Monday, 23 January 2023


Shellharbour City Council has honoured local community award winners at the Shellharbour Community Awards Ceremony on Friday 20 January.

The ceremony, held at Shellharbour Civic Centre, provided the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate those who have excelled in sport, arts and outstanding services to the community during the past year.

The event also featured keynote speaker, Australia Day 2023 Ambassador and SBS World News Presenter Ricardo Gonçalves and a traditional dance and smoking ceremony by Gumaraa.

Shellharbour City Mayor Chris Homer said it was an honour to attend and present the awards.

“I would like to congratulate all nominees and winners of the community and sports awards,” he said.

“It was outstanding to hear of the many achievements and celebrate those who have made Shellharbour proud during the past year,” Mayor Homer said.

The Australia Day Awards winners are:
2022 Citizen of the Year – Alan Beveridge
2022 Young Citizen of the Year – Shellharbour Youth Council

2022 Citizen of the Year – Alan Beveridge
Alan Beveridge is a valued and life member of Warilla Barrack Point SLSC, South Coast Branch SLS, NSW SLSA and the community.
He dedicates his time to running the club through many roles, including Club Captain, Chief Instructor and President – a position which he has held since 1996.

For over 50 years he has been a volunteer life saver at Warilla Beach and hasn’t missed a patrol.

Alan gives his time to train and develop junior and senior members to ensure the ongoing success of the club, he assists the development of coaches and officiates at local, branch, state and Australian Surf Life Saving carnivals is always available to provide guidance, encouragement and leadership.

He has been a founding member of the South Coast Branch SLSA and volunteered annually at “Breakfast by the Lake” event ensuring everyone was fed and all went well.

Since his retirement he continues to devote his time as club president and has greatly assisted in the ongoing renovations of the clubhouse for community use.

He is also responsible for establishing the “Friday Club” – a mental health program aimed at older retired club members that provides opportunities to stay active, provide help to one another and keep connected.

There are now 15 members who meet weekly at local cafes and volunteer at surf club events. Alan is a valuable member of the Shellharbour community, always inspiring others to give their best.

2022 Young Citizen of the Year – Shellharbour Youth Council
The Shellharbour Youth Council has achieved many wonderful outcomes and contributions to the community throughout 2022.

They were the driving force behind the Youth Summit where they guided the program, hosted the event, facilitated workshops and ensured the event was youth friendly and focused.

This event hosted 40 young people and 10 community leaders and was a great success. The engagement from the summit will help to inform the new Shellharbour Youth Plan.

The Youth Council have also provided strategic, practical and hands on support for the 2022 Youth Week events in April including an art exhibition, markets, creative workshops and skills sessions.

The events saw over 1000 participants and provided opportunities for young people to meet, create and enjoy community events.

The Youth Council have since designed and developed a campaign to promote and recruit new members, this campaign launched at the Youth Summit where there was a photographic exhibition displaying quotes from each member about what they have achieved and enjoy about being part of the group.

There has been great interest and attention from this event. The Shellharbour Youth Council are and continue to be an important contributor to the community and role models for the young people of Shellharbour.

Community Award winners:

  • Environmental Warrior of the Year - Matthew Mauro
  • Contribution to the Arts – Jessica Soden


Matthew Mauro is a valued member of the Shellharbour community. In 2022 he received a Certificate of Appreciation from Shellharbour City Mayor Chris Homer for his contribution of picking up rubbish around the Shellharbour area.

Matt attends the Greenacres disability service where he chooses to clean up rubbish daily along the local beach. He has been doing this not only in 2022 but for the past 5 years, encouraged by the appreciation he receives from community members.

Jessica Soden is a talented vocalist and has voluntarily opened and runs the only choir in Shellharbour. She offers free choir for all ages which provides opportunity for kids and adults to get out of the house, socialise and improve mental wellbeing.

She allows performance opportunities for disadvantaged children and has created a welcoming, safe and social atmosphere for the Shellharbour community.

Sports Star of the Year Awards winners:

  • Jynaya Dos Santos - Young Sports Star of the Year 
  • Oak Flats Albion Park Gymnastics & Acrobatics Club (Senior Team Trio) - Sports Team of the Year
  • Shane McLeish – Coach of the Year
  • Sandra Brigden – Support Super Star (Volunteer/Community)
  • Jack Gibson – Disability Athlete of the Year


Jynaya Dos Santos has represented Shellharbour and Australia, playing football at local, state and national levels throughout 2022. At 17 years old - Jynaya represented Australia at the FIFA Women’s U20’s Young Matilda’s National World Cup in Costa Rica and Matilda’s U23’s AFF Women’s Championships in the Philippines in July.

Jynaya has also received a place in Football Australia’s ‘Future’ Matilda’s scholarship program and was selected to play for Sydney FC in the Women’s A-League 22-23 season where she debuted in November. Jynaya has since been selected in the Australian Schoolgirls Football Team to tour the USA this year.

Jack Gibson is a talented para triathlete. In 2022 he was the IAS Para Athlete of the year where he represented Shellharbour and won gold at the Australian Junior Triathlon Championship, two silver’s at the Australian National Swimming Championships, gold at the Australian All Schools Cross Country Championships and two silver’s at the Australian All Schools Swimming Championships.

The Oak Flats Albion Park Gymnastics & Acrobatics Senior Team Trio represented Shellharbour and Australia at the World Championships in Azerbaijan in March where they placed 4th in the balance final 7th in the all-round final.

Their result awards the trio a World Class Gymnast badge which is only awarded to gymnasts who compete in a World Championship final. The trio promote exceptional teamwork, commitment and talent.

Shane McLeish dedicates his time as the Division 1 coach of the Albion Park Women’s Hockey Club where in 2022 he successfully coached the side to be Illawarra South Coast Division 1 Minor Premiers.

Sandra Bridgen is a valuable part of Shellharbour City Rowing Club and the community where she volunteers her time as Club Treasurer, Learn to Row Coordinator and stands in as Secretary.

She is often balancing books and maintaining the club’s correspondence late into the evening and also devotes her time to coaching the junior rowing squad each week. She plays a lead role in running and growing the club.

Last updated : Tue 10 Oct 2023