District Council of
Karoonda East Murray


Australia Day 2019

21 January 2019




One of Karoonda East Murray’s most valued volunteers, Mary Manuel, has taken out the 2019 Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award. On 26 January, she will stand alongside winners of the Community Event of the Year Award - the team behind the annual Karoonda Light The Night walk.

 Mary Manuel is one of the most prominent, committed and passionate volunteers in the district, and has been so for the past 40 years. She has contributed outstanding leadership, sportsmanship, dedication, positive attitude and encouraging efforts across many community groups – including the East Murray Football/Netball Club, Deltas Basketball Club, Wanbi CWA, East Murray Area School, Halidon Tennis Club and more.

 Karoonda’s Light The Night fundraising event has been led by local pair Pauline and Ben Mumford and their volunteer committee, who have given significant time to ensure the inaugural 2018 event was a success. It was a brave move from the mother and son pair who lost their husband and father to the disease recently, and it was incredible to see them to bring the community together to raise awareness for blood cancers - helping local survivors and sufferers connect with one another and feel supported.

 District Council of Karoonda East Murray Mayor Caroline Phillips said the Australia Day Awards were a special way to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of our community members, who play a vital role in the vibrancy and sustainability of our clubs and culture.

 “The selfless contribution of our many volunteers helps strengthen and enrich our community, making it a great place to live and work,” Mayor Phillips says.

 “I’m in awe of the Australia Day winners for their relentless hours volunteer work and passion for helping others,” she says.

 “Our Citizen of the Year, Mary Manuel, has served across many sporting and recreational clubs, as well as the East Murray Area School for over 40 years and is an incredibly worthy recipient. Without people like Mary serving in these roles, our communities don’t survive.

 “Karoonda’s Light the Night walk is a well-deserving winners of Community Event category. Organisers Pauline and Ben put their heart in soul in to this event, and should be exceptionally proud of what they’ve achieved.

 “Our volunteer leaders are a great inspiration to the rest of the community, and I’m incredibly proud of their efforts to ensure our community remains resilient and active during times of drought.”

The awards will be presented at 9am at the East Murray Tigers Sporting Club on Australia Day, 26 January 2019. This follows an 8am breakfast (with gold coin donation) for those in attendance, plus activities throughout the day.


More about the winners:

  2019 Australia Day Citizen of the Year

Mary Manuel has been named Karoonda Council 2018 Australia Day Citizen of the Year.

For over 40 years Mary has displayed a strong commitment in the East Murray community. She has contributed her outstanding leadership, sportsmanship, dedication, positive attitude and encouraging efforts across many community groups. The East Murray Football/Netball Club has had the privilege of Mary’s leadership and volunteering skills for 40 years, where she has held many positions – most significantly President and Vice President.

The same energy and drive for various responsibilities can be said for her 35 years spent at the Deltas Basketball Club, 30 years at Wanbi CWA and Handicraft, and her loyal involvement at the East Murray Area School during her two children’s attendance. Mary was also a member and player of the Halidon Tennis Club (until it closed), ran the canteen at the Mindarie-Halidon Racing Club for around a decade, and has also supported the Halidon Christmas Tree for the last 39 years.

To further highlight the amount of Mary’s contributions, she has previously won the prestigious Riverland ‘Steve McFarlane Contribution to Sport Award’, a huge accomplishment for someone who lives outside of the Riverland.

2019 Australia Day Community Event of the Year

The Karoonda Light the Night fundraising event raises money for the Leukemia Foundation. The event is organised by Pauline and Ben Mumford who have been well supported by a small group of volunteers.

The first annual event held on 6 October 2018 raised almost $5500 – an amazing effort for a small community like Karoonda (and the third highest amount raised across other country towns in SA). The event brought many people together. Locals and visitors from outside the area travelled to attend the event to remember loved ones who have been affected by Leukemia.

The night walk had about 150 lanterns glowing blue, yellow and white.

Pauline and Ben themselves have shown great courage to organise this event with the passing of their husband and father earlier in the year to the disease. It has also enabled many community members a chance to connect with others who have also been in similar situations, as well as help fund research for a cure and raise awareness.


- ENDS –



District Council of Karoonda East Murray Mayor Caroline Phillips
E: mayor@dckem.sa.gov.au| P: (08) 8578 1004

11 Railway Terrace

PO Box 58

Karoonda SA 5307

Tel: 08 8578 1004

Fax: 08 8578 1246

Email: council@dckem.sa.gov.au

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