Author, motivational speaker our Australia Day ambassador

Author, motivational speaker and 2009 NSW Woman of the Year Cheryl Koenig OAM is Gundagai’s 2022 Australia Day ambassador.

For more than 30 years, on our national day, extraordinary individuals from all walks of life, travel to diverse local council events across NSW sharing insights from their varied experiences. 

From remote and regional towns to cities and suburbs, they deliver meaningful and uplifting addresses that capture the true spirit of our nation, they embrace communities, celebrate diversity and listen to people’s stories.

Sydney-based Cheryl is the author of ‘In My Blood’ (2019), ‘With Just One Suitcase’ (2015), ‘Paper Cranes’ (2008), ‘The Courage to Care’ (2007) and ‘There’s always hope: just alter the dreams’ (2006).

In 2009 Cheryl was named NSW Woman of the Year, and in 2014 received the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to people with disabilities, their families and carers. Her involvement with disability services arose out of caring and advocacy for her son, Jono, who was severely injured in a vehicle accident. Cheryl continues to volunteer her time to improve health care services, which she combines with her passion for writing.

She has developed a high profile as a speaker to a diversity of organisations and audiences from community groups to being a keynote speaker at the University of New South Wales Graduation Ceremony. 

Cheryl devotes much of her public speaking to advocating for the disability arena and the rights of carers.

Cheryl is married with two adult sons and is the devoted grandmother of two grandchildren.

Cootamundra’s Australia Day ambassador is junior international athletics champion, Bryce Collins.

Since starting at age 10 in Little Athletics, Bryce has forged his way to become an extremely successful athlete competing in the 400m hurdles. In 2014 he competed in the World Junior Championships, making the semi-finals and placing 17th in the world. Since then, he has won three NSW Championships, and placing 3rd in the Australian Championships in the 400m hurdles. He also represented Australia at the 2019 Oceania Area Championships. He is aiming to compete at the future Commonwealth and Olympic Games.

Australia Day Council of NSW Chair Andrew Parker said the Ambassador Program is truly remarkable and unique, and this year’s group are determined to offer hope to many. 

“Community is the backbone of this state, we have seen this time and time again through the many challenges we have experienced as a nation. Australia Day is a time to support each other and more than ever before our ambassadors will lead the charge this Australia Day,” Mr Parker said.

“Regardless of our origins or our past, it’s a day for Australians from all backgrounds and communities to come together, embrace our diversity, and celebrate our resilience.

“Each NSW Ambassador has a remarkable story to tell, and they share common traits of achievement through hard work, talent, and a strong sense of community.”

AUSTRALIA DAY IN GUNDAGAI

The Gundagai community will come together to celebrate Australia Day on January 26 next year with a ceremony in Carberry Park.

Festivities kick off at 8am with breakfast. From 9am, Cheryl Koenig will be welcomed as ambassador before the presentation of awards for Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Sportsperson of the Year, as well as certificates of appreciation to all nominees.

There will be entertainment courtesy of The Gundaguys.

A pool party will follow at the local pool from 12 noon.

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