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Australia Day Award Recipients 2022

Inspiring North Burnett residents were celebrated and congratulated at a regional award ceremony held in Mt Perry Saturday, 5 March 2022.

“This is the first time we have held a combined ceremony to present awards for each community together. I thank you for travelling to Mt Perry today and I would like to take this opportunity to say a special welcome to all of our online streaming viewers including nominees and family members who could not be with us in person today”, Mayor Les Hotz said.

“Whilst Australia Day 2022 has been and gone, the theme for Australia Day “Reflect, Respect, Celebrate, We’re all part of the story” is one that we can contemplate every day.  It acknowledges that our story began many years ago and also acknowledges that new chapters are written each and every day.

“We can reflect on the past, present and future and listen, and respect each other’s stories, contributions and aspirations.

“Over the past year we have faced continuous challenges from the coronavirus pandemic, floods, cyclones, drought and border closures.  Our thoughts today are with our fellow community members and farmers in the Biggenden district including Dallarnil, who are experiencing a second flood and devastation within two months.  Our thoughts are also with our family and friends in neighboring councils and across QLD who are also experiencing flooding.

“We acknowledge the selfless and courageous sacrifice thousands of first responders and frontline workers have made, who put the safety and wellbeing of others before their own each and every day.  We reflect on the resilience of communities and the spirit of helping, giving and supporting that defines us as Australians.  Australians are resilient – we roll up our sleeves, help others and unite to overcome any challenge.

“Today, we reflect on being surrounded by friends, family and community and the simple act of being together in person or online.  Today we celebrate our own communities contributions and achievements.

“Today, we honour and acknowledge community members and groups for their extraordinary achievements and contributions to the North Burnett community. These wonderful people dedicate their talents and volunteer their time to help make our region what it is, without asking for anything in return, and for that, we can all be grateful. They exemplify personal achievements that go beyond the ordinary. It is a chance to celebrate the traits of humility, service, courage and selfless generosity that characterise so many great Australians.

“Today, we have the pleasure of acknowledging our very own great Australians in the North Burnett community.” 

Get to know the 2022 North Burnett Australia Day Award Recipients below!

2022 Biggenden Australia Day Award Recipients

Michelle Kinbacher, Biggenden Citizen of the Year

Michelle is being recognised for her selfless dedication and passionate enthusiasm for caring for Biggenden’s aged care community members over the past 30 years.  By continuously stiving to provide an improved quality of life for elderly residents in her role as Recreation Officer at the Biggenden hospital, and through her community volunteer work with both the Biggenden Hospital Auxiliary and Meals on Wheels, Shelly not only lifts the spirits of those she cares for, but also offers great support and a moral boost to those who work alongside her.  Her enthusiasm and compassion for this important, yet often unnoticed sector of our community, is an inspiration to others to give more of their time to our seniors.  It has been said that if there were more like her, we could rest easy that no elderly person in our communities would ever go without company, compassion, and first-rate care!

Georgia Hawkes, Biggenden Young Citizen of the Year

Georgia is a hardworking, self-motivated young leader in the Biggenden community who has represented her fellow students as both Junior School captain and Senior School captain at the Biggenden State School. In May this year, Georgia nominated for the for the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave and raised over $1,400.   For the past 10 years, Georgia has been studying to be a dance teacher specialising in Jazz, Tap and Ballet, and commits to a weekly two-hour car ride to Bundaberg for dance lessons. To give back to her community, Georgia uses her dance skills to run classes for the younger students at the Biggenden State School.  For the past 4 years, Georgia has been a committed member of the Biggenden PCYC Cadets. This year, Georgia completed three leadership camps as well as her Bronze Award in the Duke of Edinburgh Program.

Joyce Miller, Biggenden Volunteer of the Year

Joyce volunteers on almost a daily basis at the Biggenden State School in the school tuckshop, breakfast club, uniform shop, P&C Association Meetings, student swimming and the Chaplaincy Committee.  In addition to volunteering at school, Joyce also volunteers her time with the Biggenden Swimming Club, PCYC Cadets and with her local church.  Joyce’s contributions of time and effort have been instrumental in ensuring the school tuckshop and uniform shops remain open and helped students to access chaplaincy and P&C services.  Joyce regularly supports and transports students involved in swimming, PCYC Cadets and Kids Club activities to out of town venues to ensure they don’t miss out.  Whilst raising two of her own great grandchildren, Joyce encourages other much younger families to have a go and enjoy life.  She is always the first to offer her help and her energy and caring is an inspiration to all.

