In 2014 Andrew Dawes from the Lakes Hub, along with Robynne Barrett, nominated Meningie for the KESAB Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Award.
Andrew’s belief in the town and its community led to him gathering a small group of people to create submissions in the many categories available for nomination.
A group of Meningieites then travelled to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre with hopes of winning at least one of the categories.
The day turned into an award-fest, however, with the town of Meningie first receiving the Sustainable Communities Community Action and Partnerships category, followed by wins in the regional awards with Best Town in the Mallee, the Medium Town category and then the ultimate overall winner of Best Town in SA.
Meningie then proceeded as the state representative and competed against other state and territory winners in the Keep Australia Beautiful Australian Tidy Towns Awards in Sheffield, Tasmania.
This meant writing a complete new set of submissions in the categories in that competition.
Andrew, Robynne and Marianne Cunneen then set their sights on the national award and many hundreds of hours were spent compiling a new set of submissions.
In February 2015, 12 locals travelled to Sheffield for the Keep Australia Beautiful awards.
While Meningie did not take home the ultimate prize, the town was successful in bringing home some category awards, arguably resulting in the second best town in Australia behind Toodyay in WA.
Later that year Andrew became the backbone in gathering a group of hard working volunteers to plan the celebrations of Meningie’s 150th birthday year in 2016.
More than 18 months of work went into the year-long celebrations which comprised more than 40 different events.
Andrew was the driving force behind, in particular, the mail run re-enactment across the lake and the lighting up of the Point Malcolm lighthouse.
The Meningie Progress Association recently moved to create an award specifically for local volunteers whose work might often be unseen by many but deserve recognition: the Meningie Progress Association recognition of community service award.
It is not an annual award and it is not an award judged on submissions or nominations but an award presented by the Progress Association if and when it sees an opportunity to recognise a deserving community volunteer.
To this end the inaugural recipient of this award was Mr Dawes for efforts in putting Meningie on the map in the KESAB Sustainable Community and Keep Australia Beautiful awards and the Meningie 150 years celebrations.
Andrew was presented with the award by the chairman of Meningie Progress Association, Marianne Cunneen, at the Australia Day celebrations.