12 Heroes of Christmas

Published: Friday, 14 December 2018 at 7:00:00 AM

From now until Christmas we will celebrate some or our local heroes.

Do you know a local hero? #12heroesofchristmas

Halinka Lamparski

Halinka is an Environmental Engineer with a passion for water resource management and environmental planning. She is a member of the City’s Environmental Advisory Group and has previously sat on water-related committees including WaterAid and the Australian Water Association.

While on the Environmental Advisory Group Halinka proposed turning a drainage sump in North Perth into a community park and she saw her idea come to fruition in June this year. “It was such a great project because it turned a previously ugly and unused lot into a beautiful green space for the local community and wildlife to enjoy. Plus it meant my bub got to be in the local newspaper with our Mayor!”

When she isn’t working on environmental planning and water issues, she spends time with her toddler and enjoys beach volleyball, good music and hanging out in local cafes and restaurants with her friends and family.

Halinka is inspired by Sir David Attenborough due to his passion for nature and his ability to inspire others to help protect it. Her daughter also gives her a different perspective of the world.

“Even the way that ants move fascinates her and it reminds me just to stop and take things in instead of rushing around all the time to 'get things done'.”

Her favourite aspect of volunteering her time and expertise has been getting to know and work with other passionate, like-minded people and seeing outcomes directly in her community.

“I really love working with my local community and Vincent staff so I can contribute where I can to the local environment - I highly recommend it to anyone who has ideas about how we could improve the City of Vincent.”


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Ida Smithwick

Ida Smithwich, Chair of the North Perth Local town team has lived in North Perth for the past 22 years.

Born in Holland, the only girl among five brothers, she moved to Australia with her family in 1954. She has been a City of Perth Councillor, business owner, community leader, local volunteer, loving wife, mother and grandmother.

“Five years ago I made the mistake of letting a friend of mine talk me into going to a local meeting with her and not long after that meeting I walked out as the Chairperson of North Perth Local."

“I have always enjoyed working with people and children; it all started when I became a brownie leader, P&C school president and sat on the school Board as Treasurer. From there I became a Perth City Councillor, sat on lots of boards and work with senior citizens groups. I ran my own business, Smithwick Strata Service for ten years. My office was across from the North Shopping Centre until I retired in June 2009.

She is inspired by events like the Halloween on Angove Street event her town team organised recently.

“Watching everyone get involved, children, parents, businesses, City staff all having a great time; and that is what drives me, kids and people’s smiles, fun and laughter.”


Charlize Underwood

Charlize has recently graduated from Aranmore Catholic College in Leederville and is passionate about netball and all things health.

Charlize enjoys and sees the benefits of a well-balanced life that includes healthy eating, exercising and fostering a positive mindset. After joining NETFIT on their tour that encourages and inspires young netballers to through fitness, empowerment, health and wellbeing, Charlize took it upon herself to encourage healthy living within her community. She decided to get involved with local groups in hopes to inspire youths to follow.

“Apart from family & friends, netball is my life – not just as a player, but I’m passionate about promoting and inspiring young people to play sport.”

“Through sports you learn strategies and life lessons such as how to cope with loss, building resilience and forming relationships all that are skills that can help with everyday life.”

Charlize has joined the Vincent Youth Network and loves being able to involve the younger community in the City of Vincent events. There is potential within the City of Vincent to engage more female adolescents to become more physically active. Through experience she has seen, for various reasons, the transition from primary school to high school leads to a drop in sports participation, specifically for young females. By providing a safe space where females feel welcome, there would be a massive increase in boosting confidence and self-esteem levels for many young girls in the City of Vincent.


Jade Dolman

Jade is a 23 year old Aboriginal, Irish, English woman from Perth. She is a freelance artist and cultural educator who loves sharing culture through all forms of art.

She became involved in the community when approached by various schools, inviting her to share her cultural knowledge to students. From an educators perspective Jade loves that she can teach and inspire the community allowing for those to pass on the knowledge for generations to follow.

"Let passion drive your goals rather than money. You can achieve any goal with passion & hard work."

Jade is inspired by her family, her country and her ancestors.


