Forrest Electorate: Awards

I would like to congratulate the winners of the Shire of Harvey annual community awards and also the residents in the Forrest electorate who were recognised in the King’s Birthday honours.

The Shire of Harvey annual community awards recognise our volunteers: the ones who make the Harvey shire the caring community that it is. The prestigious Meritorious Service Award was presented to Marion Lofthouse who has a record of community service that is absolutely inspiring. Much of what you see around the town of Harvey is a credit to Marion’s work. She has held leadership roles in the Harvey Mainstreet Committee, helped coordinate the Harvey Harvest Festival and has put art into the streets of Harvey. She is a longstanding member of the Harvey Historical Society, has helped with the preservation of the Harvey railway station building and its transition into a museum, and is also a member the Harvey Town Hall Preservation Committee.

The Shire of Harvey Appreciation Award for residents who’ve made really significant contributions was received by three local people. Daryl Fishwick volunteers with the local Leschenault volunteer bush fire brigade and Eaton-Australind Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service. He coaches and referees local basketball and junior footy, as well. Maureen Foss, another Appreciation Award recipient, has a deep love of music and has supported the Harvey Catholic Parish with her talent with guitar and choral works. She also cooks many meals for the Harvey Community Dinner, which feeds up to a hundred people. Taarna Cam is the third Appreciation Award recipient. She loves swimming and wants to make it inclusive for people with disability. She also volunteers for the Australind Swimming Club and helps members with their training.

The Youth Award went to Taya Larkman who’s a member of the shire’s youth collective and volunteers at Our Lady of Mercy College in Australind. The shire’s Community Group Award went to Lot 208 Youth Inc, which is a safe and inclusive place and space for youth in the community aged between 12 and 18. Up to 60 young people use Lot 208 Youth every Friday night. Congratulations to all of these people.

A number of very dedicated people were recognised in the King’s Birthday honours. Dan Norton was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to agriculture and the community. As the chair of the Harvey Water cooperative, Dan was instrumental in establishing the co-op and the piping of the Harvey and Waroona irrigation districts, a pipe system which has created enormous water efficiencies.

Senior Sergeant Heath Soutar, officer in charge of the Australind police, was awarded the Australian Police Medal. He’s held in very high regard for his integrity and drive, at times in challenging roles, in Australind, Collie, Laverton, Merredin and around regional Western Australia. Our local arts community is celebrating the recognition of local leaders, artists, Leon Pericles and Caroline Wood with their appointments as members of the Order of Australia. A local legend dedicated to preserving the iconic Busselton Jetty, Trevor Fitzgerald, received a very well deserved award with the Medal of the Order of Australia, and our very noted Margaret River winemaker Vanya Cullen was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to viticulture and oenology.

Vanya is absolutely a powerhouse. She’s at the helm of one Margaret River’s founding wineries and has worked for most of her life on the family farm that was started by her parents, Keven and Diana. She’s been Cullen’s chief winemaker since 1989 and became managing director a decade later. Cullen is an organic and biodynamic certified winery and was the very first winery in Australia to be certified 100 per cent carbon neutral. She has been named the winemaker of the year by Qantas/the Wine Magazine as well as woman of the year and green personality of the year by a magazine in the UK. She has also been inducted into the Australian Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame.

Basically, Vanya has helped to put Margaret River on the map. The quality wines that come out of that winery have helped the reputation of Margaret River as one of the fine wine-producing areas in the world. They also host the Cullen Award for Excellence, which is in honour of her parents, who started Cullen wines and brought that focus on excellence that Vanya has continued and enhanced in her time.