadership roles with U3A.

Since moving to Colac with her husband and three children in 1985, Jenny has been an active and supportive participant in many community organisations such as nursing mothers, play groups, Wydinia Kindergarten Committee, Colac Pony Club, Colac South West Primary School and on the ladies’ Committee of the Colac Field and Game Club.

A love of books prompted Jenny to establish a book club, which became a part of the Colac U3A community. Gardening is a personal interest of Jenny’s and she continues to be a committee member of the Friends of the Colac Botanic Gardens having served as secretary and president in previous years.

In 2016 Jenny was elected to the Board of Management of Colac RSL.

Mr Allison said Jenny’s egalitarian nature has helped her as a powerful advocate to foster a strong volunteering ethos within the community.

“Through her engagement with our local community, Jenny has demonstrated a positive outlook on life which is supportive and encouraging.”


Young Citizen of the Year – Tapanga Barnhart

Tapanga Barnhart is a student at Colac Secondary College having completed Year 10 in 2017 and is a member of the Venturer Unit at 3rd 4th Colac Scouts.

Tapanga has earned her Australian Scout Medallion, the highest award within the Scouting section age group.

Tapanga first joined the Scout movement as a cub in 2011, moving on to join the 3rd 4th Colac Scouts in 2014. Tapanga’s outstanding leadership and negotiating skills have seen her progress to Assistant Patrol Leader then Patrol Leader. Tapanga was awarded the position of Patrol Leader at the 24th Australian Jamboree in 2016, and has been the Patrol Leader on numerous Regional Events.

Group Leader 3rd 4th Colac Scouts, Lynne Murdoch nominated Tapanga for the award and said she was valuable member of the Scouts having been involved with and volunteered in many worthwhile projects and activities.

“Tapanga is highly organised and reliable as well as enthusiastic and passionate which makes her an inspirational role model to the young people she supports,” Ms Murdoch said.

Having moved into the Venturer section of the Scout movement, Tapanga travelled to Fiji on the Venturers bi-annual service project and cultural exchange trip assisting to construct a new dining hall for the boarding school at Namuamua and a mosaic board for the school’s entrance.

Along with a couple of other Venturers, Tapanga assists a local Colac family with their young triplets and four year old brother, singing songs, reading and playing, helping the children with their language and social development and giving their mum an opportunity to catch up on other things.

When Tapanga was in Year 9 she was chosen to participate in the Alpine School for student leadership which involved spending six weeks in China as a part of the Victorian Young Leaders to China Program.

In addition to her contributions with the Scouting movement, Tapanga was elected to the Victorian branch of the State Youth Council in 2016, a position she currently maintains. She is also a valued and reliable member of the Driver Reviver team having volunteered with this group for the last three years. Tapanga is also a registered member of the Irrewarra CFA.

As a student at Colac Secondary College, Tapanga has earned school achievement awards and been a buddy to younger students, receiving the Local Community Award and also Rotary Club Award in 2016.


Community Service of the Year – Prue Campbell

Prue Campbell is an inspirational community member with a lifelong commitment to community

This is how Poppy Barry described Birregurra resident, Prue Campbell when she nominated her for an Australia Day award.

“Prue’s determination, persistence, resilience, courage and positive attitude have had a remarkable impact on her life, her family and her community”, Ms Barry said.

Prue was born and raised in Birregurra, the only child of a farming family and attended boarding school in Hamilton, focussing her studies on farming practices and agriculture, whilst developing her passion for home crafts.

Prue met a local Birregurra man and they set about raising their three children on their property. Sadly, whilst Prue was pregnant with their fourth child, her husband’s health declined and he passed away.

Despite this terrible loss, Prue dedicated herself to raising their children, volunteering at the Birregurra and Yeodene schools and working the farm whilst raising her young family.

Prue sought assistance to help her on farm through an international farming placement scheme and housed young workers from Europe and the United States whilst they completed their agricultural studies. Some of these farming students have emigrated to the Colac Otway Shire, having been welcomed to the area by Prue early in their career.

Prue is an active member of the Birregurra Branch of the Country Women’s Association, the Birregurra Craft Group, the Birregurra Sewing Group, volunteer at the Colac Neighbourhood House, her local church group and a Birregurra Community Health Centre volunteer.

Through these organisations, Prue puts her handiwork to practical community use. This might be creating beautiful quilts for local domestic violence victims; making teddy bears and hand knitting clothing for premature babies to assist local families and the wider Victorian community; attending the Colac Neighbourhood House to support refugee women helping them learn sewing, embroidery and handcraft in an effort to increase their inclusion and socialisation in the local community.