2022 Eidsvold Australia Day Award Recipients

Preston Parter, Eidsvold Citizen of the Year

The positive impacts of Preston’s inspirational leadership at the Eidsvold P-12 State School are felt far beyond the school gate.  School attendance and parent satisfaction rankings are at their highest levels, and the respectful way that Preston communicates with students, staff, Elders, and community is attributed as having a positive effect on the whole town.  Under Preston’s leadership, the school has been awarded at least six prestigious Queensland Education Awards in the past four years and this has contributed to a building of confidence and pride in the Eidsvold community.  Preston volunteers his time with other parents to provide after school activities for young people at the Eidsvold Gym.  Having led the development of the Yumbin Language Program and the Yumbin Dance Group, Preston takes every opportunity to share indigenous culture with schools and communities throughout the North Burnett, to help build local knowledge, understanding and appreciation of culture by all.

Vanessa Murray, Eidsvold Volunteer of the Year

Vanessa is known as a truly selfless person who exudes community spirit!  Since 2013, Vanessa has volunteered her time and talents and held executive positions on the following community organisations (often at the same time):  Eidsvold Race Club, Eidsvold Kindergarten, Eidsvold Show Society and Eidsvold State School P&C.  Vanessa was a driving force in the Eidsvold Kindergarten Dog and Carwash fundraiser that won the 2021 Australia Day Community Event of the Year.  Serving on the Eidsvold Race Club committee since 2014, Vanessa has helped to make the Race Day Eidsvold’s largest annual event and a huge economic opportunity for the town.  Vanessa is a wonderful role model for all who witness her dedication and her drive to make our community a better place. 

Friends of RM Inc – Bush Spirit Festival, Eidsvold Community Event of the Year

The Eidsvold Bush Spirit Festival was kicked off in 2019 by the Friends of RM Inc to showcase all things “Bush Spirit” that the region has to offer.  The 2021 event held in July was a triumph over Covid-19 planning hurdles to present an entertaining event for the whole family attracting locals and visitors to the region.  Demonstrating flexibility and determination, the organisers managed the need to postpone some events due to Covid disruptions and soldiered on with what they could deliver.  These are much needed skills for event organisers in a post-covid world. Run exclusively by volunteers, the event was a fundraising opportunity for the community groups, organisations and businesses who had a stall at the event; and social connection for those who attended.  A key feature of the event was the positive collaboration between groups, building capacity in the town for future partnerships.

Grace Roth & Poppy Vella, Eidsvold Junior Sports Award

Grace is a determined and dedicated horsewoman who embodies generosity, kindness and sportsmanship amidst competition.  In 2021, Grace won 4 juvenile campdraft competitions across the State and placed in many more. Competing against open age competitors, Grace placed 7th in the Derby Challenge (Horses 5yrs) whilst competing against some of the top riders in Australia!  At the Eidsvold Show, Grace was awarded the 2021 DAWN BRAMLEY MEMORIAL TROPHY in recognition of her sportsmanship and horsemanship. She was instrumental in encouraging her peers to form a school team to represent Eidsvold at the 2021 Australian Campdrafting Association High School Percentile Cup Campdraft. As team captain, she coordinated uniforms, paperwork and the mountain of logistics associated with transporting and competing horses. Grace spends hours honing her skills and training her horses. She carries herself with dignity and integrity in all situations.  As a rider, Grace has earnt the respect of fellow riders across the state and as an ambassador at home, the admiration and pride of her school, peers and community members.

Poppy is another rising star earning outstanding achievements as a competitor in the National Barrel Horse Association D7 competition.  This has required commitment and dedication to travel every weekend during the competition and continuously prepare and train her horses.  Poppy scored a runner up place in one division and placed in another which qualifies her to represent Australia in the 2022 National Barrel Horse Association Youth and Teen World Championships in July 2022 in Georgia, USA.  Always willing to help and mentor other riders, Poppy displays dedication to her sport and true sportsmanship.

Joy MacPherson, Eidsvold Sports Administrator Award

Joy MacPherson is a well-deserved winner of this Award for leadership in the development of softball throughout the North Burnett and Wide Bay regions.  Joy goes above and beyond to coach and mentor players and has strived to develop pathways for regional youth to excel in the sport.   Using her regional connections, Joy has introduced two full teams of North Burnett players to the Waves Softball Club in Bundaberg who travel from Eidsvold, Biggenden, Gayndah, Mundubbera, and Monto each week to compete.  She is currently coaching no fewer than five representative teams in the Wide Bay region as well as developing softball within the school competitions and at club level in the North Burnett.  Many of Joy’s players have made Queensland and Australian Softball Squads under her coaching and mentorship.  Joy constantly gives freely of her time, skills, equipment, and resources to develop the sport she loves, and our region is greatly benefitting from her efforts.

