A good crowd of around 70 people gathered at the Old Shire Office in Dimboola to celebrate this year's Australia Day ceremony.

The Nhill/Dimboola Band entertained the crowd with a selection of popular Australian music, while the Dimboola CWA hosted a morning tea.

It was a particularly hot morning with temperature in the high 30’s, but this did not deter many of the locals and a few visitors from enjoing a morning tea, while they waited for the guests to arrive from Jeparit.

The special guest and Australia Day ambassador was Maree Caldow.

Maree Caldow
Australia Day Ambassador Maree Caldow

Maree’s beaming face is universally recognised in Victorian harness racing circles as she has made a sizable impact on the industry since assuming control of the family’s Melton training establishment in the 1999/2000 season.

CWA President Margaret Menzel opened the proceedings by welcoming the guests. She then handed the proceedings over to Hindmarsh shire Council Mayor Cr Ron Ismay.


Cr Ismay invited Wotjobaluk Elder Aunty Nancy Harrison to perform a ‘Welcome to Country’.  Aunty Nancy received accolades for her words regarding Australia Day.


The raising of the Australian Flag was performed by Cr Ismay and the Dimboola Guides.

Mayor Ismay welcomed his fellow councilors, Ron Lowe, Debra Nelson and Tony Schneider who were sitting amongst the crowd.


He then introduced Ambassador Maree Caldow to the gathering.

Ms Caldow has prepared in excess of 400 winners in harness racing circles, who have accumulated over $2.5 million in prize money.


Cr Ismay assumed that Mrs Caldow earned $6250 per race until she had to correct him saying that she does not actually receive that amount.


Mrs Caldow said she had been an ambassador for about 12 years and has presented to many Victorian councils over that time. She claims although she comes from the suburb of Melton, 30 minutes from the City of Melbourne that she is a country girl.


“I only live in Melton because of the convenience of all the race tracks are close by,” she said.

“I love the country CWA, Roos Football Club and all the volunteers that makes small communities great,” said Mrs Caldow.


Cr Ismay then proceeded to invite the President of the Dimboola Town Committee to present the awards for Dimboola volunteers.

Volunteer Award

The Volunteer of the Year award went to Sharyn Cook

Jo Donnelly and Sharyn Cook
Jo Donnelly and Volunteer of the Year Sharyn Cook

Mr Donnelly in presenting Sharyn said she has a love and passion for her community. As a career nurse, Sharyn displays compassion, empathy, humility and is non judgemental in her work, whose goal each day is to make today a better day for all her patients.


Sharyn has helped organise events for the town, including Carols By Candlelight, helped organise Women's Health Nights run by Des Lardner Pharmacy, by way of organising guest speakers, creating programs and being a speaker herself.  She has been a volunteer for the local fire brigade, the Dimboola Rowing CLub, Horsham Town Hall, the Dimboola Food and Wine Festival and various other avenues as she feels the need.


Sharyn has a wonderful rapport with people of all ages. If Sharyn sees or knows of people in the community who are doing it tough, she offers her support to those in need. Students from local schools have benefited from mentoring programs, which Sharyn has participated in. She opens her home for respite for troubled youth.

Mr Donnelly said, “Sharyn is a wonderful and worthwhile recipient of this award.”


Second Award

This year the unusual step was taken by the selection committee to give a second ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award to Amanda Ingeme.  Amanda was on the selection committee and the nomination had to be hidden from her.  

Amanda Ingeme and Jo Donnelly
Amanda Ingeme and Jo Donnelly

Amanda had participated in committees and volunteering over many years. She is known for putting a lot of time into organising events and has always been an active part of  local events around town. Most if this work is behind the scenes and takes a lot of time out of her day after work and weekends.

Amanda is a member of the  and past secretary Dimboola Town Committee. Her work involves helping with working bees, town events, barbeques, clean up AUstralia Day and much more.


