Tenterfield selectors are maintaining the awardee double-up approach to recognise a couple that collectively and individually contribute to the local community, with Allan and Thea McKenzie named this year’s Citizens of the Year at the Tenterfield Memorial Hall on Australia Day.
Last year’s winners were Phillip and Julia Harpham from Mingoola. This year’s nominees also included Lisa Dalton and Jim Byrne.
Both the McKenzies have a medical background, with Allan in charge of the ambulance station for 30 years and Thea working as a medical receptionist.
“These two wonderful people go out of their way for the community, helping out with everything that comes their way – no matter what time of the day or night – nothing is too much trouble,” mayor Peter Petty said in introducing the awardees.
“They have dedicated many hours to the service of the Tenterfield Ambulance Service, Tenterfield Hospital Board, Tenterfield Home & Community Care and Tenterfield High School P&C.
“Allan continues to serve on the Tenterfield Hospital Board, drives weekly for Tenterfield Home & Community Care and does the Tenterfield Aged Care Community bus run.
“Thea is an active member of the Tenterfield Cancer Support Group and is involved in the Tenterfield High School Canteen. She also provides books and runs errands for patients at the Tenterfield Hospital.
“Allan and Thea are an amazing support to many people in need and are always willing to help where they can. They are good, all round, community minded people, sincere and compassionate, and will put themselves out to assist the needs of the elderly and unwell in our community.”
The couple were nominated by Cassandra Stranieri. They were shocked to discover when taking to the stage to accept their award that family members had travelled to Tenterfield for a surprise visit, and to view the presentation, leaving Mrs McKenzie in tears.
Jacob Murphy, nominated by his mum Fiona, was named Young Sportsperson of the Year. Jake has achieved incredible success in the field of athletics in 2017, in both Little Athletics and primary school competitions. Jake was selected to compete in the last years’ state Little Athletics carnival in Brisbane after coming first in discus, long jump, and 70 metre sprints in his under 10 years class at the regional comp. (He also come second in the 100 and 200 metres sprints.)
He was junior boys champion for 2017 for both St Joseph's Primary School and at the Tamworth/Armidale Diocesan District Athletics Carnival, going on to win gold in discus at the Polding Athletics Carnival with a throw of 34.34 metres and breaking the 2003 record. He also ran a commendable sixth in the 200 metres in the NSW Primary Schools State Athletics Championships.
On top of this he plays rep rugby league.
Jake was in fine company, with Tyler Sargeant, the Sir Henry Parkes Memorial Public School Rugby League Team, Braith Clark and Erin Crotty also nominated in this category.
The entire Liston/Wylie Creek Rural Fire Brigade was named Emergency Services Volunteers of the Year award, nominated by NSW Rural Fire Service’s Chris Wallbridge.
These brigade members have given up a lot of their time in the last 12 months with more than 1500 hours spent on incidents and hazard reduction since July 1 alone.
While the current fire season has been exceptionally busy for the brigade, they have also been very active over the last three years with a large number of incidents in their area which covers covers Cullendore, Wylie Creek, Maryland, Amosfield, Liston, Undercliffe, Rivertree and Willsons Downfall.
“The area has just over 350 residents and with 48 members, the brigade represents over 10 per cent of the local population,” Cr Petty said in his address.
“Whilst the brigade primarily responds to grass and forest fires, they have attended a significant number of motor vehicle accidents on the Mt Lindesay Road as well as house fires.
“They provide assistance to other brigades with fires in the Tenterfield District and also perform hazard reduction burns. Training, brigade meetings and community events are all well attended by brigade members, demonstrating the commitment of brigade members to the community.
“We should all be proud of their commitment and the community should also recognise the support of the volunteers’ families and employers.”
The Tenterified Biennial Bavarian Beer and Music Festival, nominated by Skye Stapleton of Tenterfield Rotary Club, was named Community Event of the Year over fellow nominee the Tenterfield Farmers and Producers Market.
Last year marked the ninth biennial event, bringing a band of 25 musicians from the Unter Allgau region of Bavaria, Germany, to perform to the people of Tenterfield and surrounds.
As part of the event there was a Civic Reception, a concert at the School of Arts, a concert for the school students, the BeerFest on Saturday evening and a free concert in Jubilee Park on Sunday instead of the traditional Schubert Mass.
As the visit coincided with Seniors Week, the band also supported these activities with a free concert in Bruxner Park.
“This event was also awarded the Community Event of the Year in 2010 which indicates its importance, both culturally and financially, to the Tenterfield area,” Cr Petty said.
For those who couldn’t be at the awards ceremony, here’s a recording..