Local Achiever Awards recognise individuals, of any age, who have made an outstanding achievement in their local community.
The 2016 Murgon Local Achiever Award was won by David Mollenhauer. He is a foundation member of both the Barambah Shed Men and Murgon Men’s Shed organisations, and his passion and generosity extended to him paying from his own pocket for the tools that enabled the Men’s Shed to get going, and funding the Shed’s running costs, as well as giving many hours of volunteer labour to both organisations. Happily, his assistance was able to be refunded once the organisation got up and running.
David continues to actively scout for potential projects the Men’s Shed can conquer. His talents are in wood-work, metal work, welding, mechanics, panel-beating, carpentry and painting, and he has done everything from repairing cherry pickers free of charge on the condition that the Men’s Shed can use it to restoring a German wagon, tractors, windmills and bee boxes.
He is also an active member of his local church, serving on its Board and as the maintenance person for many years. David is also a member of the local fishing club and loves teaching children fishing techniques. He is also involved in the fish re-stocking programs for the region’s dams.
The winner of this year’s Wondai/Tingoora Local Achiever Award is Jean Clark, who has a long history of making community life better in Wondai. In her earlier years she actively supported her husband Murray in the Scouts, SES and P&C until he passed at the age of 42. Jean then raised her two daughters by herself, while working for the Wondai Hospital Auxiliary for 25 years, the last five of them as its treasurer.
Jean’s compassion and care for those less fortunate or in a tough spot in her community is commendable. She has delivered Meals on Wheels for 12 years, is a member of the Wondai Senior Citizens and served as its secretary for 11 years, and a member of the Wondai Choir entertaining residents at aged care homes and community functions.
She also holds a “coffee and chat” morning for lonely citizens once a month, collecting people in her own vehicle to ensure they can participate in community life, and has taught Sunday school for 50 years and RE at the Wondai State School up until last year. And because of her commitment to coordinate a pre-loved clothing stall in the Wondai Baptist Church manse each month, missionary organisations receive additional financial assistance to support those overseas doing it tough.
The 2016 Hivesville/Proston Local Achiever Award has been won by Geoff Rae, who is always willing to help, whether it’s for people in the community that require personal help, or organizations. Geoff is a person anyone can go to for any type of duty or simply a chat.
Geoff is a life member of the Hivesville Market, has been involved in the Golden Spurs Campdraft and the Proston Show Society for 10 years, and has been a volunteer news presenter on 1071 4SB for the last nine years. He is also an executive committee member of the Proston Men’s Shed.
The winner of the Kingaroy Local Achiever Award for 2016 is Maldon Goodger. When most of the farms in the Goodger area were purchased by Tarong Energy in 2008, many residents left. And ever since then, Maldon, his wife Val and sister Betty have been instrumental in organising get-togethers at the Goodger school which up to 50 of these former Goodger residents attend.
The Goodger family have also been involved in numerous community events, particularly events that reflect the importance of the still-standing, former Goodger school. The area itself was named after Howard Goodger, Maldon’s grandfather. And for the 100 year Centenary, many came back to Goodger from all across Queensland and NSW.
Jane Erkens is the winner of the 2016’s Nanango Local Achiever Award. Jane has been Nanango’s local real estate agent for the past 25 years, and as a passionate advocate for her town and region, she has contributed many years supporting community organisations such as the Nanango Pony Club, Nanango Chamber of Commerce, Nanango Community Consultative Committee, South Burnett Health Council, South Burnett Masters Swimming Club and Nanango Darts Club.
Jane is a current member of the Nanango Tourism and Development Association and following her theme of “making Nanango better”, she is currently conducting negotiations to amalgamate the Chamber of Commerce within this organisation.
Over the years Jane has also had significant involvement in many community events. She is also a well-known musician and band member, and in more recent years has put her money where her heart is and developed “The Shed” in little Drayton Street in Nanango, which regularly sees everyone from budding musicians to poets and singers attend for everything from CD launches to live music nights, allowing performing artists to get together and enjoy what they without the pressure of having to please a paying audience, and at the same time develop, perform and connect socially.
The winners of 2016’s Maidenwell/Bunya Mountains Local Achiever Award are John and Sandy Learmont. “Team Learmont” are well known across the South Burnett for their many years of community service to organisations such as Apex, Kingaroy State High School P&C and the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry. They helped establish the Kingaroy Museum and the original Tourist Information Centre, as well as the Bicentennial Museum.
Since their retirement to the Bunya Mountains in 2007, John and Sandy have been actively involved in the life of this small community, taking a hands-on role to progress and convert the history of the Bunya Mountains area into living stories for former and current residents and locals. Their leadership of the Bunya Mountains Natural History Association has seen a revamp of the Cedarvale Museum’s displays and information, and it now being regularly opened to visitors.
Renewing the museum lead them down the exciting path of researching the history and story of Wengenville, a tiny timber town that once stood in the foothills of the Bunyas. Together with members of the Bunya Mountains Natural History Association, John and Sandy organised a “Back to Wengenville Day” that was held in October 2013, and the degree of interest this reunion excited exceeded all their expectations, with almost 260 visitors in attendance.
This event opened the door for their next project, which was gathering and sorting stories and photos about the town. This resulted in the compilation of a Wengenville book that was launched in June 2015.
The winner of this year’s Woorolin/Memerambi Local Achiever Award is Rod Obel, who has lived in the Wooroolin post code area his whole life. Rod joined the Queensland Fire Emergency Service 26 years ago, and worked his way up to become Fire Captain in 2011. He is a quiet but highly valued community leader and spends his working hours at the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries.
Dennis has been involved in the Wondai community for over 40 years. After completing a teaching career where he mentored and guided thousands of young people into their future, he continued to devote his time and talents and time to improving his local community through organisations such as Wondai’s Neighbourhood Watch, Wondai and District Garden Club, the Wondai Garden Expo Committee and the Wondai Show Society.
Dennis’ most recent community service achievement was coordinating a project to install a long-awaited and much-needed new amenities block at the Wondai Showgrounds. His effort now enables the Show Society to offer guests facilities they can be proud of and they are now used for other Wondai events, as well as a growing number of caravaners staying in the Wondai.
Dennis was awarded a life membership of the Wondai Show Society in recognition of his long and beneficial contribution to the Show Society and community, and he is known as “doer”. He is unafraid to tackle problems and find a solution that works for everyone