New citizens, award winners celebrate Australia Day in the Pilbara
Community pool parties, awards and citizenship ceremonies were held across the Pilbara on Saturday as locals came together to celebrate Australia Day.
City of Karratha
In Karratha, Australia Day celebrations started early with a morning awards ceremony that acknowledged the region’s most outstanding citizens.
Six awards acknowledging stand-out local contributions ranging from event of the year to best community spirit were given out at Karratha Leisureplex.
The major award of citizen of the year went to Blue Beanies Project co-founder, Youth Affairs Council of WA director and foster carer Sandra Spadanuda, while Blue Beanies mentor Pansy Derschow took home the young citizen of the year prize.
Ms Spadanuda, a Karratha resident of about eight years who co-founded Blue Beanies with her husband in 2015, said she was shocked to have been acknowledged as the City’s top citizen.
She said she was proud of the impact the program was having on young people in the community.
“For me personally, it’s the reason I get up everyday,” she said.
“Blue Beanie ... is completely voluntary, we don’t get any payment for it, we do it because we love it ... I think it’s important for the Karratha community.”
The City received 28 nominations for the awards this year.
Cr Long congratulated all the winners and nominees and said their contributions reflected the strong community spirit of the Karratha area.
“Here in Karratha, we’re a long way from anywhere else ... so we’re used to banding together, volunteering and helping each other, and I think it’s really wonderful that we have these awards that have been going so strongly for so long,” he said.
Later in the day, seven residents also officially became Australian citizens at a moving citizenship ceremony at the Leisureplex.
Karratha’s major event — an Australia Day sundowner planned for Karratha Leisureplex — was cancelled on Friday based on cyclone advice issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.
“While it is clearly disappointing to have to cancel community events, especially the Aussie Day Sundowner, which is always very popular with the community, safety is paramount, and so the City made the decision that it would be unwise to stage an outdoor event while the district is on a cyclone watch notice,” Cr Long said.
Shire of Ashburton
Each of the four Ashburton towns spent Australia Day acknowledging their most dedicated citizens and celebrating at community events. In Tom Price, Carly Smith was awarded citizen of the year for her contribution to local sport.
Imogen Bassett was the winner of young citizen of the year.
Fouad Najjarine, a volunteer with Paraburdoo Men’s Shed, was named his town’s citizen of the year, while Andre Rumusud won best youth citizen.
Mel Seymour and Paraburdoo Youth Club volunteer Leanne Harvey were named Onslow and Pannawonica’s top citizens.
Meanwhile Tom Price, Paraburdoo and Pannawonica residents all celebrated the day with local pool parties, while in Onslow people gathered for a community barbecue and activities at the Onslow Sports Club.
Shire president Kerry White said the local government was proud to celebrate Australia Day with free, family-friend events in each town in the district. “We recognise it is important to celebrate what makes our country such an amazing place to live, which is personified within each of our wonderful towns,” she said.
“It is also a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge outstanding residents who contribute so richly to our communities.”
Shire of Exmouth
In Exmouth, the focus was all on community celebration with the Shire sponsoring an Australia Day party at the Exmouth Yacht Club.
There was kids’ entertainment, a foam pit, bouncy castles, beach volleyball, food and an adults-only party from 8am. Yacht club commodore Patrick Newdick said they wanted to have a day that focused on coming together.
“Exmouth is a small place, so everyone knows each other here and that makes a really good atmosphere for an Australia Day celebration,” he said.
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