PHOTO GALLERY: Ballina celebrates its heroes, diversity
GIVING the "good old Aussie go" and looking out for your mates were strong messages advocated at today's Australia Day ceremony in Lennox Head.
Packed to the rafters, hundreds of Ballina Shire locals gathered to celebrate the community's achievements for Australia Day festivities.
The ceremony opened with a welcome to country from Bundjalung Elder, Uncle Grahame Marlow, who echoed the wise words of Martin Luther King Jr to promote diversity and inclusiveness of all people.
Ballina Shire welcomed 19 new Australian citizens including a family of five as well as people originally from Brazil, Austria, India, UK, USA, Cambodia, South Africa and Sweden.
Mayor David Wright and special guest, former Winter Olympic gold medallist, Alisa Camplin, presented the new citizens with their citizenship as well as the winners of the Australia Day Awards.
Forty-four nominations were received across the categories of Sports, Arts Cultural, Young Citizen, Senior Citizen, Community Event and Local Hero.
The Awards program celebrates the achievements and contributions that our unsung heroes make to our community.
Kirk Trease was named Local Hero of the Year after his acts of bravery saved two lives during two separate water rescues in 2015.
The first was in May 2015 when he and two other men risked their own lives to rescue a father and son off South Wall, Ballina. They managed to save the life of the father.
About 24 hours later, during the flooding on Uralba Rd, Kirk rescued a woman from a sinking vehicle.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Trease said he was honoured to live in this community and commended the efforts of his fellow nominees for their dedication to the Ballina Shire.
Ballina Shire Australia Day Awards winners
- Citizen of the Year - Doug Stinson
- Sportswoman of the Year - Shirley O'Brien
- Sportsman of the Year - Russell Priddle
- Arts Cultural Award - Kim Michelle Toft
- Local Hero of the Year - Kirk Trease
- Senior Citizen of the Year - Beatrice Gray
- Community Event of the Year - Tintenbar Up Front Music Nights