Light Regional Council announce 2018 Australia Day award recipients, including new Community Project category

At the opening of Freeling Anzac Park Memorial Garden on October 31, 2017 is pastor Peter Ziersch, Freeling RSL president Garry Shearing, primary student Trent Goodridge and Govenor of SA Hieu Van Le.
At the opening of Freeling Anzac Park Memorial Garden on October 31, 2017 is pastor Peter Ziersch, Freeling RSL president Garry Shearing, primary student Trent Goodridge and Govenor of SA Hieu Van Le.

Freeling’s recently opened Anzac Park Memorial Garden has been recognised under the Light Regional Council’s new and unique Australia Day award category – Community Project of the Year.

The memorial garden was announced alongside 2018 Citizen of the Year - Freeling’s Gavin Schuster, Young Citizen of the Year – Kapunda’s Darcie Brown and Community Event of the Year – 2017 Kapunda Show.

Complete with memorial walls, pathway and landscaped garden – it was highlighted for its significant historical benefit to the region.

It is also the result of tireless hours of research and planning by Freeling RSL sub-branch members.

Located at the top end of Hanson Street, SA Governor Hieu Van Le officially opened the site on October 31, 2017 to coincide with the Battle of Beersheba, October 31, 1917.

Hundreds, including school children, were in attendance.

Its presence now provides a special place for reflection as well as a public commemoration of the people of Freeling and surrounding district who faithfully served their country

Light Regional Council mayor Bill O’Brien is thrilled with this year’s award recipients.

“The entries we received demonstrated the commitment that exists within the community as well as the desire to recognise the wide-ranging achievements of individuals who selflessly contribute to so many aspects of community life,” he said. 

“It is wonderful to be able to acknowledge the efforts of both of the individual winners, as well as all of the people responsible for contributing to the highly successful community event and project.”

Citizen of the Year – Gavin Schuster

Citizen of the Year Gavin Schuster and with son Corbin during 2017's bumper harvest.

Citizen of the Year Gavin Schuster and with son Corbin during 2017's bumper harvest.

Quite frankly, Mr Schuster says he has “no idea” what led to him receiving the accolade.

He thinks it could have something to do with being instrumental with others in getting Freeling’s Agriculture Community Centre off the ground.

“I have been helping with getting the grant for this,” he said.

Mr Schuster explained how the centre was envisaged about 26 years ago and was again revisited eight years ago, and after a few unsuccessful attempts to gain funding has been given the green light.

He also thought being involved with Shed Men and mental health could have something to do with the award.

However, the Schuster Holdings cereal farmer said while the award is appreciated, he added, “you don’t do these things (volunteer) looking recognition”.

Mr Schuster’s contributions and successes include:

  • Active member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church at Freeling, held various positions including chairman of the Church executive
  • Instrumental in organising the successful ‘Shed Men’ meetings (initiated by the Lutheran church) at different farm sheds, to support men from all walks of life
  • Co-ordinated two ‘Save Our Mates’ functions in Freeling in 2015 and 2017, to support local men with mental health and well being concerns. Both events well-attended
  • Support and guidance to others, including business associates, to develop skills (eg) public speaking
  • A community champion providing active support with recovery activities during and after the Pinery fire
  • Well-respected community member, displays a fair and impartial attitude. Many people refer to him for feedback
  • Active member of Freeling Recreation Park committee, involved with seeking funding for the Freeling agricultural multi-purpose centre project

Young Citizen of the Year – Darcie Brown

Young Citizen of the Year Darcie Brown.

Young Citizen of the Year Darcie Brown.

At just 14, Darcie Brown, who attends Kapunda High School is feeling a bit overwhelmed with news of her award.

“I feel very humble, honoured and surprised about this,” she said.

Darcie’s contributions and success include:

  • Admired by her peers and others within the community
  • Actively involved in the sporting community - including the local football club, basketball club and netball club
  • During 2017 undertook a co-coaching role for an under 11s team for the Kapunda Netball Club. This team went on to win the premiership for their age group
  • Held the respect of the children she was coaching, their parents and other members within the club
  • Her involvement in the local sporting clubs includes volunteer roles as a coach, beginner umpire, senior 1 player (highest senior team for adults at the local grassroots level), and water runner for the Kapunda Football Club
  • With her long list of personal achievements, Darcie is a very humble person
  • An active role model for many young children in the community, encouraging other young people to participate in sport.
  • She encourages others and is more concerned about teaching/helping others to do well, rather than seeking personal success
  • Darcie's contribution and commitment to local sport has also been recognised on a state and national level, in both cricket and football
  • Earlier this year Darcie was selected to compete in the Secondary Schools Sport Australia 15 and Under National Football Championships Team of the Year, after representing South Australia at the National Championships in Perth

Community Event of the Year – 2017 Kapunda Show

A scene from the 2017 Kapunda Show.

A scene from the 2017 Kapunda Show.

It was the small, yet hard-working committee which led to the Kapunda Show receiving the prominent award.

The committee remained committed to ensuring the event remains one of the longest running regional shows in South Australia, with 2017 marking the 160th year of the Kapunda Show.

The show society was nominated for:

  • The 3-day event draws competitors from across South Australia and interstate
  • The event showcased 160 years of tradition and community achievement in cooking, arts, horticulture, agriculture, horses in action, and was well-supported by the community
  • The Kapunda & Light Agricultural Society has hosted the State Country Championship Show jumping twice within the last decade, and has seen strong performances by the region’s Rural Ambassadors go on to represent SA (including Sarah Hazel being awarded 2017 State Rural Ambassador)
  • In the last two years the event has introduced cattle, woodchopping and a ute muster, as well as school entries from around the state competing on the Friday

LRC Australia Day ceremony

Recipients will be publicly recognised for their achievements during an Australia Day Breakfast on Friday, January 26 hosted in Roseworthy.

The free event and open to the public will be held at town’s Soldiers Memorial Hall, corner of Elizabeth and Wright streets, from 7.45am and hosted by the Roseworthy Soldiers Memorial Hall committee.

The event program includes the citizenship ceremony, with the flag raising ceremony performed by the cadets of the Australian Air League’s Gawler Airfield Squadron.

The public is encouraged to bring a chair or picnic rug and enjoy the free breakfast and entertainment on offer.