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Gunnedah’s Australia Day Ambassador a lifesaving legend

7 January 2019

Even when water is at its most scarce, water safety is critical, particularly as temperatures soar.

Gunnedah’s Australia Day Ambassador for 2020 – surf lifesaver Doug Hawkins - knows this better than most.

Gunnedah Shire Council Acting Mayor and Chair of the Australia Day Committee Rob Hooke said Mr Hawkins had a visionary approach to water safety.

“Whether you and your family visit the beach for holidays or just take advantage of local pools and rivers and creeks when the water is flowing, staying safe in the water is extremely important,” Cr Hooke said.

“Mr Hawkins has been a surf-lifesaving volunteer for 20 years. He has not only trained more than 800 people to become surf lifesavers, but he has run water safety programs to refugees and immigrants.

“He has also introduced surf lifesaving skills to Israel, India, Thailand and the Cook Islands where he helped set up lifesaving clubs and taught skills including CPR and rescue skills.

“Mr Hawkins has made sure this legacy will continue, overseeing 6500 young lifesavers in the Nippers program across the Sydney Branch.

“I’m really excited to have Doug Hawkins as our Australia Day Ambassador. He certainly exemplifies the wonderful and selfless spirit of our Australian volunteers, and I am looking forward to meeting him and hearing his story at the awards dinner.”

Mr Hawkins will be sharing his story as the guest of honour at the Australia Day Awards Dinner on Saturday, January 25.

Gunnedah’s Australia Day Dinner will be held at the historic Gunnedah Town Hall and the whole community is invited to attend. Tickets include a three-course meal provided by local caterers The Verdict, for just $30 per person. Tickets are available online at or in person at The Gunnedah Shire Council Office, 63 Elgin Street Gunnedah and at Gunnedah’s Visitor Information Centre, 81 Chandos Street, Gunnedah.

Gunnedah’s Australia Day Nominations close at 5pm on Friday, 10 January, 2020.

To find out more about the dinner, nominations for Australia Day Awards or other Australia Day activities, visit and keep an eye on Gunnedah Shire Council’s Facebook page.

Photo caption: Surf lifesaving volunteer Doug Hawkins is Gunnedah’s Australia Day Ambassador for 2020.


Media contact: Eliza Gallen (02) 6740 2100.