John Box, from Kingaroy, was named the 2014 South Burnett Citizen of the Year

January 26, 2014

He’s a familiar face on so many local committees that no one knows for sure how many he’s on … but one thing is certain, Kingaroy resident John Box was a very popular choice for Citizen of the Year at the 2014 South Burnett Australia Day Awards.

South Burnett Mayor Wayne Kratzmann presented Mr Box with the prestigious award at a ceremony in Wondai Town Hall on Saturday night.

Mr Box is a former Apex president, and is currently president of the Kingaroy Local Ambulance Committee, a Board member of South Burnett CTC and chairman of CROW-FM.

He is also a key part of the organisation of many local festivals including Motors In Motion, the Kingaroy Christmas Carnival and Wine and Food in the Park.

Ironically, Mr Box is retiring from full-time work in June, taking a redundancy as part of cutbacks at Ergon Energy.

He plans to stay active in the local community, although his wife Chris has made him promise that he won’t be joining any new committees!

The other nominee for Citizen of the Year was much-respected local musician and educator Marion Otto who has been key to the success of local musical productions for many years.

Junior Citizen of the Year is Amy Wicks, from Nanango.

Amy is very active in the Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies and was the South Burnett’s 2012 Rural Ambassador.

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Wondai Town Hall was packed for the awards.

The night kicked off with the 135 Australian Cadet Unit, which is based in Wondai, conducting a flag ceremony.

Bridget O’Shannessy, 14, then led the singing of the National Anthem. Bridget is a niece of Cr Kathy Duff and is busy carving out a career in country music; she returned from Tamworth especially to perform at the Australia Day awards.

Compere John Carey said Australia Day was an opportunity for all Australians to come together “to celebrate what defines us, and to reflect on the achievements of so many, who day in day out, and all year long, selflessly serve their communities with a purpose bigger than their own interests”.

“For the South Burnett this means a more vibrant, safe, fun, healthier and better prepared future generations,” he said.

Mayor Wayne Kratzmann said that at this time last year, the awards were being held at the Blackbutt Community Hall.

“We were listening to the rain on the roof, not knowing that the floods were to come,” he said.

What happened next epitomised what being an Australian is all about, he said.

People forgot their differences and concerns to help each other.

Emergency personnel sprang into action to get people out of Byee and Silverleaf.

“And then came the recovery …” Mayor Kratzmann said.

“What does it really mean to be an Australian? We are the people we are because God makes it so tough for us, especially our primary producers.”

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South Burnett Young Citizen of the Year

This award recognises a young person under 25 years old who has made a noteworthy contribution during the current year and has given outstanding service to the local community over a number of years.

Mayor Wayne Kratzmann congratulates Amy Wicks, from Nanango, for winning the Young Citizen of the Year award

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South Burnett Lifetime Achievement Award

This award recognises a South Burnett resident over the age of 60 who has given outstanding service to their local community over many years.

The combined years of service by nominees this year totals close to 245 years …

Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington presented former Murgon Mayor Bill Roberts, 88, with the Lifetime Achievement Award

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South Burnett Volunteer of the Year

This award recognises citizens who make a noteworthy contribution through their volunteer work and who have given outstanding volunteer services to the local community over a number of years.

Compere John Carey said a University of Adelaide study has found that volunteering in Australia is worth more than the mining industry, and its economic contribution outstrips the combined revenue sources from mining, agriculture and the retail sector.

“Unmotivated by the dollar value, volunteers across the South Burnett are increasing our social capital every day,” he said.

Volunteer of the Year Max Lehmann with Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington

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South Burnett Cultural Award

South Burnett Cultural Award winner Jan Pritchard with Cr Kathy Duff

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South Burnett Cultural Award (Junior)

Junior Cultural Award winner Fraser Matthew with Deputy Mayor Keith Campbell

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South Burnett Community Organisation of the Year

The “Community Organisation of the Year” recognises a South Burnett organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to the community during the current year and has given outstanding service to the local community over a number of years.

Ruth Dukes collected the award for Community Organisation of the Year on behalf of the South Burnett Pantry Inc from Cr Keith Campbell and Cr Kathy Duff 

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South Burnett Junior Sportsperson of the Year

The winner of the South Burnett Junior Sportsperson of the Year also receives the Matthew Hayden Bursary. This bursary is valued at $1000 and proudly funded by the South Burnett Regional Council.

Before handing over the cheque, Matthew’s proud mother Moya detailed his amazing career statistics – including passing Donald Bradman’s record for hitting the highest number of runs in one innings, and hitting the fastest century in World Cup history – and passed on Matthew’s advice to “love your family and your God and go on to do the best you can do”.

Moya and Lawrie Hayden presented Junior Sportsperson of the Year Renee Irvine, from Wondai, with the Matthew Hayden bursary

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South Burnett Senior Sportsperson of the Year

Anthony Eden …  South Burnett Senior Sportsperson of the Year 

Anthony Eden participates in a variety of sports including cricket, touch football, tennis and basketball.

He was selected to play in the Wide Bay A Grade Cricket team and attend the South Burnett Queensland selection trials in Gympie.

He made 40 runs on the first day and an all-time carnival record of 216, not out, on the second day.

This success saw him selected in the Southern Queensland team to play North Queensland for Queensland Country selections.

After playing in the Qld Country XI team that finished fourth on the ladder in Canberra recently, Anthony was one of three Queenslanders selected for the Australian Country XI team.

Anthony is a local high school PE teacher who strives for success in everything he does.

He contributes to the South Burnett through coaching and supporting community organisations and is the club captain of the local Kingaroy RSL Cricket Club.


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Sportsperson of the Year  – Coach / Official or Administrator

Cr Damien Tessmann, right, congratulated his father Gary Tessmann for his award win in the Sportsperson of the Year (Coach / Official or Administrator) category

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Local Achiever Award Winners

  • Richard O’Neill – Murgon
  • Neil Burrows – Wondai/Tingoora
  • Robin Kersten – Hivesville/Proston
  • Morris Winter – Kumbia
  • Merv Wolski – Kingaroy
  • Kay Bochmann – Nanango
  • Richard Don – Maidenwell
  • Les Lane – Blackbutt/Benarkin
  • Lynne Bennet – Rural
Local Achiever (Murgon) Richard O’Neill with Cr Deb Palmer

Local Achiever (Wondai) Neil Burrows with Cr Ros Heit 

Local Achiever (Hivesville / Proston)
Robin Kersten

Local Achiever (Kumbia) Morris Winter

Local Achiever (Kingaroy) Merv Wolski

Local Achiever (Nanango) Kay Bochmann

Local Achiever (Maidenwell) Richard Don

Local Achiever (Blackbutt / Benarkin) Les Lane

Local Achiever (Rural) Lynne Bennett

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables