Kristy and Juliette Pethers at Emerald's Australia Day Awards and citizenship ceremony at Emerald Town Hall.
Kristy and Juliette Pethers at Emerald's Australia Day Awards and citizenship ceremony at Emerald Town Hall.

GALLERY: Hundreds show up to support community heroes

It was a humbling day for Emerald gymnastics coach Sue Fehlhaber as she took the stage in front of her community to claim a 2021 Australia Day Award.

Mrs Fehlhaber was named the Senior Sports/Administrator for the Emerald and Gemfields regions, an award that she never expected to be nominated for.

“[I feel] pretty privileged to be nominated,” she said.

“I’m not sure who it was but it’s humbling to think you’re deserving of that award.”

Mrs Fehlhaber was nominated for her role as head coach at Emerald Gymnastics, a club she’s been part of for more than 30 years.

Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes and Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd (right) with all the 2021 Australia Day award winners for the Emerald and Gemfields regions.
Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes and Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd (right) with all the 2021 Australia Day award winners for the Emerald and Gemfields regions.

“I love seeing the kids achieve and grow in confidence, striving to be the best they can be,” she said.

Mrs Fehlhaber first got involved when her own children participated, and decades later she continues to help children of all ages to achieve their goals.

“You do it because you love it and for the kids. You don’t do it to be recognised,” she said.

Nominees of all ages were joined by family, friends and supporters at the Emerald Town Hall on January 26 for the annual Australia Day Awards presentation.

Award categories included Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Cultural Award, Senior Sports/Administrator, Junior Sportsperson and Community Event of the Year.

READ: Full list of the region’s Australia Day award recipients

Mrs Fehlhaber said it was wonderful to be part of such an event.

“I was really impressed with the amount of nominees that were put in this year and even though some of us feel a little bit embarrassed about it, I do think it’s wonderful that people want to recognise so many people in our community,” she said.

“We do have so many wonderful people in our whole region and we’re very blessed with that.”

Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes led the ceremony for the Emerald and Gemfields regions.

He said it was great to see community spirit shine, with locals being recognised for their hard work across the region.

“You heard from all the nominees today about how grateful they were and how humbled they were, and so accommodating towards other nominees,” he said.

“It’s inherently good value to communities that they get the chance to recognise people.

“There are lots of people who are very humble about not doing things for awards but sometimes its about us wanting to nominate people, us wanting to recognise people.”

Australia Day ceremonies were held at various towns across the Central Highlands, allowing communities to congratulate award nominees and welcome new Australian citizens at the citizenship ceremony.



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