Meet Sandy Przibilla, Tailem Bend’s citizen of the year for 2024
On Australia Day, an RSL committee member, Music Hall director and Rotarian will be honoured for her contribution to the community.
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Sandy Przibilla has always had a creative streak.
She developed a love of the stage during her childhood at Lameroo, performing in musicals and singing a school anthem to the tune of Ode to Joy.
Her mother had always encouraged her to paint and express herself.
At one stage she aspired to become a potter, and studied at the South Australian School of Art in North Adelaide.
In the decades since then, she has been able to harness her creativity for the good of the communities where she has lived.
That’s why, on Australia Day 2024, she will be named Tailem Bend’s citizen of the year.
“I was overwhelmed and excited,” she said – and surprised, too, after having previously been declared a citizen of the year in 2011.
This year’s award, though, recognised the work she had put into the transformation of the Tailem Bend RSL clubrooms over the past two years.
Gone are the “drab and dreary” walls and curtains, replaced with fresh paint, wallpaper, carefully curated displays and – in the memorial room – a huge mural of the World War II destroyer HMAS Nizam and World War I submarine HMAS AE2 that took her three months to paint.
The silhouetted servicemen either side of the hall’s front door came first.
Next came the poppies between each panel of the World War I honour board.
The mural followed last year, accompanied by thoughtfully arranged photos of local servicemen on a backing of camouflage netting.
One corner of the room is done up to feel like a gentleman’s smoking lounge.
“I said ‘let’s just … fill up the walls, make them big and different,” she said.
“Why should we have to be the same as everyone else?”
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As a result, more and more people’s visits to the RSL have stuck in their memories – and, in time, that positive impression should help draw visitors back and encourage them to keep supporting a community institution.
The club might only be open for Friday night teas, plus the occasional party or wake; but it also stands to preserve the memories of generations of diggers.
The RSL isn’t the only community organisation Ms Przibilla has been involved with, of course.
She was the glue that kept Tailem Bend Music Hall together up until its final, 40th anniversary shows last August.
She had moved to town in 2000 and signed up a singer when her late partner dobbed her in as a painter of some skill who could help prepare the show’s canvas backdrops.
In time she wound up producing a segment, then directing the whole production, stepping back from time to time but always picking up the slack whenever she was needed.
She has long been a Rotary Club member, and has served at various times on the town hall committee, progress association and Christmas parade committee.
She has even taught line dancing, on and off.
Although she spent many years of her life at Lenswood, packing fruit, and in Balhannah as a family day carer, Tailem Bend is the town she calls home.
“I love being involved in the community and being involved in something you’re passionate about, in helping out others, in being part of a team that works well together,” she said.
“I love Tailem Bend.
“It’s good to be able to walk down the street and say hello to people.”
Award will be presented at Australia Day celebration
Ms Przibilla will receive her award, and Music Hall will also be honoured, during Australia Day celebrations at Tailem Bend on Friday.
An awards ceremony and lunch, presented by the progress association, will start at 11am in the town hall.
RSVP: Contact Maxine Kiddie on 0439 387 750.