Australia Day Awards

Each year the tireless efforts and outstanding contributions of Macleay Valley citizens and community groups are recognised at Kempsey Shire Council’s Australia Day Awards ceremony.

We have many champions in our shire who do wonderful deeds in their community, who work quietly around our towns, drive kids to footy practice, deliver meals-on-wheels, perhaps volunteer with the RFS, the CWA or other community organisations, or just make a difference.

The Australia Day Awards are an opportunity for these people and community organisations to be recognised for their contributions.

Nominations are now closed.

Nominations closed at 3pm, 5 January 2024 in two categories:

Citizen of the Year Award

Do you know of someone who has contributed or given outstanding service to the community or been an inspiration to others, either during the last 12 months or over a number of years? 

Local Hero

In a year where group activities and annual events have often been disrupted, the committee is this year calling for nominations for Heroes of the Macleay.

Nominees can be young or old, volunteers or not, as long as they are people who have made a difference to the Macleay in the past year. Do you know someone or a group who made the community stronger, gave back or has been a role model for others as we’ve dealt with floods, COVID-19 restrictions and disruptions?


Can't fill the form in online? Download the printable version of the form HERE.

More information

About the 2023 awards

2023 Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony

More than 300 members of the Kempsey community gathered at the Slim Dusty Centre on Thursday 26 January 2023 to celebrate the outstanding work of a record number of citizens and volunteers from around the Shire.

The annual Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony kicked off the public holiday with entertainment, a free community breakfast and the celebration of Australia’s newest citizens.

Kempsey’s 2023 Australia Day Ambassador, television star Jolene Anderson, congratulated all the nominees on their incredible contribution to the community. The Kempsey Australia Day Awards Committee, which determines the community awards, reported that they had received a record number of nominees this year from the community and presented 17 awards including:

  • Community Group of the Year
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Young citizen of the Year
  • Citizen of the Year
  • Local Heros (more than one of these awards may be presented).

The event was jointly funded by Council and the NSW Government through the Reconnecting Regional New South Wales Grant.

Find out about the Australia Day Award recipients for 2023 by clicking here.



About the 2022 awards

2022 Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony

The 2022 Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony was held at the Slim Dusty Centre on 26 January 2022 with a free breakfast from 9am, entertainment and a morning full of celebrations. Sixteen of the shire's newest Australian citizens were also welcomed.

The Australia Day Ambassador for 2022 was Dr David Kirkpatrick. Although he is the son of our local legend Slim Dusty, he has certainly made a name for himself, not only as a singer but also as a medical doctor and Chair of the Slim Dusty Foundation. As you can imagine, growing up on the road with Slim and his wife, Joy, was not the typical upbringing but a unique Australian story that David shared with us.

The Australia Day Awards are administered by the Australia Day Awards Committee on behalf of Kempsey Shire Council. The committee selects each award category winner. Being nominated for an Australia Day Award is a great honour.

Kempsey Shire Council celebrated the 2022 Australia Day by presenting awards for:

  • Citizen of the Year
  • Local Hero (more than one of these awards may be presented).

Find out about the Australia Day Award recipients for 2022 by clicking here.

Tips for nominating

Each year, we sift through a large number of nominations for our Australia Day Awards. The ones that stand out aren’t always those that are the best written or have a long list of referees. The best nominations are those that tell a story, the ones that paint a picture of a great Kempsey resident making a difference.

So don’t be daunted by the task of nominating your inspiring colleague, local champion, friend or family member - or even yourself! You don't have to be a great writer or have a pile of information.

Just consider these tips for writing a stand-out nomination (we got them from the BIG Australia Day awards team and they know their stuff):

Open with the important information

Start with a clear and specific statement that outlines why your nominee is worthy of an Australia Day Award. This only needs to be one or two sentences. Ask yourself: What activities or actions has the nominee undertaken that stand out? What has the nominee accomplished that goes above and beyond their job description? What special skills or talents have they employed? How has the nominee changed their community? Why are you motivated to nominate this person?

Consider your audience

The people on our Australia Day Committee are everyday Kempsey residents from all walks of life. They hail from Council, business, not-for-profit organisations and community groups, and span various fields of endeavour and profession. Imagine you are talking to an intelligent, engaged audience but also people who DO NOT have specific expertise in your field. Spell out acronyms the first time you use them and avoid using jargon, overly technical language or terms that may not be familiar to people outside your industry. Don't assume we know how much time or effort something takes.

Share their story

Strengthen your nomination by painting a picture of the person. What motivates them to make a difference? What personal challenges have they overcome in their life? Why do they inspire others? How does this person make you feel?

Don’t just say it, prove it

Use real-world examples that demonstrate why your nominee is an inspiring role model. Whether your nominee is the first one to lend a hand at the local football club or the person staying back late each night in the lab, we want to know the stories of their life and the impact they have made.

Tell the facts

If possible, support your nomination with hard facts and reliable statistics. Can you provide specific measures of this person’s success?

Aim for quality, not quantity

A long nomination isn’t always a better nomination. Try to keep your sentences short and concise and avoid repetition. Steer clear of detailed job descriptions or work histories.

Stick to the selection criteria

Our committee is looking for people who contribute, inspire and make a difference, so ensure your nomination addresses these criteria.

Think about a referee

It may help to name someone else that supports your nomination, who is aware of the nominee’s achievements and will be able to provide any additional information if required.

Check eligibility

Take the time to check that your nominee meets the eligibility criteria.

Be specific

Please be as specific as you can by providing examples which show how the person you are nominating has made an outstanding contribution. Generalised statements such as 'the nominee is community minded' or 'the nominee is willing to offer assistance whenever needed' may be true but they do not provide enough relevant information.

Read about previous winners 

Look at what the committee idenitifed as being important about the previous winners and how it was described.

Previous winners

Read through the winners back to 1981 on our archive of former award winners.

Important awards information

Key dates

The committee will make its determination on 10 January 2024.

The awards are presented at the Australia Day Awards ceremony at the Slim Dusty Centre on 26 January 2024.

Conditions of entry

  1. Entry in these awards is open to all persons who are residents of the Kempsey Shire on 26 January 2023. 
  2. Nominations must be made on the official form either online or in writing. 
  3. Nominations may be made by an individual or organisation. 
  4. You can nominate more than one individual, but a separate form must be completed for each nomination. 
  5. It is permissible to contact Council for advice regarding nominations. 
  6. All nomination information and materials submitted remain the property of the Kempsey Shire Council.  
  7. The Australia Day Committee has the right to vary the category if a different category is more appropriate.
  8. Nominations from the previous year may be reconsidered. Nominations are permitted for those previously nominated who did not win awards. 
  9. The Australia Day Committee's decision is final.


If you have any questions on the entry process, read our Tips for Nominating first.

If you can't find what you're looking for, please contact the Australia Day Committee by emailing or phoning 6566 3200.