Australia Day Award Recipients 2020
Longreach Regional Council presented its annual Australia Day Awards at ceremonies in Longreach, Isisiford, and Ilfracombe today.
Mayor Ed Warren presided over the ceremony in Longreach this morning.
Community Group or Association Cultural Award: Longreach Cultural Association and Town Band
This dedicated group and its members have a proud history and remain at the forefront of cultural and civic events in our community. You’ll often see them partnering with other organisations and contributing to the success of countless community events. In 2019 they took on one of their biggest challenges, performing the extremely technical score in our community’s outstanding production of Matilda the Musical.
Community Event of the Year: Outback Paddle Regatta Festival
This new event was organised by a dedicated committee of volunteers that set out to activate one of our town’s greatest assets – the Thomson River. The result was a celebration of our unique outback lifestyle that attracted visitors from near and far and instilled in our community a sense of pride and ownership.
Junior Cultural Award: Elsie Walker & Tea Rumsey
These two girls, nominated jointly, have demonstrated that even though we are a small outback town we have the talent in our community to match it with any larger town. Sharing a great responsibility, they both rose to the challenge of the role given to them and performed admirably. The girls were an integral part of the success of Matilda the Musical, being role models to younger people in the cast, and showing that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.
Senior Cultural Award: Tanya Lloyd
This dedicated leader almost doubled the membership of her community group in 2019. Her encouragement and enthusiasm led our town band through one of the most technical and challenging scores in modern musical theatre.
Sports Administrator: Steven Hunt
This good sport has volunteered for no less than six community sporting organisations at the same time. With a particular focus on junior coaching and tournaments, he’s been involved in Longreach Athletics, Longreach Junio Football, Longreach Juniors and Seniors Cricket, as well as volunteering at Our Lady’s School sporting events and as a member of the Longreach Bowls Club.
Junior Sporting Achievement: Ty Jesberg
This young man started playing his sport socially at the age of just 8 years old. His talent soon shone through and now at the age of just 15 he has embarked on a competitive career in Lawn Bowls that last year saw him represent his club, our town, and his state at the Under 18s Test Series and Australian under 18s Championship.
Senior Sporting Achievement: Kailah Rogers
This year’s recipient has been involved with Longreach Touch Association and Longreach Senior Rugby League on the committee and coaching junior players. She has also played in the Central Highlands Competition for the last three years. The commitment she’s shown to her football, travelling 800km each weekend just to attend training, is truly inspiring. Last year she was instrumental in reviving the Longreach 7’s Carnival, for the first time in 4 years, which attracted over 300 attendees from all over Queensland.
Mayoral Community Volunteer Commendation: Shae-Ellen King
Shae has achieved something great which makes our community more liveable and attractive to visitors. Without her there would almost certainly be no gym for people in our community, let alone a clean, modern, 24-hour facility with electronic sign in, TV screens and air-conditioning throughout. A truly remarkable achievement from a dedicated and passionate volunteer.
Mayoral Community Volunteer Commendation: Helen Morton
Helen is being recognised for all the hard work and hours she puts in at the Longreach Jockey Club and Longreach Equestrian Club – over a period of more than 10 years.
Without her the Longreach Jockey Club wouldn’t operate the way it does today. She plays a huge role in every race day – and during large events such as the Longreach Cup she is a co-organiser with countless volunteer hours spent in the lead up and on the day to make it a safe and successful event for our community.
Young Citizen of the Year: Paris Cox
Paris has made it her personal goal to break down the barriers and stigma associated with mental illness. Personally impacted by the death of her partner, she founded the “Outback Mind Warriors” non-profit-foundation and the new annual event “Walk for Wegert” in his honour.
The first “Walk for Wegert” event was held on the 8th of September 2019 attracting participants of all ages who walked from here in Edkins Park to Apex Park on the Thomson River. There they enjoyed a breakfast, entertainment, and listened to respected guest speakers who shared their insights on mental health and suicide.
At the young age of 22, Paris has a vision to help anyone feeling isolated, alone and silently battling mental illness.
Citizen of the Year: Brecken Curtis
Two years ago Brecken had a vision for establishing a new recreational space on the banks of the Thomson River. Not only did he have the vision, he invested a lot of unseen time, money, and effort in the project himself. As founder of the Outback Watersports Club he has realised his vision and created a community asset that unlocks the enormous potential of our river.
