Shire congratulates award winners

MUNDARING Shire Council has acknowledged four local residents and one organisation for their outstanding service to the local community in its Australia Day Citizenship Awards.

The awards were presented across four categories – Long Service, Inspirational Volunteer, Access Mundaring and Rising Star. The winners were selected from the pool of Celebrating Community nominations announced in December 2019.

See below for details about each winner.

Long Service awarded to an individual or group who has been a community champion and continuously served their community for in excess of 10 years

Winner: Colin James, Darlington Community Recreation Advisory Group/Darlington Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade

Colin has been Secretary of the Darlington Community Recreation Advisory Group (DCRAG) for the past 34 years. As Secretary, he keeps the group well connected, and provides a sensible, practical and guiding influence.

Colin has also been a member of the Darlington Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade for more than 38 years, joining in February 1980, becoming a Lieutenant in 1981, Captain in 1984 and Fire Control Officer in 1988. During those years, he wrote countless burn permits and helped the brigade carry out more than 100 hazard reduction burns a year.

The Swan Region Bush Fire Service communications bus operated out of Darlington Fire Station from 1995. Colin was a key member of that group.

When aerial fire surveillance operations commenced, Darlington became the host brigade for this group of volunteers. Operations were set up in the Darlington Station and Colin was appointed Air Intelligence Officer, reporting visual details to Incident Control.

Air Operations is now under DFES control and Colin maintains a role as an Air Base Manager. With the introduction of helicopter water bombers (or Helitacs) into the aerial fleet in 2003, the Darlington Brigade was issued a collar tank unit. Colin has been a member of that group since the tank's arrival. He was appointed Lieutenant of the Darlington Volunteer Fire Support unit within the brigade in 2014. Colin also serves on the Bushfire Ready Group. All of Colin's bush fire activities have been on a voluntary basis.

Colin lists his greatest achievement as assisting the Mundaring SES, Mundaring VFRS and Darling Range VBFB groups to agree to build a co-location centre in the Mundaring Industrial Precinct. The Mundaring Emergency Services Centre houses the three groups and their equipment which supports efficient strategies.

Inspirational Volunteer – awarded to an individual or group who through their volunteering role has made an outstanding contribution to the local community

Winner: Tarryn Cuthbert, Hills Rangers Football Club

Tarryn has led the development of girls' football at the Hills Rangers Football Club. Because of her passion and determination for females to play football, the Hills Rangers Football Club's membership grew from zero females in 2016 to 40 per cent female in 2019.

She has successfully coordinated both girls' and boys' football at Parkerville Junior Football Club and Hills Rangers Football Club.

Tarryn has built extensive relationships with other clubs, including Upper Swan, Swan Valley, Midvale and Gosnells, as well as the West Australian Football Commission (WAFC). Tarryn assisted the WAFC in the review of rules in Girls' Youth Football in a positive and meaningful way.

In conjunction with Eastern Hills Senior High School, Tarryn has established a male football program to assist with behaviour change and create positive school environments for teenage boys.

She worked with Eastern Hills Senior High School, WAFC and Swan Districts to establish a male and female football program for Years 7 to 10 for 2018. Tarryn has also been a volunteer program facilitator with the Swan Districts Football Club 'Making Your Mark' program.

Program Facilitator and Swan Districts Football Club Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Dennis, describes Tarryn as "an incredible asset with contagious enthusiasm who displays tremendous people skills with our community outreach programs". Tarryn has an enthusiasm and drive for football that is infectious. Her innate ability to use football as a medium to have a positive impact has made our local communities stronger.

Access Mundaring – awarded to an individual or group making a difference to create a more accessible and inclusive Shire of Mundaring. This year, there were two winners for this category.

Winner 1: Anita Gamba, Inclusion and disAbility Access Advisory Group (IDAAG)

As a member of the Shire's Inclusion and disAbility Access Advisory Group (IDAAG), Anita has directly influenced improved pedestrian safety, especially for those with access issues, when crossing the Great Eastern Highway in Mundaring.

Anita conducted a media and education campaign about access issues with letters to Main Roads WA, State government local members and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

She led a large group of community members who, along with Shire of Mundaring representatives, visited Great Eastern Highway with the Minister and Main Roads WA to demonstrate how concerned they were about pedestrian safety.

Anita demonstrated to the Minister and the Main Roads Director the challenges of crossing the highway in a wheel chair. Mundaring Residents and Ratepayers Progress Association and residents living in the town centre also turned up to offer their support and demonstrate their access difficulties, as did other IDAAG members.

Anita kept all interested people informed about her activities through emails and phone calls, as well as facilitating media interest. This work resulted in an agreement to rebuild the Great Eastern Highway and Stoneville Road intersection pedestrian landings to extend the crossing light times and improve safety with a countdown timer on the lights. It was also agreed to install pedestrian crossing lights in the middle of Mundaring on Great Eastern Highway. These improvements are now in place.

Anita continues to advocate for access and inclusion and has turned her attention and passion to the challenges of providing suitable accommodation for people with disability living in the Shire.

Winner 2: Wheels Inc.

Wheels Inc. was formally launched in the community at the Whim Festival on 23 October 2011 and incorporated in 2012. Its tag line, 'Seniors on the Move', relates to getting out of the house and about in the world.

The aim is to provide recreational, social and cultural activities for any person who is over the age of 55 years. Currently there are 36 members ranging in age from 64 to 95 years. Events are organised so members of all abilities can participate.

In addition to transport, the membership of Wheels operates as a network of 'friends' who will support each other as they age, in particular to make their own decisions about what they will do with their time, energy and money.

The monthly program has between eight and 11 events organised by the volunteer committee and based on members' requests. WA Symphony Orchestra, WA Ballet and WA Opera performances are regularly attended events, as are activities including indoor sky diving, interstate trips and short trips away in WA. In July 2019, Wheels replaced its old bus with a new 14-seater bus through grants and fundraising.

Most significantly, Wheels is run for its members, by its members. It is truly community building and supports people to enjoy the freedoms of the second half of life, while in the company of friends.

Rising Star (under 25 years) – awarded to young people who have made a significant contribution to the community

Winner: Owen Briffa, Lost Mundaring & Surroundings Local History Museum.

Through the Facebook site 'Lost Mundaring & Surroundings Local History Museum', Owen has inspired the community to take an interest in local history.

Aged 14, Owen produced the photo book, Lost Mundaring and Surrounds: A Book of Memories, featuring old photographs from Glen Forrest to Wooroloo. He was responsible for compiling the old photographs, many of which local people donated to him. It is a significant initiative for a young person.

Owen recently completed and screened a documentary called Decades of Generations, in which he interviewed and recorded residents living in the hills.

Owen has a trailer which was purpose built to take his local history and artefacts to events. He refers to it as his 'travelling history museum'.

Owen has appeared in articles in the Echo News on three occasions regarding his historical work, and on Channel 7's 'Today Tonight' program, speaking about his passion for local history.

Owen has brought generations together, uniting the community with their collective memories of living in the shire.

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