Melton Citizen of the Year 2018

At the Australia Day 2018 Community Achievement Awards ceremony at the Willows Historical Park in Melton, John Bentley was announced as the winner of the Melton Citizen of the Year. His citation was very impressive, as the Mayor outlined John’s participation in numerous community projects and education programs throughout the 41 years that he and his wife Jill have lived in Melton.

John and Jill are members of the Friends of Geelong Botanic Gardens.

John has been the driving force behind the formation of the Melton Botanic Gardens.  John was an inaugural member of the Friends Committee in 2003 and became President in 2004; and John has been President ever since.  Final plans and signage for the Gardens were approved in 2009 – so essentially the Gardens only began in 2009 - and the Friends became an incorporated body in that year.

John’s drive and ability in harnessing the man-power and skills of a huge variety of community groups, including the unemployed, refugees and ethnic groups, would, for this alone, make him a worthy winner. In a relatively short time these gardens have achieved wide acclaim. The sole use of Australian plants and plants from other dry countries showcases how dry climate plants can be used to create stunning and sustainable public spaces. Drawing the community together to build them is even more impressive.

In recognising John’s drive, vision and inclusiveness this award and honour are well deserved.

Congratulations John from the Friends of Geelong Botanic Gardens.   

John Bentley