Ballina Shire Reveals 2024 Australia Day Award Recipients

Ballina Shire Reveals 2024 Australia Day Award Recipients

Your 2024 Australia Day Award Winners announced

Today our community came together to honour our local heroes, welcome new Aussie citizens, and recognise all that is good about living in our beautiful Ballina Shire.

Ballina Shire Council hosted the official Australia Day ceremony at the Lennox Head Cultural Centre. The event featured a Welcome to Country from Aunty Julia Paden, captivating performances from the Ballina Players and the Lennox Beach Line Dancers, a heart-warming citizenship ceremony, and the announcement of the highly anticipated Ballina Shire Australia Day Awards.

Forty nominations were recognised across the award categories of Senior Citizen, Young Citizen, Volunteer of the Year, Community Event, Sports, Arts/Cultural and Environmental. Rex and Di Farrell, 2023 Citizens of the Year, passed the baton and announced the 2024 Citizen of the Year.

Mayor Sharon Cadwallader with Master of Ceremonies Sandra Jackson, a well-known and popular announcer on 101.9 Paradise FM, presented the awards.

Congratulations to the following award winners and nominees:


Joel Taylor

Joel Taylor, a Lennox local since birth, has made a profound impact in the world of surfing and beyond. Originally a professional bodyboarder in his teens and twenties, Joel’s career took an unexpected turn due to a spinal cord injury at the age of 21. However, his passion for the ocean never waned, leading him to embrace parasurfing after two decades.

Within just 12 months of his return to the water, Joel achieved remarkable success. He secured the Australian Para Surfing Title, earning him a spot in the ISA World Para Surfing Championships. His resilience and determination culminated in him being crowned the 2023 ISA World Para Surfing Champion in the Men’s Prone 1 Division. This achievement is not just a personal victory but an inspiration to many.

Joel’s contributions extend beyond his personal achievements. As the founder of Unite Clothing in 2004, he has been actively supporting bodyboarding worldwide. His entrepreneurial spirit shines through this brand, which has thrived for nearly two decades. Joel’s commitment to promoting bodyboarding associations fosters a deep love for the ocean within the community.


Lucy Trease

As Alstonville High’s 2023 School Captain, Lucy Trease embodies leadership and dedication.

Alongside her studies, Lucy co-runs a sourdough bakery with her brothers, providing bread to evacuation centres during the 2022 floods.

An active volunteer, Lucy readily volunteers her time to support younger students in debating teams and the Model United Nations Assembly. She has also coached her brother’s soccer team for seven-years and was actively engaged in school sports, particularly swimming.

Recognised as an NSW Woman of the Year Candidate in 2023, her contributions as a coach, mentor, and leader highlight her remarkable impact on her peers and local community.

The other nominees for the Young Citizen of the Year Award were: Imani Hannaford, Tayla Kennedy


Dr. Colin MacDonald

Dr MacDonald’s distinguished medical career, spanning the Royal Australian Navy (1979-1986), general practice in Ballina (2016-2020), and a significant tenure as Visiting Medical Officer at Ballina District Hospital (1986-2016), showcases his steadfast commitment to healthcare.

As Medical Staff Council Chairman, he championed staff increases and equipment upgrades, enhancing patient care. His work with the Department of Veterans Affairs, providing unwavering support for veterans’ welfare.

Beyond healthcare, Dr. MacDonald’s extensive community involvement includes Southern Cross School, Ballina RSL Sub-Branch and the Ballina Naval Museum.

Recognised as a Life Member of the Ballina Seagulls Football Club for his dedicated care to players, his diverse contributions illustrate a deep community spirit. A true advocate for healthcare and community, continuously supporting individuals in adversity.

Yvonne Scarrabellotti

For over three decades, Yvonne Scarrabellotti has been a driving force in the Northern Rivers community, particularly through her significant involvement in the Ballina and Kyogle Country Women’s Association (CWA).

Her leadership roles, including President and Vice-President, have been instrumental in shaping the CWA’s impact in the Northern Rivers and across NSW. In 2023, Yvonne was recognised for her unwavering dedication with a State Vice Presidency and a prestigious Life Membership of CWA.

Yvonne’s contributions extend to helping during natural disasters, particularly the 2022 floods. She has been pivotal in directing CWA’s efforts to greatly benefit the community, contributing to Ballina SES, Marine Rescue, Mary’s Place, Hot Meal Centre, and initiatives like Education Grants, Riding for the Disabled, Biala, and Human Nature young mental health support.

Yvonne’s community involvement is far-reaching and long-term, including work with Ballina Probus, Ballina Innerwheel, Ballina View Club, and St Vincent De Paul in Kyogle.

Yvonne’s legacy in the Northern Rivers is marked by extensive and long-standing community involvement, making her a symbol of dedicated leadership and service.

