Uncle Ivan receives recognition for community service

Proud recipient: Uncle Ivan Wellington was pleasantly surprised to receive a NSW Community Service Award this month.
Proud recipient: Uncle Ivan Wellington was pleasantly surprised to receive a NSW Community Service Award this month.

If you've been to any major community event in Campbelltown, chances are you've seen Uncle Ivan Wellington.

The Aboriginal elder is a stalwart of the community, regularly volunteering his time to official proceedings all year round.

Despite his unquestionable commitment to the region he calls home, Uncle Ivan was still shocked when he received a NSW Community Service Award from Campbelltown MP Greg Warren this month.

"It was certainly a surprise, but a beautiful one," the Ambarvale resident said.

Uncle Ivan regularly performs traditional Indigenous rituals at events like NAIDOC Week activities, Sorry Day, the 24 Hour Fight Against Cancer walkathon, official council proceedings and more.

These frequently include welcome to country speeches and smoking ceremonies.

Uncle Ivan said he loved being part of these community events.

"I do it because I love it," he said. "I love giving back. I came from nothing, I came from my mum and my dad, and I learnt about giving and doing good from them.

"It makes me happy to try and make life a little bit better for other people."

Uncle Ivan said he loved that Campbelltown and the broader Macarthur area was so diverse.

"I don't do what I do just for the traditional owners of the land," he said. "Campbelltown is a mix of many different cultures - it's a wonderful gift we've been given.

"I love that we are working together to close the gap, I love that that is happening here in Campbelltown."

Uncle Ivan said Macarthur had many Indigenous elders who were equally worthy of praise and he hoped to see them receive similar awards in the future.

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren said it was an honour to present the award to such an outstanding local ambassador.

"As a member of parliament you get invited to a large number of events through the community," Mr Warren said.

"More often than not when I am at one of those events, Uncle Ivan is there as well.

"His love of the Campbelltown community is matched by his warm and generous personality. Uncle Ivan always manages to make time for a chat and is always keen to spruik Campbelltown to anyone who will listen."

Mr Warren said Uncle Ivan has a special room named after him in Campbelltown Hospital, further showing his importance in the community.

"This [award] is the latest in a long line of awards and honours that have been bestowed on Uncle Ivan and every single one of those awards and honours has been well deserved."

Community stalwart: Uncle Ivan is a fixture at many community events in Macarthur every year.

Community stalwart: Uncle Ivan is a fixture at many community events in Macarthur every year.