Australia Day Events

Events are held at Lake Grace Newdegate Varley and Lake King

Lake Grace Awards 

Lake Grace Citizen of the Year 2021

Brenden Desmond

It is with great pride and pleasure that the Lake Grace Pingrup Football Club nominates it’s newest Life Member Brenden Desmond for the Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award 2021.

Brenden has most recently been the Main Coordinator of the Big Freeze Fundraising Event, held in Lake Grace for the second time, in 2020. The two Lake Grace events have raised in excess of $120,000 for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) research. A fantastic effort for our community, with Brenden driving the team of helpers from all the winter sports clubs and the wider community.

Brenden took the initiative to arrange the purchase of the huge new inflatable slide for use at the 2020 event. He was instrumental in organising the fundraising merchandise from MNDWA and liaised with the many Auction item sponsors. Sixty-two items were auctioned on the night.

Brenden Desmond or “Big Red” as he is so well known at the club has been a tireless and integral member of the club from the age of 12 when he started marking the ovals with his Dad. He was always checking the hot water systems for all home games, especially while the old change rooms were in use, couldn’t let the opposition have cold showers!

Brenden was awarded Life Membership of the Lake Grace-Pingrup Football Club at the 2020 Winter Sports Windup for his outstanding involvement in the football club since he began playing.

His many achievements have been well deserved and accepted with great humility, Four Club Person of the Year Awards 2003, 2009, 2010 and 2015, the first award won as a sixteen-year old 

Brenden was a popular (and possibly one of the youngest) hands on President for 2017 and 2018 and has always been a very efficient, effective and valued committee member, a Social Club Committee member from 2008 until the present, Committee Member from 2008-2015 and again from 2018-2020. In 2010 when he was unable to play due to injury he coached the Reserves side and organised his physio appointments so he could bring home the younger Lake Grace players from Narrogin each week. Consideration of how to help is first always for him.

Other positions he has held for the Football Club include Association Delegate for the OFA 2016-2019, Team Manager and Liaison Officer for visiting teams for the Great Southern Colts Carnival when held in Lake Grace.

Brenden is also a very active and valued member of the Lake Grace Volunteer Fire Brigade. He has been a member since 2015 and the Breathing Apparatus Officer for two years. He gladly volunteers his time to attend all incidents that the Fire Brigade attends.

Lake Grace Senior Citizen of the Year 2021

Rosemary Bywaters

 Rosemary Bywaters was nominated by the Lake Grace Development Association for her dedication to voluntarily helping many of the seniors of Lake Grace. Rosemary makes herself available to assist in many ways the more dependent and frail members of the community.

 She has often provided transport for people to senior’s gatherings in and around the town, though possibly less in 2020 than in previous years due to COVID-19!

Rosemary was involved with the welfare checking system put in place for vulnerable people of Lake Grace during the early stages of the pandemic. Rosemary is a regular volunteer Meals on Wheels driver. She is an active member of the Lake Grace & Districts seniors’ group that arranges events and outings.

Rosemary is a very active and involved person who has contributed to the ongoing mental well-being of many of the Lake Grace seniors. Ensuring ongoing social interaction for the seniors is very important and greatly appreciated. Although a relatively new member of our community Rosemary has proven to be an asset to Lake Grace.

Lake Grace Active Citizenship Award for a Community Group or Event 2021

The Fight for MND Big Freeze Event 2020

The fight for MND Big Freeze Event 2020 was hosted by Lake Grace - Pingrup Football Club in collaboration with Boxwood Hills Football Club. This annual event started back in 2017 with community members in both towns being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and unfortunately losing their battle. It was decided to do something to show our support and help raise money for important research through Fight MND, by hosting our own big freeze event which involved local people going down a slide off the back of a ute into a pool of icy cold water. A giant auction after the local game of football that first year raised $45,000. Many sponsors from both communities donated to the giant auction.

Each year since with the same idea the event has grown bigger and better with the slides getting bigger and colder and the amount of money raised getting higher and higher. The event now has a reputation in the region as a big event for everyone to be a part of with some ex-AFL players willing to play and go down the big freeze slide. All the teams from Football, Hockey and Netball including the Juniors wore the Big Freeze socks during their games. It is truly inspirational to see the support from everyone involved.

In 2020 the Big Freeze event was even more challenging due to Covid-19 and the uncertainty of the winter sports season. With anticipation the season might go ahead the Lake Grace-Pingrup Football Club bought a 6metre inflatable slide. When the event was deemed able to proceed, we were overwhelmed with support from the generosity of the two communities.