Michelle Croner, Eidsvold Senior Cultural Award

Michelle was endorsed to receive this award by “Absolutely Everybody!”  Michelle was the drive and leadership behind bringing the Queensland Music Festival’s community choir initiative “Absolutely Everybody” to all six towns in the North Burnett in 2021.    Choirs of enthusiastic community members came together in each town to learn and practice the song, before joining the final performance of singers from throughout Queensland on Brisbane’s Riverstage in June 2021.  Michelle demonstrated both an innovative and creative approach to engaging likeminded people in a state-wide initiative.  Michelle has also organised community art workshops including sculpture, photography, and painting at the RM Williams Australian Bush Learning Centre.  Combining her love of community with performing, Michelle has also recently begun sing-along sessions for residents at the Eidsvold Hospital, and always strives to connect community through artistic pursuits.

Yumbin Dance Group, Eidsvold Junior Cultural Award

The Eidsvold P-12 State School Yumbin Dance Group has been actively involved in the community for the past four years. As a mix of Indigenous and non-Indigenous dancers, the Yumbin Dance Group is an inclusive group demonstrating the importance of reconciliation and actively promoting the importance of sharing history and cultural practices with all students and community.  Under the guidance of Aunty Doris Chapman and dance teacher, Corey Appo, the young dancers create their own songs and dances using the Wakka Wakka language.  The dancers can tell the stories around the dances and welcome people at events.  Having now performed at many local, regional, school and cluster school events, as well as at official community ceremonies such as regional NAIDOC events, Australian Citizenship Ceremonies and Backpacker Community Welcome Events, the Yumbin Dance Group continues to grow stronger each year.

2022 Gayndah Australia Day Award Recipients

Leah Trott – Gayndah Citizen of the Year

This award recognises 24 years of service to the Gayndah and North Burnett community in many and various roles and in many and various clubs and organisations. Dedicated, enthusiastic, professional, positive, motivational, capable, super-organised, fun, caring, creative, inclusive, and encouraging are all words that have been used to describe Leah.  She is admired as a  schoolteacher, wife, mother, foster mum, coach, sporting official, mentor, grant writer, community leader, committee member, covid event planner and volunteer who has demonstrated unwavering commitment to her community.  For over two decades, Leah has been immersed in the organising of many community events and continually served in executive roles throughout this time on various school, community, and sporting committees. Leah is known to be generous with her time, approachable and always willing to offer her support and guidance to any quest that makes Gayndah and the North Burnett a better place to live.

Lauren Trott, Gayndah Young Citizen of the Year 

Lauren has distinguished herself as a capable young leader who sees a need and takes action to do something about it.  Commencing year 12 as one of the School Captains at Burnett State College this year, Lauren is also currently undertaking a traineeship in Education Support and completing university subjects on top of her normal school workload. Outside of school, Lauren keeps herself busy volunteering for community groups, coaching little athletics, teaching Learn to Swim Classes and running her Acrobatics Dance Business.  On losing the local dance teacher, Lauren took steps to complete an Acrobatics teaching course and commenced her own business to fill the local need.   Currently teaching 45 young children from Gayndah and Mundubbera, Lauren prepares and choreographs the routines for the students to perform each week. Lauren values the importance of giving back to the community and leads by example.

Barbara Gilby, Gayndah Volunteer of the Year

As a committed but quiet achiever for the Gayndah Branch of the QCWA, the Gayndah Hospital Auxiliary, the Local Ambulance Committee, Red Cross, the former Gayndah YMCA, the M.S. Club, SES Ladies, Treasurer for the Welfare Club at Gunther Retirement Village, and a willing Mum serving on school canteens or football clubs for the past 35 years, Barb Gilby has been a dedicated and hardworking volunteer for her community.  Whether it is selling raffle tickets down the street, knitting jumpers for those in need, or organising the catering for a disaster event, Barb’s tireless service has always been undertaken with cheerfulness and passion for her community.

