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Top citizen

Tuesday, 28th January, 2020

The 2020 Australia Day Broken Hill Citizen of the Year, Sandra Haring. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson The 2020 Australia Day Broken Hill Citizen of the Year, Sandra Haring. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

This year’s Australia Day theme was Everyone, Every Story and that was well reflected in the local Australia Day Ceremony.

From the Welcome to Country, to the Australia Day Ambassador, award recipients and the newest local Australian citizens, the spirit of Australia Day rang true. 

The ceremony began at the Civic Centre Plaza with Aunty Maureen O’Donnell delivering the Welcome to Country.

She recognised the land we stood upon, the land of the Wilyakali people and the land of the Barkindji Nation.

“Today a lot of people are fighting to get this changed and to me it’s about us working together and respecting one another, which we manage to do in Broken Hill,” said Maureen.

“With the Council all working with us and the Mayor, as a community I think we do pretty good.”

Mayor Darriea Turley said that today is a painful and sorry day for some people in our Aboriginal community.

“Australia Day really is for everyone, every Story, and you all have your own story, and it’s great that you’re sharing it in our community.”

The Mayor recognised three locals who were honoured at national level in receiving an Order of Australia Award.

Those being John Lynch for his service to the community through emergency response organisations, Sandra Clark for her service to Indigenous education and to the community and John Pickup for his service to the community as a regional radio broadcaster. 

“In this year’s Australia Day Honours list we have three people who worked mainly in Broken Hill that have been recognised and that is John Lynch, John Pickup and Sandra Clark, and we are very proud that these people have been recognised nationally for their outstanding work,” she said. 

“Australians share a unique set of values that define and unite us, values based on the spirit of our community, our selflessness, our courage and our resilience. Australia Day is when we renew our commitment to these values that shape us and they strengthen us as a community.

“So Australia Day reflects on what’s great about Australia and our people and it’s time for inclusion and opportunity for a greater understanding. The essence of the day is about coming together as a community and in unity,” she said. 

The ceremony acknowledged and welcomed three people who chose to make Australia and, in particular, Broken Hill home. The three locals who became Australian citizens were Jennifer Corpin, Melisa Kandemiiri and Joemon Mani. 

Broken Hill’s Australia Day Ambassador, Jarrod Wheatley, spoke of his work and life, as well as how warmly he has been welcomed since arriving in Broken Hill, a place that is close to his own heart. 

“No treaty was ever signed so we are thus by definition on stolen land, but it’s by acknowledging where we’ve come from that we have the best chance I believe to listen and find a positive path forward together.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be in Broken Hill ... Broken Hill has helped shape this country, the wool and the minerals that have come from Broken Hill have built a lot of our economy. The contribution to our industrial working rights, anyone that is on an eight hour work day around the country can thank Broken Hill.

“Broken Hill has contributed a lot to the arts, it’s also Broken Hill’s contributions its first nation’s Aboriginal people have made with their continuous culture and lot of the significant sites around town.

“But on a personal note... Broken Hill also helped shape my family, my grandfather was a carpentry and joinery teacher here at the local technical college before going off to Casino, but my mother was actually born here and this is my first trip to Broken Hill.

“I’ve wanted to come here for a long time and I am incredibly honoured to come here in this role as the Australia Day Ambassador.”

Mr Wheatley spoke highly of this year’s local award recipients and their impressive contributions to the Broken Hill community.

“I think it’s with people like this in our community that we can be proud to be Australians.

“I believe that people caring for others in our society are leaders, their contribution to society is immense, they build our social and economic capital.

“People who are devoting their life to care for others in our society and volunteering with the most vulnerable shows us in their own individual way the path to prioritising what we all need, relationships.”

Jarrod Wheatley and Mayor Darriea Turley presented each of the recipients with their Australia Day Awards. Christine Ellis, John Harris and Deborah Higgs were awarded with Citizenship Awards. The 2020 Young Citizen of the Year Award went to Blake Edgecombe, while Leslie McQuillan was named the Senior Citizen of the Year. 

The 2020 Broken Hill Citizen of the Year Award went to Sandra Haring, a woman who has contributed significantly to the Broken Hill community in many ways through volunteering over the last 50 years. 

Sandra said she was humbled and overwhelmed to have received the Citizen of the Year Award.

“I joined St John when I was nine years old, I’ve been involved in other organisations as well ... but St John has always been my life and St John family has always been my family outside of my own family.

“Volunteering is something that everyone should get involved with, it’s really great to do, you meet a lot of people along the way and a lot of people come back to you later on in life and say thank you, which is really great to see, especially young ones and children.

“It’s really great to walk down the street and see where they’ve gone in life and how they’ve turned out.”


The Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) winners:


John Pickup OAM

For service to the community as a regional radio broadcaster.

Broadcast Media - Radio:

Inaugural Manager and involved with establishment, Radio 4CRM Mackay, 1993-2005.

Manager, ABC Radio and Television Darwin, 1980-1981.

Manager, ABC Radio Broken Hill, 1962-1989.

Manager, ABC Radio Mackay, 1989-1992.

Radio Broadcaster, ABC Radio, 1950-1992.


Member, Brushmen of the Bush (other members include Pro Hart and Jack Absolom), 1973-1989.


Former Volunteer Commentator and Announcer, annual Canberra Balloon Spectacular.

Former Owner and Pilot, ‘Don Quixote’ hot air balloon.


Sandra Clark OAM

For service to Indigenous education, and to the community.

Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG):

Chair, current.

Facilitator, Junior AECG, Alma Public School, Broken Hill, current.

Chair, Community Working Party, 2009-2010.

Founding Member.


Teacher, Alma Public School, since 2005, and Aboriginal Education Officer, 1994-2003.

Aboriginal Student Liaison Officer, Student Welfare Staffing Area, Department of Education, 2003-2006.

Aboriginal Student Liaison Officer, Broken Hill District, 2003.

Aboriginal Education Officer, Various Locations, 1988-1989.


Member, Aboriginal Lands Council, since 1994.

Member, Maari Ma Aboriginal Health Corporation, since 1995.

President, Geebungs Rugby League Club, 2009-2016.

Volunteer, Junior Rugby League, Outback Rugby League, 2009-2019.

Awards and recognition includes:

Volunteer of the Year, Outback Rugby League, 2012.


John Lynch OAM

For service to the community through emergency response organisations. 

Royal Flying Doctor Service:

Chief Executive, Central Operations, 2000-2018.

Finance Manager, Adelaide, 1991-2000.

Finance and Administration Manager, Broken Hill Air Base, 1986-1991.

Involved in negotiation to launch the Aero Medical Precinct for the State of South Australia at Adelaide Airport.

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