The event has become bigger and better each year so in 2020 with all the donations and auction items from all local business and other local community groups, including paintings from the students of Lake Grace District High School, a total of over 60 auction items was available on the day.

Matt Priddis, West Coast Eagles Brownlow Medallist come down to Lake Grace to be involved in the day. The event raised $13,000 before the auction got under way. After the auction and including the merchandise sold the tally was up to $65,000.

Since its inception the big freeze events in Lake Grace and Boxwood have raised $45,000 in 2017, $56,000 in 2018, $73,000 in 2019 and in 2020 the event raised $65,000 - in total both communities have raised over $239,000 for Fight MND.

Newdegate Awards 

Newdegate Citizen of the Year, Youth 2021

Liam Thompson                            

Over the past 4 years Liam who is a high achieving autistic young man has been a valued member of the Newdegate community. During this time he has made himself available in many different areas of our community as a volunteer. Some of his volunteer roles have been:

Newdegate Field Day

  • putting up the flags and signs
  • painting site identification discs
  • participating at busy bees before and after the event
  • serving donuts every day at the event
  • putting out chairs and other equipment
  • packing up and tidying up after the event.


  • always picking up rubbish and straightening up road signs
  • helped oil wooden structures in the playground
  • raked and pruned the perimeter of the local church to make it safe for the summer
  • fire proofed around the CWA building by clearing, weeding and raking.
  • weed around gravesites at the cemetery and picked up rubbish.


  • painted and repaired playground equipment, general garden maintenance including raking
  • weeding and sweeping the courts and pathways
  • helped get the local swimming pool ready for opening.


  • Reorganised all the school library books into sections and alphabetic order
  • Does a weekly stocktake at the local Nutrien business
  • Sorts, weighs and packs eggs weekly at Kennedy’s Egg Farm
  • Restocks the shelves at the Newdegate Cafe and General Store weekly

 During this time, he has improved in his ability to interact with strangers and has become a strong ambassador for our community. Liam’s attributes include friendliness, he is non-judgemental, caring and helpful community member. Although he finds some tasks challenging he still pushing himself to make sure he does the best for the town.

Lake King Awards

Lake King Active Citizen of the Year 2021

Courtney Roberts 

 Courtney volunteers an enormous amount of time to the Lake King community. She is actively involved in the Lakes Winter Sport Association every year, as hockey coach to participating children, and also organises catering for our home games.

She is also on the fundraising committee for our P&C and donates a massive amount of time to this role and co-ordinating events to raise money for the Lake King Primary School. Courtney also volunteers to run Hot Shots every year, to provide tennis lessons to the community children at the Holt Rock Tennis Club.

Courtney is always the first person to put her hand up and volunteer in our community, she is a lovely and polite person, and is very humble when praised for her efforts.

Courtney actively enhances community life by volunteering her time to ensure that local community children have access to and support with sport, through co-ordination of the Hot Shots tennis program, and coaching the winter sports children's teams. Without her volunteering her time, Hot Shots would unlikely to have been implemented and ongoing.

Courtney's selfless giving of so much of her time to support to all community events, and particularly those that are organised to raise money for our school, ensures that events can go ahead and be run smoothly for all community members to enjoy. She is a very motivated community member, and is a great asset to our town.

Lake King Community Active Citizenship of the Year Award 2021

Lake King Community 

We would like to nominate the entire Lake King Community for their combined actions in fighting the fire which was started by lightening February 6th 2020. Over the following week the Lake King Community which grew to include neighbouring Varley, Holt Rock, Mount Madden and North Ravensthorpe volunteers battled an unpredictable once in a lifetime event which burnt 250,000 ha of land.

The 2020 Bush Fire was a threat to homes and lives. Managed by DFES and Lake Grace Shire the whole community joined together in its efforts to control, contain and minimize the losses.

It is impossible to name and detail the individual efforts but needless to say the Fire Control Officers and the Fire Volunteers played a major role. They were supported by the Lake King Tavern, local businesses, family and friends who all volunteered time, donated food, prepared meals provided beds, accommodation and support for everyone involved.

The community had a casual social gathering with drinks and food at the Lake King Pavilion after the event to join together and thank all involved. Official recognition in the form of an Active Citizenship Award will give a permanent and lasting reminder of what a small community can achieve when it works together to fight adversity.

Past Australia Day Recipients

Australia Day Recipients