The John Lincoln Youth Community  Service Awards

Recognition for Outstanding Service to the Community

Click here to download the 2019 nomination form

The Order of Australia recognises those who have made outstanding contributions that benefit their communities, and ultimately our country. These awards, by their very nature, define and identify role models at all levels within our communities and inspire us all to become more fully engaged citizens. The John Lincoln Youth Community Service Award was instituted to recognise similarly outstanding service to the community by senior NSW secondary school students. Each year, all NSW High School Principals are requested to consider recognizing outstanding community service by a senior student during years 11 or 12 of the NSW HSC or International Baccalaureate programs.  Traditionally, academic and sporting achievements, as well as service to the school community, are recognised and rewarded within school systems.

There are, however, many students who extend that service beyond their school boundaries and into their communities – local, national and even international. It is this service beyond school boundaries that was recognized by the late Dr. John Lincoln AM, who was a member of the NSW Branch of the Order of Australia Association. He initiated the Youth Community Service Award for the NSW Branch in 1992 and it was first presented to 20 students in 1993 for their exemplary community service, which took many forms. On his passing, his name was added to the Award in 1993 in his honour. Since then, it has been continued by the NSW Branch, with the number of Awards increased to 25 in 2012. Invitations are extended to all NSW High School Principals, who are seen as being best placed to identify those students who are actively engaged in external community service activities, and who are often unrecognized for their significant personal contributions.

Community service is wide ranging, with examples from the 2017 and 2018 nominations including:

– fundraising for a host of causes including: program and resource support for disadvantaged schools in Fiji, Kenya, Tanzania and the Solomon Islands, school and university scholarships in African countries, St Vincent de Paul, Red Cross, Cancer Council, Respite Care services, Prisoner Aid groups, Church Outreach Support Programs, Care for the Aged, Rural Fire Service, Headspace Youth Reference Groups, Relay for Life, 40 Hour Famine, Cleanup Australia, Surf Lifesaving, Leukemia Foundation, Salvation Army Appeals, Drought Relief, RU OK and Youth Leadership programs.  

– mentoring disadvantaged and disengaged youth in local communities, inclusion initiatives within indigenous, refugee and other disadvantaged youth incentive programs, and tutoring autistic, special needs and immigrant children. 

– volunteering in aged care, multicultural development programs, disaster relief programs and activities, community youth leadership programs, refuge centres, prisoner support groups, performing arts education, Local Government youth advisory committees, community radio and education programs against domestic violence, racism and discrimination in local communities.

Nominations from schools throughout NSW are forwarded to a judging panel of 3 members, each of whom is an Order of Australia recipient. Panellists individually assess all nominations, then meet in plenary to select the 25 successful nominees for the Award. The Awards are presented to them personally by the Governor of NSW in a special ceremony at Government House in Sydney.

The recipients of these awards are very special young Australians, whose actions and contributions have set them apart and enriched their communities, often well beyond the boundaries of their schools.

Nominations for the 2019 Awards will be called for in April, with a closing date in late May. Awards will be presented by the newly appointed Governor of NSW, Her Excellency the Honorable Justice Margaret Beazley AO at NSW Government House on 20 September.

Further information on the Award and the nomination process can be obtained from the Award Convener, Dr Frank Kelleher OAM on 0427 644 397 or