Volunteers from across the NSW South Coast and Southern Tablelands were today recognised for their outstanding contribution to volunteering at a special ceremony in Queanbeyan. 

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards is an annual program run by The Centre for Volunteering and has grown to become one of the largest celebrations of volunteering across the country.

Regional finalists for the awards are announced at 21 ceremonies throughout NSW and are invited to the Gala State Ceremony in Sydney to celebrate the overall NSW Volunteer of the Year.

The NSW 2019 Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the South Coast / Southern Inland Award are:

Award CategoryWinner
Young Volunteer of the YearThomas Shannon, Goulburn Speedway and Windellama Rural Fire Brigade from Windellama
Adult Volunteer of the YearDuncan Taylor, Country Universities Centre from Nimmitabel
Senior Volunteer of the YearBeryl Harris, South East Regional Hospital, Bega
Volunteer Team of the Year Goulburn Relay for Life Event Committee
South Coast/Southern Inland Volunteer of the YearDuncan Taylor, Country Universities Centre from Nimmitabel

The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said volunteers from across the region had given so much to the local community.

“Your volunteers build connections for people in towns and communities across the region,” Ms Rygate said.

“They help to build such positive experiences and links to services across health, education and community sectors. Our ceremony today recognises their work and gives us the chance to say thank you.”

South Coast/Southern Inland Volunteer Team of the Year winners from the Goulburn Relay for Life Event Committee Team and Young Volunteer of the Year Thomas Shannon.

Twenty-one year-old Thomas Shannon was selected as the 2019 NSW Young Volunteer of the Year for the South Coast and Southern Tablelands for his outstanding volunteer rescue work with his local fire brigade. He has joined a number of teams to fight fires throughout the region as well as assisting in lifesaving roadside rescues. Thomas is also part of the volunteer fire rescue team at the Goulburn Speedway – a vital part of keeping the speedway operating for the local motor sport community.

Mayor John Rooney from the Snowy Monaro Regional Council accepting the Adult Volunteer of the Region certificate on behalf of winner Duncan Taylor.

Monaro sheep farmer Duncan Taylor is the founding chairman and volunteer CEO of the Country Universities Centre, having helped establish the group’s first regional centre in Cooma six years ago. The Centres provide access to university and TAFE education to students in rural communities, helping them to gain new skills while remaining in country NSW.

Through Duncan’s persistent volunteer work he has now helped establish six Country University Centres in NSW that are helping to educate hundreds of students throughout the state, earning him the 2019 NSW Adult Volunteer of the Year and the South Coast and Southern Tablelands Volunteer of the Year.

Mayor Liz Innes, Eurobodalla Shire Council accepting the Senior Volunteer of the Year certificate on behalf of winner Beryl Harris.

Beryl Harris has been volunteering for more than 30 years giving her support to a long list of local health services on the NSW Far South Coast. Her decades of volunteering have added up to more than 40,000 hours. Beryl was named the 2019 NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year for the region.

The 2019 NSW Volunteer Team of the Year for the region is the Goulburn Relay for Life Event Committee. The volunteer team has been operating for an amazing 18 years and last year’s event was attended by 550 people, who helped to raise $75,000.

Photos from the event can be viewed and downloaded here.

The 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by principal partners the Department of Family and Community Services NSW and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said volunteers made an enormous contribution to local communities.

“A vibrant volunteering sector leads to healthy and strong communities,” Mr Ward said.

“In NSW, volunteers contribute more than $5 billion to the economy each year and their social contribution is even greater. The NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are a fitting way to say thank you.”

ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said that volunteers were the backbone of licensed clubs across the state, so it was a natural fit for the industry to support such an important program.

“The calibre of our local volunteers never ceases to amaze me, and I’m proud to represent an industry in which around 32,000 volunteers help to make clubs such great places,” Mr Ball said.

“I congratulate all the volunteers who were recognised at today’s ceremony for their dedication and commitment.”