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Winners of the 2017 Australia Day Awards announced


Georges River Council has recognised three outstanding members of the local area during a special function for the prestigious 2017 Australia Day Awards.

Hosted at the Mortdale Community Centre on Monday 23 January 2017, Georges River Council Administrator John Rayner announced the winners of three award categories – Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

The winners for the 2017 Australia Day Awards are:

Citizen of the Year – Natalia Esdaile Watts, Campaigner against domestic violence
Young Citizen of the Year – Samantha Cantwell, NSW State Emergency Service
Volunteer of the Year – Jean Harrow, St George Art Society

Mr Rayner said the 2017 Citizen of the Year Award recipient, Natalia Esdaile Watts, is a dedicated advocate for survivors of domestic violence within the local area.

“Natalia is a mother, a wife, a volunteer and an inspirational and resilient survivor of domestic violence,” he said.

“Natalia dedicates her time by sharing her story with others and has even brought audiences to tears with her bravery and honesty.”

“Through her courage and commitment, Natalia is helping give courage, strength and hope to others, and I congratulate her on this well-deserved award.”

Mr Rayner said the winner of the Young Citizen of the Year, Samantha Cantwell, is also a dedicated and hardworking individual who is committed to helping the local community.

“Since 2008, Samantha has been an active member of the NSW State Emergency Service in both the Hurstville and Canterbury Units. She has also been an active member of the Rural Fire Service since 2014,” he said.

“I would like to commend Samantha for her dedication and working with two organisations that have the safety and wellbeing of other people at their very core of what they do.”

Mr Rayner also commended Jean Harrow for winning the Volunteer of the Year Award.

“Jean has made an outstanding contribution to the St George Art Society in her dual role as President and Secretary.”

“Through her efforts and her organisation, Jean has been able to shape the Society into what it is today.”

Mr Rayner highlighted that the Australia Day Awards are a fantastic opportunity for Council to recognise the efforts and significant contributions individuals make within the local community, the State and the Nation.

“These awards are Council’s way of celebrating these people and the efforts they put in to bettering our community,” he said.

“I would like to congratulate all those who were nominated for these awards, and thank you for the selfless efforts you put into making the Georges River area a better place.”

For more information on the Australia Day awards, please visit Council’s website at

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