Australia Day awards – did we forget someone?

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vicki jellie
Vicki Jellie (Image: Peter’s Project)

This time last week, the City of Warrnambool was celebrating the announcement of its annual Australia Day award winners and, incredibly, there was not a single woman among the seven recipients*.

The absence of even one woman considered worthy of note for her contribution to the community is even more astonishing given there is a stand-out contender: Vicki Jellie.

If there is anyone in Warrnambool who does not know the name Vicki Jellie, then they have either been out of the city, avoiding all media, or unable to attend any of the dozens of social and sporting events that have raised funds for Vicki’s cause, Peter’s Project.

Vicki, who used to be Vicki Grayson and grew up in the heart of Warrnambool, has worked for more than five years on Peter’s Project, which – for our out-of-town readers – is named in memory of her late husband, Peter, and aims to raise $5 million toward a cancer treatment centre in South-West Victoria.

Since it began in 2009, Peter’s Project has slowly and steadily built its public profile to become a tour de force.

Last year’s federal election included a defining moment, at a local level, when the Coalition pledged $10 million toward building the centre and left the ALP stranded: such is the pulling power of Peter’s Project.

And you need only visit its Facebook page to see the number of events by business, schools, groups, clubs and individuals that are all raising money for Peter’s Project.

When we last spoke to Vicki, she was preparing to take a year’s leave from her paid job so that she could focus on Peter’s Project full-time. She, and her campaign team, are doing a magnificent job and as of December, had raised $4 million of the $5 million needed.

With such a high profile, we thought it would be a fait accompli that Vicki Jellie would be included in the Warrnambool City Council Australia Day Awards, and possibly odds-on favourite for Citizen of the Year. To see her missing altogether was a shock.

We can’t give Vicki an Australia Day award, but she is our Quiet Hero for being one of the most inspiring women in Warrnambool.

Vicki will receive a $20 lunch voucher donated by Lozzar’s Lounge Cafe, Kepler St, Warrnambool. Thankyou to Loretta and Phil for your support. Bluestone editors Carol and Louise will also make a $50 donation to Peter’s Project.

(*Sixteen-year-old Olivia Niddrie was named Young Citizen of the Year. The council has since told Bluestone it received only two nominations for women across all categories.)

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  Meet our other Quiet Heroes… 

Saving our wildlife from the heat: Nalini Scarfe

Walking with strength and purpose: Susie Alexander

On the road with the Schoolies

Tackling a hidden terror: Pat McLaren

A life-changing adventure: Schoolies with a Cause 

11 thoughts on “Australia Day awards – did we forget someone?”

  1. I agree that Vicki Jellie is a worthy choice. As are Del Clapp and Maxine Golding Clark who between them have served over 50 years as volunteers (and Max is a founder) on the Emma House Domestic Violence Services management council and are instrumental (along with manager, Pat McLaren and her staff of course) in ensuring that women and children in this region affected by domestic violence are supported and made safe.
    It is outrageous that the hard working, civic minded, unsung women of Warrnambool will remain just that – unsung by a Council that considers men’s achievements worth recognising and celebrating while ensuring women remain invisible. But not surprising.

  2. I was enraged at the gongs that were handed out. the only female to get one was a child. Ross (yes he has done good work over 5 years but all the women in Warrnambool who have given tirelessly over many many who weren’t worth a gong….it is shameful and the WCC need to be called on it.
    Keep up the great work – and you call it in such a polite way – unlike me !!

    1. Does the fact she is a “child” make her less of a female? What a fantastic job you’ve just done of making her amazing efforts seem less worthy. Please…this is council bashing just for the sake of it.

      Vicki is a tireless worker for the community, she is deserving if much, much more than a local council’s Australia Day Award, something along the lines of an OAM. Also is it known if any females were nominated….as Mordi or whatever his name is points out, it’s a nomination process, not a selection. Let’s not take away from those that won awards by crying foul that someone else was more deserving.

      1. Thanks for your comments Jarrod. Our intention is to point out a simple truth that nobody in our community, it seems, saw fit to nominate Vicki Jellie for an Australia Day Citizen Award. If they did, she was overlooked. While Vicki may be worthy of an OAM, she was also not included on that list – for this year, at least.
        If you look back at the past three years, all the Citizens of the Year for Warrnambool have been men – including one year when the award was shared between two men. This was also part of our point and no, a child is not a woman, irrespective of Olivia’s obviously outstanding achievements.
        We believe this is a trend worthy of contemplation as to why it is occurring, not an accusation that we are simply “council bashing” – whatever that means.

        1. What makes a female a woman? Do they have to be of certain age? Do they have to have a full time job? I mean really….come on, saying that she can’t be counted as a woman because she is a “child” is absolute rubbish. She’s a 16-year-old young woman.

          Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see women get these awards, but I’d hate to see those presentations become “a token” simply because the recipient is a woman.

          I’m not saying Vicki isn’t deserving, in fact quiet the opposite, but my guess would be her high profile in the community means people just assume someone else will nominate her, and in the end, no one has

          Also Vicki’s work is not yet complete, perhaps when the final $5million has been raised and the centre is under construction people will then realise the amazing amount of work she has done. I certainly hope so.

  3. Get a bit tired of these half written articles. If everyone feels that Vicki should have won, why didn’t you nominate her.

    It is a nomination process, not a random choice.

    The author of this article keeps writing half articles. I am guessing to invoke a response?

    Ask how people where selected, give due respect to those who had supporters that took the time to nominate them, and investigate rather that bland moaning this articles to be.

  4. Thanks for your comment Mordi (aka Peter) but I have to disagree with your comment that these are ‘half articles’. What do you mean? If you mean they are missing a ‘half’, then I would encourage you to submit the elements that you think are missing. We are always open to input and feedback from readers.

  5. It is a bit of a wake up call for all of us when we hear that there were only 2 females nominated but perhaps throughout the year and especially when award nominations open we can all think about the many wonderful people in our rural communities who make enormous contributions and set a nomination process in motion.
    I have not read the criteria for Warrnambool nominations but I expect they are similar to other local rural communities, it takes a little time and research but it is usually not difficult.
    Over many years I have nominated and supported nominations for several people, male and female for various awards. Some have been winners, others, while not specific award winners have had their important contributions more widely recognised.
    Please do not criticise local government for the lack of nominations .

    1. Hi Liz, Thanks for entering the debate, and congratulations on taking the time to nominate worthy people for awards like these. As our story points out we all need to take responsibility for encouraging more women to nominate, so due recognition can be given to the outstanding women we have in our community… and there are many.

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