Albury, Wodonga, Wangaratta, Alpine name Australia Day winners

Albury has recognised teacher and St John’s Ambulance volunteer, Margaret Whittaker as its citizen of the year.

At a ceremony in Noreuil Park, the council also named Johanna Phommachanh, 24, as its young citizen of the year, a volunteer with Lutheran Aged Care, Upper Murray Family Care, RSPCA and Thurgoona Community Centre.

Volunteer of the year isBarry Youngand community group of the year is theLions Club of Lavington.


​Wodonga has recognised long-time Rotary Club member, Ian Elston as its citizen of the year.

Mr Elston, 69, is a member of the Rotary Club of Wodonga Central, supporting and leading many of the club’s projects including its senior citizens’ Christmas luncheon.

He is a retired defence training manager and a long-serving Justice of the Peace.

The city’s young citizens of the year are Liam Shay and Natasa Sojic.

Liam, 19, suffered a brain injury at 15 but he has had an ongoing involvement in community work with the Upper Murray Family Care Interchange program, YMCA Heads Together program, youth ministry at Catholic College Wodonga, Refugee Week, Carevan and Belvoir Special School.

Natasa, 18, has a strong passion for environmental awareness including Clean Up Australia Day and National Tree Day.

The award for community organisation of the year went to the Lions Club of Wodonga, which will celebrate 50 years of service in 2015.


Wangaratta’s citizen of the year is James Neary, a well-known community leader involved in local groups such as CFA, Landcare and sporting clubs as well as running a farming enterprise.

The city’s young citizen of the year is Laura Costenaro from Whorouly, who was in Year Six at Whorouly Primary School in 2014, creating school and community fundraisers for the school and charities including the Asthma Foundation.

Wangaratta’s community event of the year was the Zonta Club of Wangaratta’s International Women’s Day Year 11 girls career breakfast, supported by secondary schools in Wangaratta, Benalla, Beechworth and Rutherglen.


Alpine Shire’s citizen of the year is Barbara Pyle from Kiewa Valley. Barbara has been actively involved on local committees, boards, clubs, schools and other organisations for more than 40 years.

She was an executive member of both the Falls Creek and Mount Beauty chambers of commerce and a member of the Tawonga and District General Hospital board of management.

The shire’s lifetime achievement award has gone to Stuart Hargreaves, a member of the Bright Fire Brigade for 60 years and an honorary life member of the CFA since 1992.

The community organisation of the year is theAlpine Shire L2P program,a statewide initiative funded by the TAC, managed by VicRoads and delivered by local councils to provide learner drivers with 120 hours of supervised driving practise.

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