Gayndah Art Gallery – Wedding Gowns Exhibition, Gayndah Community Event of the Year

“Exquisite display”, “stunning”, “fabulous”, and “wonderful” were some of the comments left by the 360 visitors to the Wedding Gowns Exhibition at the Gayndah Art Gallery in 2021.  For seven weeks in July and August, the Gallery buzzed with conversations about wedding gowns through the ages, love stories, anecdotes, and the trips down memory lane that accompanied them.  Concluding with an elaborate afternoon tea enjoyed by 50 people, the exhibition featured over 40 exhibits of wedding gowns and paraphernalia from 1919 through to 2021, all on loan from 32 Gayndah residents, and installed by 25 volunteers from the Gallery. This project brought people together with partnerships forming between the Friends of the Gayndah Gallery and local churches, businesses, schools, artisans, and residents.  So many stories and wonderful conversations were sparked by this exhibition, each one further enriching how we understand ourselves and our community. 

Declan Eskdale, Gayndah Senior Sports Award

Last year, Declan returned to competitive swimming after a break from the sport due to study commitments.  Juggling his commitments as a new schoolteacher, Declan joined the Gayndah Swimming Club for the 2020/21 season and competed at local, regional, and state competitions,  excelling in 50m Breaststroke and 50m Butterfly events at each level. Declan has a deep sense of fair play and regularly supports and encourages other members of the club to do their best.  One example was forming the first ever Gayndah Men’s Relay Team to compete at the Wide Bay Regional Championships and providing coaching in relay changeover techniques to ensure all were prepared for the event.    Declan is a role model who inspires others through his commitment to club nights, swim meets and by being willing to share his knowledge and experience with other club members of all ages.

Kay-Lee Bradford, Gayndah Junior Sports Award

12-year-old Kaylee Bradford loves to try new sports and gives each one 110%. Kaylee maintains good sportsmanship both on and off the field, as shown by being awarded player of the match at Cricket State Trials in November 2021.  Through school-based competitions, Kaylee has played both softball and cricket at State Level, and rugby league, touch football, softball, and cricket at the Wide Bay level.  Locally, Kay-lee is a team member of the Gayndah Ladies Cricket Team always dedicates time and effort to training.  Humble in her achievements and always encouraging to her team-mates and fellow competitors, Kay-lee is well deserving of this award.

Stacey Duncan, Gayndah Sports Administrator Award

The development of sport pathways in rural areas demands dedication, foresight, unwavering commitment, and the ability to work with others to get things done.  This award recognizes the work of Stacey Duncan to develop Athletics and Touch Football in Gayndah and the North Burnett region.  Her efforts as long-term President of the Gayndah Touch Football Club overseeing safe, social, and competitive seasons year after year; as accredited coach delivering weekly coaching for the Gayndah Little Athletics Club; together with her efforts over many years to develop the local skill levels in athletics and touch football in the schools and community have been instrumental in ensuring the strength of these sporting disciplines in our region. 

Dr Geoff Walden, Gayndah Senior Cultural Award

Dr Geoff Walden moved to Gayndah five years ago after a highly productive 50-year career in music education and band development in Queensland.  Instrumental in establishing the Australian Institute of Country Music in Gympie, Dr Geoff has been utilizing his unlimited skills in musicianship and band development to bring the experience of playing music to young and old alike.   Since 2018, Geoff has started two youth bands, “Mr Percival” who have performed around the region to great acclaim; and more recently “Elyjah and the Mines” who performed at the Orange Festival and Golden Orange Hotel. The “Gayndah Awesome Pickers Pluckers Strummers” Ukulele Band (GAPPS) was also formed in 2021 for mature aged locals and performs regularly to hone their skills.  Currently, Dr Geoff is working on plans to hold a music festival in Gayndah later this year.  Watch this space!

Mr Percival, Gayndah Junior Cultural Award

Under the expert guidance of Dr Geoff Walden, “Mr Percival” formed in 2018 when two of the current band members were only ten years old.  This band currently consists of three young Gayndah men: Nathan Banks (aged 12), Noah Coulson (aged 12) and Mark McCosker (aged 14).  Performing their first gig, a set of six songs, at the Orange Festival in 2019, the band went on to deliver a polished performance on the Main Stage of the Burnett Lighthouse Festival in 2019 in a line-up featuring professional musicians from all over South-East Queensland.  The band now plays regular gigs at local hotels, sometimes supporting Sunshine Coast bands, and in 2021, performed at both the Burnett Light House Festival and Bundaberg’s Milby Festival. The Mr Percival band members are committed to the development of their own creative futures and show leadership in developing the creative industries in our region, above and beyond their chronological age.

