Australia Day Awards
The Australia Day Awards celebrate the achievements of individuals who inspire us through their accomplishments in service to our community, culture and sports, and challenge us to make our own contribution to a better Australia.
2018 Australia Day Awards Winners
Thank you to all nominees for your commitment to the Townsville community. The winners were announced at the 2018 Australia Day festivities held at Jezzine Barracks.
Looking for pictures from the day? View the Australia Day Awards photo gallery.
Citizen of the Year: Dr Jack Maguire
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.
Young Citizen of the Year: Emma Nolan
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.
Arts and Culture Award: Townsville Choral Society Inc.
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.
Community Volunteer of the year: Rachel Cook
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.
Senior Sports Award: Georgia Bulley
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.
Junior Sports Award: Nikolas Mitchell
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.
Environmental Excellence and Sustainability Award: Urban Food Special Forces Unit
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.
2017 Australia Day Awards Winners
The 2017 Australia Day Awards recipients were announced on Australia Day at Jezzine Barracks.
Citizen of the Year: Noel Price
Noel has contributed to the arts and cultural community of Townsville for more than 40 years. In Noel’s early days in Townsville he worked as a teacher with Education QLD after leaving the army. During this time his contribution has included developing young musicians to a professional level to go on and represent Townsville as teachers and performers.
During this time Noel has also contributed to many organisations on a voluntary basis, including the Townsville Eisteddfod Committee, Townsville Brass Band, Local Barrier Reef Orchestra, Currajong State School P&C, Pimlico State High School P&C, Choral Society and North Queensland Opera and Music Theatre Company.
Noel spends many voluntary hours working for these organisations to add value to the arts and cultural community of Townsville and provide world class performances for our community.
In 2014 Noel was a contributing member of the Townsville Brass Band that won the Australian National Title Brass Band Championships in Brisbane. Noel then organised and chaired the committee that delivered the 2015 State Brass Band Championships in Townsville bringing more than 500 people to the city.
In addition Noel also provides a community service as a JP at the Castletown Shopping Centre on a regular voluntary basis.
Noel is known to be reliable and goes beyond all expectations to develop students, players and groups by providing opportunities to perform for the community and compete in world class competitions.
Noel also provides additional support to these groups by fundraising and reducing costs through transporting equipment and providing logistical support to the groups.
Noel is well respected and well known within the arts and cultural community including the schools.
Thank you to the nominees Clive Clarkson, Harvey Low, Leigh Caldwell and Joe & Carol Collocott.
Young Citizen of the Year Award: Praveen Gurusinghe
Praveen is an extraordinary, high achieving young man. As a St. John Ambulance Cadet he provides first aid services and teaches others at community events throughout the year. Praveen also volunteers at the Good Shepherd Nursing Home during his school holidays.
In 2016, Praveen was instrumental in fundraising for victims of floods and landslides in Sri Lanka. Praveen volunteered at community barbecues and helped organise and host a charity dinner. The community raised around $8000 which was used to purchase new stationery and books for school children.
In 2015, Praveen was recognised at Kirwan High when he was elected Vice-School Captain for 2016. As President of Kirwan High’s service club Interact, Praveen organised and participated in numerous charity events including the World’s Greatest Shave, the Relay for Life, charity drives for the Townsville Women’s Centre and writing Christmas cards for residents at the Good Shepherd Nursing Home.
Praveen is a very high achiever and in 2016 as a graduating Year 12 student he was awarded Dux of the School.
Praveen significantly contributed to Kirwan High’s music program. As a keen percussionist, Praveen performed in Kirwan High’s Wind Symphony, Senior Strings Orchestra and Big Band. His leadership was officially recognised when he received the Percussion Player of the Year Award in 2014.
Praveen’s passion for Science led to his appointment as a JCU Science Ambassador for Kirwan High. In 2015, he received the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Bursary and also received national recognition when he was selected to attend the prestigious National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) in Canberra.
Praveen intends to pursue a career in medicine.
Thank you to nominee Samantha Akers.
Community Event of the Year: The Challenge Games
The Challenge Games are two fun days for children with disabilities coming together having fun, interacting with each other, winning ribbons, playing mixed and individual sports and games. People from Mt Isa to Cairns to Sarina travel for this event each year.
