The City of Darwin Australia Day Citizen Awards presents a great opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge people or groups that have given back to the community and helped others.
Citizen of the Year Award
To be eligible, the person must be an Australian Citizen.
Young Citizen of the Year Award
To be eligible, the person must be an Australian Citizen under 30 years of age on 26 January 2024.
Community Activity of the Year Award
This is presented to the person/group who has staged the most outstanding community activity during the past year.
The selection criteria for Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year are:
- Significant contribution to the community
- An inspirational role model for the Australian community
- The scope of impact the individual’s contribution has in the local government area
The selection criteria for Community Activity of the Year are:
- The quality of the activity
- The scope of impact the activity has in the local government area
- The activities contribution to the community
The Australia Day Citizen of the Year and Community Activity of the Year Awards reward and recognise individuals and organisations that:
- Have made a noteworthy contribution during the current year and/or
- Have provided an outstanding service over a number of years, to a local community to improve the lives of others
- Who are role models, quiet achievers or leaders in our community
Outstanding contribution and community service in areas such as education, health, fundraising, charitable and voluntary services, business, sport, the arts, the environment and any other area that contributes to the advancement and well-being of a community.
We encourage you to nominate individuals who make a real difference in the community and give them the opportunity to be recognised and rewarded.
The application process has been simplified to make it easier than ever to nominate, don't wait do it now!
Nominations close 1 December 2023.
- 2022 Award Winners
Community Activity of the Year - Nepal Festival NT
This year’s City of Darwin Community Event of the Year winner is Nepal Festival Darwin 2022.
Themed “One Country, Many Stories”, the festival promoted Nepal’s unique heritage through a celebration of the Himalayan nation’s diverse ethnicity, art, culture, food, folklore and folktales.
Organisers, the Non-Resident Nepali Association of the Northern Territory had more than 300 volunteers on hand in June last year to make the day-long festival at the Darwin Waterfront a reality. Most of these volunteers had given at two least hours a day of their time for two months in preparation for the festival.
An estimated 10,000 visitors attended the event, spending time learning about Nepal and providing a business spin-off for venues at the Waterfront.
The festival’s most popular attraction was the Nepal House display, which showcased the country’s unique cultures and traditions through the daily lives of Nepali people. The festival wrapped-up that evening with a high-energy performance from the Nepali Rock Band, who flew from to Darwin from Nepal to perform at the festival.
Young Citizen of the Year - Erika Mae Lu
City of Darwin’s 2023 Young Citizen of the Year is Erika Mae Lu. Erika arrived in Darwin as an international high school student from the Philippines but has stayed in her adopted home, becoming an Australian citizen in 2019.
Since embracing her new home, Erika has committed herself to making a positive contribution by helping young people here in Darwin. She does this professionally through her job as a business analyst with the Department of Industry, Business and Trade. But Erika also volunteers for organisations including Starlight Children’s Foundation, Answering the Cry of the Poor (ANCOP), Charles Darwin University’s Career Centre, the Filipino-Australian Association NT, and Young Professionals Roteract NT, of which she is a founding member and an executive director.
This role sees her focus on helping young professionals and graduates step up as leaders in their communities and chosen fields. Erika has also been involved in fund-raising included for Starlight Children’s Foundation’s 2022 Starlight Ball, which generated more than $400,000 to help brighten the lives of sick kids and their families.
Citizen of the Year - Kaye Talbot
This year’s winner of City of Darwin’s Citizen of the Year award has been volunteering to help enrich the lives of people with disability for more than 15 years.
Kaye Talbot has been an active member of Darwin and NT Tenpin Bowling since arriving here in 1991. In 2007 Kaye began coaching bowlers with disability. Coaching people with disability effectively became a vocation for Kaye, who continues her role as a specialist coach today. It’s a calling which has earned her well-deserved plaudits within the tenpin bowling community and among parents and carers of people with disability.
Before the closure of the accredited bowling alley, Planet Tenpin at Nightcliff, the weekly disability league regularly attracted 40 participants to what was a safe and comfortable environment which built community participation for bowlers ranging in ages from 12 to 65. Kaye and the association’s disability officer subsequently worked with KingPin Darwin to arrange a fortnightly social bowl.
