Murrindindi Shire 2024 Community Award recipients

Published on 27 May 2024

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The 2024 Community Award winners were officially announced at a special volunteer appreciation event in Alexandra on Saturday 25 May.

Community Awards were presented in four categories – Volunteer of the Year, Young Volunteer of the Year, Senior Volunteer of the Year and Community Group or Initiative of the Year.

The Award recipients are as follows:

Volunteer of the Year - Darryl King

Darryl has been an active volunteer for many years. He is a long-standing Rotarian, president of the Murrindindi-Woodbourne Community Hub, actively supporting the monthly community dinners and maintaining the gardens. Darryl is also a member of the Goulburn Valley Suicide Awareness Group where he has commenced running of the Yea branch.

Notably, Darryl has raised money for Yea Community Cancer Charity, hosting the annual event “Under the Oaks” in his home!

Darryl is a member of the Murrindindi CFA, sitting on the brigade management team and playing an integral part as the Occupational Health & Safety Officer.

Giving so much to the community without asking for anything in return, Daryl’s community spirit is always vibrant and positive, and he offers to help people without them having to ask. Darryl demonstrates outstanding leadership and integrity, is well respected, has great humour and adds a large amount of charm to Murrindindi Shire.

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Julie Lynch

Julie has spent a lifetime of community service with her teaching career launching in Yea almost 50 years ago, her commitment to volunteering has grown, in particular after her two children grew into adulthood 20 plus years ago.

As Youth Service Director at the Rotary Club of Yea, Julie has implemented the Schools Bursary program, implementing a strong belief in benefits of supporting young people. As President of the Rotary Club of Yea in 2011-12 her natural leadership skills shone. It was the year the Rotary District 9790 Governor came from the Club, adding extra responsibilities that she took in her stride. Julie is the inspiration behind the annual Cycle Dindi which shows visitor and local riders the great outdoors, promotes Murrindindi Shire and raises funds to support youth programs.

Julie has tirelessly volunteered over many years with Rotary Club of Yea, where she has held key leadership roles. She has also been a mentor to numerous Rotary Youth Exchange students as wellbeing host to those students as they spend a year in our local community. Julie also implemented Rotary's “May is Bowel Scan Month” program which saw Bowel Scan kits provided through the local Yea Pharmacy.

Being part of the committee of management for Yea Wetlands Discovery Centre, Julie enjoys rolling her sleeves up to attend working bees, volunteering at the Visitor Information Centre and hosting tours through the Wetlands and historical walks. Julie is a regular volunteer at the second-hand bookshop, the Yea Community Garden and can be seen 'doing the gates' at the Yea Show and the Yea Football and Netball Club. Julie is also a Volunteer Teacher of English as a Foreign Language to students at Seymour TAFE.

Julie’s life has been one of commitment to the spirit of volunteering to build a stronger, more cohesive and inclusive community.

Young Volunteer of the Year – Alexis Holder

Alexis is a busy junior volunteer, she has helped run the Kinglake CWA cake stalls, and has also delivered promotional material for the Kinglake Neighbourhood House. Even with her studies (Tafe/VCE) and parttime work at Songbird Café, she finds the time to volunteer with the Kinglake West CFA and the Kinglake Boomerang Bags project.

Alexis is self-motivated and hardworking, with a positive disposition and is always willing to help out where she can. Her positivity and dedication to the community makes her a great role model. Currently doing her VCE, she has cut back on her volunteering. We wish her well with her studies and thank her for volunteering for the many community groups in and around Kinglake. Her long-term goal is to become an Engineer.

Community Group or Initiative of the Year – Boomerang Bags

The Boomerang Bags Group from Kinglake was initiated in 2017 and is comprised of 10 members who saw an issue with waste, single-use plastic bags and increasing pressure on landfill. The group is now one of 1300 groups world-wide who are working to address these issues of waste, recycling and landfill.

The aim of the project is to divert waste fabric from landfill by recycling this material into reusable shopping bags. Called Boomerang Bags, (for the idea of the bags returning time after time to be reused to hold shopping purchases) they energetically set about gathering scrap material, cutting it up and sewing it into shopping bags, to encourage people to change their shopping habits and reduce their dependence on, and use of plastic bags.

The Kinglake group took on the role of mentor to assist the newly formed neighbouring group in nearby Whittlesea. The two groups now work co-operatively to ensure that the reusable/recycle message is spread a far as possible. More than 150 Boomerang Bags are produced each week and to date some 10,000 bags have been made.

The Boomerang Bag group partnered with Kinglake CWA to make mastectomy pillows for patients who had undergone recent surgery. They also collaborated with Middle Kinglake Primary to produce sustainable bunting for use in party hire packs and Christmas decorations. The group has also provided all the libraries in the Murrindindi Shire with “library” bags and they make produce-bags for fruit and vegetables for community use and dog beds that they provide to the Kinglake Veterinary Clinic.

Receiving a total of 39 nominations for the Awards, Council congratulates all nominees for their important contribution to Murrindindi Shire.

The Awards provide us an opportunity to recognise and celebrate individuals and community groups for their volunteering contribution and commitment to making our Shire such a great place to live work and play.

If you’d like to learn more about volunteering in Murrindindi Shire and how you can give back to your community, visit Council’s online Volunteer Hub.

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Pictured (from left to right): Ursula Jenkins and Christine Stonehouse from Boomerang Bags, (Community Group of the Year), Alexis Holder (Young Volunteer of the Year), Darryl King (Volunteer of the Year).
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Pictured (from left to right): Glenda Woods (accepting Senior Volunteer of the Year on behalf of Julie Lynch), Cr Sue Carpenter and Darryl King (Volunteer of the Year).

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