2022 Monto Australia Day Award Recipients

Roger Stubbs, Monto Citizen of the Year

Roger Stubbs has devoted his life to serving the community, both as a firefighter and through the community organisations he has worked with.  In 2018, Roger was named as an award recipient in the Queens’ Birthday Honours and presented with the Commissioner’s Distinguished Service Medal.  Five years earlier in 2013, Roger had received the Australian Fire Service Medal as recognition of a distinguished 42-year career as a Queensland Firefighter.  This is the highest honour that a firefighter can receive. Roger was a foundation Life Member of Apex.  For the Monto Golf Club, Roger has served in most committee roles over a twenty-year period.  As the club Convenor for the Monto Bowls Club, Roger ensures that the club is always well stocked to serve its’ members and the public. He has been a successful seeker of grant funding to make facility improvements and equipment upgrades for the Bowls Club; and was instrumental in organising Monto’s Friday night Barefoot Bowls.  In his spare time, Roger is also a lover of old cars (especially jaguars) and proves to be in great demand every year to transport high school students to their graduations.

Megan Parish, Monto Young Citizen of the Year

In 2021, Megan took on the role of secretary of the Monto Roos Football Club and threw herself into promoting the game with gusto.  Megan attended nearly every game of the season and spent countless hours tirelessly working to improve the club. For her efforts last year, the Central Burnett Rugby League Inc awarded her the Volunteer of the Year.  Meg’s passion and enthusiasm for Monto and Rugby League is greatly appreciated by the community.

Ken and Jan Hutson, Monto Volunteer of the Year

Ken and Jan have quietly devoted 25 years to serving the travelling public through the Driver Reviver Program.  Since 2015, they have worked as a team to be the local coordinators of this program – arriving early in the day on each long weekend or public holiday to set up the site and have the tea, biscuits, and tourism brochures ready to go.  Many hours of making phone calls to fill rosters over the last 16 years have meant that this valuable service has been able to continue.  If there were ever gaps in the roster, Ken and Jan would fill these themselves, always with a welcome smile and caring attitude towards the welfare of travelers. 

St Therese’s Christmas Fair Committee – St Therese Christmas Fair, Monto Community Event of the Year

Since the 1950’s, the St Therese Christmas Fair has brought the community together to celebrate the festive season.  Catering for young and old alike, the event includes children’s rides, Santa’s visit, ham wheels, raffles, food stalls, music and entertainment, book stalls, plant stalls, locally made crafts and a bar.  The 2021 event was a huge success with approximately 300 people in attendance and funds of up to $10,000 raised by the School and Parish to benefit youth and the wider community of Monto.  Many local organisations also contributed to the running and organising of this event and raised funds for their respective causes to the benefit of Monto community. 

Amy Spletter, Monto Sports Administrator Award

Amy is receiving this award for her tireless service to the Monto Little A’s, Monto Pony Club and Monto Soccer Club and numerous other clubs and committees.  For the past ten years, Amy has served the Monto Community, consistently giving freely of her time.  She is known as a quiet achiever who gets things done in a calm manner without a word of complaint or expectation of reward.  Reliable, dependable, and dedicated to the committees on which she serves, Amy has a reputation of always going above and beyond in her role to ensure great outcomes for the Monto community.

Tyson Dahtler and Mitch Salisbury, Monto Senior Sports Award

Mitch has a staggering list of achievements in rowing for his 19 years of age:

  • member of the Under 21 Australian rowing team.
  • current Under 21 Australian Silver Medallist in the Men’s Pair with Jarrod Lord of Brisbane.
  • awarded a Bronze Medal in the Men’s Youth 8
  • awarded a Bronze in the Men’s under 23 Quad
  • member of the Under 21 Queensland Rowing Team
  • current Qld and NSW state champion with Jarrod in the Pair.
  • competing in the National competition in Sydney later this month.

In 2020, Mitch was awarded Brisbane Boys College Master or Oars for performance and leadership in his final year at boarding school. Mitch encouraged his rowing team to prepare for the 2021 National competition at Cania Dam in Monto, proving that training in the country is a very good option as the the athletes were able to experience rural life while training for representation in the Australian teams.

In 2021, Tyson Dahlter’s mighty contribution to the Monto Roos Rugby League Football Club was recognized by spectators, officials, and fellow players when he was awarded both Player of the Year and Player’s Player.  Furthermore, he was also awarded Best Forward at the Central Burnett Rugby League Awards which was a massive achievement to be recognized out of the three eligible teams.  Tyson displays qualities of true leadership and mateship, leads by example and inspires the rest of his team to do likewise.

