Older residents honoured in Ballarat Senior of the Year Awards

City of Ballarat Senior of the Year Award nominees.

Ballarat’s shining seniors have been officially recognised for their outstanding contributions to the city in a special ceremony. 

The City of Ballarat Seniors Awards were held at Ballarat Town Hall on Thursday October 6, with 11 finalists in the running for an award. 

It was the first time the awards have been held since 2019 due to the COVID pandemic. 

The awards seek to celebrate the exceptional seniors that offer their time and skills to benefit Ballarat residents and the community as a whole. 

The awards were broken up into four categories, plus the Senior of the Year Award: 

The four category award winners were: 

Ageing Well Award – Allan McKinnon 

Allan is a tireless volunteer, giving countless hours in the education field to help young students in various walks of life. 

He is also passionate about Legacy, as well Rotary Club of Ballarat South. One can often spot Allan promoting the work of legacy by selling badges. 

Equity Diversity and Inclusion Award - Ugo Lo lacono 

Ugo established the Circolo Pensionati Italian di Ballarat Inc (Italian Seniors Club). 

He is a fantastic advocate for the Italian community in Ballarat and was a founding member of the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council in 1995. 

A volunteer of more than 60 years, Ugo is a Justice of the Peace and is in constant demand to support elderly Italians with financial and legal matters, visiting sick residents in hospital and interpreting for them and their families. 

Healthy and Active Living Award – Ron King 

Ron leads a group of mature cyclists in rides around the Ballarat district and beyond. 

Ron has been instrumental in teaching other group members about cycling routes, how to carry out repairs to their bikes and even purchased a tandem bicycle at his own cost to help a vision-impaired cyclist. 

Volunteer Award – John Donaldson 

John has been a Volunteer with the Salvation Army in Delacombe for 34 years. 

A retired minister, John hosts international students, assists emergency services, is involved in the Salvation Army Band and volunteers in the Salvation Army Thrift store. He is the number one collector in during the Red Shield Appeal. 

The overall Ballarat Senior of the Year award went to Ugo Lo lacono. 

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney said the city was extremely thankful for the contribution of Ballarat’s older population. 

“I have been involved in this year’s awards selection process and I have to say it has been incredibly hard given the high level of community contribution,” he said. 

“The exceptional seniors who offer their time and skills to benefit Ballarat residents, and the entire community, are so important to us. 

“To all seniors who contribute to Ballarat, not just the ones here today, we say thank you.” 

The Senior of the Year Awards align with the City of Ballarat’s Council Plan 2021-2025 goal of ‘A healthy, connected and inclusive community.’ 

City of Ballarat aims to ensure our ageing community feel valued, respected and included and we acknowledge the ways the community benefit from our senior residents voluntary contributions. 

The award ceremony also aligns with Ballarat Seniors Festival, which is running throughout October. 

About 35,000 people aged 55 years and over live within the Ballarat municipality. According to the ABS 2021 Census of population and housing, this figure is expected to grow to more than 42,000 by 2036. 

A downloadable program for the Ballarat Seniors Festival can be found at ballaratseniorsfestival.com.au