Published on 27 April 2020

Gongs for local go-getters

A large number of nominations were received for this year’s City of Onkaparinga Australia Day awards, signifying the abundance of good work being done in our community.

The strength, passion and contributions of individuals and groups nominated for council’s Australia Day awards were commended by Mayor Erin Thompson at the annual Bush Fair on 26 January.

“Whether it’s keeping our waterways clean, making our beaches safe, contributing to our thriving arts and cultural scenes or helping those who are less fortunate, our 2020 Australia Day awards nominees and recipients make our communities a better place to live,” she said. “They make me proud to call the City of Onkaparinga home.”

Let’s meet the winners.

Fleurieu Folk Festival, Community Event of the Year

The Fleurieu Folk Festival, held in Willunga, will celebrate its 14th year in 2020. This three-day family-friendly event is South Australia’s largest folk music festival, offering the community a vibrant weekend of music, dance, poetry, spoken word, children’s entertainment and other folk arts. Each year, the event showcases 50 of the best local, interstate and international performers and musicians covering a range of genres.

The organising committee works year-round to create the event, supported by more than 150 volunteers. Generations of the community of Willunga and surrounds interact, learn and share new skills to bring each year’s event together. The festival is committed to supporting local suppliers wherever possible, also engaging the input of local schools, sporting clubs and community groups.

“The award is a wonderful acknowledgement of all the hard work that goes into creating the festival,” said Festival Director Valerie Corfield. “The award belongs to each of our volunteers, many of whom have been with us throughout our 14-year history.”

A 2018 South Australian Tourism Commission evaluation showed the festival contributes more than $2 million to the economy each year.

Callum Barrott-Walsh, Young Citizen of the Year

A desire to serve others and meet new people drives 15-year-old Callum Barrott-Walsh’s passion for his community work. Already, Callum has been involved with a huge number of organisations and causes. Among other activities, he has advocated for youth through the Onkaparinga Youth Council, joined events to honour war veterans as an Air Force cadet with the 619 squadron at Seaford, tackled local social issues through involvement with Young Christian Students, and promoted conservation and reducing carbon emissions through Cardijn College’s environment club. Callum is a registered carer for his youngest brother who has Down Syndrome. He also spends many hours volunteering to support St Vincent De Paul and Fred’s Van.

Callum said the award promotes what young people can do to help their community. He encourages all young people to get involved in the community by sharing their skills.

“Together, we help to make the City of Onkaparinga a great place for everybody,” Callum said. “The future depends on young people having a voice and the opportunity to make a positive and valuable difference.”

Cooper Bristow, Sportsperson of the Year

Looking at 18-year-old Cooper Bristow’s list of surf life saving achievements and qualifications, it’s easy to see why he’s lauded as a role model to others at the Christies Beach Surf Life Saving Club and in the community. In the 2019 surf season, Cooper was a national and state medal winner in surf skis. In fact, he has won medals in surf competition at state level every year since he began as a junior. With 44 surf life saving awards of competency to his name, Cooper has been keeping the community safe, contributing more than 332 hours of patrols at his local beach. Plus, he spends six days a week furthering his own surf life saving training.

The award helps to share recognition about how surf life saving and competitors operate, Cooper said.

“All the competitors you see at a carnival have given back and contributed to the community in order to race, which is what makes our sport so great,” Cooper said. “To have been given such an award and the opportunity to speak about my sport, I’m able to not only raise awareness about what we do, but also hopefully encourage others to join a sport that benefits both the community and the individual.”

Ruby Carpenter, Little Hero of the Year

Aldinga Bay Surf Life Saving Club junior nipper Ruby Carpenter, 12, is a role model to younger members of the competition squad.

“Ruby loves helping people,” said Ruby’s mother, Ruth. “Winning the award has given Ruby more focus in her support of her surf life saving club, school and church.”

Ruby’s community activities include collecting rubbish she finds on the beach to lessen pollution, supporting the surf life saving club’s junior program by helping to set up and pack away for the day, and being part of the preparations for the club’s Onkaparinga Christmas Pageant float and Willunga Almond Blossom Festival parade.

A variety of other causes benefit from Ruby’s community spirit. She volunteers in the kitchen of Edge Church, and raises money for her school by making and selling surfboard wax.

Carlee Lynch and Chris Lemar, Citizens of the Year

Co-founders of the Adopt a Spot Scheme Carlee Lynch and Chris Lemar attribute the success of the environmental conservation program to the ongoing effort of their more than 250 volunteers.

“Chris and I have received the accolade of being Citizens of the Year, but the award belongs to all of our adopters,” Carlee said.

Organised by Carlee and Chris, people are clearing rubbish and debris from coastal and creek areas in South Australia. The program began in the mid-coast, and now covers beach and creek areas from Goolwa to Port Adelaide, Yorke Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. The Adopt a Spot Scheme also cleans and maintains cigarette ‘butt bins’ across the coast. Information sessions are run in schools and kindergartens to educate young people about caring for our waterways.

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Fleurieu Folk Festival, Community Event of the Year