Chris Cutress

Chris from Mount Hawthorn joined Transition Town Vincent in 2014 because he wanted to meet people with a similar passion for sustainability. He started the Community Composting Station this year as a place people can bring kitchen scraps if they don’t compost at home. He also joined the City’s Environmental Advisory Group in 2016 to contribute his knowledge of environmental management to benefit the community.

“I grew up on a small farm in South-East Queensland. When I moved to Perth in 2000, I was shocked at how infertile the soil was, and just how much compost you have to feed the soil to keep it alive. Since then I’ve learnt how to make good compost at home and transferred this knowledge to a larger scale at the Community Composting Station.” 

I love turning “waste” back into something useful.  I really wasn’t sure how the wider community would react to the composting station, and one day a local resident approached me with what seemed like a look of concern.  I expected an angry confrontation, but was pleasantly surprised when she put a hand on my arm and said how wonderful it was for her to be able to compost her kitchen scraps again, because she didn’t have the ability anymore to look after a compost heap herself.”

Chris is inspired by the people who he meets at the composting station, who bring their kitchen scraps from far and wide to remove that particular waste stream from their rubbish bins and contribute to a better future for everyone.


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Stephanie Syme

Stephanie can’t remember a time she hasn’t played hockey. She joined Modernians Hockey Club (“Mods”) about 10 years ago when she filled in for her friend’s team and is now the Club President.

“I love that hockey is for everyone - young and old, men and women, girls and boys and that you can play it your whole life.  At Mods our youngest players are 5 years old and our oldest are 70+.”

Stephanie is also a passionate advocate for active participation of women and girls in sport.  Mods has strategies in place to ensure enough flexibility exists to allow young women to continue playing hockey during the socially and academically busy upper high school years and then to transition to playing in senior teams once they leave school.

“We know that being part of an organised sports team is a valuable tool in building social inclusivity, mental and physical wellbeing and a vibrant community.”

Stephanie is inspired by the volunteers who care so much about the Club and our community. “It takes many, many hours of volunteer time to make Mods Hockey Club go round and we are fortunate to have so many people who give of their time.”

“Mods has been around since 1932 and is part of the City of Vincent fabric.  We are always looking for more players, supporters and sponsors, so please join us!”



Jenny Hopper

Jenny has always been an outdoors person from her country childhood and now volunteers her time on the Claisebrook Catchment Group who do great conservation work in our City.

Her background is in mathematical and physical sciences and there are other members of the group who are also experienced in biological and environmental sciences and that experience aids their conservation work.  

Jenny first encountered the Claisebrook Catchment Group at one of the City’s native plant sales as they were were promoting a walk around the City. She joined the walk, joined the group and over the years has been on the committee in the role of Secretary and now Chair.

“Since joining the group I’ve seen a great deal more of where I live, met a lot of interesting people and learned a lot more about the history of the area.”

“It’s enjoyable to spend a few hours in the open air working together, for instance putting in native plants round a local wetland and then to relax under trees with good friends for conversation and delicious morning tea”

“I’ve had a few funny looks when returning home by bus in my slightly grubby boots, scruffy gardening jeans and carrying a less than elegant bag of tools. I have to admit our sartorial standards on projects are not high.”

Jenny would like to acknowledge the other heroes in the Claisebrook Catchment Group for all that they do to conserve Vincent’s natural beauty.   


Munira Mackay 

Munira from Mount Hawthorn is an architect and urban designer at Mackay Urbandesign. She volunteers her time as a member of the Mount Hawthorn Hub Town Team and was part of the City’s North Perth Common Working Group who decided on the concept plan for our new public open space to be built next year.

“My passion for good urban design spills over into volunteering in the community and I’m grateful for the opportunities to contribute my skills as a professional designer and to continue learning ‘on the job”.

“As a young architect and urban designer, I’d read “The Fall of Public Man” by Richard Sennett, who argued the importance of the public domain and the role of community meeting places in creating a caring and civil society.”

“Also, I’ve found that travel broadens the mind, and experiencing lively, pedestrian-friendly public places in Australia and oversees creates an understanding of the basic ingredients required for robust places to flourish and be loved.”

