Joint winners named Citizens of the Year

Published on 25 January 2024

Citizens of the Year Pat Tacey - Neville Cartledge - 2024 web2.jpg

Neville Cartledge OAM and Pat Tacey have shared the top honour and jointly been named Hepburn Shire Citizen of the Year. Alice Newitt was named Young Person of the Year, with Special Commendation to the youth band, Elysium, and the popular ChillOut Festival took out Event of the Year.

Hepburn Shire announced its community awards at a busy event held at the Daylesford Town Hall. A large crowd gathered to celebrate award nominees and welcome two people who hailed from Sweden and Côte d'Ivoire who pledged to become Australian citizens. Djaara Traditional Owner, Peta Hudson, offered a Welcome to Country.

Mayor, Cr Brian Hood congratulated the award nominees and recognised their considerable contribution over many years.

“From rehabilitating wildlife, to supporting their neighbours through flood and fire, running community events and programs, to supporting people experiencing hardship… the contribution of our Citizen of the Year award nominees cannot be overstated,” said Cr Hood.

“We have a wonderfully generous community, and these nominees represent what makes our community such a great place to live,” he said.

Joint Citizen of the Year, Neville Cartledge OAM, has long been a contributor to the Creswick community. He began raising funds for the Creswick Hospital in 1953, and joined the Creswick Hospital Board in 1970. In 1983 he became a Foundation Board Member of the John Curtin Memorial Hostel Committee.

He has made an enormous contribution to scouting in the district over his 70 years of service, during which time Neville trained 33 Queen Scouts, an extraordinary number from one Scout group, and holds the honour of being a Scout Life Member for Victoria. He has also been a member of the CFA since 17 years of age, last year marking 68 years of service.

Joint Citizen of the Year Pat Tacey has also made an incredible contribution to the Creswick community. Pat’s experience as an educator and leader has come to the fore in his work leading community resilience and disaster recovery efforts in Creswick, as well as fundraising for Creswick residents in need, distributing essential resources and supporting mental health programs in Hepburn Shire. Pat works collaboratively with groups and organisations and is described as always having the community at heart.

Young Citizen of the Year Alice Newitt is an active volunteer with the Clunes Football Netball Club, Clunes Booktown Festival, Hepburn Shire Youth Forum and as a dance leader for young people through Clunes Neighbourhood House. Local band Elysium, which formed in 2021, received a Special Commendation in the Young Citizen category.

ChillOut Festival took out the Event of the Year award, an event that brought more than 30,000 people to the Shire last year. ChillOut is an incredibly successful, fun and colourful event which has grown to become Australia’s largest queer country pride festival since its inception in 1997.

“These awards recognise just a small handful of people in our community who are making a big contribution. We thank everyone for their time, commitment and effort. It is an absolute pleasure to recognise their work through these awards. Congratulations to all the nominees and award winners,” said Cr Hood.

People nominated for Citizen of the Year were Wendy McKillop, Trish McMahon, Margaret Orr, Jenni Sewell, Neville Cartledge (joint winner) and Pat Tacey (joint winner). Event of the Year nominees were Calembeen Parkrun Launch, CresFest 2023, Spud Hut Tours during Spudfest, Creswick NAIDOC Week Celebrations and ChillOut Festival 2023 (winner).

Council will create a new category for the 2025 awards. This will be the Hepburn Together Award, which will recognise and celebrate the contribution of community groups and organisations. Nominations for the 2025 Community Awards will open later this year. 


Image: Joint Citizens of the Year Pat Tacey and Neville Cartledge.