SINCE 1968/69

The Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Awards began in 1968 in Western Australia and have been running nationally since 1990.

These awards have evolved to encompass projects and initiatives with a focus on environmental sustainability and resource management to reflect a growing awareness of the importance of community-led environmental action.

The Tidy Towns name has always been synonymous with community pride, cohesion and above all community action. The awards reach beyond tourism to encourage, motivate and celebrate the sustainability achievements of grassroots rural and regional communities across Australia.

The finalists in the Australian Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns competition, who are largely volunteers, are some of the most dedicated, passionate and colourful people in all the Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Communities awards programs across the country. Year upon year we see a calibre of community action that allows all Australians to aspire to be tidy Aussies.

Each year, state and territory winners from the Keep Australia Beautiful network are announced between August and November. They then receive a visit from the Australian Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns judge, with the Awards presented between March and May.

The awards event, often hosted over two days, consists of networking with sustainability leaders around Australia, finalist presentations showcasing their entries, as well as highlights and suggestions from the Australian Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns judge. If the event is hosted by the town of the previous winner, attendees are invited to tour their projects, sustainable solutions and initiatives to learn firsthand what earned them the iconic Australian title.

In addition to a healthy dose of competition, the Australian Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns awards bring together community leaders, environmental champions, young legends and waste warriors from every corner of our great country to share experiences, learn from and inspire each other.

This is the true Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns spirit.


KAB Tidy Towns & Cities Sustainability Awards Logo

Keep Australia Beautiful has been hosting Sustainability Awards nationally for over 50 years, and these Awards cover the breadth of our great country.

From coast to country, country to city, and everywhere in between – our Tidy Towns and Tidy Cities Sustainability Awards now celebrate the achievements of our environmental champions near and far.

Our State & Territory Tidy Towns & Cities Sustainability Awards are held annually, and have a range of categories that celebrate local environmental achievements. Find out more about how you can enter your town today…

KAB Tidy Towns Hastings National Winner
KAB Tidy Towns Sustainability Awards Logo

Our iconic Tidy Towns Sustainability Awards began in Western Australia way back in 1968, and has evolved into a national award celebrating community led environmental action in rural and regional Australia.

Every year, overall winners from each state and territory qualify to take out the coveted Tidy Towns national title.

An award ceremony brings together community leaders, environmental sustainability champions, young legends and waste warriors to share experiences, celebrate achievements and learn from and inspire one another.

KAB Tidy Cities Sustainability Awards Logo

Our Tidy Cities Sustainability Awards are held in only two States. These awards inspire councils and communities in metropolitan New South Wales and Victoria to make a genuine and lasting local environmental contribution, with partnerships between local authorities, businesses, community groups, schools, and individuals.

The awards are open to councils, community groups and individuals, and include individual category awards and culminate in an Overall Tidy City Award in both NSW and VIC.


Over the years, Tidy Town’s has seen many brand iterations, however this latest logo design proudly represents First Nation elements/motifs as our way to recognise the importance of so many incredible communities that have taken part in these awards along the Tidy Town journey.

Unique elements have been incorporated into the three logos:

A combination of larger cities and smaller towns with a wider range of community sizes to represent diverse community groups with maintained connection to land/waterways.

Small scale communities (circles) with strong connections to land and waterways and close relationships with other smaller communities, meeting sites and sites of importance (dots) in the local area.

Larger, more densely populated, communities which span over a larger area (longer river) with a larger number of large buildings/meeting places along it.

55 YEARS OF TIDY TOWNS: 1968/69 -2024

The idea for the first Australian Tidy Towns competition was touted by the Western Australian Tourist Development Authority (WATDA) in 1968 to promote tidy and presentable towns the Tidy Towns Award program received instant success with 59 entries in its first year and the first awards in 1969.

Tidy Towns in WA emanated from an Irish project, ‘Tidy Towns & National Roadside Gardens Competition’ after R.H. Hiller, the Director of the WATDA was contacted by an agent from the Irish Tourist Board, based in Sydney. The agent stated they ‘had problems much the same as your own in bringing about the development of transport, accommodation, amenities, and of tourist attractions, on the scale required by the traveller of today’ and offered to share information on their own initiative and its well received success.

The Tidy Towns competition was launched in 1968 by the WATDA with the judging taking place from November 1968 through to February 1969. Four judging categories were set according to town size and prize money ranging from $400; $600; $1000; and $1500 (smallest to highest population size). The winning towns were announced in March of that year.

Unlike today, the inaugural competition did not stretch statewide; metropolitan (not just regional) entries were accepted; and local government agencies (rather than communities) were the competitors.

Points were awarded after taking the following into consideration:

  • effort involved and general cleanliness of Town
  • absence of litter and unsightly objects
  • appearance of Commercial and Residential premises
  • colour, colour harmony of all buildings
  • standard of fences and paved areas
  • appearance of lawns, gardens, trees, shrubs, etc
  • tidiness of private yards and blocks.

Some towns took the competition very seriously. One Shire, for example, circulated public notices to its townsfolk to elicit their support with ‘Depositing and Removal of Refuse, Rubbish, Litter and Disused Material’. A later notice was sent which stated that: ‘Some townspeople have made an effort to comply with Council’s suggestions while others have made no attempt whatsoever.’ An inspection of the town was undertaken, followed by enforcement of the Shire’s by-laws.

Backed by the Premier, Sir David Brand’s press statements, the first year of the Tidy Towns’ program was a great success. Fifty-nine towns entered, and due to the high level of interest shown, two judging committees were formed comprising representatives from Main Roads, the County Shires’ Association, Perth City Council, the Local Government Association and the Nurserymen’s Association of WA.

Competition winners were announced by the Honourable David Brand, MLA at a buffet luncheon at the Palace Hotel, on 17 March 1969. In order of smallest to largest town population, the winners were: Corrigin, Merredin, Medina/Calista, and Bunbury. Bunbury was also named the overall State Winner.

Over the years, there have been some changes to the competition including a broader environmental focus. Traditionally, the program focused on tidy streets, litter prevention and beautification. Now communities investigate and conserve assets such as their cultural heritage, bushland and rivers and limit their impact on the environment through recycling and resource recovery. The awards promote pride in communities, the protection of cultural and natural heritage values, and a sustainable future.

The benefits of involvement in the Tidy Towns program include increased tourism and marketing opportunities, increased youth participation, and community cohesion.

FIND OUT MORE about our Tidy Towns history & the Western Australian Tidy Towns & Sustainable Communities Awards.

2023Gascoyne Junction, WA
2022King Island, TAS
2021Hastings, VIC
2020Beechworth, VIC
2019Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa), NT
2018Smithton, TAS
2017Barmera, SA
2016Triabunna, TAS
2015Toodyay, WA
2014Sheffield, TAS
2013Victor Harbor, SA
2012Caloundra, QLD
2011Lithgow, NSW
2010Beechworth, VIC
2009Tamworth, NSW
2008Toowoomba, QLD
2007Swansea, TAS
2006Collie, WA
2005Mount Gambier, SA
2004Port Vincent, SA
2003Wyalkatchem, WA
2002Soldier’s Point / Salamander Bay, NSW
2001Horsham, VIC
2000Batchelor, NT
1999Goolwa, SA
1998Denmark, WA
1997awards not held
1996Stanley, TAS
1995Kiama, NSW
1994Naracoorte, SA
1993Lucindale, SA
1992Forbes, NSW
1991Mount Gambier, SA
1990Mt Tyson, QLD


Gascoyne Junction, WA

King Island, TAS

Hastings, VIC


Join your local Keep Australia Beautiful Tidy Towns Program.