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West Arnhem celebrates together

31 January 2019

A number of exciting celebrations were held across West Arnhem communities including Warruwi, Maningrida, Jabiru, Minjilang and Gunbalanya on January 26 and 28.
The Gunbalanya community had ‘Gunbalanya Day’ with the West Arnhem Regional Council (WARC) Youth, Sport and Recreation squad teaming up with AFLNT, Clontarf and Gunbalanya School to put together a two-day community football spectacular. This certainly brought ‘celebration, togetherness and fun’ to the centre for Gunbalanya Day 2019. 
All ages were invited to take part in AFL clinics and games, and of course a massive barbecue feed. WARC wishes to give a big thanks to all those who helped out and came along - there are more than a few rising AFL stars in Gunbalanya.
Local pride was strong during the spectacular celebrations at the fourth annual Maningrida Day in 2019. 

Over 100 community members, mainly younger people gathered together, at the swimming pool for an afternoon of outdoor fun and hot snags. 
By the end of the day, kids were particularly clean after countless soapy rides down the detergent covered inflatable slip ‘n’ slide. 
Many also came home with prizes and glory earned from first, second and third place in fast-paced egg and spoon, wheelbarrow and sack races. 
By the end of the day, the work of many artists came to fruition with the creation of a Maningrida poster. Thanks to all those who helped out and came along. 
Meanwhile, approximately 80 community members headed to the Jabiru pool on Saturday, January 26 to enjoy a family fun morning hosted by WARC.
The highlights of the morning were the presentations of the ‘Citizen of the Year Awards’ by WARC Deputy Mayor Anna Egerton and Department of the Chief Minister Regional Director John Bray, playing on the inflatable obstacle course, the fire truck spraying the water hose and the delicious barbecue lunch including the yummy lamingtons. 

Organisers wish to thank the staff, MC Andy Ralph, volunteers and the Jabiru Fire Station for their help on the day.
The rainy weather didn’t stop community members in Warruwi coming out to celebrate Warruwi Day.
Young and old came along to support the event and take part in an assortment of arts and crafts activities, as well as ball games and a basketball showdown. 

The event also served as a ‘farewell’ to older students returning to boarding school on the mainland and is was a great way to reflect on a fun school holiday program and build excitement for the new school term ahead. 
Big thanks to all those who came along to celebrate Warruwi Day and those who helped make it all happen. 
The Minjilang Recreation Hall opened its doors to young and old for all community members to come along and celebrate local pride and togetherness for Minjilang Day 2019. 
Youth, Sport and Recreation Officers Amelia, William and Leroy put on a sizzling barbecue enjoyed by all, along with a myriad of games and activities that got people moving, swaying and colouring as well as a basketball grand finale. 
Minjilang Day coincided with the end of the school holiday program and was a great moment to reflect on all the fun times and look ahead to the new school year. Boarders returning to school were acknowledged and farewelled. Thanks Minjilang! 
West Arnhem Regional Council wishes to thank the Australia Day Council for supporting these events.

The Kakadu Deadly Runners are a committed and dedicated team of enthusiastic runners who encourage and motivate the people of Jabiru to participate in a fit and healthy lifestyle. 
The group has been running since 2015 and those who founded the group, have dedicated their time and have worked tirelessly to keep the program running at no cost to the growing number of participants.
This group runs a popular program which has no barriers and welcomes anyone at any level of fitness. The program not only serves to improve health and wellbeing, but is also a social activity where people in Jabiru can meet and assist each other to reach their goals. And many participants have said that this group has made a huge impact on their lives.
Not only does the running group organise a regular program in the community every week, they have also represented Jabiru at numerous running events throughout the past year including the Darwin City2Surf, Kakadu Triathlon and more.


The 2019 Young Citizen of the Year recipient  Catherine Ralph is a Jabiru Area School student who strives in many aspects of life.
A great role model for her peers, this student consistently demonstrates the Jabiru Stars Academy values including respect, honesty, commitment and pride, and puts a 100% into everything she does.
In 2018, this Year 10 student received two significant awards through the Stars Academy, including the Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award and the School Based Apprentice of the Year.
Also a member of the Australian Army Cadets, this young person was promoted to the rank of Corporal, has participated in Army Cadet Camps in Darwin for the last two years and is now one of the leaders.
Outside of school, she is involved in many community and cultural events, and has volunteered her time assisting at many.

Emma Cameron is a strong, ambitious community member who has a passion and talent for marathon running. 
In 2012, this person caught the attention of a former world champion marathon runner, and was selected to train with the Indigenous Marathon Project for the New York marathon. 
As part of the training, the person participated in numerous marathons in the Gold Coast, Canberra and Uluru, and despite an injury, they continued to train in order to reach their ultimate goal.
In 2013, this strong athlete went on to compete in the Boston Marathon where unfortunately there was an explosion of two bombs. 
Despite this truly frightening experience, it did not discourage this recipient who has continued to pursue her passion, and this year, she will return to Boston to once again compete in this same race. This is an amazing achievement and something to be truly proud of. Not only this, she is a founder of the Kakadu Deadly Runners group here in Jabiru and through her enthusiasm, encouragement and commitment, she continues to inspire others.

The 2019 Citizen of the Year Leith Waterbury is a dedicated community member, volunteer firefighter and committed leader of the Clontarf Academy.
A passionate volunteer and role model to many, this person is always available to lend a hand and, over the years, has given countless hours of their own time – all for the sake of the community.
The recipient has been involved in the running of numerous sporting events, including before and after-school activities for kids, futsul and touch football competitions, the Kakadu Triathlon and many more.
When not involved in running regular sporting programs, this person is always on hand at almost every community event to assist – whether it is helping with the set up, pack down, or even jumping on the barbecue grill. And, over the years, this person has mastered the art of cooking a mean sausage.
They also commit time to other major events in the community including the Children’s Christmas Party and the Jabiru Fire Station Lolly Run – both of which bring smiles to the kids’ faces every year.
Over the years, this person has also been a volunteer firefighter, dedicating time to the station every week, and in addition, helps to run personal training and boot camp classes. And, when he is not involved in all of this, he continues to be a dedicated role model and driver of the Clontarf Academy.