City of Whittlesea’s Australia Day award winners (from left) Thomas Marcus, Anthony Rogan, Kylie Carlson, Darren Peters and Margaret Jolly. ​

WHITTLESEA resident, Margaret Jolly, has been named the City of Whittlesea Senior Citizen of the Year.  Ms Jolly received her award at a ceremony at the Plenty Ranges Arts and Convention Centre on Australia Day.

Darren Peters, who worked tirelessly for the Mernda rail extension, was recognised as council’s Citizen of the Year.

Other City of Whittlesea Australia Day Award recipients included a local fire brigade, a youth volunteer and a disability advocate. Mayor Cr Kris Pavlidis congratulated the recipients.

Ms Jolly was described as a dedicated and tireless contributor to the community through her involvement in a wide range of associations and groups.

Over the years she has been extremely active in community organisations including the Whittlesea Court House, Whittlesea Opportunity Shop, Christ Church Whittlesea and the Whittlesea Agricultural Show.

She also assisted the Whittlesea Fire Brigade to organise its 50 year reunion and Whittlesea Football Club’s 100 year reunion.

Darren Peters could best be described as an enthusiastic transport advocate. Recent years have seen him as a tireless community campaigner and the driving force behind the campaign to extend the railway to South Morang and Mernda.

Mr Peters led a group of volunteers in the South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance to help secure commitments to build the railway. South Morang Rail Station opened in 2010 with the extension to Mernda set to open in 2019.

In her presentation speech, Cr Pavlidis said there were many worthy recipients among the nominees.

“We are fortunate to have so many people in our community who give so generously of their time to make the City of Whittlesea an even better place,” she said.

“Volunteers play a very important role in our community, expecting so little in return for their selfless contributions. “It was a challenge for our Australia Day Committee to separate them but we had to choose a winner from each category,” she added.

Thomas Marcus received the award for Young Citizen of the Year. As a Youth Member of the St John’s Ambulance since 2012, Thomas has volunteered more than 800 hours at public events. He is also involved in the Youth Equity Strategy program with Baseline for Young People, the Mayor’s Youth Cabinet and the YARD program focusing on responsible drinking in the City of Whittlesea.

The Access and Inclusion Citizen of the Year is Kylie Carlson. Kylie has been recognised for her ongoing work as an advocate for people with a disability. She has worked with Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries to make our libraries more inclusive places, introducing a range of successful programs and events for people with disabilities.

Wollert Fire Brigade is the 2018 Community Group of the Year as a result of its providing the Wollert community and surrounding areas with a vital service for over 75 years. It is the oldest continuing volunteer operated group in Wollert and is comprised of a highly respected and dedicated group of volunteers.