Molly Salisbury, Monto Junior Sports Award

2021 was a very successful year for Molly in the sport of rowing.  Representing Somerville House, Brisbane School for Girls, Molly and her crew won the Gold Medal for the Under 17 Australian Rowing Quad.  Molly is the “Stroke” for this crew which is the rower closest to the stern of the boat and usually the most competitive rower in the crew.  Everyone else follows the Stroke’s timing.  In September 2021, Molly and her crew competed at the Queensland State Championships in Rockhampton and won 3 state gold medals in the Quad, Four and the Eight to add to their Australian Gold Medal.  Molly was awarded the 2021 Sports Woman of the Year for her school and Somerville House Prefect for 2022 for her sporting achievements.  Molly is an inspiration to other young people in our region, demonstrating that girls from the bush can excel at any sport.

Ivan Dunkley, Monto Senior Cultural Award 

Ivan is a charismatic visionary showing leadership and innovation in the arts and dedicated to building our region’s capacity in dance and creative expression.  For the past eight years, Ivan Dunkley has enthusiastically shared his passion for dance and music with young and old alike in the Monto and surrounding communities.  With 56 years of dance experience behind him (28 years as a professional dancer), Ivan teaches dance styles such as Latin, Modern, Ballroom and modern international styles at all levels on a weekly basis – to anyone who wishes to learn.  Throughout the year, Ivan leads a band of creative and willing volunteers to deliver beautiful nights of dance and music in the Monto Community Hall, to great acclaim by those who attend, and with all profits benefitting the Mulgildie Shire Hall.   Many visitors travel to Monto specially to participate in these joyous and well-choreographed occasions. 

Chloe Dent, Monto Junior Cultural Award

Chloe is a senior member of the Monto Instrumental Community Ensemble who has competed and placed at Eisteddfods both as a band member and individually.  In 2021, Chloe received the Monto Magic Tourism Action Group Visual and Performing Arts Award, overcoming difficulties associated with hearing loss to do so.  Having studied drama as a subject at school, Chloe enjoyed performing in public theatrical productions for the school.  In her own time, Chloe is an avid artist who likes to draw and paint.

2022 Mt Perry Australia Day Award Recipients

Beppie Stanley, Mt Perry Citizen of the Year

Beppie is known for her inspirational energy and devotion to the Mt Perry community.  She has devoted 23 years to organisations, community groups and activities such as the Paradise Fish Stocking Association, Perry Heritage and Tourist Association Inc, Mt Perry Sport and Recreation Club Inc, Country Beat Line Dancers, Youth Group, and Mt Perry Museum Sunday Markets.  On top of this, Beppie has collated the Mt Perry Preview for many years to deliver local community news to the residents of the area.  For the Mt Perry Sport and Rec Club Inc, Beppie has  processed memberships and been involved in fund raising and grant submissions to renew sporting equipment and opportunities for the local community.

Monique Dingle, Mt Perry Junior Citizen of the Year

Monique is a very bright and capable young woman who has contributed to her community through participating and volunteering in the following local organisations and events:  Mt Perry Show, Mt Perry CWA events, ANZAC Day ceremonies for Mt Perry community and through school, Mt Perry State School P&C events including bingo nights, trivia nights and performing and volunteering at the school’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations. Whether it be selling goods, setting up events, packing and cleaning up after events or performing on her violin, Monique is keen to contribute.  At school, Monique achieved to a high standard and received many awards and accolades for her efforts. Her polite manner and willingness to help is always greatly appreciated by her community.

Ken Schuster, Mt Perry Volunteer of the Year

Three words sum up Ken’s contribution to Mount Perry community:  passion, drive and leadership.  In 2017, Ken headed up the steering committee to draft a constitution and seek incorporation for the Mt Perry Community Development Board.  Taking on the role of President of this new organisation, Ken successfully sought funding to undertake two major projects identified as strategic priorities for the town: the Mt Perry Summit Walk and the Melbourne Tram.  Using well-honed diplomacy skills, Ken secured the necessary support and partnerships of government, Mt Rawdon Mine, local businesses, and community organisations to bring both projects into reality, on time, and under budget. This was all achieved whilst also maintaining his own thriving business and supporting his family.  Ken is highly regarded amongst his peers for his honesty, dedication, and compassion and is truly deserving of this year’s Australia Day – Volunteer of the Year Award.

