Celebrations: Member for Mill Park Lily D’Ambrosio, City of Whittlesea Mayor Lawrie Cox, Councillor Emilia Sterjova and Federal Member for Scullin Andrew Giles acknowledge community heroes. ​

by Evelyn Leckie

A HISTORIAN, primary school teacher, model aeroplane teacher and CFA volunteer have received the top honours at the City of Whittlesea Australia Day awards.

Gillian Borrack was named Citizen of the Year, Joshua Beare received the Access and Inclusion Citizen of the Year award, Senior Citizen of the Year was awarded to Brian Crowley and Young Citizen of the Year was presented to Liam Gallagher.

Historian Gillian Borrack earned her title for Citizen of the Year for leading the process of achieving museum accreditation for Ziebell’s Farmhouse and Garden from Museums Australia Victoria in 2018. Ms Borrack’s dedication to the community goes back more than 40 years.

Aside from the Ziebell project, Ms Borrack has been the backbone of the Friends of Westgarthtown Executive and she has developed several including the council’s Annual Cultural Heritage Program events Descendants’ Days and Germanfest.

City of Whittlesea Mayor Lawrie Cox said 20 nominations were received for the Australia Day Awards.

“The awards are a great opportunity for council and the local community to recognise community champions who have made generous contributions to the lives of many,” Cr Cox said.

“The nominations highlight the strong volunteer spirit that is so widespread within the City of Whittlesea.

“Every nominee had made selfless and generous contributions to the community which made it hard to choose winners.

“Throughout the year I encourage everyone to look around their local communities and when the awards open again later this year nominate someone who is making a positive difference.”

At the Whittlesea citizenship ceremony, Federal Member for Scullin Andrew Giles welcomed new Australians to the community while also acknowledging the change the date debate which has been an increasingly contentious issue in the media.

“For some Australians, particularly many First Nations Australians, today is a difficult day. I think we are big enough as a nation to recognise this and to talk about it,” Mr Giles said.

“Let us listen closely to each other as we discuss what it means to be Australian, and let us pay special attention to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians so that we can all celebrate what’s great about our country and what it means to be Australian, together.”