Susan Dowideit-Reiger was the runner-up for this year's Senior Cultural Award; sadly, award winner Max Conlon was unable to attend due to a death in his family

January 26, 2018

The South Burnett’s Senior Cultural Award for 2018 has been won by a Murgon artist whose donation of a painting for auction at last year’s official opening of the South Burnett Rail Trail helped raise a much-needed $2500 for the Murgon Men’s Shed.

The South Burnett Senior Cultural Award recognises outstanding achievement by a resident, 18 years and over for making a significant contribution to the cultural life of the South Burnett.

It has been won by Max Conlon, a Murgon man whose personal faith in God and deep commitment to sharing it through his art placed the region in the national spotlight during 2017.

Max was one of several indigenous artists who was chosen by the Bible Society of Australia to submit artwork for their Bicentennial publication “Our Mob, God’s Story”.

“For Indigenous Australians, pictorial forms of communication are embedded in their traditional art,” Max told the ABC News website.

“We’re crazy if we limit ourselves to one form of communication. They all play different roles.”

Max Conlon loves painting and supporting his local community in practical ways.

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The other nominee for this year’s Senior Cultural Award is Susan Dowideit-Reiger, who is currently putting together a unique production of Les Miserables for the South Burnett Musical Comedy Society.

Susan’s cultural contribution to the South Burnett is significant and her commitment to making the arts accessible to all is highly valued.

She has an active involvement in local cultural organisations such as the South Burnett Choral Society and the South Burnett Musical Comedy Society.

Over the past 10 years, at different times, she has conducted the South Burnett Choral Society to help connect emerging local singers with industry professionals throughout Queensland.

Her daytime job sees her teaching, coaching, performing, advising and helping out backstage for a wide range of South Burnett performing arts programs and performances, pursuing her passion to see young and old experience and contribute to the endless potential of the performing arts.

Susan regularly performs solo or with students at community events such as the Wondai Country Markets, the Taabinga Community Spring Fete, World Prayer Day, Anzac Day memorial services, Mental Health Speak Up Days, town Carols, at Blue Care Canowindra, Probus and the Mayor’s Community Christmas luncheon.

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Junior Cultural Award winner Benjamin Chimes and runner-up La Tesha Herbohn

This year’s South Burnett Junior Cultural Award has been won by a Kingaroy State High School student who has a strong interest in music and volunteering.

The Award is presented to a person 17 years and younger as at the 26 January 2018 who has made a significant contribution to the cultural life of the South Burnett.

KSHS student Benjamin Chimes is an active member of his school and the wider community of Kingaroy.

He is a volunteer with the Meals on Wheels program during school holidays, and on occasions during the school week.

His musical talents see him contributing to Kingaroy State High School’s bands and performing at events such as the Mayor’s Gala Ball, Kingaroy Christmas Carnival, Kingaroy Christmas Carols, the Kingaroy Show, the Burrandowan Picnic Races and Anzac Day parades at Kingaroy and Kumbia.

Ben was selected in both 2016 and 2017 to represent his school in the State Honours Ensemble Program, a 4-day program to assist students broaden their musical talents.

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The other Junior Cultural Award nominee was Kingaroy’s La Tesha Herbohn, who has been intensively involved in volunteering for the past two years.

La Tesha has volunteered her time and talents to assist the Kingaroy High School team’s fundraising efforts for Relay for Life, as well as waitressing at the Captains Dinner.

As chair of the Kingaroy State High School Community Committee, La Tesha has also involved herself on the monthly roster to help with the organisation and activities of Danny’s Diner, a weekly community kitchen held every Tuesday night at the Kingaroy Uniting Church Hall.

La Tesha won Kingaroy State High School’s Youth Award for Volunteering in 2017 and shared the Year 12 Kingaroy RSL Hospitality Award.

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