Mt Perry State School P & C Association – Mt Perry State School 150th Celebrations, Mt Perry Community Event of the Year

In any small rural town, the local school is one of the main points of connection for the community.  With 18 months in the planning, as well as COVID considerations, the Mt Perry State School P&C Committee brought the whole community together in October last year to celebrate 150 years of community presence, achievement, and social connections in Mt Perry.  Partnerships were made with many local organisations to deliver a memorable event for the 600 strong crowd.  The Mt Perry Health Centre, Mt Perry QCWA, Mt Perry Axemen and Sawyers, Mt Perry Race Club, Mt Perry Men’s’ Shed, Mt Perry Fine Arts Group Inc, and Mt Perry Show Society all contributed their services and talents and enjoyed the opportunity to do some fundraising.  A strong social media campaign helped to attract tourists and many past students from throughout Queensland who attended this event. 

Michael Bennett, Mt Perry Senior Sport Award

Since the very first discussion proposing a Mt Perry Golf Club, Michael Bennett has been present, offering his support to the club.  Mowing, painting, and lending a hand to whatever was required, Michael has been integral to the survival of the small club.  Recently, the club hosted the Wide Bay Sand Green Championships and Michael received the honour of a C-Grade Net win. Always willing to share his knowledge of the game, Michael compliments a game well played and seeks to encourage other players.

Anita Ward, Senior Cultural Award

Anita is known as an outstanding organizer who has a passion for bringing communities together.  In her role with Mt Rawdon Mine, Anita is a member of various community groups as a link to the community for mining operations.  However, above and beyond her paid role, for the past 20 years, Anita has been passionately involved in organizing community events that get people involved, working together, and connecting socially.  Strong community connections are vital to community development. Anita has been involved in everything from organizing fundraisers, skin checks, flu vaccinations, bus tours of the mine for tourism, indigenous group activities, and community Christmas parties.

Bridget Murphy, Junior Cultural Award

Not only is Bridget an outstanding student who was recently awarded Dux of Year 9 at Gin Gin High School for academic achievements, she finds time in her schedule to devote to studying the violin and undertaking Japanese language studies.  Bridget attended music camp at Bucca Retreat in recent years.  Since 2018, Bridget has also enjoyed dancing with the Country Beat Line Dancers and performed with the group at community events such as town fetes, ANZAC days and Mt Perry State School’s 150th Anniversary celebration.  Bridget is well regarded in her school and local Mt Perry community.

2022 Mundubbera Australia Day Award Recipients

John Balshaw, Mundubbera Citizen of the Year

John has demonstrated wholehearted commitment to serving the community of Mundubbera for the past 30 years.  In community service, John has held the following roles: President and  Secretary of both Eidsvold and Mundubbera Apex Clubs, and past Secretary to the District Governor; Mundubbera Rotary Club: President, Secretary, Club member, Community and Vocational Director; and Mundubbera Rugby League: Past President and Secretary. John was recently awarded the Paul Harris Fellow which was given in recognition of his years of supporting Rotary. While John is retired from his job with the Education Department at Mundubbera State School, he continues to mentor and tutor students, especially in mathematics.

Emma Breitkopf, Mundubbera Young Citizen of the Year

As one of the School Captains at Burnett State College in 2021, Emma Breitkopf has distinguished herself in leadership, teamwork, academic achievement, and character.  Emma displays determination to always go above and beyond to both extend herself and help others. Having been the recipient of several awards including the Gayndah Rotary Award, the Gayndah QCWA Award, and the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Medallion, Emma is a positive role model who willingly participates and serves in her community. Emma received distinctions for university subjects studied during her senior school years, and now intends to go on to complete her studies in Speech Pathology.

Debra Balshaw, Mundubbera Volunteer of the Year 

Debra receives this award in recognition of her continued service to the Mundubbera community for the past 30 years in roles such as Treasurer of the Mundubbera Preschool P&C, volunteer with Mundubbera State School P&C, Tuckshop Treasurer, Mother’s Club volunteer, helped to establish the Junior Rugby League in Mundubbera, Treasurer for Mundubbera Rugby League Football Club, catering support for Rotary events, Moto Cross Club volunteer, Vice President of the Mundubbera QCWA and well as volunteering every month for the past 18 years at the Aged Care Unit of the Mundubbera Hospital to provide free pedicures to the elderly residents.