Prue has also become involved in a local movement to make bags from recycled materials. Enlisting Birregurra Primary School, Prue got students involved in making the ‘Boomerang Bags’ in an aim to educate children about the environmental damage of using plastic bags. The ‘Boomerang Bags’ have been distributed around the region to towns such as Forrest, Birregurra and Deans Marsh.

Ms Barry said Prue’s resilience, courage and positive attitude have had remarkable impacts on her family and community.

“Prue’s life has been filled with ups and downs, yet her motivation, positive attitude and commitment to supporting others always shines through.

“We can all learn from Prue and be inspired by her qualities, traits, stories, challenges and commitment to others,” said Ms Barry.


Arts Service of the Year – Pam Radcliffe

Pam Radcliffe is renowned through the district for her piano playing and her lifelong love of music.

Mary Sargeant who nominated Pam for this award said, “Pam’s aim is to give every person who wishes, the opportunity to be involved in music, to achieve their dreams and to have a lifelong appreciation of music.”

Pam is well-known through the shire for having taught at Colac South West Primary School for 35 years along with taking piano lessons, being leading pianist and chorus director with Colac Players, for her role with the Colac Chorale and her volunteer work at local aged care facilities.

Awarded a life membership of the Colac Players, Pam has helped many Colac and district people tread the boards across the decades since 1970 when she was pianist for the first production of the Gilbert and Sullivan musical, H.M.S Pinafore.

Along with her husband John, Pam formed the Colac Chorale in 1990 which continues to meet as an energetic group learning to sing and sharing their talents with the public with Pam providing accompaniment on the piano.

Pam is currently a committee member of the Colac Music Teachers Association. In this role she’s prepared eisteddfods, plays, musicals, revues and community concerts - always in the hope that young music students and the wider community will come together to enjoy music.

Pam continues to volunteer at local aged care facilities, playing music for residents to sing along or just sit and enjoy.

Lyn Russel who also nominated Pam said, “Pam is a quiet achiever, a person who gives 150% of her time, effort and herself to others. She shuns the limelight and lets others face the applause while she watches from the wings.

“The esteem in which Pam is held across the whole shire and beyond is a testament to her dedication, personality, talent and determination. Her interaction is intergenerational, across cultures and ethnicity. From local primary school children, to adults and our older persons in nursing homes, Pam’s giving, kind-hearted smile is recognised and acknowledged.”


Sporting Service of the Year – Aileen Kettle

Aileen Kettle has had many and varied roles within the Colac netball community across an unmatched 49 years of voluntary service.

Having started playing netball at age 11, Aileen commenced umpiring by the time she was 13. Before too long she was officiating senior games.

In 1976, Aileen achieved the A Grade badge for umpiring, making her only the second person in Colac at the time to have achieved this grade. Aileen is still one of only a few local umpires in the Colac Otway district to achieve this level.

Aileen has shared her skill and expertise with other aspiring sportspeople by coordinating a mentor program training junior umpires in the 1980s. Many of Aileen’s prodigies are still officiating games today.

Aileen’s dedication to the sport and her community has seen her hold executive committee positions in the Colac Night Netball Association, Colac & District Netball Association, Colac Summer Netball Association and Colac District Football & Netball League.

At 16, Aileen took her first executive position as Results Secretary for the Colac Night Netball Association. Aileen was the inaugural President of Colac Summer Netball Association in 1976, a position she returned to in 1984 and has since held for the last 33 years.

Aileen’s commitment to the sport in the local community has been recognised with her being awarded life membership at no less than three local netball associations: the Colac Night Netball Association in 1989, Colac and District Netball Association in 1992 and the Colac Summer Netball Association in 1999.

Aileen’s skills and achievements have also been recognised at a state level. In 2002 she was awarded a State Distinction Award for the Western Region and in 2007 a Victorian State Service Award for her service to netball.

As a player, Aileen won many premierships in competitions through local associations and was an A Grade netball player for 30 years.

Aileen has successfully coached juniors through to senior teams at local schools and clubs throughout the years and achieved a Colac High School Award of Service in 1997 for her contributions.

A committee member of the Eastern Reserve Netball User Group for the last 30 years, Aileen also played an important role in working with the Colac Otway Shire Council toward the re-development of the Eastern Reserve netball courts and also the new playground at the Reserve.

Through Aileen’s dedication, commitment and passion to a sport she obviously loves, the community has benefited from her voluntary work across many netball organisations in the district, providing rural men and women, boys and girls with the opportunity to play sport and socialise.  


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