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Widely respected local educator Moya McGuiness was acknowledged for her longstanding efforts in the community by being awarded the 2016 Coral McLean Award this morning.

The Awards are an annual event organised by Federal Member for Chifley Ed Husic and are named in honour of Coral McLean, “the mother of Mt Druitt”, who dedicated herself to the service of women and youth in the Mt Druitt area until her passing in 2011.

“For the past 48 years, Mrs McGuiness has dedicated her life’s work to the children that have come through her school – down to the selfless act of reaching into her own pockets to help provide washing machines, pay power bills, and hem and iron school uniforms,” Mr Husic said.

“Moya’s selflessness and passion for local children and families is an inspiration to us all in the local area. She won over our judges with a unanimous decision for this year’s Coral McLean Award.

“So many women in our area quietly go about the hard task of helping people in great need. They don’t ask for recognition – but their stories deserve to be told.”

Besides recognising the achievements of local women, this year’s awards breakfast also raised $3,000 for Butucarbin Aboriginal Corporation to help fund their community programs.

Hospital volunteer and kiosk coordinator, Margaret Thurlow, received the Chifley Woman of the Year Award for her extended service with the Mt Druitt Hospital since it opened in 1982. Elaria Hanna was awarded Young Chifley Woman of the Year for her tutoring help at St Bishoy Coptic Orthodox College and her volunteer efforts at local nursing homes.


The Awards are named in honour of Coral McLean, “the mother of Mt Druitt,” who dedicated herself to the service of women and youth in the Mt Druitt area until her passing in 2011. Coral McLean gave over 100,000 hours to this community as a Director of the Holy Family Education Centre and through her involvement with the Mt Druitt and Area Community Legal Centre and the Mt Druitt Reconciliation Group.


Moya Theresa McGuiness – Coral McLean Award

Moya has been an inspiring educator for 48 years. Her years of dedication and passion led her to becoming the Principal at Sacred Heart Primary School. She is known to have selfless acts of reaching into her own pockets to provide washing machines, paying power bills, clothing children, and hemming and ironing school clothes to ensure every child feels the dignity of coming to school in a uniform, equal to that of their peers. Moya’s deep concerns, her advocacy, commitment and love of each student in her care regardless of background truly shows her care for our community.

Margaret Thurlow – Chifley Woman of the Year

Margaret began volunteering at Mount Druitt Hospital shortly after it opened in 1982. She became the kiosk coordinator 15 years ago. In her time at the Hospital, Margaret has helped and encouraged hundreds of women. Over $1million has been raised by Margaret and her team to give back to the Hospital that she so willingly and generously serves. Margaret has also protested cuts to the hospital, standing up as a formidable opponent to bureaucracies over Hospital funding. She has earned the respect and gratitude of all those who are privileged to know her.

Elaria Hanna – Chifley Young Woman of the Year

Elaria has been nominated as a consistently high achiever during her high school years since she is dedicated to any task that is set for her. Elaria has achieved awards for public speaking and also the Maths Olympiad. Elaria works towards creating a better social environment for those around her; by lending her support to younger students assisting with their maths, visiting nursing homes and makes notable contributions to the school community through her regular service to school. Elaria lives with her family in Mt Druitt.

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