Mundubbera Show Society – Mundubbera Show, Mundubbera Community Event of the Year

The Mundubbera Show Society overcame bigger logistical hurdles than usual to stage their 2-day Annual Show for 2021.  Not only was it the 100th Anniversary Show but it also had to have all the Covid compliance boxes ticked!  A mammoth effort by all involved!  The Mundubbera Show Society staged an event that showcased the best of local talent, skill, and enthusiasm with ring events, pavilion displays, side shows, local and visiting stallholders, high quality food, seating (social spaced), entertainment and lots of socialising for the community. Icing on the cake was the inspirational achievement by Mundubbera Showgirl, Brittany Kugel, who went on to become the Burnett Sub-Chamber representative in June and the State Winner in October! 

Michelle Fry, Mundubbera Sports Administrator Award

Michelle has been actively involved in numerous sporting groups in Mundubbera including the Mundubbera Netball and Mundubbera Swimming Club where she has held committee roles including president.  Michelle goes above and beyond to ensure that all children access the same opportunities at the pool regardless of economic circumstance or abilities.  She strives to make a connection with all club members and ensure everyone feels included.

Joe Payne, Mundubbera Senior Sports Award

Joe’s skill in the sport of campdrafting is renowned as is his skill for training horses which are well known and sought after by other competitors in the campdrafting competition circuit.  Joe travels far and wide to compete and has raised the profile of the competition and skill of Campdrafting in Queensland and New South Wales. Recent successes on the campdrafting circuit include wins at Proston, Roma, Eidsvold, and Mundubbera; and placed second at competitions in Condamine, Chinchilla and Warwick, just to name a few. In 2018, Joe won a car as a major prize for the Big Show Championship Final Challenge at Paradise Lagoons Campdraft.  Joe is a well-respected Judge of the Campdraft community, travelling and judging at some of the most Prestigious Drafts in Northern Territory, Queensland, and New South Wales.  As the current President of the Mundubbera Golden Stirrup Campdraft Committee, Joe takes on the main role of organising this community service event each year.  In 2021, this event raised approximately $10,000 for the Mundubbera Show Society. 

Raine Eastcott, Mundubbera Junior Sports Awards

At just 12 years of age, Raine has demonstrated ability in the sports of softball, cricket, tennis, swimming, netball, cross country, and athletics.  In softball, Raine currently plays in the U12’s, U14’s, U16’s and A grade in the Hervey Bay / Bundaberg competition, having also twice represented Wide Bay in the sport.  In 2020, Raine was selected to represent Queensland in the U14’s softball team and earned her place in the U16’s Queensland Emerging Talent Squad in 2021.  In swimming, Raine competed at the Wide Bay Championships; and in athletics, Raine broke the discus record two years in a row.  In cricket, Raine competed in the U12 State Championships in Bundaberg; and has been selected to represent North Burnett for netball, athletics, and cross country.  Raine leads by example and always gives 100% effort at training sessions, travelling far and wide to uphold her attendance for the good of the team.

Sue Allan, Mundubbera Senior Cultural Award

Sue stepped up to take on the role of volunteer coordinator of the Mundubbera Regional Art Gallery in 2014. Since this time, Sue’s leadership and vision has ensured the smooth running of the Gallery and the provision of many valuable cultural experiences for the public.  Maintaining a continuous flow of high-quality exhibitions in the Gallery, Sue has strived to present a wide range of art genres and experiences from a wide range of artists.  Over the years, many memorable and well-received exhibitions from local art to significant State and National collections have been on display and locally accessible.  She demonstrates integrity, diplomacy, wisdom, and concern for others.  As a creator herself, Sue passion is to make art an inclusive experience for everyone and her considerable contribution to raising artistic and cultural awareness in our community is ongoing.

Beezley Kids Team, Mundubbera Junior Cultural Award

Kainen, Traye, Aliyah, Marlee and Jaxon Beezley are very proud of their aboriginal heritage and culture and have devoted many hours to learning a traditional Wakka Wakka dance routine, language, art, and culture. To date, the Beezley Kids Team have performed at the Mundubbera kindergarten, the Boynewood State School and most recently at the RACQ Foundation Welcome Day in Eidsvold.  On NAIDOC Day at the Mundubbera Kindergarten and the Boynewood State School, they celebrated their culture with others by cooking damper, using ochre, and showing traditional paintings.  Under the supervision of their father, the Beezley Kids have also contributed to painting a mural at the Boynewood State School. It is their hope that others will be inspired to engage with and learn more about their Wakka Wakka heritage and culture.

Australia Day Awards Ceremony 2022

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