State Recipients

South Australia’s Citizen of the Year 2024


Mrs Gill Golding – City of Onkaparinga

Gill is an inspirational leader who feels the pulse of her community in Hackham West and the hardship it faces as a low socio-economic area ranking in the top 3 percentile of disadvantaged suburbs nationally, with significant levels of disadvantage across a myriad of social indicators.

Gill is comfortable working on strategies, advocating to Government Ministers, MPs and Councillors or working on complex funding agreements. Equally you will find her packing food parcels, organising raffle items or manning a stall at a community event. Her can-do attitude and willingness to get involved and make a difference rubs off and inspires others to do the same,

For six years Gill held the position of Chairperson of the Hackham West Community Centre Board of Management, leading the strategic and operational activity of the Centre through some tough and turbulent times.

Each year Hackham West Community Centre delivers 22 programs tackling disadvantage to over 10,000 people. Its programs and events build a sense of community connection and cohesiveness, seeking to achieve equality and equity for the people of Hackham West.

Gill has also been a member of the Hackham West Children’s Centre Governing Council, the Christies Beach High School Governing Council, People Matters Hackham West (PMHW) for over 13 years and the Central North East District Reference Group. Through these connections, Gill has made a significant impact on her community.


Citizen of the Year – commendation

Denis and Maria Pellizzari – Adelaide Plains Council

Together Denis and Maria have significantly contributed to the community of Two Wells for the past 57 years.  Following their marriage in 1956, Denis and Maria had three children, one of them with an intellectual disability, inspiring their work to enable their daughter to integrate into the community.

Working as a Bank Manager, over a period of 35 years Denis became involved in the community through playing football then becoming club President, Secretary and Treasurer and finally auditor. He was instrumental in establishing and ensuring the ongoing funding of both a kindergarten and Community Centre in Two Wells, becoming President then Treasurer for many years.  Involved in the Cricket and Bowling Clubs for years, Denis still audits the books for both as well as for a range of other clubs, all on a voluntary basis.

Maria was also heavily involved in the football club, working in the canteen, washing team guernseys and providing players’ meals. She hosted many cabarets and dinners to fundraise for the kindergarten, was on the Community Centre committee for many years and was chief organiser of meals for the Melodrama for over 20 years, producing more than 1000 meals per year.  This essentially paid the debenture loan obtained from the Council for the centre.

Maria was a St Johns volunteer for over 20 years, advocated for children with disabilities, organising a bus to collect children with special needs to take them to Elizabeth Special School. Involved in the Catholic Women’s League, Maria organised church functions and catering, as well as fundraising and visiting sick members of the parish.  She undertook all of this while raising three children, later caring for her parents until their deaths.

The Two Wells community owes much to Denis and Maria.


Young Citizen of the Year – Recipient

Alexandra Seal – City of Salisbury.

Alexandra is a dedicated and passionate advocate for social justice, community service and environmental sustainability, demonstrating active citizenship and enhancement of community life through various platforms, both within and without her school,

Actively engaged in volunteering within the Loreto School, Alexandra is a member of the Peace and Justice Group, the Environment Committee, and is Chair of the Loreto UN. She has been involved in these committees’ advocacy and fundraising, raising funds for the Hutt Street Centre and taking part in tree planting in Victoria Park. Within her school, Alexandra has led many initiatives in support of the environment such as implementing solar panels, recycling programs and sustainable packaging.

Advocating and raising awareness for various social causes to help the disadvantaged in the local community, Alexandra donates her own time, money and resources. Through her business, Six Spaces, she donates all profits from jewellery sales to a range of charities.  Using her creative skills, Alexandra created a compelling video advocating for girls’ rights as part of the Mind the Gap movement for UN women.

Through her involvement with the Governor’s Leadership Foundation, Alexandra engaged with the elderly residents at Southern Cross Care, offering companionship and creating resources to guide nursing homes in fostering intergenerational connections. A participant in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, she has been the recipient of the Steele and Cooper Award, won the Premier’s ANZAC Spirit Prize as well as awards within her school community. However, Alexandra seeks only to help others and the environment, not recognition or awards.


Young Citizen of the Year – Recipient

Kylan Beech – City of Charles Sturt

Just before Kylan Beech’s 14th birthday, he lost his mother, Tammy, to cancer. Rather than focusing on his grief, Kylan became determined to help ensure others would not have to experience the same tragedy.  To help fund the early detection of cancer, Kylan focused on fund raising for the Cancer Council, riding his bike 220 kilometres from his home to Barmera. Convincing his three older brothers to join him, Kylan coordinated the ‘220 for Tammy’ event, gaining sponsorship then organizing a dinner and auction for over 200 people, raising over $30,000, all while in Year 11.

