2023 Civic Awards

Civic Awards 2023.jpg

On 22 February 2023, Council formally acknowledged the efforts of those individuals, community groups and businesses who contribute to helping others in the City of Maribyrnong.

Mayor Cr Sarah Carter hosted an afternoon where she acknowledged those inspirational community members who give so tirelessly to making the City of Maribyrnong a great place to live, work and visit.

Below you will find the deserving recipients of the 2023 Maribyrnong Civic Awards followed by images from the Civic Awards presentation.

Citizen of the Year winner: Dr John Symons 

Citizen of the Year, Dr John Symons

Dr John Symons is an expert in sustainability and liveable cities, works at Victoria University as a Research Fellow, and has lived in the west for over 18 years.

Passionate about cycling since the age of three, he has worked extensively on the economic benefits of road safety interventions in developing countries as well as active transport and green infrastructure.

As the founding member of BikeWest and Maribyrnong Active Transport Committee, John has been a community pioneer for active transport advocacy in Maribyrnong. He has also personally supported funding for the Junior Bike Skills Track at Hansen Reserve in West Footscray.

John’s passion for his local community has been a driving force behind his goal to create a more sustainable City for our young people, now and into the future. His dedication to championing safe and appropriate cycling infrastructure has earned the respect of many across our municipality.


Mayoral Awards: Flood Warriors, State Emergency Service, Footscray Unit, Inspector Paul Morgan

Flood Warriors

The Flood Warriors is a volunteer group founded during the October 2022 Maribyrnong River flood event. Led by Katherine Sumner, the online group grew at a rapid pace with members offering support to flood affected residents, arranging clean-ups, and sharing goods and resources to those in need. The group demonstrated the strength of our community, and just what can be achieved when people from all walks of life voluntarily come together to support their neighbours in a time of crisis.

State Emergency Service, Footscray Unit

The State Emergency Service, Footscray Unit provided invaluable support during the October 2022 Maribyrnong River, flood which impacted approximately 500 residents in Maribyrnong. The team of volunteers responded quickly and efficiently focusing on the safety of residents.

Inspector Paul Morgan, Victoria Police

Inspector Paul Morgan led the Victoria Police response to the Maribyrnong River Flood event in October 2022, which impacted residents and businesses from around 500 properties. Paul has made every effort to ensure recovery efforts were directed towards positive community outcomes.

Volunteer of the Year Award, Sanda Aye

Sanda generously devotes her time to a wide range of volunteering initiatives across Maribyrnong.

One of her most impactful roles is as a volunteer with Adult Multicultural Education Services Australia (AMES) in the Migrant and Refugee Settlement team, supporting vulnerable refugees settle successfully in the west. Through this work Sanda has been an emotional support to many vulnerable women and families in the inner west.

Sanda’s commitment to her local community is unwavering, particularly her efforts to keep our streets and waterways clean as the founder of the Maribyrnong River Rubbish Club. She co-ordinates up to 30 volunteers each month to pick up rubbish along the Maribyrnong River and surrounding parklands.

Sanda also volunteers with the Footscray Rubbish Runners group collecting rubbish around Footscray CBD, and in the Footscray Mall once a week with Reaching Out Inner West, assisting with the weekly distribution of food to those in need.

Youth Leadership Award, Daniel Melican

Daniel is an active member of the Footscray United Cricket Club and role model within the Maribyrnong cricketing community. Spending nearly seven days a week at Scovell Reserve in Maidstone, Daniel is a much-loved and well respected player both on and off the pitch.

His selfless nature and dedication to the sport means he is always on hand to help out, from scoring to teaching new players. Daniel has served on the Club committee for three years, curated four teams, and in 2022 was appointed Vice President.

Showing no signs of slowing down, Daniel was named one of the 2022 Victorian Turf Cricket Association’s best players under the age of 21 and awarded the grand final medal after an outstanding series – Daniel is definitely one to watch.

Community Strengthening Award, Andy Fithall

Andy is the founder of ‘In Other Good News (IOGN)’, which started during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way of sharing positive news stories online. Broadcasting live on Facebook every night, with his two young sons in support roles as co-host and producer, the page took off – brightening the days of locals across the west.

As the pandemic progressed, IOGN expanded its offering with a focus on connecting community and giving back to charity. Andy launched a free coffee cart, hosted a telethon to raise money for Foodbank, and opened an online store selling coffee beans with a portion of the proceeds going to charity.

Enterprise Maribyrnong Award for Innovative Business, Julian Hills - Restaurant Navi

Julian is the owner and chef at fine dining Restaurant Navi in Yarraville, a two-hatted restaurant that celebrates local suppliers. Paying homage to his American heritage, ‘Navi’ means ‘local’ in Cheeroke, and this restaurant truly lives up to its name.

Julian creates his food using ingredients sourced from small producers and local farms, and has a chat with guests whenever he can to share his passion with others. The Navi Lounge is a new edition and has become a favourite among locals.

Julian has been recently been awarded The Age’s 2023 Good Food Guide Chef of the Year . It is wonderful to have such talent on our doorstep.

Enterprise Maribyrnong Award for New and Emerging Business, Alyshia Clarke - Dance 4 All

Alyshia is the owner and principal dance teacher at Dance 4 All – an all abilities, inclusive dance studio in Footscray, established in 2021, to deliver a dance programme that would positively influence the lives of people with disability.

Alyshia, who is passionate about special education, has watched children over the years miss out on dance classes because of their diverse needs. Dance 4 All has specially designed programs to support these students and give them the gift of dance.

Dance 4 All collaborates with families and their NDIS providers, therapists and school teachers, to meet individual student’s learning and therapy goals.

Enterprise Maribyrnong Award for Contribution to Business Community, Sheridan Rose Shaw - MAMAWEST

Sheridan Rose Shaw is owner of multi-award winning co-working space and hair salon MAMAWEST, which has become a one-stop-shop for self-care needs in the inner-west.

The unique business concept focuses on supporting women, with the Maidstone location now home to four women-led businesses.

At MAMAWEST you will find a Money Mentor, a brow and eyelash technician, and a make-up artist all under one roof.

Sheridan has created a vibrant, safe and welcoming space for the community to connect, receive a haircut and colour, and benefit from one of the other services on offer. Celebrating diversity, MAMAWEST strives to ensure everyone is valued and feels comfortable being their authentic selves.

MAMAWEST also recently won 2022 Best Australian Newcomer Business at the Australian Hair Industry Awards.

Active Maribyrnong Sporting Award, West Footscray Football Club

The West Footscray Football Club has experienced exponential growth in the past seven years, growing from just a handful of teams to more than 200 registered junior players and 130 Auskick players in 2022.

Community is at the heart of this Club, which hosts a range of events throughout the year to which all are welcome. The culture, support and commitment to AFL the Club provides attracts members from across Maribyrnong and beyond.

The Club is also in the process of building a dedicated program and pathway for girls to have their own teams in the coming years.

It recently celebrated its 90th anniversary and remains passionate about creating a space that can be enjoyed by the community for years to come.

Arts Award, Bernadette Fitzgerald

Bernadette has been a valued member of the Maribyrnong arts community for over 25 years and works as a Senior Producer at Footscray Community Arts.

She has a passion for building up and supporting local artists and arts organisations in the inner west. Her generosity and determination in creating an outstanding arts community is unwavering.

Bernadette advocates for best-practice methodologies in community-engaged arts practice and champions representation in the local arts sector, particularly through ally-ship with First Nations practitioners.

Civic Awards 2023 Image Gallery

Select any of the images below to enlarge.