A former Murgon Shire Councillor who played a key role in establishing the Graham House Community Centre is the winner of this year’s South Burnett Lifetime Achievement Award.
Col Sippel was a Murgon Shire councillor for 25 years, and was part of the Murgon Centenary Organising committee for five years.
He was also a foundation member of the Queensland Dairy and Heritage Museum, and at 88 years of age is still an active member of the Museum’s committee.
Col has also been an active member of the Murgon Lions Club for 42 years and is currently its membership chairman; a member of the Murgon Church Council for the past 50 years; and a member of Castra’s board for the past 21 years.
But Graham House – which he helped found with Dermot Tiernan when they persuaded the Department of Communities to buy the building and lease it back to the Council for $1 per year for use as a community centre – has probably been his greatest source of satisfaction.
Col served as president of the Graham House Community Centre for 26 years, and is still its vice president today.
He helped develop many of the programs offered through the centre, ensuring they met the needs of the South Burnett, and helped make the centre a home to many groups who use it as their headquarters and meeting centre.
Col’s award was presented by Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington, who congratulated all the nominees for their lifetime of service to the South Burnett’s communities.
Other nominees for the Lifetime Achievement Award were:
- Bevan Routledge – Bevan, from Murgon, has been a member of the Murgon Lions Club for the past 35 years!, and has served at the Lion Club’s monthly markets for the past 20 years. He is also one of the club’s volunteers who have mastered the art of assembling and disassembling the Lions Merry Go Round in just over an hour. Bevan currently serves as the club’s secretary and is also the District Youth Exchange Chairman, but he has held many other positions over the years as well. He is also a life member of the Blue Light Disco Association, the group that has been providing safe entertainment for young people in the Murgon district for the past 20 years.
- Yvonne (Peg) Downes – Peg Downes, from Kumbia, has been making the South Burnett a friendly and welcoming place through her volunteering efforts since 1961. She has been president of her Church Guild for over 21 years; a judge, guest speaker, volunteer and fund raiser for the Kingaroy Quota Club, the Kingaroy Hospital Auxiliary, QCWA, AgForce, the Burrandowan Races, the Burrandowan Campdraft, the Ironpot Hall committee and various school committees, and has helped organise Anzac Day commemoration services. Peg currently serves as the president of the Combined Probus Club of Kingaroy, where she has served two terms.
- Bevin Barsby – Bevan, from Proston, began his contributions to the South Burnett in 1973 when he moved from Richmond to Murgon, becoming a member and volunteer for the Murgon Lions Club and Murgon Golf Club, and started his long association with Murgon and Proston Bowls Clubs.
His long and distinguished service to Lions has seen him recognised with several awards including the Melvin Jones Fellow, Ian Stockdale Humanitarian Award, Ray Phippard Award, Star Award, and District Governor Appreciation Award. He held various committee positions during his time with Murgon Lions and was instrumental in the construction of the helipad and palliative care upgrade at the Murgon Hospital. His commitment to Bowls over the years saw him awarded in the Australia Medal by the Queen for sporting achievements in 2000. And his service to bowls was recognised in 2016 with Life Membership of the Burnett District Bowls Association. His many years of service have included serving as secretary and treasurer of the South Burnett Bowls Association, a group he helped form in 2001, and he still serves as delegate to Bowls Queensland. His commitment to supporting those in need has him also volunteering his time and skills to the St Joseph’s Parish finance committee and maintenance programs.