Photo by Andy Zakeli
Illawarra Mercury, 26/1/2011
Our own cuddly Big Russ, aka Russell Hannah, was awarded an Order of Australia Medal on 26 January 2011.
As many would know Russell has been an instrumental force in the Illawarra Folk Club and the Illawarra Folk Festival.
With his love of 60s folk and spoken word, he joined the Illawarra Folk Club in 1982 and helped establish the Illawarra Folk Festival in 1985, firstly at Wilton, then Jamberoo and now in Bulli. He is the Folk Club and Folk Festival President and continues to add his inspiration and organisational skills to both.
Russell proclaimed, as the new Presidento of the Folk Republic of Bulli, that his acceptance of the award would be on behalf of the 'thousands of others' who volunteer in the Illawarra for community events and in recognition of the folk scene as a whole.
The award also acknowledges Russell's community service, much of which has been in the area of education as a teacher at a High School, TAFE and Correctional Centres. He also had a stint a Shellharbour City Councillor for 5 years.
A life-long love of words has also led to co-authoring a book on Australian railway folklore, writing poetry, limericks and associating with other poets and yarn-spinners.
However he still does remain a tormenter of accordion players...