Australia Day award winners announced 2023

Published on 17 January 2023

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Harrow resident Josie Sangster is West Wimmera Shire’s Australia Day citizen of the year.

The award will be presented to Mrs Sangster at Harrow’s Australia Day celebrations on Thursday.

Other Australia Day award winners include young citizen of the year Elyssa Hausler, from Edenhope; event of the year Trakmaster Off-Road Caravan Club Gathering in Kaniva; and community group of the year Kaniva Playgroup.

Mayor Tim Meyer said Council had an extremely high calibre of nominations to choose from this year.

“We have so many outstanding people in our communities doing amazing work,” he said.

Cr Meyer said Mrs Sangster was a deserving winner of the citizen of the year award.

“She is involved in the Harrow Discovery Centre and brings a lot of attention to the area with her ability to excite people with stories of the town’s cricket history,” he said.

“She has a passion for telling and promoting this story and realises it's potential to bring thousands of tourists to the West Wimmera Shire.

“Through her work, she has coordinated the return of important artefacts and culturally important artworks to the district.”

Mrs Sangster is responsible for many fundraising ideas in the district, which has supported a diverse group of projects, including the hall, Johnny Mullagh Park and Harrow Bush Nursing Centre.

She has helped organise concerts, events, art show and helicopter flights and has spent hours sewing curtains for the hall.

“Josie is an important and respected member of the Harrow community,” Cr Meyer said.

The young citizen of the year award was won by Edenhope’s Elyssa Hausler.

Miss Hausler is involved in the both the Edenhope P&A Society and the Goroke A&P Society, as a committee member. She is also a steward at the Edenhope Show every year and assists other stewards with the senior cookery section.

Cr Meyer said Miss Hausler also volunteered her time teaching older community members modern technology, as well as with Meals on Wheels.

In 2021, she won the state’s Junior Rural Ambassador Award. She is involved with Henley on Lake Wallace, Girl Guides, the Edenhope Apsley Football and Netball Club and the Kowree Tennis Association.

The event of the year was the Trakmaster Off-Road Caravan Club’s Annual Gathering, which brought about 200 people to Kaniva and injected about $66,000 into the community.

The community group of the year was Kaniva Playgroup, which provides safe space for parents and pre-school aged children to come together and socialise.

Cr Meyer said all of the winners made enormous contributions to the shire.

“Our shire would not function without the work of all of these tireless volunteers who put so much time and effort into making our communities great,” he said.

“Both our citizen of the year and young citizen of the year volunteer with many different groups and organisations, and the Kaniva Playgroup is run entirely by dedicated volunteers.

“We thank all these people for the amazing work that they do in our shire.”

Cr Meyer said all winners would be formally recognised at Australia Day ceremonies on Thursday, January 26.

Winners will receive a framed certificate, and lapel pin.

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