Australia Day Awards

To celebrate Australia Day, Council runs the Citizen of the Year awards program annually.

The aim of the awards is to recognise outstanding contributions to the local community and to highlight the importance and significance of Australia Day.
Residents are encouraged to consider who they believe makes a difference in their community, and nominate them to be recognised for their efforts and commitment.

Nominations are accepted in the following categories, with awards presented on January 26 at local Australia Day events.

  • Citizen of the Year (25 years and older)
  • Young Citizen of the Year (24 years and younger)
  • Sportsperson / Sports Team of the Year
  • Community Organisation / Community Event of the Year

The nomination period is now open. 

Nominations close on Friday 1 December 2023.

An opportunity to recognise and celebrate all of the hardworking and inspirational individuals, groups and organisations in Berrigan Shire.


See previous years winners below:

2023 Citizen of the Year

Nola Pinnuck 

Nola has lived, work and volunteers in the Finley district for the majority of her life.  Dedicating a huge amount of time to community organisations to ensure the betterment of the Finley township and surrounding areas her involvement encompasses, but is not limited to the following projects / organisations: 

  • Miss Australia Quest – first as an entrant and later as a judge and mentor to others 

  • St Josephs P & F and School Board 1990 – 2008 coordinating fundraisers such as the Annual Dinner Dance ad and Annual craft Show. 

  • TAFE NSW – after studying 31 years ago, accepted a position and has been employed as both a teacher and administrator 

  • Berrigan Shire Dementia Alliance elected as charperson in 2021 and continues to perform this role and promote the expansion of the service by communicating with all social and service groups operating in the shire to promote awareness 

  • Genazzano College Kew – Hopetown Hall Board as President and Secretary for around 8 years in the early 2000’s 

  • Finley Farmers Markets assisting with storeholders in obtaining funding 

  • Finley LHAC a dedicated and valued member for over 20 years 

  • Murray Hut CWA with Nola being a foundation member in 2007 


2023 Young Citizen of the Year

Sarah Bauer 

Sarah is a student at Finley High School and her outstanding achievements in 2022 not only reflect what an inspiring person she is to the school community but also to the community at large. 

Twelves months ago Sarah was offered a place in the Curious Minds Program  One of 110 females (secondary students) from across Australia to travel to Sydney to hear talks from prominent women in STEM, engage in hands-on supercharged sessions, undertake investigations, participate in communication workshops, and STEM coaching sessions and, most importantly, grow in confidence and ability in a fun, supportive and encouraging environment.   

The goal of this program is to gain a head-start to further the students’ studies in Science and Maths and forge friendships with like-minded students from around Australia.  Sarah was selected because of her excellent results, commitment to learning and enthusiasm for STEM subjects. 

Sarah was partnered with Katie Scott a cloud architect for Microsoft and was offered a scholarship position in the Quantum Computing Summer Camp. 

Sarah also participated in the SQA Quantum Hackathon, was selected as one of the three flag bearers at the Finley ANZAC March, participated in Sydney for the NSW Public Speaking Competition finals. 

Sarah was awarded the Director of Education Award for innovation and leadership. She is a member of the Finley High School’s Audio Stories team and last school holidays was asked to speak at a Regional Heath Foreum as a Youth Health Ambassador.  Sarah was announce as a state winner in the National History Challenge for 2022, she is active ember of the Finley Netball Club and also a member of the fire cadets. 



2023 Sportsperson / Sports Team of the Year

MacKenzie O’Dwyer 

MacKenzie is a dedicated netballer, who is a representative in many teams, including school, netball club and representative teams in Victoria.  This comes with some difficulties as many trainings are a long way from home.  At current, MacKenzie is travelling to Shepparton on Tuesday night for competition and then training with the City West Falcons in Altona on Wednesday and Sunday nights, where she is not returning home until around midnight.  She is young netballer trying to fulfil her dreams under difficult circumstances, where she and her family are making huge sacrifices in turning this dream into reality. 

Mackenzie’s achievements in 2022 are: 

  • 2021 Bendigo Academy of Sport North Eastern Athlete of the Year 

  • U15 School Sports Victoria Team and named dual Vice Captain of the team 

  • Runner up Under 17’s Goulburn Valley Netball League Best and Fairest (having played in a grade above her age level) 

  • U15 representative for the GVNL 

  • Victorian Netball League’s City West Falconers U19 roster with sister Keeley. 


2023 Community Organisation of the Year

Berrigan Men’s Shed 

The Berrigan Men’s Shed began in 2010,and since then membership has grown to 38 financial members who gather two morning each week at the Men’s Shed in Chanter Street Berrigan just to have a chat or to talk over a cup of tea, play a game of billiards or cards, whilst others build garden bed, restore furniture, collect donated items or attend any other jobs that come their way. 

Average attendance is 24 members.  Not only does this gathering assist with mental health and some loneliness, it gives men a great chance to talk about problems, nor necessarily spoken about at home. 

Once a week, two residents from Amaroo Aged Care attend “The She” transported by a member, as well a support group from Cobram bring several men to have fellowship at Berrigan Men’s Shed. 

Some achievements for the Men’s Shed in 2022 include:  

  • Raised garden beds for the home gardener 

  • Organised CPR course with 2 participants 

  • Provided BBQ for town market night with funds being donated to the Aged Care Facility 

  • Partnered with Berrigan Red Cross to provide the venue and set up for the Red Cross Fashion Extravaganza 

  • Red Gum Slab provided materials and constructed a bench seat to be placed at RSL Memorial Wall in Hayes Park 

  • October held a blue table event at the shed for RUOK day 

  • Installed a second defibrillator in the main street 

  • Donation to Berrigan Hospitality Auxiliary and Amaroo Auxiliary 

  • Recycled timer used to replace entrance gates near the site of the railway walkway 

  • Plant and tender vegetable growing, the product is then available free