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2019 Australia Day Award Recipients

The Longreach Regional Council 2019 Australia Day Award recipients were announced at ceremonies across the region today:



Senior Sporting Achievement: Henry ‘Boy’ Forster 

At 73 years young, Boy has been training racehorses for over 30 years. In 2018 he was named in the Top 10 Trainers in Country Qld – an exceptional achievement considering the comparatively small number of horses he trains. He also was only just pipped at the post in the ‘Battle of the Bush’ event, winning Qld Country Horse of the Year and Central West Horse of the Year. 


Junior Achievement: Chelsea Wright 

Chelsea was named Longreach State High School Senior Dux in 2018 – while also completing a school based traineeship in Information Technology. She has consistently received Academic Distinction Awards during her studies, and can often be found volunteering in the canteen or on the gate at Scorpion home games. Chelsea was given the honour of being the first Ilfracombe resident to carry the Queen’s Message as a Batonbearer during the Queen’s Baton Relay on its visit to Ilfracombe last year. 


Community Event of the Year: Ilfracombe Scorpions Grand Final 

Last year, the Ilfracombe Scorpions were finally able to host their own home ground Grand Final. Despite missing out on the premiership title, the event was extremely successful for Ilfracombe and our community – attracting over a thousand people from around the district in one of the largest Grand Finals ever seen. 


Community Volunteer of the Year: Kate Wright 

Kate has a history of service to the community, holding positions at various times on a number of clubs and associations such as the Race club, P&C and others. Kate proudly serves the community as secretary of the Ilfracombe District Progress Association, and in 2018 was recognised by the Ilfracombe Scorpions with an Outstanding Service Award for ‘Always being three when needed without a second thought’. 



Community Event of the Year: Isisford Fishing Competition 

The Isisford Fishing Competition has been an annual event since 2002, attracting 500 to 700 competitors from throughout Queensland and interstate each year. The fishing comp is vital to the region and our economy, providing a milestone in the calendar that all in the community can look forward to. 


Community Volunteer of the Year: Anna Cochrane 

Since moving to Isis Downs, Anna has become involved in almost every aspect of community life. Whether it be through her service for organisations such as the P&C, the IIRDA, the Sheep & Wool Show, Race Club or ICPA – or through her efforts compiling the Isisford Tourist Guide booklet – her ambition, intelligence, and accomplishments make her extremely worthy of this award. 


Citizen of the Year: Henry ‘Cocky’ Bignell 

Cocky had a dream – to build something big that would be significant to Isisford. In 2018, Cocky realised his dream for the benefit of our town. He worked tirelessly, with some help, to complete his giant Yellowbelly using recycled materials from surrounding properties. All the material was donated. All the labour was volunteered. He is a role model to all generations – someone who has brought the entire community together in realising his dream. 



Community Group or Association Cultural Award: Western Queensland Drought Appeal Committee

Following a public meeting in Longreach, in 2015 a dedicated group of community leaders formed the Western Queensland Drought Appeal Committee. The Western Queensland Drought Appeal brings in donations from outside the region and distributes funds to people on family farms who are suffering hardship. The funds are loaded onto debit cards for personal spending in their local town. With a multiplier effect of 6-7 times for each dollar donated, this concentrates the donations into our towns, stimulates the local economy and helps to keep families on farms and services in our towns.


Community Event of the Year: Lions & Lioness Clubs Christmas Street Party

The Annual street party was organised by the Longreach Lions and Lioness Clubs in partnership and on a completely volunteer basis for the fourth year in a row in 2018. With stallholder charges generously waived, the event attracted 42 street stalls creating a lively atmosphere. The event also encouraged Eagle Street retail traders to remain open for extended hours. The event also includes and engages with many other community groups in creating a truly community driven celebration.


Junior Cultural Award: Tea Rumsey

Tea participates in a broad range of cultural activities within our community. Whether it’s playing trombone in the Longreach Town Band, studying ballet and musical theatre at the Longreach School of Dance, or participating in countless arts, music, dance, and theatre activities as part of her studies at Longreach State High School. She has represented Longreach at the Brisbane Junior Brass Band Summer School for three years running. Importantly, Tea has also encouraged her peers to think beyond the schoolyard fence and participate in community music making.


Senior Cultural Award: Robert ‘Grant’ Millar

Since arriving in Longreach Grant has significantly contributed to the cultural heritage and musical landscape of the Central West by telling stories, and painting pictures through his lyrics inspired by living life in the bush. Grant has scores of songs to his credit each depicting significant people, places and events which are a part of everyday life in the Australian Outback. Grants extensive portfolio of song writing, along with his many years of dedication in promoting the bush through these songs, makes him a ‘Musical Ambassador’ for the people and places of the Australian Outback.


Team Sporting Achievement: Liz Turner & Mai Cameron

Liz and Mai are at every single Junior Rugby League game, providing catering more often than not, sometimes even at away games. The funds raised of course go straight back into the Junior footy club. They also devote themselves tirelessly to the Central West Equestrian Club, and if you go to the races in Longreach, they can often be found selling tickets on the gate!


Sports Administrator: Emma Elliott

Emma has written a number of grant applications on behalf of the Netball Association that have established and improved the netball courts at the Longreach showgrounds – a major achievement. She exhibits the finest sporting qualities of fair play and teamwork at all times and assists in the running of the Juniors, Seniors, Mixed and Regional Netball carnivals.


Junior Sporting Achievement: Jackarra Jones

At the age of only 12 Jackarra has attained a remarkable record of success. She’s a very active athlete and is involved in many sports such as swimming, athletics, triathlon, netball, golf, and school sporting teams. In 2018, she played representative netball and athletics, representing the North Western school region. She was also recognised as the Longreach State High School Junior Sportswoman of the Year and awarded the Outstanding Achiever award at the Longreach Athletics Club.


Young Citizen of the Year: Melanie Kilili

Melanie was one of only ten students from across Queensland to be offered a High School Work Experience Residency with the Queensland Ballet. She dances for 15 hours every week, and on top of her studies is also completing a Certificate III in Student Teaching through the Australian Teachers of Dance (ATOD). She volunteers her time to teach younger students and enjoys tap, ballet, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop.


Citizen of the Year: Rose Leggett

New to the region and a local business owner, Rose recognised Longreach needed a positive story to tell; and with that came her idea to ‘Light up Longreach’. Not only did she have the idea, she financially supported the program as well as seeking sponsors and volunteers, and actively promoting the events. Her plan included holding free local events and decorating the main street of Longreach with lights, Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands.

Rose understood that while Christmas is a magical time for many, it can be the loneliest time of the year for some. With a focus on mental health and wellbeing Rose wanted everyone to feel welcome, accepted and not alone.

She rallied volunteers, many of which were new to Longreach, giving them a sense of belonging and pride in our town. The outcome was very positive with local businesses decorating their trees and the many events attracting locals and visitors. It can easily be said that through her inspiring dedication and drive Rose has changed our town for the better.