Onkaparinga's everyday heroes celebrated at Australia Day ceremony

This Australia Day was a particularly special occasion for several local community members who received Citizen of the Year award’s from the City of Onkaparinga council. 

Each award was given out to celebrate the citizen’s significant contribution, hard-work and dedication to the local area.

Brian Dempsey and Bill Threadgold were presented with with a joint Citizen of the Year award whilst Lauren Jew was given the Young Citizen of the Year award. 

In 2006, when Brian Dempsey left his full-time job, he was quickly approached by the Willunga Recreation Park where he has since remained as the treasurer. Giving his time to numerous groups, he has been a key to the community developing the way it has.

Brian said the Fleurieu Peninsula was one of the most beautiful places in the world.

“You can go away but when you come back you have got Kuitpo (Forest), Aldinga, wineries and the green rolling hills, but it’s the community of Willunga which makes you feel as though you can achieve something,” he said.

Equally deserving of the award, Brian Threadgold has spent a large amount of his time in sporting clubs around the area, with 30 odd years at both the Christies Beach Surf Life Saving Club Bill Threadgold and Reynella Football Club.

“The announcement was a complete honour and surprise, I’m very fortunate that the lady (Rhonda Cooling) I share my life with and raised nine children with is behind the scenes supporting me 100 per cent,” he said.

“Without her support we wouldn’t be able to contribute the time and money we do.”

Young Citizen of the Year Lauren Jew said she had spent most of her life in Aldinga.

“From a really young age I realised that not all young people have the same opportunities, the love and the resources that I had and so I saw it as an opportunity to change that,” she said.