Seven deserving people recognised at belated Australia Day Awards ceremony

Date published: 15 February 2024

For more than five decades Clifford ‘Warren’ Northey has been quietly helping the Townsville community and has now been recognised as Townsville Citizen of the Year at this year’s Australia Day Awards.

Warren was given the award for his 53 years of volunteer work with his church, St Vincent de Paul, Girl Guides, Scouts and helping victims of domestic and family violence.

The 70-year-old has been volunteering since he was 17 years old and continues to give up his time to help those less fortunate in the community.

Warren and six others were given Australia Day Awards overnight after the official ceremony was postponed due to Ex-Tropical Cyclone Kirrily impacting the region.

A Townsville City Council spokesperson said a small ceremony was held last night to honour those people who go above and beyond in our community.

“We are proud of Townsville people, the heart of our community. Each year we celebrate the Townsville community by recognising our residents’ excellence, achievement or commendable service and contributions to our society,” they said.

“What better way to show the love and appreciation we have for the people that give so much to the community by holding the belated ceremony on Valentine’s Day.

“Warren is a deserving winner of the Citizen of the Year and while he hasn’t wanted to make a fuss about his more than 50 years of volunteering his efforts have not gone unnoticed. We appreciate Warren for his contribution in enabling residents to have a sense of belonging.

“At 20 years old, Tenason Stark has been named Young Citizen of the Year. Tenason is a proud First Nations person of the Jaowyn Nation and has excelled in achieving and acting as a role model through his pursuits in academia, serving in Army Reserves, mental health advocacy, commitment to environmental causes, social justice and more. We commend Tenason for showcasing and protecting our local heritage values.

“Damien Meek’s outstanding sporting achievements in cricket have not gone unnoticed and have been recognised with the Senior Sports Award. Damien represented Australia at the Veterans World Cup in Cape Town last year, where he was ranked #30 in the world and is currently #2 in Australia. We acknowledge Damien for supporting Townsville’s goal of growing the opportunities to participate in sport and support sporting excellence.

“Taleisha Gaeta’s stellar 2023 in table tennis propelled the 16-year-old to win the Junior Sports Award. Taleisha picked up silverware for competitions across Townsville, Queensland and Australia while also achieving the school dux award. We are proud of Taleisha for increasing participation in elite sport in Townsville.

“Donald Seymour was given the Community Volunteer Award for his volunteer work at the Townsville Mini Train Station. The 68-year-old gives up his time on a regular basis to help with working bees and the monthly train run near Lou Litster Park. The miniature trains are popular with families and kids and has helped to further enhance quality places in where residents want to live, work, play and learn.

“Through his years of volunteering at the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Neil Renison was awarded the Arts and Culture Award. Neil has also been recognised for his continued work with the Barrier Reef Orchestra and the Townsville Community Music Centre. His work has facilitated opportunities to grow the local arts and culture scene in Townsville.

“The Environmental Excellence and Sustainability Award was given to Oliver Jesshope for his work around animal advocacy, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, community food gardens, meditation and yoga and his formation of the North Queensland Mushroom Society. Oliver’s work has helped to educate the community on the protection and promotion of our dry tropics and reef coast environments.

“Each of these people are very deserving of their awards and community recognition.”

For more information about the Australia Day Awards, visit Council’s Australia Day Awards page.

Clifford ‘Warren’ Northey was named Citizen of the Year at the 2024 Australia Day Awards
Caption: Clifford ‘Warren’ Northey was named Citizen of the Year at the 2024 Australia Day Awards.