The Australia Day Citizen of the Year Awards Winners 2021
Citizen of the Year
Frank Wangutya Wanganeen
Frank Wanganeen has lived in City of Salisbury for the better part of 20 years and has been a significant contributor to building relationships between City of Salisbury and the Kaurna and border Aboriginal community. He has also been a valuable cultural and language educator for the community, actively participating in educational activities within the community and particularly with young people.
Frank’s advice to Council on a range of key matters has been invaluable, as it is informed by his strong drive towards reconciliation and in sharing understanding about Aboriginal cultural beliefs and practices. He is a passionate advocate for young people, cultural education and environmental issues. For example; Frank is Chairperson of Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group, is a member of the Phoebe Wanganeen Scholarship Selection Group, and provides support for the Morella Community Centre via its Thriving Intercultural Communities program.
Frank is always looking to the future, with a view on education for next generation, for example sharing the Kaurna language with younger people to ensure it is preserved for generations to come. He is always happy to perform the important Welcome to Country at community events, and has shared his knowledge within recent events including heading guided cultural walks along the Mangrove Trail and conducting a native plants talk at Paralowie Community Garden.
Frank is a recognised leader within our community and it is richer for his involvement and ongoing leadership.
Young Citizen of the Year
Zahra Bayani is an outstanding young leader that does so much for her community. Zahra is currently studying Bachelor of Physiotherapy Honours at University of South Australia and hopes that one day her studies will empower her to work with disadvantaged youth and women to support them in overcoming adversity to reaching their full potential as integral members of the community.
Zahra herself has had to overcome adversity, having arrived in Australia in 2017 from Esfahan, Iran in 2017 with no grasp of English. Upon her arrival, Zahra completed the New Arrivals program at Thebarton Senior College before going on to finish Year 12 and receiving an acceptance into university. Her leadership, development and will to achieve and lead her community are re exemplary.
Zahra is a Team Leader and Assistant Coordinator for two youth leadership programs called RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) and RYPEN (Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment). These programs teach more about leadership, teamwork, communication, conflict resolution and management, public speaking and interpersonal skills. Zahra is also a Mentor for Spire Coaching which is a youth development program for high school students where they are taught leadership skills and how to utilize these skills and become great members of their community.
Furthermore, she is an Event Responder or First Aider with St John Ambulance where she provides first aid to members of the public at football, cricket, soccer, concert and other public events. She is the Past President of Global Peace Rotaract club at Thebarton Senior College and also member of the Salisbury City Rotaract Club. Zahra is the Secretary for the Afghan Student Association at UniSA. Additionally, she is an Ambassador for the Australian Migration Museum. She is also volunteering with Australian Refugee Association (ARA) and Australian Migration Resource Center (AMRC).
Zahra interviewed Penny Wong, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate for the Global Peace Conference for 2020 and was interviewed by Penny Wong too. She is a great leader, role model and mentor with the Afghan and also wider Australian community. Zahra has integrated well into the Australian Community and also has a great heart and spirit for helping those in need.
Zahra is driven to contribute to the community and does not do so for recognition, but is truly deserving of it.
Senior Citizen of the Year
Christine Pike is secretary/treasurer of the Ingle Farm Sporting Club and has dedicated more than 20 years of voluntary service to the Club. Chris also represents the Club on a number of committees and is the ‘go to’ person for anything Club-related. Chris holds the keys to the Club meaning she is on site from open to close. Chris is also a valued netball and basketball coach, contributing her time to coaching for more than 10 years.
Recently, while many sporting organisations struggled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris guided the Club through this tough period via keeping on top of the administration and bookwork and ensuring responsible spending. As a result of this careful handling of the situation, Chris ensured the Club was able to not only remain open, but to maintain its traditions such as a Christmas Party held for the community at the end of the year. This was significant during what was a difficult year for many.
Some time ago, when the Club was going through a tough patch financially, Chris offered to volunteer behind the bar and help out wherever else she could to ensure the Club returned to a financially sustainable position.
