On Saturday 5th February, the Inaugural Awabakal Awards took place at the picturesque beachside venue of Merewether Surfhouse. A night that honoured the outstanding work Awabakal staff do for our community. The evening saw this hardworking and selfless group of people walk the red carpet, stepping out in style for a well-deserved celebration.
Awards were themed to fit the vision and mission of the organisation and included individual and team recognition. Hosted by NITV’s Jodan Perry, each award category saw nominees acknowledged a winner announced and an award presented. The energetic support for each other created a fantastic atmosphere for all.
Guests were entertained by the band “lockdown” with Awabakal’s own front man Nigel Beeston as they enjoyed a three-course meal and beverages along with the company of new friends and old.
Board Member and respected community leader Abie Wright delivered a very inspirational address.
Awabakal CEO Raylene Gordan said “Abie spoke of the deep history Awabakal holds and our vision for the future. He paid tribute to and held a minute’s silence in memory of our two respected elders who recently passed. This was a very moving and important moment amongst the fun and celebration”
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to well deserving fan favourite Awabakal staff member, Dr Dean Wright for his years of service and amazing contribution.
Awabakal CEO Raylene Gordan Said “As the announcement took place the room erupted with support and encouragement for Dr Dean, a man who has impacted so many with his ability to mentor, support, and care for both community and staff.”
In a time where face to face events and coming together with our friends and community has been so tough, the night was a brilliant reminder of how much we need to connect and acknowledge each other.
Categories and Award Winners of the night were.
The Initiative Award Marook Perry
The Strong Leader Award Deb Swan
The Spotlight Award Kelly Engel
The Courage Award Jess Hartwig
The Team Player Award – Simone Jordan
Welcome to Awabakal Abby Jeager
The Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr Dean Wright
Above and Beyond – NDIS Newcastle
Stronger Together – Aboriginal Health Practitioners
The Making a difference Award - Lake Macquarie Staff