Volunteers from Moulamein, Lavington, Gerogery, Thurgoona, Culcairn and Jindera were recognised for their outstanding contribution at the 10th Annual Volunteer of the Year Awards in Albury today.

The top award went to Holly Johnson a Billabong High School student from Gerogery who received both the overall 2016 Murray Volunteer of the Year Award and the Student Volunteer of the Year Award for her work with Amnesty International and in aged care.

Chief Executive Officer of The Centre for Volunteering, Gemma Rygate, said volunteers improve people’s lives by helping out, keeping people connected and creating a sense of belonging in communities.

“This year The Centre for Volunteering received a record number of nominations: More than 7,500 nominations acknowledging more than 100,000 volunteers – a record number since the awards began 10 years ago,” Ms Rygate said.

“Volunteering is in the DNA of Australians: In NSW more than 2.3 million people volunteer – if volunteering were an industry it would employ more people than any other sector including mining and tourism,” Ms Rygate said.

In her work with Amnesty International Holly has become involved in human rights campaigns particularly concerning LGBTI rights and the education of Aboriginal children, Ms Rygate said.

“Holly has extended herself beyond her school community and also volunteers at a local aged care facility,” Ms Rygate said.

“Apart from assisting with difficult physical tasks Holly has also engaged with the demanding emotional aspects of aged care – the grief of death, loss and mourning – and she has won the respect of the staff and families for her sincere and compassionate approach to the people in the home.”

The Winners of the 2016 Murray NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are:

Award Category Winner
Overall Winner

Volunteer of the Year

Holly Johnson, Amnesty International and Jindera Aged Care

from Gerogery

Student Volunteer of the Year Holly Johnson, Amnesty International and Jindera Aged Care
Adult Volunteer of the Year

(25 – 64 years)

Naomi Burch, Moulamein Rural Fire Service

from Moulamein

Senior Volunteer of the Year

(65+ years)

Lindsay Cutler, Life Education

from Lavington

Volunteer Team of the Year Thurgoona and District Lions Club

The Minister responsible for volunteering, John Ajaka, said the awards are an important way of recognising the vibrant contribution individual volunteers make towards strengthening communities across NSW.

“Our incredible volunteers make NSW the beautiful and rewarding place it is to live and work,” Mr Ajaka said.

“Central to volunteer satisfaction is meaningful recognition of the vital and diverse contribution of volunteers.”

Twenty regional Volunteer of the Year Award ceremonies are being held around the state.

All regional winners will be in the running for the overall NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards, which are announced at a gala event in Sydney on Friday December 2, in the lead up to International Volunteer Day.

The Volunteer of the Year Awards are generously supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, and ClubsNSW, the industry body which represents the states 1400 not-for-profit clubs, as well as Bupa Aged Care.

To see all the images from the regional ceremony visit the photo gallery


The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering to recognise the outstanding work of volunteers in every region across NSW. Twenty award ceremonies are held across NSW from August to October where nominees are recognised with certificates and winners announced.

Regional winners will be entered into the overall State 2016 Volunteer of the Year.