This event attracts volunteers from within the community including army, Mates For Mates, NQ Cowboys and sponsors from the Townsville surrounding communities.
This event has no boundaries for children with disabilities, who compete at their own abilities and are encouraged by spectators, parents, volunteers.
Thank you to nominees The Adani India Fest and Cylcones Show and Shine.
Cultural Award: Happy Feat
Happy Feat teach people with special needs to dance and interact with their peers in a non-judgmental environment. This increases their self-confidence and happiness and helps with their interactions within their families and the wider community. As a result, Happy Feat has performed at a number of events including the Townsville City Council Christmas Carols and with Guy Sebastian concerts on several occasions.
Happy Feat has been operating for nearly seven years and has provided much joy, fun, happiness and something to look forward to for its members and their families. Happy Feat has given the participants a sense of belonging in the community.
Founder Leigh Caldwell devotes her time and energy freely to helping these special needs people. She inspires them to try and is always encouraging, happy and enthusiastic which is reflected in the group's performances and attendance.
Happy Feat helps people from the age of 18 upwards in the senior group and there is a junior group as well.
Thank you to nominees Noel Price and Alfred Smallwood.
Spirit of Townsville Award: Carisa Hunn and Alfred Smallwood
Carisa started a new branch of the CWA, has organised a number of events in the Alligator Creek community events such as Halloween and Christmas at the Creek. She has also been instrumental in helping raise money for local charities through her newly formed CWA branch.
She is an inspirational role model to many young women in the local and surrounding community by being a mum, business owner and branch president of the CWA Gator Girls. Carisa has worked tirelessly to enrich the community and provide a much-needed support for women in the community.
Uncle Alfred Men’s Group is a 24-hour volunteer service for young adults caught up in the justice system who are trying to re-engage with community, culture, family and country. There is a strong focus on cultural mentoring, taking responsibility for yourself, your country and your family. Uncle Alfred Men’s Group is a not-for-profit.
It’s strategy is to provide a safe and secure environment that will provide support and address the relevant social issues through mentoring and friendships, art and craft.
Alfred refers to the three Cs - Culture, Control and Choice in his training programs that take place every Tuesday evening and the three Ls - Look, Learn and Listen.
UAMG mentoring and art/craft programs have helped the men in our community deal with their bad life choices and move on from traumatic events. Mentoring has encouraged the men to make positive changes to their lives and art has given them an opportunity to release their hurt, anger and guilt.
Since 2011, Uncle Alfred Men’s Group’s main objective is to provide a safe and friendly environment that gives men the opportunity for a second chance with their families, employment and with themselves.
Uncle Alfred coordinates the weekly Tuesday night gatherings and during the day men are encouraged to pop in for a cuppa and a chat or participate in the art therapy program, screen printing program to start soon or the leather workshop opening early in 2017.
Thank you to nominees Happy Feat, Alexander Salvador, Daphne Thorogood, Kerry Maskiell, Margaret Fogarty, Danny Ormonde, Tina Linnane, Harvey Low and Dayle Kerley.
Sports Administrator of the Year: Danny Ormonde
Danny Ormonde is an important member of Townsville Cycling Club, having coached his son into the Australian Track Cycling team for the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Townsville Cycle Club has given him Life Membership in recognition of his efforts.
He has held various official positions in the club including president in 2014. Townsville Cycle Club was recognised by Cycling Queensland as 'Club of the Year' in 2014. He is an official Cycling Australia recognised commissaire (referee or umpire) for the Club, and is often away officiating at Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Brisbane and Cairns.
Aware that more commissaires are needed, he runs courses for interested parents for free, donating his time to ensure others succeed in the gruelling training course. As a recognised coach, he is down at the velodrome every Tuesday night supervising cyclists of all ages. On Friday evenings, he is often organising racing and handicaps for all riders. On Sundays through the dry season, he is commissairing the road cycling series in Townsville, as well as marquee races to and from Charters Towers. At the end of the winter road season, he spends Sundays mornings training the elite junior riders who intend competing at the Junior State Championships in January.
For decades, he has selflessly worked at promoting the sport of track cycling, providing free training in cycling, free coaching courses, and free commissaire courses- all which normally cost thousands of dollars in Brisbane.
