Townsville's Australia Day Award winners announced

Date published: 26 January 2018

The Australia Day Awards celebrate the achievements of people who inspire us through their service to our community, culture and sports.

Townsville’s Australia Day Awards are presented by Mayor Jenny Hill to residents and organisations who have excelled in their fields, and made a mark on our local community. This year’s ceremony takes place on Friday January 26 from 11am at Jezzine Barracks.

Townsville’s Australia Day Award winners for 2018 are:


Nikolas Mitchell made many contributions to the local sporting landscape across a variety of sports in 2017 including Choi Kwang Do, rugby union, OzTag, rugby league, and school competition. Not only did he have huge success as a competitor but he also made a significant contribution as an official, instructor, organiser and charity fundraiser.

On the sporting field, Nikolas excelled across a number of sports, winning numerous medals and awards, and being chosen to play at a state, national and international level. In 2017 he became the Choi Kwang Do World Champion II Dan Blackbelt U14, winning two gold medals and a bronze in Atlanta, Georgia. He’s also had considerable success in rugby union, rugby sevens, OzTag, rugby league, and school sports including swimming, cross country and athletics. He was awarded Townsville Grammar Middle School’s Sportsman of the Year.

In addition to his involvement on the field, Nikolas also coordinated fundraising activities for the McGrath Foundation. He organised a pink socks day at his rugby club following the passing of a family friend, which enabled the Townsville Junior Rugby League Clubs to raise approximately $70,000.


Georgia Bulley has had a remarkable year of netball in 2017, not only being chosen in a number of representative sides but also being consistently recognised by officials and peers for her skill and sportsmanship.

Georgia represented Queensland Country in the annual City v Country series. As a member of the Magnetic North Steelcats in the Netball Queensland State League, Georgia she was voted the league’s most valuable player. She was also a member of the grand final winning team Neptunes in the Townsville City Netball Association’s Premier League, and was selected as the most valuable player of the grand final. Georgia capped off a big year by being awarded the Townsville City Netball Association Inc Senior Player of the Year.


The Townsville Choral Society Inc. (TCS) has been a major contributor to the Townsville and North Queensland arts scene for more than 100 years. It was established in 1906 to provide local talent of all ages an opportunity to perform in eisteddfods, concerts, festivals, and musical productions.

TCS has had a very busy year in 2017 with highly acclaimed productions of the musicals Grease and Wicked becoming big hits with local audiences. This year they will reach a major milestone with their 100th musical production, We Will Rock You in February.

At competition level, the Townsville Choral Society also had some big success at the 2017 North Queensland Eisteddfod in Mackay winning the overall Choral Championship and a long list of wins in individual categories.

The Townsville Choral Society gives back to the Townsville community by collecting donations for local charities at musical productions. Their most recent production saw TCS donating over $10,000 to a local organisation.


A group of 10 students in Year 5 at St Claire’s School and their teachers, known as the ‘Urban Food Special Forces Unit’ has been carrying out secret sustainability missions around Townsville to help residents grow health food on less water.

The group has installed zero water wicking beds in their school and held community planning and visioning sessions to help make urban food a reality in Townsville. Most recently the group organised and ran an urban food workshop to an overflowing crowd at Bunnings.

They also help run a tuckshop kombucha session to promote the use of beneficial microbes in our gut and garden.  The Urban Food Special Forces Unit is taking sustainability strides for our youth.


Rachel Cook has been the voluntary chairperson of The Youth Network NQ Inc (TYN) for over 13 years. In this time Rachel has grown TYN from a monthly networking meeting into a not-for-profit organisation in its own right. Rachel’s ability to engage with community, families, youth, and different cultures has been instrumental in TYN’s success.

Some of the activities that Rachel has been responsible for include coordinating National Youth Week activities across Townsville and surrounding townships; establishing the Youth Outreach Program at local skate parks; Untitled Music Events for young emerging bands to showcase their music locally; The Stomp Box youth space at Palm Creek Folk Festival; the Murray Skate Park repaint project; Battle of the Bands competition; Regional Youth Engagement forums and conference; establishing the Arts Inc. free youth art group; and Kick n Push low cost skateboarding lessons for local youth at skate parks.

