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What Unites Us, What Divides Us

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Mayor Keith Campbell, centre, congratulated Junior Citizen of the Year Brenna Prendergast and Citizen of the Year Mark Beil

Cherbourg Elder Eric Law

‘We Need To Bring This Country Together’

Wakka Wakka Elder Eric Law AM was invited to do the Welcome To Country at the awards evening.

“This whole country about 7:00am tomorrow will take a deep breath, and about 11:00am will exhale and then say ‘thank God it’s over’,” he said sadly.

“We have to have a national day of celebration but it has to be for everybody. We have one group that is celebrating and another isn’t.”

Uncle Eric said later in the year there would be NAIDOC, again with just one group celebrating.

“We need to bring this country together. As a teacher, I see our young people are starting to grasp that,” Uncle Eric said.

He referred to a recent interview in which Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt said Australians must engage in a “truth-telling”.

“I don’t think Australia is ready for that truthful conversation,” Uncle Eric said.

The Vietnam veteran said he was proud of the Australian flag on the stage – which he fought under, and his grandfather fought under – but he would add the Aboriginal flag as well as a reminder of the oldest continuous culture in the world.

“We should all be immensely proud of both flags flying together literally and figuratively.”

January 25, 2020

Australia Day has become a day to remember what unites us and what divides us … but it is also a day to salute all the people in our communities that go above and beyond any divisions.

A crowd of about 150 people gathered in the Kingaroy Town Hall on Saturday evening for the annual presentation of the South Burnett Regional Council’s Australia Day awards.

The major winners on the night were:

  • Citizen of the Year – Mark Beil
  • Junior Citizen of the Year – Brenna Prendergast

(More than 40 nominations were received for the various categories. A full list of all award winners and nominees is below).

Compere John Carey said Australia Day was an opportunity for people to come together to remind themselves – regardless of where their personal stories began – about what defines us as Australians.

“Tonight we are honouring the achievements of many in our region, and to celebrate those, who from all walks and stages of life serve, volunteer, create and participate in activities and organisations that make for a great South Burnett,” he said.

“It might sound like I am reading out a list of things people do, but what tonight is really about is taking a moment to honour and celebrate our people, and the stories that hold our past and write our future.

“The people of the South Burnett are generous, giving, talented, resilient, creative, dedicated and give loyal service every day. It is these strengths that help us navigate drought, bushfires, floods and much more.”

The evening began with a flag ceremony by the 135 Army Cadet Unit, a Welcome To Country by Wakka Wakka Elder Eric Law AM (see box at right) and Sue Dowideit-Reiger sang the National Anthem.

* * *

Special guest speaker for the evening was Australia Day Ambassador, Emeritus Professor Ken Donald AO.

Prof Donald has had a long career in medicine and academia and is currently a professor at the School of Medicine at Griffith University.

He also represented Australia in rugby union from 1957 to 1959.

He spoke about the challenges that faced Australia in coming years.

“Climate change is a technical problem that we will solve,” he said.

But he warned that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be a bigger problem.

“But if we can deal with these few challenges this country will continue to be a place where our children and grandchildren want to live,” he said.

Compere John Carey with Prof Ken Donald AO and his wife Ann; and South Burnett Regional Council CEO Mark Pitt and his wife Nicola

The 135 Army Cadet Unit performed the flag ceremony at the start of the awards evening

Sue Dowideit-Reiger performed the National Anthem before the awards

Emily Kinsella sang “I still Call Australia Home” during a break

The crowd in the Town Hall joined Prof Ken Donald in an Affirmation ceremony

* * *

The late Warren Cockburn OAM

Mayor Keith Campbell paid special tribute during the evening to the late Warren Cockburn OAM who died on December 15.

Warren was nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award prior to his death.

“Tonight we heard only some of his contributions to the South Burnett’s community spirit, however since his passing we have learnt about some of his other contributions, and I would like to mention those as a way to pay tribute to his memory,” Mayor Campbell said.

“I understand Warren also had a very active involvement in the Booie Hall and it was through his love of dancing at the Hall that he met his wife Marie.”

Warren’s community service to the South Burnett also included:

  • Trustee of the Booie Hall Grounds and immediate past president
  • Establishing and holding several executive positions with the South Burnett Branch of the National Servicemen’s Association
  • Taking an active role with the State governing body of the Nashos
  • Proposing and helping raise funds to erect memorials and parks in honour of national servicemen. The park opposite the Nanango Showgrounds was one of his projects
  • Establishing a military statue in Kingaroy Memorial Park in front of the Rotunda
  • Being a long serving member of the Community Health Consultative Committee based in the Kingaroy Hospital

“On Australia Day 2011 Warren as awarded the medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community of Kingaroy, and to veterans and their families,” Mayor Campbell said.

