Celebrating Australia Day

THIRTY candidates from 10 different countries have been embraced with open arms at the City of Hobart’s Australia Day citizenship ceremony on Friday 26 January.

Acting Hobart Lord Mayor Alderman Ron Christie said celebrating with Hobart’s newest citizens was an important part of his role as a civic leader.

“Becoming a citizen and taking out citizenship represents a commitment to Australia and its people,” he said.

“It gives a sense of belonging, because one can fully participate in all aspects of Australian life.

“It is fantastic to see so many new citizens have pledged their commitment to our country, our people, our democratic beliefs, our laws, our rights and our liberties.”

The City of Hobart also played host to the annual Australia Day Awards, which are coordinated through the National Australia Day Council and administered by local councils throughout Australia.

The 2018 City of Hobart Australia Day Awards acknowledge unsung heroes who have made contributions to their community, young people who are deserving of recognition for their community work and for clubs and organisations who have organised outstanding community events.

The 2018 winners are as follows:

Citizen of the Year – Naomi Marantelli

Naomi’s award is in recognition of her tireless community work assisting people from diverse and multicultural backgrounds to support and promote their cultures through community driven creative projects.

Naomi has been instrumental over many years in the production and delivery of numerous community events and cultural projects.

Naomi has coordinated the Veolia Solstice Lantern Parade for the Antarctic Midwinter Festival, the Richmond Primary School Lantern Parade, TMAG school holiday activities and several large-scale artwork murals around Hobart.

For 20-years, Naomi has worked as the community artist for the Myer Hobart Christmas Pageant, assisting community groups with their floats.

For eight-years, she has coordinated with schools to decorate the Princes Wharf 1 ceiling for the Taste of Tasmania.

Citizen of the Year – Mitch McPherson

Few people have the drive and dedication of Mitch McPherson.

When his younger brother Ty died in 2013, Mitch, who is a glazier by trade, turned the devastating loss into the highly successful charity SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY.

Since then, Mitch has spoken at more than 600 events including school groups, work places and sporting clubs and is dedicated to spreading the message that nothing is so bad that you can’t talk about it.

Mitch’s vision is that SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY will become a national charity, with a focus on delivering programs in schools and sporting clubs around Australia to increase awareness and remove stigma surrounding mental health.

Young Citizen of the Year – Grace Ngyuen

Grace has contributed significantly to the development of a more cohesive Tasmanian society through her work with the Hobart Vietnamese community and her assistance to international students.

Grace organises events at the University of Tasmania that help engage and immerse international students in activities that encourage strong social connections.

She is a founding member of the Vietnamese Student Association, as well as a volunteer career mentor in the UTAS Career Mentor Program, helping students link academic study to employment and the realities of industry.

Grace has been inspirational to both the university and the Hobart community as an effective leader, mentor and role model.

Community Event of the Year – Hobart Relay for Life

The Hobart Relay for Life is an enormous event that now plays a significant role in the community since it began in Hobart in 2001.

For the community, the event provides a special opportunity for people to celebrate life, remember loved ones and fight back against cancer through support and fundraising.

In 2017, more than 1,800 participants walked the tracks of the Domain Athletics Centre for their own personal reasons related to cancer.

The funds raised by the Hobart Relay for Life remain in Tasmania and enable the Cancer Council to provide patient transport, personal support, conduct workshops and distribute wigs, information and financial assistance.

Caption: From left, Citizen of the Year winners Naomi Marantelli and Amanda French (on behalf of Mitch McPherson), Acting Lord Mayor Alderman Ron Christie, Young Citizen of the Year Grace Nguyen and Community Event of the Year winners Meredith Hepburn, Raylene Cox and David Swann from Relay for Life. Photo credit: City of Hobart.