She chose Mt Hawthorn as her home due to the beautiful leafy streets, the character homes and the village atmosphere of the town centre.

‘What I love about volunteering is engaging with other people, discussing ideas, planning the implementation of projects, and being rewarded by seeing places evolve for the better,” she said.

“I’ve enjoyed meeting people from all backgrounds and working with them to achieve positive results. I’ve learnt that volunteering requires patience, co-operation, diplomacy and an ability to listen and then speak up! Volunteering takes time and commitment, continuous improvement, and is fun and fulfilling to do.”


Raffaele Basini

Raffaele and his young family immigrated to Australia in 1962. He arrived in Melbourne before quickly moving to Perth in 1963 and has lived in Mount Lawley ever since.

Raffaele is a qualified architectural draftsman and has worked in many different career roles but has always had a deep passion for music especially Jazz and Latin American music. He was one of the first people to play the ‘Bossa Nova' outside of South America.

He is also passionate about getting involved in the local community including many Italian organisations such as the Vasto Club, The Tuscany club, San Michele, Our Lady of Montevergine. He now works for Patronato, an Italian organisation assisting elderly Italians with their pensions and financial matters.

“I love to be able to help people, to be able to tell stories, to be able to write about my history and that of many Italians and i especially love music and what it can give people.” 

Raffaele enjoys writing articles for publications such as The Dante Alighieri newsletter, Il Globo, and his local church - the Sacred Heart’s newsletter and undertakes readings during mass.


Andrew Taylor

Andrew has lived in North Perth for almost 14 years and is President of the Kyilla Primary School Parents & Citizens (P&C). The Kyilla P&C run the canteen, the uniform shop and a selection of local social events. They are the ones behind the Kyilla Community Farmers Market held every Saturday morning at Kyilla Park, North Perth. 

“It’s fantastic to come to the market on the weekend and feel such sense of community.” He said.

“It is also great to meet small family producers who work so hard to grow or make a product and hearing the stories of where the products come from... It makes us feel so much more connected to the things we are buying and using.”

Andrew enjoys working with such a committed bunch who strive to donate their time, pitch in and help out where possible. The work of Andrew and the P&C provides resources to the students of Kyilla Primary School and brings much joy to the community.


Mark Reid 

Born in Scotland, Mark Reid immigrated to Australia in 1987. He now works for a local freight and transport company and is part of the North Perth United Soccer Club Committee.

Mark became involved with the North Perth United Soccer Club in 2007 looking to make new friends through playing his favourite sport. He loved helping out during training and after games which lead to Mark joining the committee. During this time North Perth United SC have experienced their most successful time with Amateur Premier Titles in 2013, 2014 and 2018, winning the Amateur Cup in 2014!

Mark is inspired by the people that surround him, his wife, family and friends who are supportive of his passion for football. Seeing the many friendships that have been formed from the club is important to Mark

“Being part of a club which was formed in the early 70’s and is still running today, is something I find very special.”

Founding members still attend and support North Perth United SC games who have been involved for the past 50 years.


Scott Yelland

Scott strongly believes in the importance of being an active part of a community. As a father of two, a small business owner and President of the Mount Hawthorn Primary School Parents & Citizens (P&C), Scott is a strong advocate for community supported initiatives and change in the local City of Vincent area. 

Scott draws inspiration from his kids, who constantly challenge his way of thinking and encourage him to see alternative perspectives on life. Kids often view the world in a far less complicated way than adults - especially when questioning why something is the way it is. Scott finds this very inspirational and refreshing!

“It’s an important life lesson for my kids to see that being part of a community means pitching in and helping out your neighbours and friends without seeking reward or recognition. If we’re looking out and looking after our neighbours then we’re going to build a better community” 

Being P&C President has given Scott a deeper appreciation of all the elements that encourage, build and support a school community. Scott found himself understanding and seeing all the differences the P&C have made around the school grounds.

“There is a unique feeling in knowing that it will not only benefit current students of Mount Hawthorn Primary School but also future students for many years to come.”

Scott believes that the time he spent working alongside other parents as well as the principal and school administration has provided him with a greater understanding of the school and hopes that he has been able to show his kids the importance of community. 


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