Australia Day Awards
Citizen Of The Year – Christopher D’arcy
Chris has been a member of the Liverpool community for more than 20 years.
For more than 7 years Chris was a member of the NSWSES Liverpool Unit where he served as a Member and Team Leader. During his time, he responded to more than two thousand requests for assistance from car accidents to floods and rescue of people and animals.
In 2016 he co-founded Search Dogs Sydney, a private NGO that trains and uses specialist dogs to search and locate missing persons. He is also one of just four Lost Person Behaviour Instructors in Australia and travels across the country to share his knowledge. He was instrumental in locating a missing autistic child in western Sydney in 2021.
Young Citizen Of The Year – Jorga Suga
Inventor, mentor, and community minded - Jorga Suga has achieved much in her 15 years.
Jorga attends Clancy Catholic College at West Hoxton and supports her fellow students by mentoring young students including helping with homework, all in her own time.
She is a keen swimmer at the Wenden Leisure Centre at Miller and recently helped raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Mega Challenge with her team swimming non-stop for 24 hours in a relay event.
In 2019 when just 12 she invented the Safety Smart Goggle, which aims to reduce drownings by implanting a microchip in the goggles that sends a message via Bluetooth if the wearer is under water for too long.
Then just a year later she invented a needle-free epinephrine injection to treat anaphylaxis. It works by administering a high-pressure stream of adrenaline directly into the person.
Senior Citizen – Garth Eggleston
Garth Eggleston has a history of giving over his life.
In 1955 Garth was called up for National Service in the Navy. Then in 1958 he joined the Rural Fire Service and then in 1963 he joined the Commonwealth Police Force, which is now the Australian Federal Police.
During his time in the force Garth had many operational roles including being in Parkes for the 1969 moon landing and in 1974 spent 10 weeks in Darwin after Cyclone Tracy.
Garth is also one of our own. In 1981 he was the FCO at Liverpool Council.
He has also been a Deputy Captain and Group Captain in the RFS.
During the April 2018 wildfire which threatened Wattle Grove, Garth was involved with operational planning and tactics to protect properties along the Urban interface.
Sports – Ismail Shahid
Ismail has been playing basketball for Hoops Connect at Carnes Hill since 2021 and in that short time he has won Most Valuable Player twice for the under 10’s team.
He has also won Rookie of the year, best defender and broke the club record by scoring 42 points in one game.
He has worked hard to improve his game and dreams of representing Australia on the international stage.
Health Award – Associate Professor Ahmad Alrubaie
Associate Professor Ahmad Alrubaie has been instrumental in raising awareness in Liverpool and the south-west of the impact of Covid-19.
He played a major role through IAMA (Iraqi Australasian Medical Association) in guiding and helping Migrant doctors through the process of recognizing their qualifications.
Dr Alrubaie is involved in teaching and educating undergraduate medical students in
Southwestern Sydney campus, trainees, junior doctors, and general practitioners. He is one of the pioneers of the highly specialised procedure in the treatment of small bowel diseases, the Double Balloon Enteroscopy and he is one of only 2 specialists in the area.
He has been an instrumental to community harmony and inclusion through his health, educational and community work with the CALD communities for over 15 years.
Small Business – Cedar Pest Services
Cedar Pest Services is run by Tony and Bree Mirabito and is known by scores of people and businesses in the Liverpool area.
They are long standing members of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and have built a reputation for honesty and integrity.
Not only are they the go to pest control service in the area, they also are strong supporters of the charity We Are Community incorporated with a portion of all sales going to the needy and homeless in Liverpool.
Fraser Environment Award – Richard Azar
For the past seven years Richard has been working to find a way to treat asbestos and make it safe.
As we know exposure to asbestos can be fatal and his work started in 2015 when the land opposite the school his children attended was found to be contaminated with the deadly fibres.
Richard’s idea involves using microwave energy and a catalyst to render the asbestos harmless. He has been lobbying the federal government for a grant to build a treatment facility here in Liverpool. It would be the first and only such facility in the world.
He has spent his free time and indeed his own money to continue his work to help make asbestos safe.
Macquarie Award – Hammondcare
HammondCare founder Rev Bob Hammond believed every life is worth living – and fighting for. More than 90 years on from their inception, HammondCare is still driven by this mission and serve to improve quality of life for people in need and set the global standard of relationship-based care.
