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Congratulations to our 2024 Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year

Media release

The City of Greater Bendigo congratulates two outstanding local leaders on being named the Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year for 2024. 

Marong resident Heather Wearne is the Citizen of the Year, in recognition of her strong leadership and contribution to the Marong Community Action Group for several years. 

Axedale resident Montanna Maud is the Young Citizen of the Year, acknowledging her service to the Mosquito Creek Rural Fire Brigade, contribution to many community fundraising initiatives and leadership on the Elmore Equestrian Club Committee. 

Mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf said the City was delighted to honour these two worthy community leaders. 

“It is one of the greatest privileges as Mayor to call two residents each year and tell them they have been chosen as our next Citizen or Young Citizen of the Year. The recipients are always shocked and very humble when accepting the recognition, and this year was no different,” Cr Metcalf said. 

“Heather is Chair of the Marong Community Action Group and is passionate about the town’s development, including advocating for new infrastructure and is currently focused on a sustainable transition off gas and onto electricity for local households and businesses. 

“Montanna is a member of the Mosquito Creek Rural Fire Brigade, volunteers with the Axedale Quick Shear Committee to raise funds for local organisations, and is a member of the Elmore Equestrian Club Committee. 

“Both Heather and Montanna are truly committed to their communities and wonderful examples of volunteers who tirelessly give back. Congratulations to them both and I look forward to the year ahead and seeing them use this new platform to continue their great work.”

About Heather Wearne

Heather has provided strong community leadership as Chair of the Marong Community Action Group (MCAG) for several years. 

She has long recognised Marong needs to grow sustainably and residents need reasonable access to services close to where they live. 

As new subdivisions are developed, Heather has successfully lobbied organisations including VicRoads and the City of Greater Bendigo for improvements to a range of services and supporting infrastructure.

Together with the MCAG, her latest project is Electrifying Marong, with the aim of developing a plan to transition residents and businesses off gas and onto electricity. Other projects underway include a focus on building community resilience and connectedness.

Heather has consistently demonstrated a long term commitment to community placemaking in Marong and has successfully done this in partnership with local residents, as well as local organisations and government bodies, recognising it takes a true team effort to achieve valuable, long term outcomes. 

About Montanna Maud

Montanna has been involved within the Mosquito Creek Rural Fire Brigade for two years and holds the position of 4th Lieutenant. She is involved in the brigade’s open days, First Aid sessions, regular training, meets with visitors and campers around Lake Eppalock to deliver safety messages, and supports the brigade’s social media channels. 

Montanna is a member of the Axedale Quick Shear Committee, which raises funds for local organisations including Axedale Primary School, Axedale Kindergarten, the CFA (Knowsley, Mosquito Creek and Axedale) and others. The Quick Shear is a family fun day featuring sheep shearing, a silent auction, market, kids’ activities and other entertainment. 

As a member of the Elmore Equestrian Club Committee, Montanna also helps run a number of equestrian competitions, including providing opportunities for riders to train and test their skills. 

Montanna is 20 years-old and currently studying psychology at La Trobe University.

Greater Bendigo