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Warrnambool Citizen of the Year John Sherwood

2017 Warrnambool Australia Day award winners

News Article Date: 
Tuesday, 24 January 2017

He has taught thousands of students, helped put Deakin University’s Warrnambool campus on the map but it is his efforts outside the workplace that have earned Assoc. Professor John Sherwood the honour of Warrnambool Citizen of the Year.

Dr Sherwood will be officially recognised in a ceremony at the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens on Australia Day as part of the city’s official celebrations, which get under way at 10.30am.

Dr Sherwood arrived in Warrnambool from Sydney in 1979 and joined the teaching staff at Deakin University.

Since then he has been an active volunteer and held committee positions on a diverse range of groups including Friends of the Warrnambool Botanical Gardens, Society of Growing Australian Plants, Field Naturalists Club of Warrnambool, Mahogany Ship Committee and Warrnambool Anglican Club. 

John has also held roles on a number of boards including the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority, Western Coastal Board, Victorian National Parks Advisory Council, Coastal Management Authority, Marine Coastal Committee as well as being Chair of the technical group for the Warrnambool Safe Harbour. 

He has been a driving force behind the research into indigenous heritage at Point Ritchie which has led to the area receiving heritage protection and the dual name, Point Ritchie-Moyjil.

He has been a stoic supporter of the Deakin University Sharks through some challenging football seasons – a tremendous effort for a New South Welshman who did not grow up with Australian Rules football. In recognition of his efforts on behalf of the club he has been recognised with the Dr John Sherwood Pavilion being named after him.

Warrnambool City Council Mayor Kylie Gaston said that Dr Sherwood’s contributions to all these organisations have made a significant and immensely positive impact on Warrnambool.

“Not only is John one of Warrnambool’s leading scientific minds, his dedication to the community is remarkable,” she said.

“John is so generous with his time and expertise and his ability to communicate effectively makes him one of our most influential community members. 

“He is so deserving of this award.

“It’s also very pleasing to see such worthy winners of our young citizen, event and local achiever awards.

“Our city is fortunate to have such devoted individuals contributing to so many different aspects of community life.”

A number of people were recognised with Local Achiever awards. They were:

Daryl Pedler: for road and farm safety advocacy, football umpiring.

Bernadette Northeast: for successful advocacy for the retention of tertiary education in Warrnambool.

Elizabeth Field: 33 years of volunteering at the Lighthouse Theatre/PAC, the eisteddfod.

Helen Bunyon: a key member of the F Project, was instrumental in establishing the Artery which helps make arts, crafts and creativity accessible to the whole community.

Lorraine Sharrock: for involvement in the University of the Third Age over many years, volunteer Lifeline counsellor, member of Warrnambool’s Probus club, Field Naturalists and polio support group.

Bernice Clarke: for a lifelong commitment to improving the lives of local indigenous people.

Helen Ridgwell: for the work leading up to the creation and success of Tasty Plate, a social enterprise where people with disabilities work in a professional, supported work environment.  

Jeanette Hajncl and Philip Shaw: for positive impact on the performing arts in Warrnambool, specifically in singing including the choirs which they established, Cantori, One Earth Many Voices, The Tin Shed Singers, Khinkali.  Jeanette and Philip are also involved in existing choirs the Warrnambool Ladies Chorale and Warrnambool Mozart Choir.

The Community Event of the Year award went to Holiday Actors. Each year the group provides opportunities for scores of young people from across the region to be involved in theatre production. In participating, the young people learn life skills, build confidence and organisational skills. In 2016 the group put on its largest musical so far, Big Fish.

The Young Citizen of the Year is Maddy Bagg who was recognised for her efforts around animal welfare in Warrnambool.

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