Chris has also built up relationships with community organisations, and different levels of government, in order to tap into grant funding and raise money for the benefit of the Club to enable it to afford new infrastructure including a balcony, scoreboard and kitchen.
The Ingle Farm Sporting Club would be lost without Chris, and it is great to be able to acknowledge her today for everything she has done over the years behind the scenes.
Bianca Simeoni is recognised for her tremendous volunteering efforts as President of Salisbury International Soccer Club, which has grown massively under her guidance. Bianca has always had strong links with the Club, which is known as “Salisbury Inter”, as her father and uncles all played for it at various stages over the past 50 years.
When Bianca began in her role the Club consisted of three senior men’s teams with a total of about 45 players and was run out of small clubrooms with a single pitch at Underdown Park. Today, thanks to Bianca’s efforts, Salisbury Inter is unrecognisable, boasting about 350 players made up from more than 20 teams including girls and women’s programs and, more recently, a junior boys program.
Bianca has advocated and overseen an upgrade of facilities, and the Club now has three state-of-the-art pitches and two large sheds. This is thanks to Bianca’s vision to introduce new elements to the Club, which she has acted on by working tirelessly to seek partnership with key local, state and federal governing bodies and ministers.
Other highlights include Bianca’s efforts in guiding Salisbury Inter into the National Premier League competition, gaining Australia-wide exposure for Salisbury. She has also encouraged players from a range of different backgrounds, including in 2018 when the club fielded a team made up entirely of Bhutanese women. In addition, every ‘off season’ Bianca works tirelessly arranging a seven-per-side female competition to allow girls and women to enjoy the game in a less formal setting.
These are just some of Bianca’s achievements in volunteering her time and talents for Salisbury Inter to grow the club and bring the community together, and she is an excellent example of active citizenship.
Salisbury Community Achievement
Last year Council decided to introduce a new commendation, the Salisbury Achiever’s Award, with the very first recipient to be acknowledged today, as part of the 2021 ceremony.
The Award is intended to acknowledge the outstanding and significant contributions of an individual or group to the wellbeing and prosperity of our community.
Council received a number of strong and deserving nominations, featuring local people and groups which have contributed to our community across a diverse range of fields – from protecting us and our properties during the bushfires that arose in early 2020, to providing meaningful assistance to those who are less fortunate.
This diversity highlighted the collective efforts of everyone in performing admirable feats during 2020.
As you are of course aware, 2020 served up many challenges for the entire community.
But on the back of that, we overcame physical distancing to connect in ways we had not before. We saw members of our community step up to assist Council in offering support to those who were vulnerable, as well as checking in on those around them to make sure everybody was doing OK.
In order to acknowledge these widespread and collective efforts during what has been a truly difficult period, we are proud to present this award to each and every one of you; The City of Salisbury community.
A plaque will be installed in the Salisbury Plaza for the community.
Mayor’s Commendation recipients
Friends of the Pledger Wetlands
‘Friends of the Pledger Wetlands’ is a dedicated group of volunteers which works to maintain and improve the environment of the Pledger Wetlands at Mawson Lakes. The Pledger Wetlands covers an area of more than 10 hectares which stretches for about two kilometres. The group works tirelessly to ensure the wetlands are able to be continually enjoyed by walkers and cyclists, while allowing wildlife to thrive in a biodiversity corridor.
Rachael is the founder of ‘Backpacks 4 SA Kids’, which was born out of her carport after she started putting items together to give to South Australian children experiencing disadvantage in order to comfort them and assist with basic needs. From this initial dream, Backpacks has grown into an organisation that assists more than 3,000 South Australian kids every year. Recent additions of Home Starter Anchor Packs and a Christmas Gift Drive also help a further 5,000 vulnerable children and young people each year.
Nicolette is passionate about her community and motivated to make a difference with a goal to improve the quality of life of others. Despite living with a significant disability, Nicolette has contributed greatly to the Salisbury community during the past three years as a Salisbury Youth Council member. She has also volunteered through the Every Life Matters Salisbury Suicide Prevention Network and the Julia Farr Youth (JYF) advisory group.