Who makes a real difference in your community?

The Citizen of the Year Awards are proudly presented by the Australia Day Council of South Australia, sponsored by San Remo, Stratco and Channel 9, and administered by local Councils.

The purpose is to recognise those people in the local community that are making outstanding contributions. On Australia Day every year every local council will name their Citizen of the Year for their local community and on Australia Day eve a State winner will be named in each category. See below for the state winners for Australia Day 2017.  

For more information please go to our website

Citizen of the Year


The South Australian Citizen of the Year 2017

James Graetz (Mid Murray Council)


James Graetz has displayed an unrelenting commitment to the Keyneton district community and beyond for 50 years. He is an upstanding person, who has been committed to the job at hand across numerous organisations from his children’s school to the district’s agricultural bureau. He treats people with respect and listens to their concerns where his position requires it. His outstanding commitment to the Keyneton CFS for 50 years, including 30 years as captain, stood out during the 2014 Eden Valley fire, not only at the height of the emergency, but for many weeks after managing crews to handle the many flare-ups and extensive de-briefing with authorities at local and State level. His work with this emergency continued with BlazeAid. James’ commitment to the community is immense and was made more difficult with the loss of his beloved wife Carol 12 years ago. James became the sole parent to their two children Kym and Sally and continued to run his household and farm. James goes about his community duties with no fuss or fanfare in a humble and quiet manner.

The South Australian Young Citizen of the Year 2017

Joint Recipient: Sarah Hammond (Mt Barker Council)


Sarah Hammond was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis at just 18 months of age. Here began a moment of a life full of hospital visits, operations, injections and endless medications searching for a cure and end to her pain.Living her life as a young person with Juvelile Arthritis, Sarah made it her cause to improve life for children living with arthritis, and become an advocate for them. At the age of just 19, Sarah Hammond founded Kids Arthritis Australia – Australia’s first organisation solely dedicated to supporting the 1 in 1,000 children in Australia living with Juvenile Arthritis. Sarah and her volunteers run family get togethers; where parents can talk to other parents whose children are going through what they are, and where kids with Juvenile Arthritis can meet others like them.Sarah is heavily involved in her community, volunteering at Hills Radio at Mount Barker, or at her local CFS station with the cadets. Her passion for community comes from her family and being able to give back to the community that supports her.

The South Australian Young Citizen of the Year 2017

Joint Recipient: Damien Walker (City of Salisbury)


Damien Walker of Parafield Gardens, is a strong young man who stands up for individuality and is a caring and selfless hard worker. Damien volunteers at Salisbury’s Twelve25 Youth Enterprise Centre three days a week. He commenced at the Centre in 2014 providing administration support and now helps coordinate youth programs. He assists with special events such as Salisbury Secret Garden, South Australia Living Artists, Rotary Youth Driving Awareness Program, Youth Week and much more.Damien is an ambassador for the Salisbury LGBTIQ Community and Suicide Awareness Program and is actively involved in ‘Talk Out Loud’, which aims to empower young people to make positive life choices and become active in their community. DAMIEN has specifically focused on raising awareness of Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.Damien has been a Salisbury City Rotaract Club member since its establishment. He has held his positions as Secretary, Webmaster and Committee Member for the past three years and assisted the Club in raising money for causes such as Daffodil Day and the Nepal Earthquake Victims. He volunteers with the annual Salisbury Community Christmas Parade, manages Salisbury Catholic Parish’s volunteer program, and helps with the Parafield Gardens Free Christmas Lunch, which is a special luncheon for people with nowhere to go on Christmas Day. Damien is a committee member, team leader and friend to many.

The South Australian Community Event of the Year 2017

The Uraidla Show (Adelaide Hills Council)

Uraidla Show

February 20th, 2016 saw the biggest Uraidla Show in a decade, with over 5,000 people through the gates of the show grounds, experiencing an event which pulled the whole community together. Reinvigorated by a young committee, fresh ideas were introduced to the 127 year old event, supported by a number of the older stalwarts of the committee who have led the committee over the longer term.The committee afforded free sites to a number of community groups who were successful in raising money for their own causes. Meanwhile, volunteers at the adjacent Sustainability Fair came together to put on a fun, informative and interesting day, where groups promoted and discussed simple ways to become more sustainable.

Highly Commended for contribution to the Community 2017

The Youth Driver Awareness Program (Barossa Council)

Youth Driver

The Youth Driver Awareness Program run by the Rotary Clubs of Barossa is credited with providing driver education to more than 2,600 local young people at risk on our roads. The local Rotary Clubs introduced the program into four local high schools in 2007 in response to the over-representation of young people in road crashes and fatalities. Targeted at Year 11 students who are learning to drive, the one-day program features professional facilitators and centres on speeding, alcohol, seatbelts, distractions and personal responsibility.