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. The 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.

Entries for the 2020 Awards are open from 1 June 2020 to 31 July 2020 through the online application portal.

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.

How to enter

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

An entry fee of $700 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.

Councils are requested to adhere to the guidelines of limiting their entry to 1,000 words for each principal activity and only one photograph (if necessary) for each project or significant achievement. 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.

For further information please contact Les McMahon, Trust Chairman, on 0412 303 719 or email. For technical difficulties, please contact Damian Thomas on 02 9242 4063 or email.

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 LGNSW to set up a scholarship Fund. List of Contributors (PDF, 245KB)

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 country 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 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 are announced at the LGNSW Annual Conference.

A R Bluett Memorial Trustees

Les McMahon Les McMahon, Trust Chairman
Genia McCaffery

Mike Montgomery AM

2019 Winners

The 2019 winners announced at LGNSW’s Annual Conference were Shellharbour City Council (Metropolitan) and Bourke Shire Council (Rural/Regional).

Shellharbour City Council winners

Bourke Shire Council winners

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

Roll of Past Winners