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Nominees announced for Port’s 2022 Annual Awards

11 January 2023

Eleven outstanding community champions have been nominated for our region’s highest honour – the 2022 Port Stephens Annual Awards.

2021 Annual Award Recipients

2021 Annual Award ceremony

Mayor Ryan Palmer today announced the dedicated, passionate and caring nominees.

“The Port Stephens Annual Awards are our way of recognising the members of our community who inspire us, who go above and beyond and who make a positive impact in our region,” Mayor Palmer said.

“Each year, I’m incredibly impressed by the amazing and selfless people we have in our community. Each and every nominee should feel incredibly proud of their service to our community.

“Winners will be announced in 6 categories, including Citizen of the year, Young Citizen of the year, Sportsperson/group of the year, Cultural Endeavour, Environmental Award and Freeman of Port Stephens.

“I look forward to announcing the recipients at the Australia Day civic ceremony at Riverside Park in Raymond Terrace on Thursday 26 January,” he added.

The 2022 Port Stephens Annual Awards nominees are:

Heather Buckingham

For the last 30 years, Heather Buckingham has played a major role at the St John's Parish Pantry. Heather is a continual force, collecting donations and volunteering every week to provide food and kindness to needy families. In addition, Heather has coordinated Christmas Hampers for families who can’t afford to buy gifts for most of her 30 years with the Pantry.

Heather has dedicated decades of work to our local community including welcoming and supporting families by helping with employment and study, providing guidance with life in a new country, celebrating birthdays, including them in family Christmas celebrations and even attending school grandparent days.

Robert Bull

Robert Bull was a founding member of the Raymond Terrace Men’s shed in 2010, and has been president of the shed 9 times. He’s now an active and lifetime member in Raymond Terrace and also a member of Australian Men’s Shed Association.

As initiator of the Raymond Terrace men's shed band, Robert has been responsible for the shed performing at many external public functions and nursing homes within the community.

He works closely with the Raymond Terrace RSL in planning Anzac Day ceremonies and instigated the men’s shed contributions at the Back to King Street Heritage Festival.

Robert’s contribution to the Port Stephens community doesn’t end there – he’s also a major contributor in providing meals at a local cafe for the more unfortunate members of the community.

Roy Cameron

Roy Cameron is a lifetime member of Raymond Terrace and District Tennis Club Inc. since the club first approached Council for support to build the courts. He was the Project Coordinator, overseeing the construction of the Club House in 1976, and the first 6 courts following this.

Roy and his wife were made Life Members in 1984 and Roy has been on the Club Committee for over 25 years. He continues to help to maintain the 8 tennis courts on a weekly basis and in his own time. Roy's tireless contribution in maintaining the courts has allowed many tennis games to be played by members of the public, school children and club members. Roy also continues to assist in promoting the game of Tennis to Raymond Terrace and the local district.

Gabrielle Carrick

For the last 2 years, Gabrielle Carrick has been the graphic designer for all Tomaree Museum Association (TMA) exhibitions and artistic presentations. Gabrielle leads the design exhibition spaces for TMA pop up museums, such as D'albora Nelson Bay, Port Stephens Art Competition and the exhibition at the Nelson Bay Visitor Information Centre.

Gabrielle has volunteered her time and used her considerable expertise gained through a lifetime of work in this area to produce very professional results for the TMA and the Port Stephens Community.

Her contribution and passion towards the preservation and promotion of Port Stephens cultural and artistic heritage is outstanding.

Jodi Cassar

Jodi Cassar has been an active role model for netball in Port Stephens for over 3 decades now and is the current President of Port Stephens Netball Association.
Jodi spends many hours of her time ensuring that grassroots participation in the game of netball is provided for girls and boys young and old across our community.

Accessibility and inclusion is in an important role of the game that Jodi promotes with all programs offered under Netball NSW, being offered at Port Stephens Netball Association. This includes the recently introduced Inclusive Netball Uniforms policy introduced by Netball Australia and the growth in boys and mens pathways. She’s also helped to instigate the inclusion of Acknowledgement of Country prior to all meetings and at the commencement of each playing day.

Jodi is a Life Member of Medowie Netball Club and also Port Stephens Netball Association and was awarded the Netball NSW Dot McHugh OAM Administrators Award in late 2022 in recognition of the outstanding leadership and management of the administration of netball in the Port Stephens community.

Darrell Dawson

Darrell Dawson has been prominent in protecting native wildlife and habitat for the benefit of the Port Stephens community. Through his involvement in numerous committees, he’s been instrumental in the development of some of the most iconic environmental features of Port Stephens. This includes the protection of the Tomaree National Park and working towards protecting the waters of Port Stephens from pollution and large scale commercial aquaculture development. He was also instrumental in the protection of the Mambo Wetlands and large areas of local koala habitat.

Darrell successfully established the grassroots organisation EcoNetwork Port Stephens Inc. in 1993 that now represents 30 affiliated community groups, and businesses and has a membership of approximately 3000 individuals in Port Stephens. This has all been done with the aim of bringing together the various active environmental and sustainability groups in the LGA, under one network.

Dr Houman Ebrahimi

Dr Houman Ebrahimi is a medical professional and Interventional Radiologist working in Port Stephens, offering bulk billing services to his patients with a holistic approach to chronic illnesses such as cancer and arthritis.

Dr Ebrahimi receives many letters and testimonies from patients thanking him for his wonderful work. He works hard to provide amazing outcomes for his patients and gives them back the quality of life that they’re desperately seeking especially among our ageing population.

He’s dedicated to ensuring his patients receive world-class treatment to ensure they can live an improved life free from chronic pain and without dependency on opiate analgesia. He offers medical imaging and pain intervention that no other medical professional offers in our area. Thanks to his work and his team at Alto Imaging, patients can stay close to home for treatment, rather than travelling into Newcastle or further.

Casey Freeman

Casey Freeman is a young mother to 3 girls and is a passionate koala carer, volunteering with the koala rescue team at Port Stephens Koala Hospital. With her work, she actively contributes to the Conservation of the Port Stephens Koala population.

Not only is Casey an active volunteer, she’s passionate about making a difference in koala conservation and with her daughters, she developed, manufactured and installed Koala signage across the LGA to help drive koala awareness. These signs were recognised and supported across the LGA. In 2022, they were presented to Councillors at a Council Meeting and Casey is now working with council staff on a new program of Koala awareness signage.

Emma Newcombe

Emma Newcombe is an outstanding student, contributing positively to the local community through a wide range of activities and volunteer work.

Emma has been a driving force in the development of the Café Alesco becoming an integral part of its operation and management. If you’ve ever visited Café Alesco in the Raymond Terrace Library you might recognise Emma from front of house operations and her excellent customer service skills.

Alesco aims to reduce barriers to accessing education, so students are able to engage and participate in education to the best of their abilities, whilst gently challenging their potential.

Emma encompasses Alesco’s values, is respectful and is always willing to help her teachers, peers, local community and encompasses the Alesco spirit in all she does – overall she’s an outstanding young lady.

Amanda Phillips

Amanda (Mandy) Phillips is the owner/operator of ‘Mandy’s Cleaning Service’, offering a highly detailed service at affordable prices, ensuring our community can access cleaning support during hard times. Mandy has helped countless families in need by providing them with food and work opportunities.

Mandy assists anyone who reaches out, displaying true community spirit. She offers payment plans to help those in the community who are facing financial hardship. By offering this service, Mandy is ensuring that those who are doing it tough are able to access appropriate services and have food security.

Brooke Roach

Brooke Roach has dedicated his life to creating a better life for everyone in the local community, with a particular focus on young Aboriginal people.

Brooke works as the Aboriginal Liaison Officer at Hunter River High School and has volunteered his time to lead the Raymond Terrace Magpies Rugby League Football Club as its President, co-coach the premiership-winning C-Grade Men's team, work with community organisations, introduce sports and the associated discipline to many people's lives, advocate for better access to services for Aboriginal people across our whole community, and continues to inspire and be a community role model.

Brooke is a Raymond Terrace legend, hard worker, a community leader and aspires to make life better for others. He has made a lasting impression through his passion to improve the wellbeing of people in Port Stephens.

For more information on the annual awards visit portstephens.nsw.gov.au/community/annual-awards

For more information about Australia Day visit portstephens.nsw.gov.au/aussie-day