Historian wins top award

Manseerat, of Dandenong, at the Australia Day celebration. 203400_01 Picture: GARY SISSONS


A prolific chronicler of local history has been awarded as Greater Dandenong’s citizen of the year at a packed Australia Day celebration on 26 January.

Christine Keys, the long-serving president of the Dandenong and District Historical Society, was recognised for her ongoing preserving, promoting and sharing of the locale’s history to its diverse community.

Meanwhile, Jemma Leeson and Tanishka Sharma were jointly named as young leaders of the year at the ceremony at Dandenong Park.

Jemma was cited for her leadership among peers at Noble Park Girl Guides, as well as being a junior CFA volunteer and sports coach.

Tanishka helped deliver projects for local youth on Greater Dandenong Council’s Young Leaders program in 2018.

She also mentors peers as a FReeZA volunteer, and represents young people at community events.

Interfaith Network of Greater Dandenong president and founding member Agnes Kean was named volunteer of the year.

Ms Kean has been involved in voluntary groups since the 1980s.

The Greater Dandenong Environmental Group was recognised with the community group award. Since 1990, it has conducted activities such as native tree planting, Water Watch, Frog Watch, Clean Up Australia Day and bat nightwalks.

Bryan Hunter, an environmental education specialist at Athol Road Primary School, received the sustainability award.

Mr Hunter helped establish a full-scale urban farm of fresh fruit and vegetables at the school. The produce has been sold and used for cooking classes at Athol Road Primary.

Silverton Cricket Club junior coach Dean Jones was sportsperson of the year.

Since 2016-‘17, he’s increased the club’s junior ranks from 15 to nearly 100. Mr Jones also created a multicultural program and raised funds for disadvantaged children to play sport.

Greater Dandenong’s corporate citizen of the year is Julie Busch, who chairs Dandenong Market and is deputy chair at Interact Australia.

Bob Malcolm, Ian McDonald, Margo Hartley and Josephine De Lange were also added to Greater Dandenong’s list of ‘living treasures’ for their lasting impact on the community.