20 February 2016

Don Whitbread, Canberra Citizen of the Year 1997

Since the mid 1960s,  Don Whitbread has been involved in many community and church activities, taking leadership roles in charitable, sporting and arts organisations.
Together with his wife Barbara, Don founded the Woden Valley Youth Choir in 1969 when 22 local children rehearsed in the Whitbreads’ lounge room.
The Choir has become one of Australia’s best-known and most acclaimed singing groups. By 1996 it had undertaken five overseas tours and performed at many major national functions including the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games and Expo ’88.
For 25 years Don was Musical Director for Carols by Candlelight – 9 years at Woden Town Centre and then for 16 years with the combined major Canberra Carols at Stage 88. Don’s conducting skills have also been used by the Canberra Philharmonic Society, The Canberra Theatre Trust, Opera ACT, the Band of the Royal Military College, the Canberra Youth Orchestra and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.
Don, who retired as Director of the Woden Valley Youth Choir in December 1996, was nominated for the Award by the Choir.

Don Whitbread was named Canberra Citizen of the Year in 1997 for setting up and his work with the Woden Valley Youth Choir.

Further biographical detail about Don Whitbread is available on our website, as is a history of the Canberra Citizen of the Year Award and a full list of awardees.


The 40th consecutive Canberra Citizen of the Year will be announced by the Chief Minister during Canberra Day Celebrations in March 2016.


Image Source ACT Heritage Library image 000083, Canberra Times Collection. Photographer Michael Porter