Media Release

April 17, 2009

An evocative and playful photograph of a dedicated CFA volunteer passing on his firefighting skills to an enthusiastic apprentice has been announced as the winner of an inaugural awards program designed to recognise great community images.

The photograph, by Karen Alsop representing the Hillcrest Rangers outdoor adventure club, was picked from around 1600 entries from across Australia to win the 2009 Our Community-Australia Post Photo Bank Award.

"The photo shows a dedicated volunteer from the Beaconsfield CFA presenting his firefighting techniques to an enthusiastic boy from the Hillcrest Rangers outdoor adventure club," said Our Community CEO Rhonda Galbally AO.

"Older and younger, youthful exuberance and hard‐won experience, country and suburban, destruction and hope - this wonderful photo brings it all together in an inspiring and hopeful image.

"All of us now know just how much we owe to the courageous work of the CFA, and it is wonderful to see that we're bringing the next generation along."

The Photo Bank Awards is an initiative of Australia Post and Our Community (, which acts as an information and resource hub for Australia's 700,000 community organisations. The awards are designed to showcase the great diversity amongst Australia's community groups.

A crucial by-product of the awards has been the development of an online Photo Bank, which now comprises close to 2000 photographs representing all aspects of the community sector. The photographs have been contributed by entrants to the Photo Bank competition, and are available for community organisations to use under a Creative Commons license in their annual reports, posters and other marketing activities.

"Australian community groups have such a great story to tell and we're proud to be able to supply them with some of the tools they need to spread the word," said Allan Robinson, Group Manager, Letters for Australia Post. "Through the Photo Bank and other tools and help sheets provided through the Our Community website, we're hoping to see more and more great community stories in our newspapers, on our TVs and radios, and through our post boxes."

Along with the 'judge's choice' award for the photograph that best represents the work of Australia's community sector, this year's awards program also included a 'people's choice' award, which was won by Tracy Rockley from the Australian Rett Syndrome Association. Tracy's photo marks a memorable day when she planted some beautiful flowers with her daughter.

Karen and Tracy have won $1000 for themselves and $1500 for the community groups they represent.

Key facts

Our Community is a world-leading social enterprise that provides advice and tools for Australia's 600,000 community groups and schools, and practical linkages between the community sector and the general public, business and government.

Australia Post is a co-sponsor of the Photo Bank, and the Photo Bank awards. Australia Post also supports Our Community's online Marketing, Media & Post Centre, which provides community groups with the tools they need to spread their message more effectively.

The Hillcrest Rangers is an outdoor adventure club that runs out of the Hillcrest Christian College in the outer south-east area of Melbourne. The program includes such activities as equestrian, archery, canoeing, abseiling, billy carts and campcraft.

The Rett Syndrome Australian Research Fund exists to support people with Rett Syndrome, a unique development disorder seen almost exclusively in girls and that has no known cure.

The Photo Bank is an initiative of Our Community and Australia Post. It's designed to help provide a visual representation of the great work that is being carried out in the community around Australia. The Photo Bank now contains close to 2000 images, all contributed under a Creative Commons license so that they can be used free of charge by not-for-profit organisations to illustrate their work. The next Photo Bank awards process will open in the second half of 2009.

For further information or comment contact Our Community on (03) 9320 6800 or email to