During the crushing times of the Great Depression, with unemployment at more than 30%, thousands of families who rented their homes were vulnerable to forced eviction. Rev Bob Hammond saw this plight daily and was moved to make a difference, using his life savings to launch a radical new concept: a ‘pioneer housing scheme’ to help provide permanent, affordable housing to those in need. He bought extensive land, and on 20 November 1932 the first Hammond's Pioneer Homes were opened in Sydney's southwest near Liverpool. By 1939, the settlement had grown into the suburb of Hammondville with more than 110 families living in their own homes.
In the late 1940s, having achieved its original goals, Hammond’s Pioneer Homes identified another pressing need: the plight of disadvantaged older people whose only means of income was the social service pension. In response to this need, Hammond’s Pioneer Homes established one of the first integrated aged care homes in Australia, Hammondville Homes for Senior Citizens. This comprised self-care units, a care home and hostel accommodation for financially disadvantaged older people. These homes are now known as HammondCare Hammondville.
HammondCare is passionate about improving quality of life for people in need with a special commitment to dementia care, palliative care and innovative research. From humble beginnings in Hammondville, HammondCare now operates in five out of the six states in Australia.
Citizen of the Year - Reverend Stuart Pearson
Reverend Stuart Pearson served as a minister at St Luke’s Anglican Church Liverpool for 25 years, with 20 years as Senior Minister, until his retirement in 2021. In a culturally diverse and sometimes socially disadvantaged community, Reverend Pearson endeavoured to make St Luke’s “a church for all people”. Reverend Pearson ensured that people from all walks of life could access his support and the teachings of the Gospel.
Young Citizen of the Year - Zaccary Lancaster
Zaccary is an extraordinary young citizen who inspires those around him to achieve their personal best and ‘give everything a go’. Zaccary is always observing the world around him and looking for ways to improve it through his involvement with the Australian Air League, NSW Youth Parliament Program, or volunteering with social justice and charitable initiatives and programs through his schooling.
Senior Citizen of the Year - Colin Harrington
Since moving to Liverpool in 1966, Colin has been a true Liverpool identity standing up for the community on every occasion possible. This passion for Liverpool led Colin to serve on Liverpool City Council for 17 years and as Mayor of the City from 1990-1991. After retiring from Council, Colin continues to support many homegrown organisations including Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections (LNC), Liverpool RSL Sub Branch and Liverpool City Council’s Civic Advisory Committee.
Health Award – Dr Colin MacArthur (OAM)
Dr MacArthur is currently the Director of General and Acute Care Medicine at Liverpool Hospital and is greatly respected by his colleagues. He has made a significant contribution to the health care sector, particularly in Liverpool and broader South Western Sydney. He has worked at Liverpool Hospital since 1990 and, in various leadership roles, has provided outstanding service to the local community and the wider health system in New South Wales.
Fraser Environment Award - Voyager Point Environment Volunteer Group
The Voyager Point Environment Volunteer Group have been consistently active in improving and maintaining the natural environment at Voyager Point for the last 18 years. They regularly commit their time and efforts once a month to regenerate the bushland in their area, improving the visual appeal of the neighbourhood and making it a pleasant green space for the community. The group work tirelessly with no expectation of compensation. Their care, passion and energy is reflected in their work and communication with Council. Their work is inspirational for anyone who cares about the environment and the space they have helped create can be enjoyed by residents for many years to come.
Sports Award - Gordon Faumui
Gordon has been employed at Whitlam Leisure Centre for more than 13 years, where he has passionately facilitated community-orientated leisure events. Gordon embodies the ethos of serving his community with a ‘can-do’ attitude and positive outlook and ensures the Liverpool community is at the heart of everything the leisure centre does.
Small Business Award - Casula Hobbies
Gioseppe (Joe) Callapari has been the Owner and Company Director of Casula Hobbies for 40 years and has always made time to devote his services back to the community. In addition to running a successful full-time business, Joe has been a longstanding member of the Liverpool Greenway Rotary Club for over 30 years where he has participated in several charity initiatives aimed at assisting the local community.