Then just after his 20th birthday, Kylan and his brothers completed a 2,200 kilometre ride from the Gold Coast to Adelaide, with Kylan as organiser of the support crew, videographer and media coverage. He created and maintained a website and social media coverage to spread the word. The team got to know the communities through which they passed, with many of them also raising funds. In the Riverland the brothers addressed local school students, speaking about their experiences and their cause.

This ride culminated in a further fundraising event, with entertainment, auction items and merchandise for sale after which Kylan continued to raise funds, including through a documentary about their 2022 ride. In all, Kylan’s untiring efforts have raised over $100,000 for the Cancer Council, all before his 21st birthday.

Kylan works as a Disability Support Worker with disabled adults, helping clients integrate into their local communities. He has also been a volunteer for the St Vincent de Paul Society for many years, has worked as Youth Minister and mentor at Nazareth and Sacred Heart Colleges, umpires for the SANFL reserves and works in the family business. In both his paid and unpaid work, Kylan dedicates his life to helping others.


Community Event of the Year – Recipient

National Shearing and Wool Handling Competition – Northern Areas Council

Held in Jamestown on October 21 & 22, 2023, the National Shearing and Wool Handling Competition was organized by a committee chaired by Matt Scharkie and supported by Steph Lunn and Jenni-Lee Case. Over 600 people attended the event as competitors, spectators, sponsors and volunteers, with visitors coming from all over Australia and New Zealand.

The event included a formal dinner for teams, officials and sponsors, attended by over 300 people. A Jamestown Show Shear and Wool Handling competition brought in over 250 competitors, running from 8.00am well into the evening, with the wool to be classed, pressed, baled and branded throughout the day. That night there was a Trans-Tasman competition, accompanied by live entertainment. On the final day, the National Event was held with over 170 participants from all states competing.

This event resulted in a significant economic and social benefit for the region, ensuring extra income for local businesses such as pubs, bakeries and cafes, and booking out all local accommodation. A substantial profit was generated, and other community groups were also able to raise funds across the week.  Socially the event brought the community together and has been praised by the governing body, Shear Australia. A range of community members contributed, organising, volunteering, sponsoring and promoting the competition.  This really was a community event!


Award for Active Citizenship – Recipient

Jade Brook – District Council of Mount Barker

Instrumental in the creation of Love out Loud, a community program feeding vulnerable families in Mount Barker, Jade actively engages in initiatives that contribute to her community’s advancement and overall well-being. Her advocacy for the homeless, facilitation of Aboriginal networking groups and dedication to reconciliation efforts showcase a commitment to building bridges and creating a supportive environment for all.

Jade has not only embraced a sustainable lifestyle but has also shared the bounty of her garden with others. She has forged meaningful relationships with corporations such as Woolworths, Mission Australia, Wise Employment and SAPOL, gathering resources and support for community initiatives. Love out Loud has distributed over 1600 free food bags to the community over the past two years.

Her involvement in initiatives such as the Aboriginal People Providing Service networking group, the Adelaide Hills Reconciliation Working Group, the Tier One Consumer Engagement Board for the local health network and by conducting Cultural Workshops at the Adelaide Hills Farmers Market and schools, exemplify Jade’s dedication and commitment to fostering understanding and unity.

Having completed the Graduate Diploma of Leadership, Jade received a scholarship for the Five Stones Leadership, a national Aboriginal leadership course. She has since shaped conversations during country cabinet sessions and contributed to the culturally safe design of a new emergency ward in the local hospital. Jade’s contributions to the Mount Barker community span environmental sustainability, cultural awareness, social advocacy and community support, demonstrating her dedication to and passion for positive change.


Award for Active Citizenship – Commendation

Jody Moate – City of Mitcham

Jody demonstrates her active citizenship by leading by example, with excitement and enthusiasm backed up by her experience and knowledge.

Actively involved in volunteering in community life for years, Jody has led or contributed to: the establishment and subsequently the activities of the Pasadena and St Mary’s Action Group; numerous events to facilitate community connections; managing the Little Library on Lloyd Street; administration of numerous organisations’ social media pages; a community herb and veggie garden and Grow Free Cart; and Trees for Life.

Jody volunteers for the City of Mitcham and many community groups; has completed a term on the Governing Council of Springbank Secondary College; been guest speaker for university students and the City of Marion Community Leadership Program; and is joint community Liaison for the Recycled Plastic Sheeting Project.

Well known in her community as the person who can support others to develop their ideas, Jody has been instrumental in the establishment of the Multicultural Language Day, the community BBQ and the Bird Boxes in Thurston Street Reserve.

Jody and a colleague led a deputation to Council that resulted in the Council’s purchase of and establishment of the Pasadena Community Centre, with Jody a founding member of the Pasadena Community Centre Advisory Group. Her knowledge of process and her understanding of how Local Government works means she knows how to ensure issues affecting neighbours and her community are noticed and acted upon. Jody’s long term commitment and connection to the place and people where she lives is inspiring.

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