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  • Your Hunter Valley Magazine

Meet Maitland's 2021 Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year

Maitland Mayor Philip Penfold and Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison MP with 2021 Citizen of the Year Melita Chilcott (second from left) and 2021 Young Citizen of the Year Montana Duggan (second from right).

Maitland resident Melita Chilcott has been named Citizen of the Year at this year’s Australia Day Ceremony.


Ms Chilcott, a resident of Maitland for the past 30 years, was honoured for her volunteer work with vulnerable community members, senior citizens and the homeless.

In addition to tireless work with the State Emergency Service, Meals on Wheels and as a pro bono wedding and baby photographer for less fortunate people in the community, Ms Chilcott has applied her TAFE qualification in hairdressing by offering her services free of charge to homeless and disadvantaged people at rehabilitation clinics and churches.

Ms Chilcott was nominated for the award by her daughter, Nadine Peters, who says that she has ‘always wanted [her] mother to win an award for being the person she is. My mum proves that you don’t have to be rich or famous to make a difference, just passionate about wanting to help.’

Maitland Mayor Philip Penfold says ‘the Maitland Citizen of the Year award celebrates local people who continuously go above and beyond and work hard to help others.

‘I would like to thank Melita for her charity work with vulnerable members of our community over a period of more than three decades in Maitland. Her enthusiasm, commitment and community spirit is deserving of recognition, as are our other nominees, who I would like to thank for their contribution to the advancement and wellbeing of Maitland.’

25 year old Bolwarra Heights resident Montana Duggan was named Young Citizen of the Year for her work on the committee of local non-profit, Friends of Palliative Care.

Since losing her father to cancer in 2011, Ms Duggan has worked with the group to raise money for quality palliative care services across the Hunter Valley, serving as both vice president and now president of the committee.

‘We are fortunate to have young people like Montana in our community. Her commitment to her cause, leadership qualities and fundraising efforts are more than deserving of this year’s Young Citizen of the Year award,’ said Mayor Penfold.

Due to ongoing renovation work at Maitland Town Hall, Council’s official Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony this year was held at East Maitland Bowling Club with attendance capped and proceedings livestreamed online.

Along with the two award recipients, 20 people became Australian citizens as part of Maitland’s official Australia Day ceremony.

Award nominees

Along with Ms Chilcott and Ms Duggan, nine other residents were nominated for this year’s awards.

Ms Christine Berry OAM – The founder of animal welfare non-profit Donkey Welfare with Heart, Ms Berry was nominated for her work rescuing and caring for nearly 70 donkeys across the Hunter Valley region.

Ms Kade Bosco – Ms Bosco was nominated for her work with local Sudanese, South Sudanese, and Equatorial communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, acting as a community leader and translator while also working as a nurse.

Mrs Lorna Epps – As an advocate and ambassador for the arts in the Hunter Valley region, Mrs Epps was nominated for her tireless work providing support services to the local art community during recent lockdown periods.

Mr Geoff Hicks – A board member with the Rotary Club of East Maitland and a member of the East Maitland Uniting Church congregation, Mr Hicks was nominated for decades of dedicated community work with Scouting Australia, Counterpoint Chamber Choir and Maitland Grossman High School.

Mrs Judy Hicks – Mrs Hicks was nominated for decades of community work with groups such as the Country Women’s Association, Rotary Club of East Maitland, East Maitland Uniting Church, Maitland Garden Club, Interplast Australia and Open Heart International.

Mrs Lynette Huckstadt – A resident of Maitland for seven decades, Mrs Huckstadt is a nurse and midwife by trade and was nominated for her volunteer work as a Minister with the Catholic Diocese of Maitland and Newcastle, as well as her volunteer role with the Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles.

Mr Genus Passi – Mr Passi was nominated for his role as Indigenous Advancement Strategy Coordinator at Youth Express. Through online and in person programs, Mr Passi engages with young people about culture and positive mental health.

Dr Craig Richards – A GP for roughly 20 years, Dr Richards was nominated for his role in coordinating testing clinics and response services in Maitland during the COVID-19 pandemic and being a keen advocate of providing clear, accessible and accurate information on vaccination.

Mrs Angie Ussher – A passionate member of Maitland Musical Society and Maitland Repertory for the past 20 years, Mrs Ussher was nominated for her equal opportunity and encouraging attitude with children and adults of all abilities through her vocal studio.



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