In addition to her work with people with disability, Kaye has also successfully coached Darwin’s competitive bowlers enhancing their chances at national championships. Her one-on-one coaching has helped them develop skills, technique, and bowling etiquette. Fittingly, in 2021, Kaye was rewarded with induction into NT Bowling Hall of Fame.
- 2021 Award Winners
Community Activity of the Year - The Kindness Shake
The Kindness Shake is a community-led initiative, set up in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, which supports and focuses especially on international students and temporary visa holders experiencing financial hardship.
Many international students worked in the Darwin hospitality sectors and unfortunately lost their jobs early on during the pandemic response and were unable to access any government assistance. The Kindness Shake moved quickly to provide free meals to those affected by COVID, create a sense of connection and support for many students and community members who were feeling the weight of isolation far from home.
Since its launch in April 2020, this partnership between international student volunteers, education providers, local businesses, multi-cultural groups and government has served over 4,000 meals, assisted 500 individuals, partnered with more than 30 organisations and local businesses, recruited 50 volunteers and raised over $40,000.
Young Citizen of the Year - Anais Henry-Martin
Anais is a very active member of the Darwin community involved and performing with Corrugated Iron Youth Arts High Fliers, NT Music School Con Moto and Rock School, as well as Darwin Middle School BEAT Choir.
Joining the Youth Advisory Committee, in March 2020, Anais recently worked tirelessly for the 2020 Quiz4Dilli, sourcing prizes to the value of well over $800 for the event.
Anais spends her spare time volunteering with St Johns Ambulance and the NT Darwin Cadet division.
Anais was also named as a recipient for the 2020 Citizen award for Darwin Middle School.
Citizen of the Year - Sharm Bali
As a highly regarded community member his work within the disability sector over decades in Darwin is well known, helping and assisting anyone in need.
He is regarded as one of the most generous Darwinians around.
Sharm has been running a community service business Territory Care and Support Services (TCASS) since December 2000, a service that supports many people living in Darwin.
TCASS employees 50 part and fulltime employees. The primary objective is to provide wheelchair assistance for people to manage their daily appointments
Sharms’s volunteer work for more than 30 years has enabled him to be in a position to give back to the community creating many job opportunities for the people of Darwin.
- 2020 Award Winners
Community Event of the Year - Darwin Deadly Runners
Darwin Deadly Runners was founded by a group of volunteers with the aim of encouraging the Darwin community to live more active and healthy lifestyles. Its founders have created an environment that is inclusive, supportive and free; where individuals, regardless of their age, gender, race, nationality or fitness level, have the opportunity and feel comfortable to participate. The ultimate goal is for individuals to run 5km, achieved by encouraging running at least 3 times a week.
The Darwin Deadly Runners has grown to become a large support network and a life-line to many people suffering from mental health issues. The group continues to grow and members are encouraged to volunteer their time back to the committee.
Young Citizen of the Year - Emily Ford
Emily grew up in Darwin and is a Rak Mak Mak Marranunggu woman from Kurrindju (140 kilometres south of Darwin). Emily’s active participation in the Darwin Community is demonstrated through many awards she has won including the Marion McCall OAM Scholarship and NT Leadership Award for the National Indigenous Youth Parliament in 2017. Emily has a Certificate IV in Business Governance and is currently studying law at Charles Darwin University.
Emily’s commitment to the Darwin community is highlighted through her countless volunteering activities, including investigating Aboriginal cosmology in the remote community of Gawa, as an active member on City of Darwin’s Youth Advisory Committee and teaching children to fly drones. Over the past 12 months Emily has also been writing for a local community paper for the UN's Year of Indigenous Language.
Citizen of the Year - Elvira Tolentino
Elvira is an active member of the Darwin and Filipino communities. She is committed to creating a sense of belonging for newcomers from the Philippines, using sport as a way to engage the community. Her focus on this area stems from her own experience arriving in Darwin.
Elvira has participated in, coordinated and managed, organised and created many events for the Filipino and wider Darwin community. This includes hosting the Australian Filipino Sports Festival, coordinating basketball coaching clinics for young members of the Filipino community, organising and managing fundraising Concerts with International Filipino performers and coordinating the hosting of the Philippine Sporting team during the Arafura Games.