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.
The Australia Day Award categories are:
- Citizen of the Year
- Young Citizen of the Year
- Community Event of the Year
- Cultural Award
- Spirit of Townsville Award
- Sports Administrator Award
- Senior Sports Person of the Year
- Junior Sports Person of the Year
- Environmental Excellence and Sustainability
2017 Australia Day Awards Winners
Thank you to all nominees for your commitment to the Townsville community. The winners were announced at the 2017 Australia Day festivities held 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.
Citizen of the Year
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 over 26 years of continuous service Bob has supported this community in an extraordinary manner, as well as his SES contibutions 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.
Young Citizen of the Year
Casey McDermott 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 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 caring, knowledgeable, innovative, professional yet pragmatic and always willing to share her time and talents. One of the most commendable personality traits that Casey has, is that for her it is all about service and giving not receiving accolades.
Senior Sports Person of the Year
Nigel Paul 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 4 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 spends many hours in the preparation of competitors from children of 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.
Junior Sports Person of the Year
Kaila Delany 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 and traveling and playing, has Kaila travelling Brisbane and being billeted overnight to attend training, approximately 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, the Townsville community will enjoy watching Kaila achieve greater goals in the near future.
Sports Administrator of the Year
Peter Shefford 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 & advice is highly sought after by many.
Peter conducts himself in a professional manner at all times, and his honest effort's rub off on others.
In January 2016 Peter spent 5 days of his holidays conducting (unpaid) coaching clinics for the youth at the Cleveland Detention Centre, highlighting his selflessness and desire to help others.
Spirit of Townsville Award
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.
John has also been an outstanding fundraiser for the club for more than a decade, raising over $40,000 for the club in 2015 alon. John's contributions to the Arcadian SLSC and Magnetic Island community are above and beyond that expected of an average citizen. John is very much a quiet achiever; he asks for and expects nothing in return for his generosity and ongoing contribution.
Community Event of the Year
VP70 Commemorations, Townsville City Council
The VP70 Commemorative events marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World war which 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 to participate in the many events and were highly appreciative of staff efforts.
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 twenty-six years Kylie has worked in the dance industry in the Townsville region.
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.
Environmental Excellence and Sustainability Award
At the age of 11 this remarkable young man has 3 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 is a leader for a whole community of people around the world. I’d say Hamish has a bright future ahead of him, but Hamish is making bright things happen right now, and at the age of 11, that’s inspiring!