Toodyay’s clean sweep at awards

Back row from left: Mel Hay, David Dow, Judy Dow, Beth Frayne, Greg Warburton, Vicki Warburton; Rhoma Heath, Kaye Rewell, Audrey Bell and Gail Dodd. Front row: Hannah Morrison, Shelley Kingston and Bob Frayne.
Back row from left: Mel Hay, David Dow, Judy Dow, Beth Frayne, Greg Warburton, Vicki Warburton; Rhoma Heath, Kaye Rewell, Audrey Bell and Gail Dodd. Front row: Hannah Morrison, Shelley Kingston and Bob Frayne.

The small Wheatbelt town won the overall national title plus three of the eight national category awards.

Toodyay Tidy Towns chairman Greg Warburton said the town’s achievements were ‘beyond their wildest dreams’ and a huge accolade for Western Australia ” WA’s last winner was Collie in 2006.

‘The competition is about showcasing your town as a tidy and sustainable town and we now have the opportunity to host next year’s national event in Toodyay,’ Mr Warburton said.

‘We expect the award to bring huge benefits to the town in terms of tourism.’

Toodyay’s national success follows the State title win last November and regional awards in 2013 and 2014.

Mr Warburton said Toodyay entered the awards less than three years ago after a group of concerned locals formed a tidy town group and urged local businesses and community groups to get involved.

Bendigo Bank offered a $500 reward to every group of volunteers willing to take responsibility for cleaning up a section of Toodyay.

Volunteers identified the main Perth-Toodyay road as one of the worst litter-drop areas.

Mr Warburton said the pretty Avon River town was a popular destination for tourists.

‘WA has the worst record for roadside littering and poor rates of recycling, so these were two areas we targeted,’ Mr Warburton said.

Mr Warburton said the introduction of walk trails and town events changed people’s perceptions and created a sense of local pride.

‘Improving the health of the Avon River (an extension of Swan) is a monumental task, and we have seen the benefits of protection measures such as preventing livestock grazing, revegetating and pool dredging, working alongside other riverside protection groups.’

Community contributors represented at the awards included 14 representatives from Toodyay Friends of the River, the Historical Society, Bowling Club, Toodyay & Districts Community Bank, Garden Club, Naturalists’ Club, District High School, Keep Australia Beautiful Council WA and the Shire of Toodyay.

National judge Jill Grant said Toodyay was a dynamic and environmentally aware community with friendly, enthusiastic and dedicated residents that cared for their unique cultural and natural heritage.