Rachel engages young people by highlighting their strengths, building their confidence and providing opportunities for mentoring and relationship building. Her programs have helped young people get involved in their community by taking advantage of their passions for arts, music, and sports.


Emma Nolan is an outstanding young woman who is committed to achieving excellence in everything that she does, both at school and in the wider community. Her passion and dedication to the community was recognised in 2017 when she was one of 12 students in Queensland to be awarded an Order of Australia Association Secondary Schools Citizenship Award.

As Kirwan High’s School Captain for 2017 and a member of the Top Scholar and Music Excellence Program she not only is a high academic achiever, but also an exceptional role model for her peers.

In 2016 Emma received an RSL Youth Development Grant recognising her leadership and service to the community as a volunteer cadet with St. John Ambulance which earned her a leadership position as a sergeant. In this role she spends her Friday nights mentoring other cadets and teaching them life-saving first aid skills. She often spends her weekends and holidays volunteering at community events providing free first aid care to the public and has completed well over 100 volunteer hours.

Emma has represented Queensland at the National First Aid competitions for four consecutive years. In early 2015 she was selected to join the Australian contingent at the St. John Ambulance International cadet camp in Hong Kong.

As an active member of Kirwan High’s Interact Club, Emma has participated in and led a range of fundraisers including packaging birthing kits for third world countries, the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave, Cancer Council’s Relay for Life, writing Christmas cards to residents at Good Shepherd Nursing Home, and raising money for children’s brain cancer research. She also earned a position with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) as a Youth Ambassador which involves raising awareness and funds to improve the lives of people living in remote Papua New Guinea.

Emma’s interest in science and the STEM fields saw her selected by a state-wide panel to attend the Vice Chancellor’s STEM Camp hosted by Queensland University of Technology, and was awarded the prestigious Peter Doherty Outstanding Senior STEM Student Award. Emma intends to pursue a career in medicine, allowing Emma to utilise her passion for science and benefiting the lives of others.


For over 40 years, Dr Jack Maguire has served the Townsville community as a GP, cancer specialist, and a staunch advocate for the elderly. Not only did he establish Townsville’s first free skin cancer clinic, but he’s also been a driving force behind The Good Shepherd Home.

Over the past three decades, Dr Maguire has helped Good Shepherd grow into one of Townsville’s most respected aged care facilities; Queensland’s largest community owned and operated aged care facility; and one of Australia’s ten largest aged care homes.

His tireless advocacy and commitment to Townsville’s elderly has been constant. Since his first visit to the home in 1980 as a visiting physician he has fought to ensure the home was at the forefront of aged care practice, pushing to improve the quality of care, staff training and facilities.

In 1995 he joined the home’s governing council as an unpaid volunteer, as well as chairing the Medical Advisory and Ethics Committees and serving on the home’s Major Projects and Building Committees.

Over his 20 year tenure with the home’s council, Good Shepherd grew from its original 90 beds to 180 residents and then again to its current 246 residents. He also oversaw the addition of specialist dementia care facilities and a riverfront hostel for people transitioning from home into residential care. The home also opened the city’s first day therapy centre, aged care respite accommodation service, and high-end extra services facility.

In more recent years he focussed his attention on transforming the home from its shared room and facilities model in favour of single rooms to recognise residents’ right to privacy. He never lost sight of the reason for his work: the residents’ rights, treatment, and dignity.

After extensive lobbying, Dr Maguire’s vision for a new $24 million, 90 bed building came true in 2014. The aim for the new addition was not to increase resident numbers, but instead to provide a higher standard of accommodation for existing residents.

On the 20th anniversary of his appointment, Dr Jack retired from his post having remained faithful to the home’s mission to provide support and accommodation to those most in need. So far, he has declined all recognition for his 35 years of continuous service to the community.