GEMMA Tobschall and Julie Hyslop have been named the joint recipients of the 2018 Monica Hayes Northern Bellarine Award.
The women were recognised for their outstanding contributions to the community through the Portarlington Neighbourhood House (PNH) at the Northern Bellarine International Women’s Day function at Terindah Estate on Tuesday.
Ms Tobschall has been involved with the PNH since it was established and has been a dedicated committee member for nine years, serving as vice-president for five years.
Ms Tobschall also organised the Port Snapper group and local photographic exhibitions and currently hosts the highly popular Armchair Travel Group and the Bolivia/Canasta Card Group – the longest established group at the neighbourhood house.
She is the secretary of the Port Arts Network, involved in various artistic/cultural projects, and was a founding committee member of the now very successful Portarlington Mussel Festival.
Ms Tobschall is the key person responsible for bringing both the Savoy Opera and Navy Brass Band to Portarlington, providing high quality, accessible performances for the enjoyment of Bellarine residents.
She is also a committee member for the Portarlington Film Society, which screens monthly films at PNH.
Meanwhile, Ms Hyslop – co-ordinator of the PNH – is a calm, patient and quiet achiever.
Her expertise in community development and her organisational skills are proven by a membership of the centre that has grown to almost 600 – the majority of whom are women.
Ms Hyslop also leads a diverse and dynamic program, where she is always available to lend a helping hand if needed, oversees professional development opportunities for both committee members and volunteers, and her active involvement in local networks and peak bodies.
She also has strong working relationships with local, regional and state organisations.
Described as welcoming, nurturing, encouraging, enthusiastic, cheerful, and tireless, Ms Tobschall and Ms Hyslop are admired and respected by their community.
Through the strength of their warm personalities, together with the range of activities provided through the PNH, they enrich the lives of local people.
Significantly, this participation includes younger members of the community with, for example, holiday programs of free films and the innovative Bellarine Nature Cadets offering opportunities for school students to develop their knowledge of environmental values and conservation issues.
The 2018 Monica Hayes Northern Bellarine Award honours the life of Portarlington resident Monica Hayes – a feminist, community leader and activist who died from motor neurone disease in 2016.