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Volunteer Surf Life Saver Jackie Bower honoured with Port Stephens’ Local Woman of the Year 2024 award

 Port Stephens’ Local Woman of the Year 2024 award

Kate Washington MP has announced local surf life saver Jackie Bower as the 2024 Port Stephens’ Local Woman of the Year award recipient.



Jackie is a dedicated and passionate member of the Tea Gardens Hawks Nest Surf Life Saving Club. Jackie joined the Club in 2019 and has served as the Club’s Secretary and Vice President, as well as coordinating many of the Club’s on-beach activities.


Recent drownings over summer have highlighted the important role of local surf life saving volunteers like Jackie. These local heroes not only patrol many of our high demand beaches, but also train nippers to be confident in the water and become the next generation of volunteer surf life savers.


The Local Woman of the Year award is a NSW Government program to recognise the achievements of remarkable women in our community. Previous Port Stephens recipients of the award include Mel Turner from Destination Port Stephens, Dr Sarah Bayley from Raymond Terrace Family Practice, Sue Pollock from Port Stephens Family & Neighbourhood Service, and Taurie Lalor from Tomaree Breast Cancer Support Group.


Jackie’s efforts were previously recognised at the 2022 Newcastle Permanent Hunter Branch Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence where she received the Administrator of the Year Award and Presidents’ Award. She was recognised as the Administrator of the year for the 2022 NSW Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence. And a finalist for the 2022 Rebel NSW Sports Awards for contributions to sports administration and community engagement.


When presenting the 2022 awards, Surf Life Saving NSW said: Jackie’s organisational skills are beyond reproach - she was a main driving force behind the rowing/masters carnival that was held at Bennett’s Beach, Hawks Nest during the season, and also completed more patrolling hours than anyone in the club this season. Jackie is truly an inspiration to her club and to those who are lucky enough to be in her presence.”


The Local Woman of the Year Awards is an annual program celebrating outstanding women in local communities. The Local Women of the Year Awards is part of the NSW Government’s initiative to recognise the accomplishments of women as part of NSW Women’s Week 2024, running 4-10 March, coinciding with International Women’s Day on 8 March.

Jackie’s award will be recognised locally at the annual Port Stephens International Women’s Day Breakfast hosted by Kate Washington MP and Meryl Swanson MP at the Murrook Culture Centre on 7 March 2024.

Minister for Women Jodie Harrison congratulated the state’s Local Woman of the Year Award 2024 recipients;


“Women who contribute to local areas are the pillars of their communities. They selflessly dedicate their time and energy to make a positive difference,” Minister Harrison said.


“I would like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions these women are making in their communities with dedication and passion, and thank them for all their amazing work.”

Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington said: 


“This is well deserved recognition for Jackie’s hard work and dedication to her club and our community. Jackie’s contribution of countless volunteer hours to keep people safe on one of our most dangerous beaches is so impressive.”  


“It’s leaders like Jackie that make a difference every single day, by building stronger communities and brighter futures for the next generation. Put simply, Jackie’s a local legend and an inspiration, and I’m delighted to be able to recognise her as Port Stephens’ Local Woman of the Year.


Port Stephens’ Local Woman of the Year Jackie Bower said;

“It is a great honour for me to be named Port Stephens’ Local Woman of the Year.”

“This could not be possible without the dedication and support of all our Tea Garden Hawks Nest SLSC Volunteers who spend numerous hours patrolling and keeping our beach safe, as well as supporting our nippers programs most Sundays in the summer season.”

“Our members are all united by a shared passion for beach safety and community service. In addition to protecting lives, their tireless efforts foster a sense of unity and pride among the Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest and Port Stephens communities.”

“I am grateful for all the support and guidance I have received from TGHN SLSC and enjoy being part of this incredible club.”


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