City Recognition

Mildura Rural City Council will, under appropriate circumstances, recognise and provide official recognition to individuals and groups for outstanding achievement of service to the community through the bestowing of the honorary title of Freeman of the City or Key to the City.

Freeman of the City

The titular honour of Freeman of the City is bestowed upon an individual or organisation in recognition of outstanding community contribution, high service of community duty and public spirit.  It is relevant to residents or former residents of this municipality.

The criteria for this title includes:

  • Bestowing of the title Freeman of the City will only be by resolution of Council and in accordance with the City Recognition Policy.
  • Consideration of the bestowing of such a title should stem only from either recommendation from the community or Council.
  • Bestowing of Freeman of the City shall be limited to five living recipients to maintain both the significance and prestige of the title.

The title of Freeman of the City may be presented to organisations or individuals as deemed appropriate, with the following considerations:

  • Benefit of contribution to the community.
  • Personal integrity.
  • Demonstrated public spirit, and
  • Level of community service (impact, duration, etc). 

Mildura Rural City Council currently has four Freemen of the City:

Glenn Miller.jpg

Glenn Miller - 25 November 2004

Mr Miller was awarded an OAM in 2000 for his enthusiastic work across many areas of the community.

In his nomination for the honour, had distinguished himself in many ways since he first came to Mildura in 1964 to teach maths at the Mildura High School.

Later moving to the Mildura Senior College, Mr Miller completed his teaching career in 1997, but continued his connection with education as a lecturer at the Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, and as a maths tutor as well as lecturing at the University of the Third Age (U3A), of which he is a life member.

Other roles fulfilled by Mr Miller include:

  • President, Arts Council
  • President, Mildura Film Society
  • President, Carnegie Centre Board of Management
  • Life Member, Mildura Little Theatre Group
  • Life Member, Mildura and District Historical Society

Mr Miller has greatly added to the prestige of the historical society and played an important role in the society making the Carnegie Centre its new home in 1998.

Glenn has compiled numerous books on the history of the area and had greatly assisted the Sunraysia Daily with its Century of Sunraysia 1900-1999 edition.

Also a sought after musician, Mr Miller played piano accompaniments for choirs and silent films, conducted choirs and regularly wrote musicals for the Mildura High School.


Margaret Kelly small.jpg

Margaret Kelly - 22 September 2005

Mrs Kelly moved to Meringur from Echuca in 1960 and since that time has served on countless local, regional, state and national organisations, and has been recognised with numerous awards. 

Margaret Kelly has organised many Mallee wildflower tours and field trips, along with lecturing and publishing books about the Mallee flora.

Mrs Kelly’s achievements further afield include negotiating to have a water pump connected to a small African village after being declared a regional winner and Victorian finalist of the Rural Woman of the Year award.

Margaret was a driving force behind a Millewa reunion and a Millewa Schools event, which drew thousands of people back to the region.  This led to the Millewa Pioneer Village which is a living memory to all the original settlers.

Mrs Kelly has also written a paper on the reallocation and compensation to the pioneers of the area’s Closer Settlement Scheme.


John Burfitt small.jpg

John Burfitt - 22 July 2010

It has been said that Mr Burfitt is one of those genuine community-minded people who loves where they live and is always willing to get involved and lend a hand. 

At the time of his award, Mr Burfitt had been an active Rotarian for 19 years and served as president on two occasions.  He has raised in excess of $140,000 (2010 figures) for countless local and national charities over the years, including the Red Cliffs Nursing Home, Mildura Base Hospital, Sunraysia Rural Counselling Service, NSW Bushfire Appeal, Queensland Drought Appeal, Gunnedah Flood Appeal, Ronald McDonald House and Camp Quality, just to name a few.

John’s fundraising efforts invariably involve physical activity and he has walked, both forwards and backwards, cycled, ridden a scooter backwards, ridden a penny farthing, and walked on a treadmill in the name of a charity.

As well as supporting charities, it is not uncommon to find John out and about in the region helping people or picking up litter.  John has been named Australia Day Citizen of the Year in both Coburg and Mildura.

Mr Burfitt is a Life Governor of Red Cliffs District Hospital and Live Governor of the Mildura Base Hospital.


Denis Ryan small.jpg

Denis Ryan - 24 April 2018

Denis Ryan sacrificed his career as a Victorian Police Officer to uncover and seek justice for the many victims of institutional abuse in the Sunraysia area.  This impacted on him and his family significantly and 47 years later, he still suffers injustice.

Mr Ryan's advocacy and quest for justice helped change the culture of our community.  He taught our community to find its voice and not cower to power and authority in the face of criminal behaviour and injustice.

Much has been written on Denis Ryan.  His courageous efforts and sacrifices are well known within this community and this was no better reflected than with Council awarding him the Mildura Rural City Council Australia Day 2018 Citizen of the Year.

Mr Ryan was also announced on Australia Day 2018 as a recipient of the Order of Australia for "significant service to the community of Victoria through a range of roles, particularly in the area of child protection investigations, and to local government".


Past Freeman of the City include:

  • 1999 Murray Willersorf (dec), former Councillor, Shire of Walpeup
  • 1999 Roy Burr (dec), former Councillor, City of Mildura


Key to the City

This is an honour bestowed upon an individual or organisation in recognition of outstanding achievements in any field and includes the following criteria:

  • Bestowing the Key to the City will only be by resolution of Council in accordance with the City Recognition Policy.
  • Consideration or presenting the Key to the City should stem only from recommendation from either the community or Council.

    The key may be presented to organisations or individuals as deemed appropriate, with the following considerations:

  • Contribution to the community or outstanding achievement in any field.
  • Personal integrity.
  • Affiliation with the Mildura municipality.

Mildura Rural City Council currently has two recipients of the Key to the City:

Leigh Adams - 24 January 2008

In 2008, Mr Adams was recognised for his outstanding achievements in sport including:

  • Second place in World Speedway Grand Prix series.
  • Scored over 1,000 Grand Prix points, taking him to 5th place in all GP standings.
  • Named British Elite League Rider of the Year in October 2007.
  • Topped season averages in British Elite League and Swedish League and was second in Polish Elite League.
  • Nine times Australian Speedway Champion.
  • Captain of Team Australia, having led Australia to wins in 1999, 2001 and 2002.

As well as the above, Leigh returns to Mildura for 10-12 weeks every year where he freely gives his time to talk to schools regarding road safety as well as providing coaching and mentoring to young riders.

Desiree Wakefield - 1996

Olympic Bronze medallist in women’s double trap, Atlanta, 1996