Australia Day Award winners

Date published: 26 January 2016

Townsville’s Australia Day Awards are presented on 26 January every year to residents and organisations within our community in recognition of noteworthy contributions or achievements. The ceremony will take place on the parade ground at Jezzine Barracks from 9.45am.

Junior sportsperson of the Year: Kaila Delany

Kaila is an inspirational role model to all those around her and especially to the junior netball players by proving that a girl from Townsville can make state and national teams. Her exceptional sportsmanship in the local, state and Australian teams has seen her selected for the junior under 16 and again selected in the under 18 national teams.

All the hours of training, travelling and playing, has her travelling to Brisbane and being billeted overnight to attend training, nearly every second weekend. She has had to navigate trains, buses and flights on her own. Being from regional North Queensland and making it to national levels at such a young age, we will enjoy watching her achieve greater goals in the future.

Senior sportsperson of the Year: Nigel Paul

Nigel has competed and coached to the highest possible level of ITF Taekwon-Do during 2015. He has given international access to a number of athletes, encouraging them to fulfil their ambitions of gold medal glory on the world scene. He was successful in getting two students to international gold this year, in both Italy and England. Nigel competed at the ITF World Championship in London, winning individual gold in the Veterans male patterns, and was key to winning four team gold in sparring, power breaking, special technique and team patterns, all against competitors half his age.

He also travels Australia wide teaching and preparing competitors and students, all self-funded.

Nigel is not just about achieving the pinnacle of success in ITF Taekwon-Do for himself, he pours hours into the preparation of competitors from children 10 years old to veterans.

Nigel demonstrates what the spirit of Australia means, and that is going above and beyond, while dragging your mates through the hard work required.

Sports Administrator of the Year: Peter Shefford

Peter is a dedicated sports administrator in the sport of Touch Football and has contributed many hours to the sport at club, association, regional, state and national level, for many years. The amount of volunteer time he dedicates to the sport of Touch is arguably unsurpassed in the region, and his experience and advice is highly sought after by many. Peter typifies what can be achieved if one puts their mind to it, and he lives by his creed of "don't give me excuses, give me results".

Peter conducts himself in a professional manner at all times, and his honest efforts rub off on others. In mid January Peter spent five days of his holidays conducting (unpaid) coaching clinics for the youth at the Cleveland Detention Centre, highlighting his selflessness and desire to help others.

Peter possesses those qualities identified with the Australian spirit: nothing is too much trouble, and when something needs to be done, Peter doesn't look for someone else to do it, he simply puts his hand up and says "let's go!"

Community Event of the Year: VP70 Commemorations

The VP70 Commemorative events marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The commemorative events took place in Townsville over the weekend of 14 to 16 August 2015.  Townsville, with its long and significant history in the defence of our nation, proudly hosted community celebrations to mark the anniversary and commemorate our veterans.

The VP70 Commemoration events were heralded as a wonderful and emotional tribute and lauded as the largest commemoration gathering of the veterans of any Australian city – including capitals.  This was a tremendous achievement for the city of Townsville and continues our long history of commemorating these occasions with honour.  Veterans felt honoured to have been invited and were able to participate in the many events and were highly appreciative of staff efforts.  The involvement of 50 young current serving service men and women as hosts and chaperones for the veterans was a memorable achievement – bringing the young and old together.

Cultural Award: Kylie Tillack

Kylie Tillack is a firm believer in supporting the strong arts community in Townsville and its impact on the region locally, nationally and internationally for children, young adults and adults. For the past 26 years Kylie has worked in the dance industry in the Townsville region.

Kylie is a mother of three who goes above and beyond in her endeavours as her driving passion is providing excellence within dance and theatre.

In 2015 within her role as a dance educator at Kirwan State High School Kylie designed and implemented the Year 7 and 8 Dance Excellence program, co-choreographed the successful musical Hairspray, assisted in producing the inaugural Dance Night showcasing student achievement, assisted in coordinating and mentoring students of Arts Centre of Excellence dance for performance work, stage managed and assisted in the production of Kirwan High’s Arts Expo final culminating performance of the year.

Kylie actively seeks new opportunities for students to connect with the professional industry and establishes a welcoming and positive environment for all members of her class and working environment.

Spirit of Townsville Award: John Bennett

John Bennett obtained his Bronze Medallion with the Arcadian Surf Life Saving Club in 1966 and has been a member of the club ever since.  John was an active patrolling member for many years performing countless hours of volunteer life saving patrols.  John has been the Arcadian club house director for more than 20 years and remains so today voluntarily giving his time on a daily basis to maintain the club house in operating condition.

He has also been an outstanding fundraiser for the club for more than a decade, just over the past year alone John has fund raised more than $40,000 for the club. John's contributions to the Arcadian SLSC and Magnetic Island community are above and beyond that expected of an average citizen.  John asks for and expects nothing in return for his generosity and ongoing contribution. John is very much a quiet achiever and there are many who would be entirely unaware of his dedication and commitment to his community and the benefits that flow from his volunteer work.

Young Citizen of the Year Award: Casey McDermott

Casey is the current Chair of the Queensland Youth Council for St John Ambulance, she is innovative in this role and her success brings kudos to our community, showing that positive outcomes do not have to emanate from capital cities and large population bases.

In 2015 she has continued to teach and mentor St John Ambulance Cadets in first aid, personal development and leadership skills – her expertise and passion for this inspires this youth group in our city and many are following in her footsteps.

Casey is an inspiring young woman, she is very much ‘a local’, born and raised in Townsville and in addition to her volunteer work she is in her final year at university studying a double degree with majors in Science and Arts.   Casey is caring, knowledgeable, innovative, professional yet pragmatic and always willing to share her time and talents.

Citizen of the Year: Robert Griffiths

Bob Griffiths has been a member of the SES in Townsville since 1989 making an outstanding contribution to this community as a search and rescue leader, team leader, flood boat operator and other positions with SES until his present position as deputy local controller. As well as training SES members he has actively taken part in most local operations cleaning up and dealing with natural disasters.

In more than 26 years of continuous service Bob has supported this community in an extraordinary manner. As well as his SES contributions he also spends much time raising funds for local charities such as Mates4mates, Men's Shed, Townsville Junior Eisteddfod, Joyful Foundation and the Mayor's Christmas Tree Appeal.

Bob has given more than 26 years of voluntary work to helping others through the SES, this equating to many weekends and week nights of commitment.  Bob has had a stronger focus in recent years on recruitment and maintaining SES members who offer a vital service to our own community and to others in times of disasters. Bob still finds time to commit to his Masonic duties and annual ball committee chairmanship raising money for local charities each year.

Environmental Excellence and Sustainability Award: Hamish Finlayson

At the age of 11 this remarkable young man has three apps in the Apple Store which support and educate people about the environment. One such project is LitterbugSmash - this app promotes awareness about the harm litter causes the environment. Another app is a  multi-level game containing games and a quiz, and by having a "donate now button" Hamish promotes donations for great charities like ReefHQ Turtle Hospital and Keep  Queensland Beautiful.

Hamish has now registered his second dot com 'Triple T and ASD' as part of his next project, which is on autism.   Hamish is breaking down barriers, in the environment and in explaining what ASD is in an accessible way.

Hamish has more than 150 downloads of his foundation app so far and he continues to develop, expand and improve his existing apps and website.