Mid Murray Council announce their annual Australia Day Award winners

TOP BLOKE: Mannum CFS volunteer Barry Burdett who has served with the fire service for 48 years has been named the 2022 Mid Murray Council Citizen of the Year. Photo: File.
TOP BLOKE: Mannum CFS volunteer Barry Burdett who has served with the fire service for 48 years has been named the 2022 Mid Murray Council Citizen of the Year. Photo: File.

The Mid Murray Council have announced their annual Australia Day Award winners.

A new music festival, a long-serving volunteer firefighter and a young dirt go-kart star have been honoured with the awards.

The winners were formally announced at an afternoon tea on January 11 2022, which also recognised the efforts and achievements of all nominees.

Mannum CFS volunteer Barry Burdett who has served with the fire service for 48 years was named the 2022 Mid Murray Council Citizen of the Year.

Burdett said he had no idea the award was coming his way, that it is an absolute honour to receive and the passion to help his Mid Murray community stems from his family.

"You couldn't pretend it's not an honour to receive this award," Mr Burdett said.

"I sat in with the other nominee and I was sure he would win it. There was a bit of conspiracy behind my back with my friends who nominated me. I had no idea they nominated me.

"I've got to blame my mum for the passion to help and the Mid Murray area. She only stopped volunteering at 98.

"Helping others has been something that has been in our lives forever. Mum won the same award in Karoonda.

"If anyone needed help, mum and dad were there. I think we're put on this earth to help other people.

"I'm fortunate, have good health and I'm able to help others. If there's a need for a helping hand, you hop in and do it.

"I'm 76 now and I would like to see some younger people jump in and help with the CFS and the Lions Club. I'm hoping the next generation put their hand up and help because there is a big hole."

Burdett is also a volunteer with bushfire recovery organisation Blazeaid, and a long-standing member and office bearer with the Lions Club of Mannum.

He has been instrumental in driving and supporting projects including the construction of the Hermann Gass Reserve walkway, Mannum Skate Park Shelter and creating a garden for elderly residents at the Aminya Village Hostel.

Barry also serves as the Deputy Chair of the Mannum Health Advisory Board and volunteers with the local Lutheran Church.

Young sport star Hayden Mason has achieved national and state level success in his sport of dirt go-karting and is the recipient of the 2022 Mid Murray Council Youth Achievement Award.

Getting behind the wheel of his first kart at the age of three, and competing locally as a junior with the Blanchetown Kart Club, Hayden has gone on to win many major titles and blue ribbon events.

Hayden said to win the award doing what he loves most is a great honour.

"After it sunk in, I was very happy and shocked," Hayden said.

"I didn't know that I was nominated, so I can't believe it.

"It's a real honour to represent the Mid Murray community and I would encourage other young people within the community to give anything a shot from sport to the CFS.

"I'll be aiming for my first year of senior racing in 2022 and another successful year with the Mannum Roo's Footy Club."

In 2021 he defended his title as SA's number one in his class, winning SA Junior Light Champion for the second consecutive year.

He's also a three-time grand final player with the Mannum Roos Football Club, where he has played since the age of eight, and trains with the Mannum CFS Cadets, all while balancing school and his part-time work.

Mid Murray Mayor, Dave Burgess said the winners and all the award nominees displayed outstanding commitment and dedication to their local communities.

"Each year we seek to recognise the Mid Murray's unsung heroes and each year we are reminded that community spirit and the value of service to others are alive and well in our district," Mayor Burgess said.

"Our volunteers go above and beyond in many areas from those in the emergency services keeping us safe through to our sporting clubs, community service organisations, event organisers, tourism volunteers and many more.

"These awards are a way to shine the spotlight on some of our quiet achievers who have made a significant contribution to our district.

"Without their efforts, we wouldn't have the same level of services, events, sports and recreation offerings, programs or facilities that Mid Murray residents currently enjoy. We are grateful for their enthusiasm and commitment to our community."

Cordola Camping and Recreation was recognised for its efforts in organising the new Cordola Rocks the River event held on October 30 2021 with the Community Event of the Year Award.

The festival attracted over 300 visitors to Cordola (south of Morgan).

It gave local artists and musicians affected by reduced performance opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic the opportunity to shine and raised funds to send one senior performer and one junior performer to the Tamworth Country Music Academy.

Organisers deemed the inaugural event such a success that planning is already under way for a 2022 festival.

All awards will formally be presented at the Council's Australia Day celebration, Breakfast in the Park, at Mary Ann Reserve in Mannum on January 26, 2022.

The community event is supported by the Lions Club of Mannum, which will also present its Lions Youth Achievement Awards on the day.

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