Cultural and Arts Award - Patricia Leverett
Patricia has been a dedicated member of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group for over 30 years, a not-for-profit important organisation which provides advice on all matters relating to education and training from the viewpoint of the First Nations community. She is a strong leader in the First Nations community who is highly regarded among her peers. Patricia believes in the power of creativity and art, no matter the form it may take.
Citizen of the Year - Elizabeth Habib
Elizabeth is a long-standing supporter of the Liverpool community through her dedicated involvement in several community organisations including the Austral Progress Association where she has been Secretary for the past decade. She was also a hard-working member of Quota International Liverpool where she served in numerous leadership roles including President, Associate Governor and then Governor. Elizabeth has formed special relationships with several local charities including The Shepherd Centre which provides early intervention to teach the hearing impaired how to develop spoken language. Alongside her husband Harry, she has also organised major research fundraisers for the Cancer Council and Multiple Sclerosis and regularly runs Quota International Liverpool’s barbecues at Bunnings. Ms Habib’s family business, Habib Bros Truck and Smash Repairs, are major sponsors of the Combined Rotary Clubs of Liverpool Police Officer of the Year Awards and provides the pick-up and delivery truck for a local Liverpool charity op shop. Elizabeth has also received an Officer of the Order of Liverpool in 2016.
Young Citizen of the Year - Jonathon Mayorga
As a member of the Australian Air League – Moorebank Squadron for the past seven years, Jonathon’s outstanding leadership skills elevated him to Squadron Sergeant – the highest rank a cadet can achieve. Jonathon leads an internal leadership development program which sees squadron members from lower socio-economic backgrounds gain access to free musical tuition. He also regularly performs at events around Liverpool and Greater Sydney including Christmas in the Mall, and Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services.
Senior Citizen Award – Harry Hunt OAM
Referred to as ‘Mr Liverpool’, Harry has served the Liverpool community through his involvement in the Liverpool Rotary Club and Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, where he served as President for more than 13 years. He has also tirelessly worked on various Council committees to promote Liverpool as a tourist destination. Harry is a generous supporter of fundraising events for the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, Liverpool SES and Liverpool Hospital.
Sports Award – Gabor Fejszes
Gabor has significantly enriched Liverpool’s football community with his coaching flair and hard work ethic. Over the last decade, Gabor has been involved with the Kemps Creek United Soccer Club in various capacities – from player to coach. He has coached several teams to minor premierships, premierships and success at the Champion of Champions tournament, He was awarded Southern Districts Under 21s Coach of the Year in 2019. As the club’s ground manager, Gabor also maintains and ensures the fields at Bill Anderson Reserve are fit for play and voluntarily repaired the Club’s amenities including changerooms, canteen and toilets earlier this year.
Cultural and Arts Award – Claire Abrakmanov
An incredible representative of Liverpool within the culture and arts scene, Claire has built a career on promoting and producing local talent. Migrating to Australia from Malta in 1980, Claire brought with her a love of music and regularly performed in the Maltese choir with her family around Sydney. Claire has balanced a career as a versatile performer and teacher for many years, opening her own music tuition school, Claire&Co Studios, in Liverpool in 1998. Her students have gone on to HSC success and to perform on the professional stage. Claire believes in giving back to the community and instils this in her students who have performed at local nursing homes and various charities including Ronald McDonald House.
Fraser Environment Award – Paul Sillato
Paul shows the utmost care for his local community and environment through his work with the Clinches Pond Environment Group where he has been a volunteer for 17 years. The Group meets at Gloria Taylor Reserve in Moorebank on a monthly basis as part of Council’s environment volunteer program to engage in bush regeneration activities. Paul’s efforts have helped the native flora and fauna in this area thrive. When he is not volunteering, Paul works at the pathology department in Liverpool Hospital. He is also an ardent supporter of various animal rights charities including Free the Bears and Animals Aid Abroad.
Small Business Award - Mobility Masters (awarded to Koray Kadir)
Mobility Masters Australia installs vehicle aids for members of the community living with disability, helping them find their freedom and independence. Mobility Masters Australia founder Koray Kadir is truly passionate about helping people, going above and beyond to provide a tailored service based on the unique needs of each client. This is exemplified through the appreciation and gratitude he receives on behalf of his clients and their families and caregivers.
