A R Bluett Memorial Award

"The greatest accolade a council can achieve" and "The pinnacle of local government achievement".

The A R Bluett Memorial Award has been awarded annually since 1945.

A R Bluett Memorial Award 2018

The A R Bluett Memorial Award is contested each year by councils in NSW who would like to be recognised as being the most progressive in the state. Entry is open to all NSW councils irrespective of size or resources. The Awards Trustees encourage NSW councils to enter this prestigious Award and are interested in all aspects of council operations and services.

The 2018 winners, announced on Monday 22 October at the LGNSW Annual Conference in Albury, were:

  • City and Regional: Fairfield City Council
  • Rural: Narrabri Shire Council
  • Highly Commended: The City of Canterbury Bankstown was highly commended in the City and Regional category. 

Who was Albert Robert Bluett?

Albert Robert Bluett was an outstanding figure in Local Government, serving as the Secretary and Solicitor to the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW for 30 years. He was the authority on Local Government law, and his opinion was respected by the legal profession and ministers of the crown. He helped to write the Local Government Act of 1919.

Following Bluett's death in April 1944, the councils of NSW subscribed to a fund as a permanent memorial to his work. This money funds the bronze plaques, awarded to the winning councils each year. His legacy also lives on through 'Bluett Local Government Handbook' often referred to as the Local Government bible.

Categories for Councils

There are two categories for the Bluett Awards:

1. City and Regional Councils

This includes city, metropolitan and major regional rural councils.

2. Rural Councils

This includes all other rural councils and county councils.

The Trustees believe the two categories provide fairness and equity for all councils, whilst at the same time preserving the original intent of the Trust Deed to judge councils on 'relative progress'.

How to enter

The 2019 Awards will open from 1 June to 31 July 2019.

Councils that are members of Local Government NSW are eligible to enter.

An entry fee of $600 is payable to cover the costs incurred in judging and administering the Award. On receipt of the council’s entry in the Award, Local Government NSW, on behalf of the Trustees, will invoice your council.

In recent years there has been a trend by some councils to submit voluminous entries with excessive use of photographs.  This can make assessing entries more complicated than need be. The Trustees favour neat, concise entries that tell the council’s story and highlights their progress, projects and achievements.

Councils are requested to adhere to the guidelines of limiting their entry to 1000 words for each principal activity and only one photograph (if necessary) for each project or significant achievement.

For further information please contact Les McMahon, Trust Chairman, on 0412 303 719 or email mcmahon.les@gmail.com. For technical difficulties, please contact Damian Thomas on 02 9242 4063 or email damian.thomas@lgnsw.org.au .

Stephen Ward Scholarship

The Awards also includes the official presentation of the prestigious “Stephen Ward Scholarship”. 

The Stephen Ward Scholarship of up to $2,500 shall be made available to at least one employee from each of the Bluett Award winning councils. The Scholarships are open to all council employees to undertake further study, professional development or research.

Stephen Ward Scholarship Guidelines (PDF, 157KB) 

The Stephen Ward Scholarship was established as a memorial to Stephen Ward who was the Shires Association President from 1991 to 1993 and was involved in local government since 1985. Stephen was tragically killed in a plane crash in June 1993 whilst returning from a major local government forum.

The funds for the Stephen Ward Scholarship were raised from contributions from councils, government agencies, professional associations, some individuals, as well as the LGSA to set up a scholarship Fund.

List of Contributors (PDF, 245KB)

How is it judged?

There are three honorary Trustees/Judges. At the end of the financial year, the Trust invites councils to submit an entry. Councils are requested to detail their achievements, using statistical information and other evidence of progress. All entries are judged independently and objectively by each Trustee, who then meet to deliberate on their findings and select councils who may be shortlisted for inspection and presentations. The winning councils will be announced at the LGNSW Annual Conference in Albury, 21-23 October 2018.

A R Bluett Memorial Trustees

Les McMahon Les McMahon, Trust Chairman
Allan Ezzy AM APM
Mike Montgomery AM

2018 Winners

The 2018 winners announced at LGNSW's Annual Conference were Fairfield City Council and Narrabri Shire Council. The City of Canterbury Bankstown was also highly commended in the City and Regional category. 

Photos below (top to bottom) show Fairfield City Council, Narrabri Shire Council, and City of Canterbury Bankstown. Photos: Rob Lacey Photography


2017 Winners

The 2017 winners announced at LGNSW's Annual Conference were Bland Shire Council and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.

2016 Winners

The 2016 winners announced at LGNSW's Annual Conference were Albury City Council and Parkes Shire Council. 

Winning Submissions

2015 Winners

The 2015 winners announced at LGNSW's Annual Conference were Warringah and Lithgow City councils.

Winning Submissions

Pittwater Council also received a special award.

2014 Winners

The 2014 winners announced at LGNSW's Annual Conference were Ku-ring-gai and Bankstown councils who shared the winning honors for the City and Regional category, and Cootamundra Shire Council who won the Rural category.  

Winning Submissions

The Trustees also made special mention of the efforts of Warringah, Tumut and Upper Lachlan Shire Councils.

2013 Winners

The 2013 winners announced at the LGNSW Annual Conference were Tumbarumba Shire and Mid Western Regional Council.

Winning Submissions

The Trustees also made special mention of the achievements of Goldenfields Water County Council based at Temora and Upper Lachlan Shire Council based at Crookwell.

2012 Winners

The winners for 2012 were announced at the Local Government Association Annual Conference.

Winning Submissions

The Trustees also made special mention of the efforts of Wyong Shire Council and awarded a rarely presented Commendation for Murray Shire Council.

Roll of Past Winners