Keady's Corner

2024 Cowra Shire Australia Day Award Winners

Written by: The Cowra Phoenix


Cowra Citizen of the Year 2024

Karren Cave

Karren is a shining example of unwavering dedication and selflessness in the Cowra community, making her a deserving nominee.

Karren has made a positive impact on her community by volunteering at Cowra Riding for the Disabled from 2017 – 2022, providing therapeutic horseback riding experiences to those in need, fostering physical and emotional well-being among participants. Karren also started the Cowra Riding for the Disabled Op Shop, raising over $75,000 net profit in the first year of business and committing over 30 volunteer hours a week. Karren’s spirit of adventure and philanthropy shone as she embarked on an epic two month, 750km horseback journey from Cowra to Melbourne to raise funds for the charity, Little Wings. Her courageous effort not only highlighted the importance of supporting families facing medical challenges but also raised over $5000 in donations. Karren’s visionary leadership was also instrumental in founding the Cowra Community Enterprise (CCE) in 2023. Through her dedication, she established a platform that has since become a cornerstone for community development in Cowra. Her role as the President/Community Engagement Coordinator has led to numerous community-building initiatives, youth mentorship programs, social welfare efforts, environmental stewardship campaigns, and successful grant acquisition, positively impacting the lives of many residents.


Cowra Young Citizen of the Year 2024

Samuel Haeata

Samuel Haeata is a positive, young role model in the Cowra community, whose achievements were recognised in 2023 as the winner of the Cowra Youth Peace Award. Peace often starts with a smile, and that is Sam in a nutshell!

Sam was the Vice-Captain of Cowra High School in 2022, a Youth Ambassador in 2022 and a member of the Cowra High School SRC from 2017-2022.

Samuel volunteers at the PCYC and Cowra High School, working with young people and displays empathy, respect and compassion to all people in the community. He also works two jobs locally – at Kendal St Cafe, where he is a dedicated and valued employee; and for disability provider, Inception Services, where he runs games nights for the clients, with many members of the community commenting on the amazing young man he is.


Cowra Community Group of the Year 2024

Cowra Amateur Musical and Dramatic Society

Since 1963 the Cowra Amateur Musical and Dramatic Society (better known locally as the Cowra M&D) has been entertaining Cowra Shire residents with a variety of stage productions and concert shows. The group’s aim is to provide good quality, family-friendly and affordable entertainment to the widest possible audience. Over six decades, there is no doubt that they have achieved this aim!

In addition to stage productions, the M&D and its associated choir The Cowra Vocal Ensemble, which celebrated its own 30th Anniversary in 2023, has also been involved in numerous concerts, community fundraisers and performances for special events such as the Cowra Railway Centenary in 1986, the 50th anniversary of the end of WW2 in 1995, Cowra’s own 150th anniversary in 1999 and the 125th Anniversary of local government in 2013. Add to that regular performances at Cowra Eisteddfods, the Festival of International Understanding and many community events and it’s not hard to see how the M&D has been able to welcome over 2,000 people to its ranks. Some have stayed for just one or two shows, some have stayed for much longer and some have formed long-standing connections that have seen multiple generations of families perform across the decades.

The M&D encourages performers of all ages and levels of ability. All M&D performers are volunteers who do what they do for the love of entertaining other members of the Cowra community. There may be no monetary reward but there can be no better feeling than receiving the applause of the audience at the end of a show, or the laughter that accompanies a well delivered funny line.


Dr Warren Whiley Memorial Award 2024

Jan Munday

Jan Munday is one of Cowra most recognisable individuals. With 57 years of volunteering with the Cowra Eisteddfod, Jan has played an integral role in advancing Cowra’s artistic life over an extensive period.

Jan was awarded the Cowra Community Service Medal in 2016. This Award recognises the ongoing achievements of inspirational and outstanding people who make Cowra a better place to live and recognises a nominee’s past achievements over a period of time and their continued contribution to the Cowra community.

Jan’s extensive volunteering efforts reach beyond the Cowra Eisteddfod. While tending to her family business, the Cowra Ballet School, Jan has also been involved in the former Cowra Cultural Council, the Festival of International Understanding for approximately 40 years and the Australian Chapter of the World Peace Bell. Jan’s involvement to these groups spans many years, some as a founding member.

Jan was awarded Life Membership of the Cowra Eisteddfod in 1991 and the Dr Warren Whiley Memorial Award in 2011.

Steph Cooke

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Steph Cooke