His knowledge and expertise are such that Cycling Queensland also requires his knowledge and time to organise and run events throughout Queensland- without refunding any personal costs.
Thank you to nominees Daniel Hughs, Greg Vanderjagt, Dayne O’Hara and Rodney Anderson.
Senior Sports Person of the Year: Linda Davis
Linda gives back to the local sporting community in Townsville by being involved in every event she is available for. She is the driving force behind Townsville's Totally Tropical Orienteering Club that conducted more than 20 events this year with between 38-212 local participants per event.
She volunteers at local sporting events and has for years - Townsville Triathlon Festival registration and marshall, lead rider for the Townsville Running Festival, track planner for the inaugural Legacy Mt Stuart Trail Run, Maggie Island Swim support paddler, first aider for the Outer Limits Trail Run Series, Adventurethon marshall and sweep and scorer for the Maggie Island Treasure Quest. She also works at Ultra Trail Australia in the Blue Mountains (TNF100), was the course manager for XPD Adventure Race in Townville in late 2015, volunteer at Geoquest AR and provides regular medical support for Defence Touch Football and Rugby Union teams.
Linda works full-time and also teaches Sport & Recreation at TAFE. She finds the time to not only train and compete at three different sports at World Championships level (AR, Rafting, Rogaining), but also wins national championships in another sport (Outrigging).
Thank you to nominees Brianna Coop, Lindsey Hendy, Alex Ypinazar, Chloe Cooper, and Rodney Anderson.
Junior Sports Person of the Year: Kajsa Souter
Kajsa has been part of the Townsville Central athletics club for 10 years. She has willingly provided her skills and expertise each week to assist with the junior athletes. She has also contributed to the smooth running of their regional competition by presenting medals and making announcements.
Kajsa is a determined and disciplined athlete, putting in many hours of training to attain her sporting goals. As well as being an outstanding athlete, she demonstrates to others excellent sportsmanship and a positive and humble attitude. This year she achieved a gold in the pentathlon at the Little Athletics State Championship, she then went on win silver in the pentathlon at national level and a bronze in the relay.
In the recent Queensland School All Comers Championship, Kajsa won a gold medal in the long jump, a silver in the triple jump and 400m hurdles and gold in the 100m hurdles in a time of 14.03s only 0.5sec off the state record held by now Olympian Sally Pearson.
Thank you to nominees India Kubin, Rosalie Baker, Samuel Warner, Samson Froling and Caleb Cheeseman.
Environmental Excellence and Sustainability Award: Rike Wolf
Rike Wolf is a passionate environmental and public health advocate, dedicated to reducing food waste and food poverty in Townsville. She founded the Food Rescue Initiative Townsville (FRIT) in 2013 to redistribute fresh surplus food to people in need to prevent perfectly nutritious food from going to waste.
FRIT is entirely volunteer run, redistributing perishable food daily to shelters and charities. Their volunteers have had an enormous impact on food waste reduction and access to healthy fresh food for those in need. They have just exceeded the 290 tonne mark of food they have rescued and redistributed! This is equivalent to more than one million meals delivered to the most vulnerable people in the Townsville community.
More than one third of good food goes to waste in Australia, often due to cosmetic standards, while two million Australians rely on food relief; one million of those are children. 10% of greenhouse gas emissions stem from food that is never eaten, and if food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of CO2. The Food Rescue Initiative aims to not just highlight the importance of food waste reduction but provides simple solutions.
Food Rescue Initiative is coordinated by Rike and a team of 5 FRIT admin including Secretary, Treasurer and Volunteer Coordinators.
2016 Award Recipients
The 2016 Australia Day Awards recipients were announced on Australia Day at Jezzine Barracks.
List of 2016 Australia Day Awards Recipients
Citizen of the Year: Bob Giffiths
Young Citizen of the Year: Casey McDermott
Senior Sports Person of the Year: Nigel Paul
Junior Sports Person of the Year: Kaila Delany
Sports Administrator of the Year: Peter Shefford
Spirit of Townsville Award: John Bennett
Community Event of the Year: VP70 Commemorations, Townsville City Council
Cultural Award: Kylie Tillack
Environmental Excellence and Sustainability Award: Hamish Finlayson