Amanda is the organiser for the Carols By Candlelight, a member of the Dragon Boat team, Car Club organiser and volunteer at the Dimboola Swap Meet. She tutors students in literacy out of work hours.  She also finds time every Thursday to babysit her grandchild.


In the past Amanda has volunteered for St Vincent De Paul, served on the Dimboola Primary School Parent and Friends, Sat on the Dimboola Memorial College council. She was Dimboola Swimming club treasurer and organiser for swimming carnivals in Dimboola.  She has delivered meals on wheels, volunteering for school/kinder events. Taught recorder to students and played piano for kinder Christmas carols.


Amanda has also door knocked for Red Cross the Good Friday appeal, school fundraising drives. Volunteered at the rowing club, Scout and Cubs, playgroups and kinder groups. You also see amanda volunteering at sporting events.

To top it all of Amanda was involved with organising the Dimboola 150 years celebrations.

Junior Volunteer

The Junior Volunteer of the Year went to Danni Haebich.

Danni Haebich
Junior Volunteer of the Year Danni Haebich

Danni is a 17 year old student from the Dimboola Memorial Secondary College. This year she will study Year-12 and is the school captain for 2018.

This remarkable young woman has achieved so much in her short life.

She was School Captain at Dimboola Primary School in 2012 and School captain at DMSC 2018.

Prior to this year, she was Form Captain and SRC representative in 2103, 2104, 2015,2016.

Danni has been a member of the Hindmarsh Shire Youth Council in 2017 and 2018 and a member of the Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholars Program at the University of Melbourne in 2017 and 2018.

DMSC year level Dux 2013,2014, 2016.

Honours student 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

DMSC junior sportswomen 2013.

Danni’s sporting achievements have seen her represent Dimboola and the DMSC in 1500 metre state finals in 2013 and 2016. Three kilometre cross country state finals in 2013, 2016 and 2017.

Competed in a Regional German poetry competition in 2013, 2014, 2015 and the state German poetry competition 2014.

Danni’s volunteer work includes delivering meals on wheels from 2013, to 2016. She is also a lifeguard at the Dimboola Swimming pool and volunteers as a waitress for DMSC and the Dimboola Football Netball club and just to add to that she also a keen Dimboola Roos netballer.

Volunteer Group Award

The Dimboola Volunteer Group award went to the Lochiel Driver Reviver Wayside Stop.

Lochiel Wayside Stop
Lochiel Wayside Stop Dimboola Lions Rodney McKenzie, Greg McKenzie Jan John and Norma Elson

Part of a series of driver stops across the country, coordinated by the Dimboola Lions Club they offer free tea, coffee and biscuits to travellers.

The ‘Stop’ is operated by the Lions Club on long weekends and the Hospital Appeals Committee over the Christmas holidays and Allambi supporters over the school holidays during the year.

The three groups provide extra items such as toasted sandwiches, sausages, dim sims, Lions cakes and various other goods, which alone with generous donations raises significant funds for the groups.

Situated at Lochiel the ‘Stop’ captures those traveling, who would not be likely to stop in DImboola. Often they refer people into Dimboola for tent and caravan repairs, fish and chips, pies and the caravan park or motel.

Most goods needed to run the stop such as milk, bread and ham to name a few are purchased in Dimboola.

Although operated by three separate groups, the groups manning the wayside stop, work together. The Transport Accident Commission supports the ‘stop’ with occasional ‘pit stop’ days with barbeques and games.  

Anecdotally there has not been a fatality on the “fatigue” section of the highway, while the stop has been operating.

Dimboola Memorial Secondary College school captains Tristin Rayes and Danni Haebich both read speeches regarding what Australia Day meant to them.

The proceedings were closed by Mrs Menzel with an invitation to enjoy morning tea hosted by the CWA.


Aunty Nancy Harrison, Tristin Raye and Danni Haebich speeches are published inside January 31 2018  Dimboola Banner