Published on 26 January 2024

Winners of Onkaparinga's Australia Day Awards

Recipients of Onkaparinga's 2024 Australia Day Awards have been recognised for their community service, school and church leadership, sporting achievements, and contribution to the arts and culture.

Onkaparinga Mayor Moira Were presented the four awards in a ceremony at the Hopgood Theatre on 26 January.

Gill Golding was named the Citizen of the Year for her extensive work with the Hackham West community and the Hackham West Community Centre.

Aden Croser was awarded the Young Citizen of the Year award for his leadership at Cardijn College and at Seeds Uniting Church.

Anu Francis was named Sportsperson of the Year for her sporting achievements in badminton, rowing and the triathlon.

The Community Event of the Year went to the Fleurieu Folk Festival, a three-day music and hospitality event held at Willunga Recreation Park.

Citizen of the Year

Citizen of the Year Gill Golding has been recognised for her passion for promoting equality and equity for the 10,000 people who enter Hackham West Community Centre each year.

Gill has served as a member of the centre’s governing council and has spearheaded 22 programs tackling social disadvantage.

These programs have provided support for families, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, cultural and linguistically diverse communities, and those experiencing loneliness and isolation.

The programs include education and employment pathways and measures to tackle food insecurity and homelessness.

Gill has also been a member of the Christies Beach High School Governing Council, People Matters Hackham West and the Central Northeast District Reference Group.

Young Citizen of the Year

Young Citizen of the Year Aden Croser graduated from Cardijn College in 2023.

Aden was selected as a Year 12 college captain in 2023. He was house vice-captain in 2022, a student leader in years 8 to 10, and a young Christian student leader from 2020.

In 2020 Aden was awarded the Marcellin Champagnat Scholarship and subsequently awarded the Reynell Emerging Leadership Award.

Outside of school, Aden leads the XS youth group at the Seeds Uniting Church.

Through the church, Aden has helped organise fundraisers, hosted the 2022 Morphett Vale ANZAC Day Youth Vigil and volunteers his time for charitable causes, including packing food and toy hampers each year at Christmas for St Vincent de Paul.

Sportsperson of the Year

Sportsperson of the Year Anu Francis is known for her national and state-level achievements in badminton, rowing and triathlon.

Anu, an athlete with disability, is a former member of the South Australian Para Badminton Squad. She won medals in Australia twice in 2018 and became Australian National Champion in all three events in 2019.

After taking up rowing in 2018, Anu was placed second in the PR3 Women’s Single Race at the 2019 national championships and won bronze for SA at the Interstate Regatta.

In 2020, she broke ten Concept2 Indoor Rowing World Records, became Australian National Indoor Rowing Champion and the World Indoor Rowing Virtual Sprint Champion.

Competing in triathlon, Anu is ranked second in the world in the PTS2 women’s classification and was recently named Triathlon SA’s Female Athlete of the Year.

Anu was a finalist for the Sport SA Para Athlete of the Year Award.

Community Event of the Year

The Fleurieu Folk Festival has been named this year’s Community Event of the Year, an award it’s taken out for the fifth time!

It is the only folk festival in South Australia and is highly revered on the national folk scene.

The festival in an exciting, vibrant, family-friendly event held over three days at the Willunga Recreation Park.

In its 17th year, the festival is organised by a committee of 12 dedicated volunteers who are assisted by a further 150 volunteers donating more than 2,000 volunteer hours.

The festival greatly increases tourism to the region and is a cultural high point for locals and interstate visitors.


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