Karoonda District Congratulates 2024 Australia Day Winners

Published 17th January 2024

Three of Karoonda East Murray’s citizens have been recognised for their achievements after recently being announced as the 2024 Australia Day Award recipients. Elizabeth Kerr has been named the Citizen of the Year, Matilda Baumgurtel being named Young Citizen of the Year and Janine Dutschke being awarded for Active Citizenship. On 26 January, they will stand alongside winners of the Community Event of the Year Award - the team behind the Karoonda and Districts Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital 50th Anniversary Celebrations. With a special commendation awarded to the team behind the Sandalwood Hall Centenary Celebrations.

Elizabeth Kerr embodies the true spirit of community dedication and service. As an integral member of the Historical Society, Liz passionately preserves the town's rich heritage. Her involvement in the Karoonda Centenary celebrations and commitment to the Farm Fair Committee, showcase her enduring dedication. Not only is she a Life Member of the Karoonda Districts Netball Club, but she also actively volunteers for the Mallee Storm Sporting Club, exemplifying her commitment to local sport. Liz is consistently lending her voice to public consultations and leaving a mark on initiatives that shape the town's future. Renowned as the local historian, Liz's passion for preserving the past ensures that the community thrives with a strong sense of identity.

As a 2023 Karoonda Area School graduate, Matilda Baumgurtel has had a busy 12 months and shown significant leadership in the community. Being an active member of the Youth Action Committee has seen her engage in many group projects since its inception in 2020, with the most recent involving a Barista Course training day in Adelaide for youth from the district. Matilda is also involved in the Mallee Storm Sporting Club, never one to shy away from a shift on the canteen or duties at the netball courts. An active member of the River Murray Youth Council run by the Landscape Board. If that wasn’t enough, Matilda was also part of the World’s Greatest Shave in November 2023, joining a team of fellow students and teachers at the Karoonda Area School, cutting her hair to raise much needed funds for Leukemia.

Janine Dutschke has been recognised for her exceptional commitment to fostering community connections and enhancing the vibrancy of Karoonda. Stepping into an executive role with the Karoonda Farm Fair & Show, Janine has played a pivotal part in driving opportunities for community engagement. Janine's active involvement in endeavours like recruiting a general practitioner to the town highlights her dedication to the health and well-being of the community. Additionally, her active participation in the Lutheran Church showcases a holistic approach to community involvement. Janine's genuine care for Karoonda is evident in her continuous efforts to contribute positively, creating an environment that residents proudly call home.

The Karoonda & Districts Soldiers Memorial Hospital's 50th Anniversary has been awarded Community Event of the Year, recognising its historical significance and the community's unwavering commitment to healthcare. Commemorating its opening on February 14, 1973, the event drew heartfelt appreciation from the Karoonda Hospital Auxiliary, with former Mayor Allan Arbon shedding light on the collaborative efforts that brought the hospital to fruition. The celebration included a reunion of past and present hospital staff, with the day filled with an atmosphere of nostalgia, storytelling, and laughter over shared memories.

A Special Commendation for Community Event of the Year was given to the Sandalwood Hall Centenary Celebrations. On October 21st 2023 residents of Sandalwood past and present gathered to celebrate the centenary of the opening of the hall, organised by the hall’s 10-member committee. The day was filled with community members sharing stories of events gone by and wandering among displays of vintage cars, one off historical wedding gowns, stalls offering local goods, with a BBQ lunch and roast tea. Special guest Peter Goers unveiled a plaque to commemorate the day. Committee members expressed their admiration for the halls endurance for 100 years after it was built and its importance as a place for people to gather and interact in person.

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 community 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 so pleased to have this opportunity to acknowledge our Australia Day winners for their many hours of volunteer work and passion for helping others,” she says.

The awards will be presented at Pioneer Park, Karoonda on Australia Day, 26 January 2024. Starting with a BBQ breakfast (gold coin donation) at 9am, followed by the official awards ceremony at 10am featuring Australia Day Ambassador, Professor Jennifer McKay AM.

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Media contacts:
District Council of Karoonda East Murray Economic Development, Tourism and Communications Officer, Sarah Murdoch sarah@dckem.sa.gov.au
P: (08) 8578 1004