Wodonga Council

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Our Australia Day award winners

16 Jan, 2019

Known as an advocate for the prevention of family violence, Rupinder Kaur has been named as Wodonga's Citizen of the Year.

As a past victim of family abuse, it is her strength, courage and commitment to making sure women stand up for their rights and confront family violence, which stands her apart.

Rupinder's dedication to the cause extends to rescuing girls and women exposed to family/domestic violence, providing them with shelter and food by allowing them to stay at her home until government services are made available. Rupinder always stays in touch to ensure their wellbeing.

She has dedicated countless hours and efforts to overcome tough situations that victims find themselves in and works hard to link these women with service organisations which can help.

Born in India, Rupinder came to Australia and settled in Wodonga in 2007. She became a proud Australian citizen in 2013.

The nursing graduate and second year law student is a community advocate for the prevention of family violence.

"I love living in Wodonga and the opportunities available to me here in Australia," she said.

"I am very humbled to receive this award, it means a lot to me."

A role model for youth everywhere, Sheldon Smith has been named Young Citizen of the Year.

The 20-year-old devoted nine years with the 3rd Wodonga Scout Group (and from now on as a cub leader).

His dedication to the local scout movement saw him receive the Queen Scout Award in 2017, the highest possible award in venturer scouting that requires more than 300 hours of service.

Each week and even during school holidays, Sheldon can be found volunteering with Interchange where he spends time socialising and helping children with disabilities.


The 3rd Wodonga Scouts Group is the Community Organisation of the Year.

The group has been an active member of the community for the past 48 years.

Boasting more than 100 members, the scout group provides dynamic, challenging and adventurous programs which equips young people aged between five and 26 with life skills, including team work, responsibility and leadership.

Group Leader Chris Pollard says being a part of the scouting movement gives young people the tools to develop into strong and resilient adults that have a strong focus on community participation.

Cr Danny Lowe is the council representative on the Australia Day committee and thanked the deserving winners for their devotion to the community.

"Our Australia Day award winners are excellent examples of what can be achieved in our community," he said.

"They have demonstrated leadership, participation and commitment, becoming positive role models for all residents.

"I congratulate these outstanding recipients and thank them for all they have done."

Celebrate what’s great about the nation this Australia Day by joining in a morning of activities and family fun.

Wodonga will welcome its new citizens and congratulate its worthy winners of Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year.

Celebrations include a free barbecue breakfast, music and lots of activities for the kids.

It starts at 7am at Les Stone Park with official proceedings kicking off at 8.30am.