Wagga Wagga’s 2024 Australia Day Award winners were announced on Thursday night (25 January), with Annette St Clair, founder of the Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust, taking home the highest honour.
Four awards were announced: Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Walk of Honour and Environmental Citizen of the Year.
The Young Australian of the Year Award kicked off proceedings, with Youth National Cabinet delegate Angus Smith receiving the accolade. Angus highlighted the importance of young Australians having a voice in today’s political landscape and thanked Vicky Burkinshaw for the nomination.
In 2023, Angus was selected as the NSW Youth Parliamentarian, and was awarded the Youth Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, representing the electorate of Wagga. He attended the Future23 National Conference in Canberra where he represented youth in regional areas. Angus was also a team leader in the YES23 campaign, working tirelessly on social media and communication.
The second award of the night was the Environmental Citizen of the Year. The nominees were Demonstration Gardens Wagga Wagga, Monique Quinane and Sharon Forwood. The honours went to Demonstration Gardens, with founder Jim Rees accepting the award on behalf of the team.
The gardens have been operating for 23 years and have invited locals to visit, connect and learn by demonstrating gardening techniques, landscaping and more.
The next announcement was the Walk of Honour inductee for 2024, with the late Peter Cox recognised.
Mr Cox dedicated more than 30 years to supporting, encouraging and providing opportunities for countless individuals in the arts.
His prolific work in film, stage and the teaching profession nurtured many talents and fostered a thriving arts scene in the Riverina. Feature films Backyard Ashes and The Merger have displayed the essence of Wagga to audiences worldwide. On stage, Mr Cox directed and produced many musical tribute acts, stage productions and interactive performances that nourished the talents of many performers.
The final award of the night was the Citizen of the Year, which went to Annette St Clair.
Ms St Clair formed the Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust in memory of her daughter, who lost her battle with the disease at an early age. Annette has been an active volunteer with the Cancer Council for more than 10 years and has dedicated her time to participating in and organising many community initiatives.
These include a Free Community Skin Check Day, Student Ambassador Day, Saturday Morning All Abilities Bowling League program, Relay for Life, St Paul’s Youth Group, and the highly successful Living Well After Cancer workshops, which have helped local carers and survivors.
Ms St Clair said she was thankful and honoured to receive the award but was adamant that her work with the Aime St Clair Melanoma Trust was not complete.
“This award is an opportunity to encourage others to volunteer while also promoting melanoma detection, sun safety and skin tests,” she said.
“I am very humbled that the city of Wagga Wagga would recognise me in this way. The city has been very supportive of my goals and what I’m trying to achieve.
“I can’t wait to see what things we can accomplish for melanoma patients in the future. I accept this award on behalf of my daughter Aime, who will be super proud of what we have created and who would continue to push to achieve our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.”
The award winners and nominees were:
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNER AND NOMINEES
Annette St Clair – Winner
YOUNG CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNER AND NOMINEES
Angus Smith – Winner
WALK OF HONOUR
Peter Cox – Inductee
Alfred Henry ”Harry” Edmonds
ENVIRONMENTAL CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNER AND NOMINEES
Demonstration Gardens Wagga Wagga – Winner