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Locals honoured at Australia Day Big Breakfast

Published on Wednesday 27 January, 2021

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Thousands of residents gathered to celebrate Australia Day at Centennial Pioneer Park in Gosnells yesterday, with a hearty breakfast and plenty of free entertainment and activities.

From 8am to 11am, community members enjoyed lamington decorating, mini-golf, Australian wildlife displays, cork hat making and wattle crown craft, fuelled with breakfast cooked and served by the Gosnells Rotary Club.

City of Gosnells Mayor David Goode congratulated the Community Citizen of the Year Awards recipients and nominees, and the Safe City Award recipients.

“The Australia Day Big Breakfast is an important opportunity to bring community members together to reflect, respect and celebrate what it means to be Australian,” he said.

“Our Community Citizen of the Year Awards recipients and nominees, and the Safe City Awards recipients, are to be applauded for their hard work, which directly benefits the City of Gosnells community and demonstrates the Australian spirit in action.”

Brad Thomasz received the Community Citizen of the Year Award for his significant volunteer work for the Gosnells Junior Football Club.

Also recognised were:

  • Unice Robinson, Community Citizen of the Year – Senior
  • Dean Morris, Community Citizen of the Year – Youth
  • Huntingdale Junior Football Club, Active Citizenship Award (Group or Event)
  • Sharon Whiteside, Safe City Awards Community Initiative Award
  • Katie Russell, Constable Peter Ball Memorial Youth Award 

Mayor Goode also encouraged community members to think about others in the community who would be worthy nominees for next year’s awards, and submit their details when nominations open later this year.

Award winner citations:

Community Citizen of the Year – Brad Thomasz
Brad is a driving force for junior and senior sport in the Gosnells region, in particular for the Gosnells Junior Football Club. In addition to coaching junior teams, he served on the club’s committee for several years before taking up the role of President for the past five years. Before football he was involved in Gosnells Little Athletics. During the past year, Brad successfully coached the Gosnells Hawks senior women’s team and was a runner for the men’s team that competes in the Perth Football League. Brad’s countless volunteer hours are crucial in promoting and delivering Australian Rules Football in the district, encouraging residents of all ages to be active and united community members through the sport.

Community Citizen of the Year – Senior – Unice Robinson
For more than 40 years Unice has been involved in the Friends of Mary Carroll Park as a volunteer leader. Her vision for the area, and many years of restoration, revegetation and coordinating volunteers, has transformed the wetland from an overgrown swampland to a beautiful park. An avid photographer, Unice has documented a pictorial history of the area and maintains a Facebook page promoting the Friends of Mary Carroll Park. Her knowledge of plants, birds and insects helps to guide and educate volunteers and visitors, including school children and participants in many events held at Mary Carroll Park. Unice has also been involved in Girl Guides for more than 30 years, including time as Unit Leader for the Huntingdale Gumnuts, and in the Senior Guides Group, as Secretary of the local Trefoil Guild. 

Community Citizen of the Year – Youth – Dean Morris
Dean works tirelessly to volunteer and assist many animal rescue and welfare organisations by sourcing and donating goods, fundraising, raising awareness and participating in adoption activities. The 17-year-old has raised over $250,000 for animal welfare, in particular through Give Our Strays a Chance. Dean helps people experiencing homelessness to care for their animal companions, including sourcing pet food and portable pet bed rolls. As bushfires raged last summer, Dean collected and delivered medical supplies to animal rehabilitation centres to help burnt and injured native animals, on behalf of Give Our Strays a Chance. During COVID-19, Dean partnered with organisations to help struggling Australian families to feed their pets, and participated in the delivery of donations to remote rescue organisations that were stranded without supplies. 

Active Citizenship Award (Group or Event) – Huntingdale Junior Football Club
The Huntingdale Junior Football Club is determined to encourage more children – particularly girls – to be more active and learn football. The club has established a junior football pathway dedicated to promoting girls’ and women’s football, growing from six participants to 40 over the past three years. It coordinates ‘Come and Try’ days, open days and information sessions at no cost for local schools, donates jumpers and equipment to schools and remote Kimberley communities, and actively participates in KidSport. The club sources and accepts donated uniforms, boots and merchandise, to make available for families in need. During COVID-19, the club remained engaged with its players and families, resulting in increased numbers when the playing season recommenced. Fees were reduced to accommodate members who were struggling during the pandemic.

Community Initiative Award, Safe City Awards – Sharon Whiteside
Sharon has been a Gosnells District Neighbourhood Watch volunteer for almost six years. As part of her volunteer role, Sharon educates residents and local businesses about home safety and crime prevention. Sharon volunteers at the Gosnells District Neighbourhood Watch Resource Centre and oversees the organisation of other volunteers to assist with packing crime prevention information kits. She assists residents with hosting Street Meet and Greet events, including organising a barbecue and setting up for the events, and has hosted one in her own neighbourhood.

Constable Peter Ball Memorial Youth Award, Safe City Awards – Katie Russell
Katie is a student at Southern River College who is involved in many programs, including the Student Council and Inspire Netball Club, and is a role model to other students. She has established a Women’s Empowerment Club, which supports equality and freedom from discrimination, allowing students to speak openly about women’s rights and the current political climate, in a safe place. Katie is also a youth advocate and speaks to students at primary schools. She has raised awareness of cancer through the Worlds’ Greatest Shave by shaving her hair off in front of the College community.