Darebin Community Awards presentation night

The DCA Presentation Night was held on Thursday 23 March at Narrandjeri Stadium, and was open to the public for the first time.
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Darebin Community Awards 2022 Winners

The annual Darebin Community Awards Presentation Night was held on 23 March 2023 at Narrandjeri Stadium and presided over by Darebin Mayor, Councillor Julie Williams and Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Chair Uncle Alan Brown. It was a truly memorable evening for the Darebin community!

Cr Williams said the achievements of all nominees are a testament to what a thriving community we have here in Darebin, and one that is deserving of celebration on such a special evening.

“It is my honour to preside over these awards and celebrate the many wonderful individuals and groups that make life so rich here in Darebin,” Mayor Williams said.

“These are our local heroes, people who have shown deep dedication to, and who continue to inspire, our Darebin community.”

Here are your 2022 winners!

Joint Citizen of the Year: Nola Radiotis and Lynette Mackenzie

Photo of Nola Radiotis at awards ceremony

Nola is the current and longest-serving president of the Greek Women of the Northern Suburbs, ‘Anemones’ and is also CALD Elder Community Leader of The Year. Nola is an inspirational leader and role model to others and works to ensure support systems are in place for elderly and vulnerable women in the Darebin community.


Photo from the awards ceremony of Lynette

Lynette (Nettie) was also awarded the individual Sustainability Award. Nettie volunteers in multiple organisations, including Oakhill Food Justice Farm and DIVRS, and spends her time growing fresh produce and making it accessible to our community. She also runs the DIVRS propagating team, which grows seedlings for gardens and local schools.

Young Citizen of the Year: Rosie Thyer

Community Awards 2023 Rosie Thayer

Rosie created peer connections during the remote learning period resulting from COVID-19 lockdowns. She now undertakes advocacy work in youth-led and youth collaboration sectors and is chairperson at the Centre for Multicultural Youth. She is also a jury member of Darebin Council’s Young Citizens Jury and was recently appointed to the Victorian Government Multicultural Commission Multicultural Youth Network.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Emerging Young Community Leader of the Year: Zion Akarana

Zion Akarana

Born on Yipirinya country in Mparntwe, Alice Springs, Zion is an Anangu Pitjantjatjara Arrernte Ngāti Kahungunu Nga Puhi man, having both Aboriginal and Māori heritage. He joined 3KND two years ago as a technical and administrative trainee to gain new skills. A role model for young people, he assists Elders, staff and community members to take up new technologies.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Leader of the Year: Nikita Rotumah

Community Awards 2023 Nikita Rotumah

Nikita is an Aboriginal youth mental health worker by trade, and a boxer. The Gunditjmara and Bunitj woman founded the CROW (Courageous Resilient Original Warrior) Youth Boxing Program, which is a culturally safe program for First Nations youth and allies to learn the sport of boxing together.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Leader of the Year, Special Commendations: Aunty Rieo Ellis and Aunty Cecily Atkinson

Aunty Rieo Ellis and Aunty Cecily Atkinson

Special Commendations were awarded to Aunty Rieo and Aunty Cecily, who typify the work local Elders have played, and continue to play, holding a prominent place in our communities and families.

Aunty Rieo is a proud Waka Waka Bundjalung woman and co-founder of Grandmothers Against Removals – Victoria.

Aunty Cecily is a proud Mutti Mutti Wamba Wamba Barapa Yorta Yorta woman and Thornbury resident. She has volunteered her time to lead and facilitate a First Nations Grandmothers Group through Bridge Darebin. She also organised group lunches at Moon Rabbit café and pottery classes for women to gather.

Community Group of the Year: Dance and Roll

Dance and Roll

The Victorian Paradance Association’s Dance and Roll is a weekly year-round all-ages dance class at Darebin Arts Centre for people with disability. Participants engage in dance and body movement that contribute to connection, community, health and happiness. This group is operated on the will and determination of Rocca Salcedo and Victorian Paradance Association Board.

Community Group of the Year, Special Commendations: 3KND (Kool 'N' Deadly) and "The Rezzadent"


3KND is Melbourne's first Indigenous-owned AM radio station, which hit the airwaves in June 2003. The Darebin-based station broadcasts on Wurundjeri lands across the Kulin Nation and airs media services on the airwaves 24/7 in Melbourne. It offers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members across Melbourne and wider Victoria the unique opportunity to share their experiences, concerns, perspectives and information. 3KND is the ‘Voice of Indigenous Victoria’.

The Rezzadent

"The Rezzadent" is a free bi-monthly community newspaper created during one of Melbourne’s many lockdowns in September 2021. Proudly made by locals for locals, "The Rezzadent" is run by volunteers and is open to anyone and everyone, with the provision they live in 3073.

Sustainability Award Community Group of the Year: Span Community House Inc

Community Awards 2023 SPAN

Span Community House Inc. delivers the 'RRR Hub' project, which focuses on engaging the Darebin community to Repair, Reuse and Recycle more to avoid waste, reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to the local circular economy.

Sustainability Award (Individual), Special Commendation: Charles Sandford


Charles (Charlie) has been a consistent environmental leader over many years in his business, Charles Sandford and McKay Joinery. He generously shares his knowledge with other businesses and works with them. Always the first to raise his hand in agreeing to spread the word and speak at Green Business Networking events, he is a true champion of sustainability.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Carolyn Lunt

Carolyn Lunt

A well-known Darebin identity, Carolyn’s passion, commitment and cultural knowledge on land development and the Merri Creek is legendary. This year marks her 40th year volunteering along the Merri Creek. She established the Friends of Merri on Parade in 1983 and has devoted her life to achieving positive environmental outcomes, advocacy, animal care and conservation.

How to get involved with the awards

Learn more about the Darebin Community Awards.

Interested in joining the Darebin Community Awards Selection Committee? As a member, you’ll judge the nominations for the Darebin Community Awards and help plan the Awards ceremony.

Expressions of interest close 30 June 2023.

For more info, please contact Bronwyn Ryan-Mercer at 03 8470 8551 or email fuse@darebin.vic.gov.au.