Skip to Content
Congratulations to our 2017 Australia Day Award winners

Congratulations to our 2017 Australia Day Award winners

27 January 2017

The winners of The City of Greater Dandenong’s Australia Day Awards were recognised for their service to our community in a special ceremony at Dandenong Park as part of the Australia Day Festival.

2016 award winners 

Citizen of the Year - Yvonne Smith

Yvonne is a Noble Park resident who is a long term volunteer contributor to the Country Women’s Association, Noble Park RSL, The Queen Elizabeth Centre, special schools in Noble Park and Dandenong and the University of the Third Age. Her contribution embodies the spirit of Citizen of the Year.

Young Leader of the Year - joint winners Angela Beveridge and Deng Yong Deng

Angela participated in the Young Leaders Program and has gone on to become a program mentor for other Young Leaders. She is now at university and still finds time to volunteer for Kids Hope Australia, World Vision, Red Frogs (Schoolies Support), Dandenong Church of Christ and Council’s Youth Services.

Deng has assisted other young people through The Weekend Academy (an activities program for South Sudanese youth), the Bounce Back program which is conducted with Victoria Police for young people from the juvenile justice system, the South Sudanese Basketball program and as a church tutor.

Volunteer of the Year - Celine Tauro

Celine has been a volunteer tutor with the Too Low in English program organised through St Mary’s parish in Dandenong for 13 years. Although not a trained teacher, Celine has developed her own teaching material at her own cost to support the program and has given countless hours to her students.

Leadership Award - Jo Raphael

Jo has been involved with Fusion Theatre since 1997. Fusion Theatre provides a theatre skills experience for all abilities adults. In addition to her daytime role as a lecturer in arts at Deakin University, Jo is passionate about providing quality drama classes, performances and learning for all abilities students.

Multicultural Award - Atiq Abed

Atiq works actively within the local community to support stronger communities and social inclusion. His paid employment at AMES is complemented by extensive voluntary work with South East Community Links, a research project for the Burnet Institute, development of cross cultural football/soccer teams, voluntary learn to drive mentoring, and is driving the development of a new not-forprofit community organisation called Southeast Connect.

Sports Person of the Year - Sophie Molineux

Sophie plays women’s cricket at local, state and international level and has been selected for the inaugural women’s Big Bash League. At 18 years of age Sophie has achieved so much and has a distinguished career ahead of her. She also gives back to the sport through volunteering with the Gippsland Girls Carnival.

Corporate Citizen of the Year - Ronald Anson

Ronald is the owner and operator of the Norden Group – a transport and automotive business based in Dandenong. Ronald has trained over 90 apprentices since the inception of his business in 1959 and has supported the Jobs for Dandenong Taskforce. He has been involved with the Rotary Club of Dandenong since 1979 and has supported numerous charities and philanthropic causes such as Wallara, Yooralla, Hanover and Relay for Life.


Community Hall of Fame Award - Vajira Ekanayake

Vajira is a very worthy recipient of the Community Hall of Fame Award.  He has dedicated himself to helping others over a lifetime of community service, particularly in providing community education around health awareness and medical issues. Vajira has been the driving force behind the Aus Audio Visual Arts Association which has organised a series of free health related seminars for the community and been a local organiser of volunteers for the Red Cross Blood Bank, an active fundraiser for the local Lions Club and the Red Cross and has worked with local job seekers to support their return to employment. 


Sports Hall of Fame Award - Ross Hepburn

Ross has dedicated many years of community involvement towards his passion for cricket. Ross is a life member and past President of Coomoora Cricket Club and Dandenong Cricket Club as well as the Dandenong District Cricket Association. He is also a life member of Cricket Victoria. His unbridled enthusiasm for cricket has seen local clubs flourish under his leadership and he has been a strong advocate for good governance during his association with Cricket Victoria.

Ross always has an eye on developing sporting opportunities and on encouraging up-and-coming players to be their best.  He is highly regarded by his peers as a tireless achiever in the cricketing world.  As well as his sporting interest, Ross is an active community volunteer, serving on a number of boards and always looking to give back to the community.

Find News