The other nominees for the Senior Citizen of the Year Award were: Brenda Zakaras, Colin Lee, Dianne Thompson, Dr Meng Yew Yeo, Jeffrey Gibbs, John Gordon, Veda Dorrough, Warwick Manning.


Ivan Leahy

Ivan Leahy, a resident of Ballina Shire since 2000, has been a beacon of humanitarian service and community welfare. His commitment to helping those in need extends across local and international borders, showcasing his global perspective on aid and empathy.

In the local community, Ivan has served as the chair of the Ballina Hope Haven Women’s Refuge, where he provided invaluable support to residents escaping domestic violence. His leadership and guidance over six years as chairperson and ongoing contributions as a committee member have been pivotal in the functioning and success of the refuge.

Ivan’s role in community service doesn’t stop there. He has been a dedicated volunteer at the Five Loaves Mobile Soup Kitchen and the Ballina ADRA Op Shop. At these establishments, he demonstrates his commitment to providing for those less fortunate, whether it be through serving meals, coordinating volunteers, or ensuring efficient operations.

On an international scale, Ivan is the founder and volunteer operations manager of Kenya Health, a charity that has been providing healthcare in Kenya since 2013. His work in managing the charity, overseeing operations, fundraising, and leading volunteer teams is a testament to his passion for global health and welfare.

Ivan’s empathy and dedication are apparent in his response to local victims of flooding and refugees, where he has extended his support and services. His ability to empathise and act in times of need is a true reflection of his character and commitment to humanitarian causes.

Ken Delany

Ken Delany, a dedicated volunteer with Ballina Marine Rescue for over 15 years, has been a pillar of strength and reliability in the Ballina community. His journey in Marine Rescue started as a commitment to serve and protect, and over the years, he has risen through the ranks to hold various critical positions including Assistant Training Officer, Treasurer, Deputy Commander, Acting Commander, and ultimately, Commander.

Ken’s expertise is not limited to his leadership roles. He is revered as one of the unit’s best trainers, passing on his vast knowledge and experience to new volunteers. His ability to mentor and guide has been instrumental in maintaining high standards of operation and safety within the unit.

Ken has been a crucial liaison for the unit, maintaining robust connections with the Ballina Shire Council and all emergency services within the Ballina LGA. His communication skills and community relations have been key in fostering cooperation and coordination, especially during emergencies.

A familiar voice on Paradise FM, Ken keeps the community informed every Sunday morning with updates on bar and safety advice, weather reports, and sea condition updates. This service is invaluable to the community, especially to those who navigate the waters.

Ken’s commitment to fundraising and securing grants has been vital in keeping the unit operational. His efforts in organising events like the Ballina Boat Show have been significant in raising funds necessary for the unit’s sustenance.

His dedication extends beyond his official roles. Ken is always available and on call, a testament to his devotion to the safety and well-being of the boating community. His enthusiasm and motivated leadership have earned him respect and admiration from his peers, volunteers, and the wider community.

The other nominees for the Volunteer of the Year: Daryl Holmes, David and Robii Harmon, Mark Ross, Nikki Powell, Robyne McGlashan, and Wardell Core.


Purple Friday (Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond and Cherry Street Sports)

‘Purple Friday,’ a collaborative initiative by Cherry St Sports Club and the Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond, focuses on raising awareness about Domestic & Family Violence.

Participants, including over 85 businesses and organisations, wear purple shirts every Friday, symbolising their stand against Domestic & Family Violence and promoting Respectful Relationships.

This community-wide initiative has quickly gained traction in Ballina Shire and expanded to other regions, effectively conveying a strong message of collaboration against a significant social issue. Originating from the Rotary Club’s existing DV campaign, ‘Purple Friday’ showcases innovation and the power of wearable advocacy.

The campaign’s effectiveness is bolstered by the organisational excellence of both Cherry Street Sports Club and the Rotary Club. Their efforts highlight a deep commitment to enhancing community well-being and safety.

DV Walk (Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond)

The Domestic Violence Walk, spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond, unites community members from all walks of life in a stand against Domestic and Family Violence.

The walk, stretching from the Visitor Information Centre to the Ballina Indoor Sports Centre, culminated with addresses from notable figures and entertainment by Ballina Coast High School students.

This event engages diverse community groups, raising awareness, challenging stereotypes, and empowering DV survivors. Participants come together as comrades with a common goal to combat DV.

This collaborative effort extends to educational programs in schools, focusing on long-term behavioral change. The event’s influence has grown significantly, evolving into a Rotary-led campaign in 16 countries.

This expansion showcases innovative approaches to addressing this critical social issue; reinforcing the event’s importance in fostering community unity and action against Domestic and Family Violence.

The other nominees for Community Event of the Year: A Night of Elegance James Bond – Tracey Everingham Armstrong, Flood Recovery Temporary Housing – Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond, Future Fit our Dementia Community – Dementia Inclusive Ballina Alliance Inc, One Year On – Wardell Core.

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