Bendigo's Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year announced

Adventurer Linda Beilharz and young indigenous community leader Amethyst Downing have been named Bendigo’s Citizen and Young Citizens of the Year.

Ms Beilharz, who has lived in Bendigo for 30 years, has been named Greater Bendigo’s Citizen of the Year for her community work and achievements in human endurance.

She is the first Australian woman to trek across all four of the world’s major icecaps – North Pole, South Pole and the Greenland and Patagonia icecaps. 

Ms Beilharz said she was proud to represent Bendigo.

"I don't think some of the things I have done would have been possible without living in Bendigo and the opportunities that provides," she said.

She said the award was a great hounour.

"It's pretty special because it recognises the adventuring stuff and also the community stuff," she said.

Linda Beilharz is Bendigo's Citizen of the Year.

Linda Beilharz is Bendigo's Citizen of the Year.

"The adventuring stuff gets a lot of headlines but the community stuff is who I am and what I do."

Ms Downing, named Young Citizen of the Year for her dedication to improving outcomes for young indigenous people, said she felt "surprised" and "privileged" to receive the accolade.

"I have done a lot of hard work and I didn't think anyone noticed," she laughed.

"But I just do it because I enjoy it.

"I want our youth to grow up knowing they can achieve their dreams."

Making the announcement this morning, mayor Lisa Ruffell said she was delighted to name the pair as Greater Bendigo’s top citizens for 2013.

 “Linda and Amethyst are exceptional individuals who are making significant contributions to our community,” she said.

“Linda is not only a pioneering adventurer but is also passionate about social justice issues, having spent the past 20 years working in the community development area.

"Amethyst is an enthusiastic, motivated and determined young woman who is dedicated to improving the lives of others.

“The city is very proud to award Linda and Amethyst this great honour and I wish them an enjoyable and exciting year ahead.”


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