Thomas takes top title

Paul Thomas of Gulnare has been announced Northern Areas Council’s Australia Day Citizen of the Year winner for 2021, and Will Bray of Jamestown is the Young Citizen of the Year.

“Paul is a quiet achiever, willingly giving to his Gulnare community, and Will is a strong contributor to the Jamestown and District Community, volunteering many hours for several local groups,” mayor Ben Browne said.

Paul’s volunteering began from his early teens and has continued throughout his life, contributing through various fundraising functions for improved facilities in the Gulnare community including the bowling and tennis clubs, CFS, Hall and History Group.

He was the inaugural president of the Gulnare Cropping Committee from 1980 and a delegate since the incorporation of the Community Development Board (CDB) and provided voluntary services with plant and machinery, for the yearly cropping of the Parklands, cartage of grain or spraying of crops which distributes funds made to local groups.

Paul is a life member, player and skipper, and was greens manager of the Gulnare Bowling Club for many years.

During Paul’s 50-plus years in the Gulnare CFS, he has a representative for National Farmers Federation volunteers and Gulnare National Farmers, and received a medal for 30 years’ service, and a National Volunteers Service medal.

He continues to volunteer as a firefighter and is currently the brigade farm fire unit liaison officer.

During Paul’s time as president of the Gulnare Tennis Club and team captain he encouraged team members, enlisted and supported new members, raised money for new tennis courts, and donated numerous voluntary hours of his time to help in the rebuilding of the courts.

His ongoing contributions to the Gulnare Development Board have seen much needed funds raised for the betterment of the community.

Young Citizen of the Year, Will Bray of Jamestown, spent several years on the committee of the Ram and Ewe Rural Ball, as well as being a well-known member of the local sporting community being an active footballer, tennis and cricket player in the Jamestown area.

Will has also spent much time at the Jamestown Show over the years, with an eager interest in sheep and wool, and with his father Tony, have been regulars in the shearing section.

Will was recognised for his leadership in 2016 when he was named the Jamestown Show’s Young Rural ambassador, which led to him also being named in the same role for South Australia which culminated in an overseas trip to look at different agricultural practices.

He has been recognised for his leadership in other roles, coordinating the Caltowie Tennis team, previously serving as vice captain of the Belalie Mannanarie Cricket Club in Jamestown and has been a strong contributor as a player and volunteer of the Jamestown Peterborough Football and Netball Club.

Community Event of the Year has been awarded to the Bundaleer Motorcycle Club.

The club was formed in 2019 for dirt bike and road bike riders wanting to be able to go on organised motorbike rides, helping to get local community members riding, with the first successful family ride days held in August and September 2020.

Family ride days were designed for beginner riders 50 cc motorbikes up to intermediate and seniors, on three separate all-terrain tracks.

The emphasis of the day was being a family day, where parents can spend the day riding with their children.

The first ride day attracted 155 riders, and the second attracted 186 riders.

The club was also involved in the organising of a road bike ride, (105 riders), with proceeds going to mental health awareness.

For the first time, Northern Areas Council allocated a new Award for Active Citizenship, which has been awarded to Greg Boston of Jamestown.

The award has been established by the Australia Day Council to acknowledge an individual or group within the community who has delivered outstanding work for an event or cause.

Greg Boston has been recognised for his tireless work in the area of Mental Health Awareness and advocacy through the Mid North Suicide Prevention Network.

He has worked incredibly hard to help remove stigma in the community about mental health and to let people know there is help available and that it’s ok to ask for assistance.

In the short span of time since the Mid North Suicide Prevention Network was formed, Greg has helped coordinate some highly successful events, which have been strongly supported by the local community.

He openly admits there’s still a lot of work to be done, but through the leadership which he has shown in the area, is most certainly a very worthy winner.

“It’s great to see four very deserving recipients being acknowledged by the local community for their outstanding contributions,” mayor Browne said.

“Volunteers are the backbone of country communities and we’re certainly very lucky in Northern Areas to have these incredible people.”

Mayor Browne advised recipients of the 2021 Northern Areas Council Australia Day Awards will be acknowledged at an Australia Day Breakfast at Gulnare on Tuesday, January 26.