Oz Day gong for Ken

Ken Maddern at Wesley Hill Recreation Reserve.
Ken Maddern at Wesley Hill Recreation Reserve.

Citizen of the Year for Mount Alexander Shire, Ken Maddern has not let having chronic fatigue stand in his way.
Instead, the passionate local volunteer, sports administrator and junior sports promoter has done more to benefit his local community than many achieve in a lifetime.
It’s a fact that on Saturday saw Ken named the shire’s Citizen of the Year at the public ceremony and celebration at Castlemaine’s Victory Park.
“Gobsmacked, thrilled, privileged are probably the words that come to mind,” the long-serving local volunteer said when asked his response to the Aus Day gong.
For about two decades the passionate supporter of junior sport has advocated on behalf of user groups for access to first-class sporting facilities.
“To give all our juniors and youth the opportunity to play sport is probably what drives me,” Ken told the Midland Express.
“You know, giving them the opportunity to be the best they can possibly be with the best possible facilities we can get.
“As a junior I didn’t have that opportunity.
“Cycling is a lonely sport as it is so I saw a need to get on board and if I want to change things the only person that can change it is yourself.”
Ken’s hard work, and the effort of many other volunteers, has brought this vision to life with the redevelopment of the Wesley Hill Recreation Reserve.
Players are now enjoying six new netball courts, state-of-the-art facilities, and a brand-new multipurpose pavilion completed in December.
Ken worked tirelessly and volunteers many thousands of hours to ensure the redevelopment achieves the best outcomes for the community.
Under his leadership as president of the Castlemaine District Netball Association, Netball Victoria named the group Small Association of the Year.
Ken has also been a successful coach for junior, elite and masters cyclists and is a major contributor to open cycling events.
Along with bringing thousands of cyclists and their families to the shire, these give young people a chance to participate in events on their doorstep.
But Ken says he has a goal or two remaining for Wesley Hill and admits he wouldn’t mind seeing a 25-metre indoor pool added to the growing collection of sporting infrastructure assets sited there.
“Wesley Hill is a five-stage project. We’ve done two and a bit stages so there’s still a couple of other stages that I’m keen to get moving forward,” he says.
“I’d love to see the pool up there. It took us 20 years to get netball courts and a pavilion so … maybe a pool next.”
In previous years he was a keen competitive cyclist himself, but says contracting chronic fatigue syndrome at the age of 26 put paid to that.
“I don’t ride any more,” says Ken who these days supports his own children in their sporting pursuits including cycling and netball.
“The reason I finished cycling was that I ended up with chronic fatigue so I s’pose that gave me a lot of thinking time.
“Like all pig-headed sportspeople you try and train through it.
“I’ve still got to manage it.”