Longtime community volunteers recognised in Wudinna's Australia Day awards

Craig Jericho headlines this year’s Wudinna District Council Australia Day award winners after being named Citizen of the Year.

Other award winners include Young Citizen of the Year Tyron Cummings, the Kyancutta Tennis Club Centenary Celebrations for Community Event of the Year, plus special commendations awards to Minnipa’s Jon and Ros Fromm and to the Gawler Ranges Friends of the Park for the Pondanna Homestead Restoration Project.

Mr Jericho is a community-minded individual involved with a number of Wudinna organisations.

This includes 20 years with the Country Fire Service (CFS) where he is currently the group officer, the SA Ambulance Service branch, and the Wudinna Men’s Shed where he is the president.

He said while a privilege to be recognised, that was not the reason he was involved within the community.

“I was not expecting it, this was definitely a shock, but you don’t do what we do for the awards you do it to be part of the community,” Mr Jericho said.

“I enjoy what I do, and it’s also the community spirit that country towns have.

“We get left behind with a lot of things that go on in the state, so we should look after ourselves more.”

Mr Jericho said he was expecting the Men’s Shed to continue to grow.

“It’s a great organisation for not only older gentlemen, but something younger people have a place to go to that isn’t the pub or a sporting club,” he said.

“You’ve got to look after the younger guys, they have as many mental health issues as older people.”

Mr Jericho works alongside Young Citizen of the Year Tyron Cummings as part of both the CFS brigade and ambulance crew.

Mr Cummings joined the ambulance service a few years ago, but has been part of the CFS since 2010 and is now the local captain.

The 26-year-old diesel mechanic said a personal tragedy was the inspiration behind volunteering.

“I lost my dad in a car accident a few years back and decided I wanted to help other people,” he said.

“I love what I do and I like to keep busy, or you overthink things.

“I am proud of the award – I don’t do things for accolades, but I am happy to win it.”

The Kyancutta Tennis Club organised a centenary celebration last year, which saw past and present players come together from across the state to share memories.

Following a home match against Wudinna on Friday night there was a dinner on Saturday which involved a history quiz, the unveiling of the club’s first ever honour board and a chance to speak to life members, with about 100 people in attendance.

Lucy Schultz was part of the centenary committee and said it was nice to see a small community recognised.

“As any small community goes through, you have challenges of getting teams together, so it was nice to reach the milestone and have people from across the state come back for the weekend,” she said.

Ms Schultz said determination was the secret behind the club reaching the centenary mark.

“Once it folds it is hard to get going again, and if it doesn’t happen those in the future won’t have the option to enjoy it, so there is determination from everyone involved.”

Jon Fromm said he and wife Ros were shocked to be awarded a special commendation, for their years of service to the Minnipa community.

“I was a bit embarrassed, but it’s nice to be recognised by the community,” he said.

Aside from being involved with local sport, Mr Fromm was the president of the Minnipa Progress Association for five years, while the pair have been part of other groups such as the Minnipa football 100 years celebration committee, the Minnipa town centenary celebration committee and the Karcultaby Area School council.

“It’s what you do as part of the community and makes the community better to be in,” Mr Fromm said.

“One thing leads to another, you start to chair meetings, then you become the secretary and the leader.

“It’s great to have that recognition for years of works, but not the reason you do it in the first place.”

The Fromms currently split their time between Littlehampton and Minnipa, where they are still involved in farming.

When the ranger at the Pondanna Homestead asked if the Gawler Ranges Friends of the Park would be interested in restoring the dilapidated outstation in 2003, the group accepted the task and for six years were involved with weekend restoration work.

Restoration included replacing doors, windows, floors, re-roofing and installing a hot water system, to bring the outstation up to a standard that it is now hired out to the public.

The Friends are still involved in the upkeep of the 1920s homestead and on the last weekend of each month from March to September a group of up to 15 visit Pondanna for maintenance work.

“It was in a bad condition, with doors left open giving anybody the ability to walk in, and out it back pretty well to its original condition,” group member Ian Westlake said.

“It’s a piece of local history and if it wasn’t restored then by now it would be too far gone.

“We are very privileged and excited to have received the award.”