Winners of the 2017 Cowra Australia Day Awards

Mayor of Cowra, Councillor Bill West has congratulated all of the 2017 Cowra Australia Day Award recipients. The announcement of the winners was made today at the Australia Day Awards presentation at the Cowra Civic Centre.

While congratulating all of the winners, Cr West also commended all nominees for the awards on their significant contribution to the community over the past year and encouraged them to continue with their outstanding work for the Cowra community.

"Special mention must obviously go to the winners, but also those nominated for these awards; in the eyes of the community, they are all exceptional and utterly deserve to be recognised," Cr West said.

This year's winners received their certificates from Cowra's 2017 Australia Day Ambassador, author, motivational speaker and widely respected disability advocate for carers and people affected by brain injury, Cheryl Koenig.

And the winners are:

Community Group of the Year

Cowra Uniting Church Food Hall

Rarely does an organisation receive recognition two years in a row but Cowra Uniting Church Food Hall is a rare organisation. As winner of the Community Group of the Year in 2016, the Food Hall has achieved a remarkable feat by winning again in 2017. This volunteer run organisation seeks no accolades, just quietly goes about their business, the business of helping to reduce household grocery expenses for those who need it. Cowra's Food Hall assists people to lighten the budget load, make new friends and join a social network that grows annually.

Dr Warren Whiley Memorial Award

Heather Kiely

Heather Kiely's extraordinary work has been a highlight of many art exhibitions. She has won awards at rural and Royal shows, winning Grand Champion on one occasion. She produces and paints porcelain art, creates glass slumping works, teaches art and paints in various other mediums. Heather built a studio at home to provide classes and demonstrations for others. She hasn't limited her contributions to the art world and has been active in many community and sporting organisations. Heather spends much time in her garden and was featured in an article in the Australian Open Garden Magazine in 2016. She participates in Cowra's Open Gardens regularly and has ranked in the committee of Cowra Garden Club for a significant period. She is a talented dressmaker, tailor and advocate for good health, leading Tai Chi lessons for friends.

Young Citizen of the Year

Maddison Johnson

Maddi Johnson has taken part in many events that support the Cowra community, particularly in 2016. She has been an active Youth Council member since 2014, taking on coordination of many activities. She was a Senior School Prefect at Cowra High School, selected to take part in the National Youth Science Forum in Canberra. She was also chosen as one of only 6 Australians to participate in the United Nations Global Youth Leadership Forum in the US. Maddi was 2016 Lions Youth of the Year and Youth Peace Ambassador. Maddi is recognised as a hard working young leader and community minded person.

Cowra Citizen of the Year

Rowena Casey

The list of Rowena's achievements is extraordinary. She has been involved in school, community, church, sporting and health committees over a long period. Rowena's selection as 2017 Citizen of the Year is the culmination of a significant amount of coordination for the CWA State Conference in 2016.

In 2016 she was the primary driver for the highly successful CWA State Conference held in Cowra, Chairing a team of well-organised volunteers. The Conference had social and economic benefits for the entire Cowra Shire, hosting over 700 delegates. Engaging business and tourism within Cowra ensured the success of the conference, with an estimated economy boost of over $2.5 Million.

Rowena has been widely recognised in our community for her amazing contributions winning the Lion's Club Citizen of the Year and now the Cowra Shire Citizen of the Year for 2017.