Waverley community members shine at our 2023 Local Hero and Best of the Best Awards

27 May 2023

Waverley Council paid tribute this week to our dedicated community workers and volunteers at the 2023 Waverley Local Hero and Best of the Best Awards held at North Bondi Surf Club.

The awards celebrate and recognise the achievements and contributions of those in the community who volunteer their time and go above and beyond to ensure Waverley is a resilient, caring and cohesive community.

Waverley-Woollahra SES won the award for Outstanding Community Contribution. Image: Shannon Elise Photography.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, said the community members honoured in the Awards all play a vital role in fostering social cohesion, addressing local needs and improving the quality of life for residents.

“They make Waverley a better place to live, work and visit, by giving their time, lending a helping hand and providing expertise,” Mayor Masselos said.

Turbans 4 Australia founder and Australian of the year 2023 Local Hero, Amar Singh, was guest speaker at the awards and shared his insights about banding together as a community to help people in need.

“Amar is a great believer that helping others should not be limited by religion, language or cultural background, and it’s a view we share at Waverley, where one in five residents speak a language other than English and 40 per cent of residents were born overseas.”

Turbans 4 Australia founder Amar Singh (wearing blue) pictured with the Council's director of Community, Culture and Customer Experience, Ben Thompson, General Manager, Emily Scott and Mayor Paula Masselos. Image: Shannon Elise Photography.

This year’s Local Hero Awards included the Best of the Best Award, bestowed every four years to outstanding community leaders, and whose names will be included in plaques along our Best of the Best walk along the Bondi and Bronte Beach promenades.

Waverley Council is delighted to announce the following winners and runners-up:

Category

Award winner

Certificate of Commendation

Strengthening Community

Sebastian Cassie

Anthia Kollaras

Community Volunteer

William Harrigan

Adam Nezval

Working Together

Research Team at Waverley Historical Society

The P2F Wise

Community Life

Elisabeth Keys

Ingrid Studholme

Second Nature Champion

Langlee Lane Community Gardening Group

Louise Murray

Young Local Hero

Dallas Pumpa-Jones

Wise Youth

Best of the Best

Peter Quartly

 

Best of the Best

Brenda Miley

 

Outstanding Community Contribution

Waverley-Woollahra SES

 

Winners' profiles:

Sebastian Cassie, Strengthening Community winner: Sebastain has been the driving force behindBondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club’s community Christmas Day lunch for the last three years, providing a safe space for local homeless and vulnerable communities at this time of year. He has been a member of the club since 2009 and has committed to leading two other annual community lunch events, one focused on providing a safe and welcoming space for the under privileged LGBTQ+ community, and a mid-year community lunch event.

William [Bill] Harrigan, Community Volunteer winner: Bill is the Secretary of the Bondi Junction/Waverley RSL Sub-Branch and Vice President of the Waverley Historical Society. He Serves as an Assistant Pensions Officer and emcees the Waverley Anzac Day service hosted by Waverley Council and the Sub-Branch.

Research Team at Waverley Historical Society:  In the last five or six years, the researchers at Waverley Historical society continued their work mainly online or with organisations, navigating the various restrictions from time to time. The Team has displayed many attributes over these years, especially the ability to work together in pairs or small groups on particular projects.  Six years ago, War Memorial Hospital asked the Historical Society to archive their medical records from 1919 to 1982.

Elisabeth Key, Community Life winner: Elisabeth has been Club Secretary of Waverley Rugby Club for the last five years and throughout her tenure the club has grown to become the champions of the NSW Suburban Rugby Union Division 1 competition. She is involved with the Bondi Icebergs club and is well noted and appreciated in the local sports space.

Langlee Lane Community Gardening Group, Second Nature champion: A successful shared community garden has been operating at Langlee Lane Bronte, with Council’s support, since 2011 growing vegetables and fruit, composting, worm farming and native beekeeping at the east section towards Dickson St. Its gardening volunteers are creating much needed habitat for native wildlife including small birds such as the Superb Fairy Wren and New Holland Honey Eater which are species the Council is working to protect.

Dallas Pumpa-Jones, Young Local Hero: Bondi Public School student Dallas was a semi-finalist in the 2021 Westpac Youth Impact Awards for creating the Sea Snap Save app to help save the grey nurse shark from extinction. The app has now been incorporated into the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Fishsmart App using Dallas’ ideas to record and log grey nurse sightings including  GPS location and photos, all at the touch of a button.

Waverley-Woollahra SES (Outstanding Community Contribution): In the last 12 months alone, the Unit has responded to more than 400 requests for assistance in the Waverley and Woollahra local government areas and many of its members have volunteered in flood affected communities in Broken Hill, Lismore, Parkes and Walgett.

Peter Quartly, Best of the Best winner: Peter is a highly dedicated community member, volunteering with several organisations, and is a previous Local Hero winner. He is a North Bondi Precinct convener, celebrates 60 seasons with Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club and is a member of the Bondi Amateur Swimming Club, having Joined in early 60s.

Brenda Miley, Best of the Best: Brenda established surf schools Lets Go Surfing and Bondi Girls Surfriders Club to inspire and encourage women to engage in the sport and is also known for her contribution to causes and charities including SurfAID and Weave. She grew up in the ocean of the eastern beaches and made her mark as a champion surfer in the 1980s alongside World Surfing Champion Pauline Menzcer and the Webber family. She is a community focused philanthropist and multi award-winning leader in the surf school and tourism industries. In 2023, Brenda received the inaugural Waverley Council International Women’s Day Award.

“My fellow judging panel members and I, Councillors Sally Betts and Elaine Keenan, had a very difficult time choosing tonight’s award winners from an amazing pool of nominees,” Mayor Masselos said.

“There are so many people in our community that deserve a massive thank-you and recognition for the selfless work that they do.”

Community Life winner Elisabeth Keys (wearing grey) with Certificate of Commendation recipients Ingrid Studholme and Adam Nezval, and guests. Image: Shannon Elise Photography.

Community Volunteer winner , Secretary, Bondi Junction/Waverley RSL Sub-Branch, Bill Harrigan and guests. Image: Shannon Elise Photography.

The Council also acknowledged the more than 120 volunteers who have contributed their time to enhance Council programs and services, the environment, and community cohesion in the past 12 months.

“We have volunteers represented in a range of Council areas including Community Programs, Bushcare, Arts and Culture, Children’s Services, Events, Library Services, Seniors Centre, Shared Garden Groups, Justices of the Peace, the Cemetery, and more,” Mayor Masselos said.

Strengthening Community winner Sebastian Cassie pictured with Mayor Masselos. Image: Shannon Elise Photography.

“We know Waverley is a very giving and caring community, with 16% of residents volunteering their time, which is significantly higher than Greater Sydney and NSW average.”

"Volunteerism helps drive change and we had a room of change makers at our awards presentation this week.

“Again, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our Waverley volunteers and Local Hero nominees for their unwavering dedication and selfless service to our community.”

The Welcome to Country was performed by Uncle Lloyd Walker of the Gujaga Foundation.

Be sure to check out our photo gallery from the night on Waverley Council's website in the coming days.

-ENDS-

Media inquiries: media@waverley.nsw.gov.au or 0416 075 532.