Last year he was elected president of Longreach Regional Enterprise, dedicating himself to championing small business in our region. He also serves as treasurer of the Longreach State School P&C. As a small business owner he sponsors countless community events, clubs and associations throughout our region.
Most notably he was a crucial driving force behind the success of last year’s inaugural Outback Paddle Regatta – and it’s fair to say this event would never have been such a success without his involvement, hard work, and absolute commitment to ensure every aspect of the event was delivered to the highest standard.
Cr Tony Martin presided over the ceremony in Isisford this morning.
Community Volunteer of the Year: Dale Bignell
Since returning to the region, Dale has served countless groups in the community including the IIRDA, the Isisford Fishing Competition and the Isisford Race Club. He is a passionate advocate for Isisford and anything that will promote his home town.
Community Event of the Year: The Yaraka End of the Line Draft
This event was run by a small number of volunteers who contributed a lot of their time and sometimes delved into their own pockets to make it all work. The event has been battling with drought for over 7 years and luckily, with the assistance of good people, the chance came up to run the event last year with 700 donated cattle. The rigorous criteria for Australian Campdraft affiliation, from setting up the grounds/arena, providing water for the cattle, volunteers to handle and draft them, catering and admin for the scoring/pencillers, MC’s, judges and photographers were all met within three weeks of setting up the program – an impressive achievement.
Junior Achievement: Jaimee Mills
Jaimee has volunteered at various events for the School, P&C and Camp Drafts. She was appointed a Student Leader at Isisford State School and received various Academic and Sporting awards. She represented Isisford State School in both Central and North West Athletics, and participated in Clean Up Australia Day, The Daniel Morcombe Fun Run, Under 8’s Day, and ANZAC Day marches and speeches.
Citizen of the Year: Dale Bignell
Dale was disturbed by the number of recyclable items being put into landfill at Isisford. He decided to collect these items and take them, at his own cost, for processing – initially at Rockhampton. What started as a fundraiser for Isisford State School has now, through his tireless efforts, raised over $10,000 for community initiatives. Arguably most notable among these is his outstanding Isisford Santa Challenge – spreading goodwill and community pride at an important time of year.
Mayor Ed Warren presented the Ilfracombe Australia Day Awards this evening.
Senior Sporting Achievement: Nadia Hoad
Nadia has been involved in the organisation and promotion of sport in Ilfracombe for many years. Her commitment to sport includes; 10 years as Catering Convenor Ilfracombe Scorpions, 5 years Treasurer Ilfracombe Scorpions, 4 years Secretary/Treasurer Central West Rugby League. She has also been appointed as President of the newly formed Longreach/Ilfracombe Tigers.
Junior Achievement: Rangi Solomon
Rangi was named School Captain in 2019 – and Longreach State High School Senior Dux. He has consistently received academic and leadership awards during his studies, including the prestigious Australian Defence Force Long-Tan Leadership Award and the Caltex Best All-Rounder Award.
Community Volunteer of the Year: Tanya Bielenburg
Tanya has been a member of the Ilfracombe State School P&C for over 19 years. In that time they have been involved in countless fundraisers and have prepared even more sandwiches! She’s also a part of the Ilfracombe Youth Committee, and for any community event in Ilfracombe she is one of the first to put her hand up to help.
Community Event of the Year: Ilfracombe Family Fun Day
Last year, the Queensland Police Service (Ilfracombe) partnered with the Ilfracombe community and sponsors to hold a free, family friendly event at which the community could let their hair down. The event also had a focus on wellbeing and mental heath, raising funds for the RFDS. The result was a day of community pride and goodwill that will be remembered for many years to come.
Citizen of the Year: Judy Gowing
Our citizen of the year has been tirelessly working for the Ilfracombe and regional community for decades. Some of the many community groups she has been associated with include: the Ilfracombe District Progress Association; Ilfracombe ANZAC Committee; Ilfracombe Annual Christmas Tree; Longreach Show Society; Ilfracombe Tennis Club; Ilfracombe Golf Club; Longreach School of Distance Eductaion P&C; the Isolated Children’s Parents association and many more.
She has amassed an outstanding record of service to the communities of Ilfracombe and the central west, over a lifetime of selfless volunteering – and always humbly with no expectation of reward.