Small Business Award – Out of Office Espresso (awarded to Michael Tran)
Opened in 2019, Out of Office Espresso has been a popular coffee and food destination for local workers and the Liverpool community over the past three years due to its quality offerings and service. Out of Office shows community spirit, participating in Council activation events including Love Livo Nights aimed at stimulating the night-time economy. Like many other venues, the café experienced a decline in turnover at the height of COVID-19 restrictions. To build the resilience of his business, owner and operator Michael Tran strategically diversified his product offering, launching a new brand under the name Papi’s Mexican Kitchen. The success of this new venture showcases Michael’s ability to understand his customers and discover new opportunities amid challenging business conditions.
Health Award – Professor Jeremy Wilson AO
Professor Jeremy Wilson has been at Liverpool Hospital for more than 15 years, currently serving as Director of Medicine. He is a Professor of Medicine and heads the clinical school attached to Liverpool Hospital where he tirelessly supports medical students, junior and senior Conjoints and academics. He is recognised internationally for his pioneering research on pancreatic disease. Professor Wilson was also an instrumental figure in the redevelopment and growth of Liverpool Hospital.
Macquarie Award – Margaret Parker
Margaret is a long-term resident of Heckenberg and has been extremely active in the over 50s network within her community. Margaret was the second Director at the ANZAC Village Preschool and a foundation member of the Education Union of NSW, a position she has recently retired from. Margaret has given 27 years of volunteer service on the Board of local NGO, South West Child Adolescent and Family Services. Her door is always open to help residents and she has worked hard to ensure the 2168 area, particularly Green Valley, is a better place for the community.
Citizen of the Year - Rajesh Venkataramaiah
Rajesh arrived in Sydney from India in 1998, beginning his commitment to community and environment by taking part in the first Clean Up Australia Day event at Warwick Farm. As president of not-for-profit organisation Sewa International Australia, he has regularly coordinated tree planting events across Western Sydney, facilitated blood, plasma and bone marrow drives for the Australian Red Cross and established monthly meet-ups at Liverpool City Library for seniors of a culturally and linguistically diverse background. Rajesh and his family have been acknowledged by a number of organisations and Members of Parliament for their extraordinary volunteer efforts.
Senior Citizen of the Year – Robert ‘Bob’ Brassell
Bob has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to Liverpool and the All Saints Parish for 55 years. He visits the homes of the sick in the Liverpool area and has been the Master of Ceremonies at major liturgical functions for over two decades. Bob championed the establishment of Liverpool Catholic Club, where he is a life member, to provide families with a space to socialise and work together on initiatives to support local parishes.
Young Citizen of the Year - Kira Rosch
Kira shows initiative when looking to support the needs of others, with a particular commitment to the mental health of young people. The All Saints Catholic College graduate is an accredited Youth Mental Health First Aider, has participated in Headspace Liverpool’s Youth Reference Group and is actively engaged with her local parish.
Fraser Environment Award - Maree Stacy
Maree has volunteered with the Light Horse Park Environment Group for 16 years and is the coordinator of Liverpool City Council’s Environment Volunteer Program, which restores bushland in the Liverpool area. Over the years, Maree has helped new volunteers and community members to understand the value of local parks and reserves.
Small Business Award - Wild FX (awarded to Phillip Raish)
Phillip’s Prestons-based signage and print business is known for printing school, TAFE and university assignments for local students at no charge. An active member of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he mentors struggling business owners as a way of giving back. Phillip’s commitment to community was recognised in 2018 when he received two Western Sydney Awards for Business Excellence in relation to customer service and business leadership.
Macquarie Award – Pino Sgambellone
Each year the Mayor selects an individual or group that has made a significant contribution to Liverpool. This year, the Macquarie Award was presented to Pino Sgambellone. He is a well-respected and valued member of Liverpool’s Italian community and a supporter of the arts. Pino has been the Secretary of Liverpool’s Sister City Program with the region of Calabria since 1995 and has sat on a variety of committees aligned to the Italian Catholic and business communities in Australia. While a board member of the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre from 2000 to 2005, he was instrumental in lobbying the NSW Government to co-fund the centre’s refurbishment and has supported the delivery of art programs which celebrate Italian culture.