“We honour Warren for his sacrifice and dedication to our region.

“His example that he set for all of us, despite his nine-year battle with cancer, reminds us all that regardless of trials and challenges the great spirit and strength of Australians lives right here in the South Burnett.”

* * *

Selina and Emelia Parker with their parents Robyn and Steve and Mayor Keith Campbell

Mayor Campbell also presented a special appreciation award to young Emelia and Selina Parker, from Kingaroy.

The pair raised more than $3000 over Christmas for drought relief, which was distributed in the form of food hampers and gift cards to 18 farmers.

“It was initially Selina’s idea because of her attachment to her grandfather who had been a farmer,” Mayor Campbell said.

The girls raised the funds with the help of their parents and neighbours in conjunction with a Christmas lights display in their street.

The recipients of the donations, feeling overwhelmed by the surprise gifts, asked Council to recognise the girls on Australia Day.

* * *

Following is an edited version of the nominations read out by compere John Carey …

* * *

Kingaroy’s Emma Stewart was presented with the Junior Cultural Award by Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff and Cr Terry Fleischfresser

Junior Cultural Award

This award is presented to an individual 17 years of age and under at January 26,  2020, who is making a significant contribution to the cultural life of the South Burnett. Nominees are:

  • Selwyn Cobbo (Murgon)

Selwyn has earned the respect of teachers, students, Elders and adults in the Murgon and Cherbourg communities. He has been a part of the Clontarf Foundation since it opened at Murgon State High School and has been a leader from day one. His tireless leadership to his peers within the school and the community saw him elected in 2019 as the first Indigenous school captain at Murgon State High School. He is an outstanding role model to both young non-Indigenous and Indigenous children. Selwyn was also named in the Queensland  Under 18 Emerging Origin squad for 2020.

  • Xanthe Walker (Wondai)

Xanthe has just completed Year 12 at Kingaroy State High School. During 2019 she served as the School Vice-Captain and Captain of the Kingaroy State High School vocal group. As a member of the vocal group, she performed at community events such as Anzac Day services, official school functions and the Community Christmas Carols. She has also represented the school at regional choral events and the Kingaroy Eisteddfod. Xanthe has been a wonderful role model to the younger members of the school vocal group and has also been an excellent citizen of the South Burnett community.

  • Emma Stewart (Kingaroy)

Emma was the Kingaroy State High School Band Captain, performing in the Symphonic Band and Stage Band over the past five years. She volunteered her time to perform at a range of events across the South Burnett, including the Mayor’s Ball, Burrandowan Races, and Wine and Food in the Park. She is an exceptional trumpet player and has played the Last Post at school and community Anzac Day events. She has also walked the Kokoda Track and was given the great honour of being asked to perform the last post during this trek. Emma has been a wonderful role model to the students and wider community at Kingaroy State High School.

The winner of the Junior Cultural Award is Emma Stewart.

* * *

Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff accepted the Cultural Award on behalf of the winner, Murgon artist Lee Porter

Cultural Award

This award is presented to a nominee over 18 years of age at January 26, 2020, who is making a significant contribution to the cultural life of the South Burnett. The nominee is:

  • Lee Porter (Murgon)

Lee Porter will receive her award at Murgon on Sunday

Lee’s creative ability is highly valued by her community. Her passion and dedication to telling the different stories of the South Burnett is a gift she shares generously. Lee runs visual arts mentorship programs for artists to take their careers further. Her professional skills and background in international events planning and art ensures her students develop business plans and access the best courses for their development. Lee actively helps link them with like-minded people and other artists where they can improve their skills and create new opportunities for themselves and the region. Some of the works that artists under Lee’s mentorship have developed, include the murals on the Murgon Visitors Information Centre, Taabinga State School and Kilcoy RSL. Lee has also had an active involvement in establishing the Creative Country Association, an organisation committed to showcasing the cultural, social and economic strengths of the South Burnett. Most recently the association hosted a fund-raising evening at Barambah Station showing a silent movie called “Romance of Runnybede”, a silent movie filmed in Cherbourg and Murgon in 1928.

Cr Kathy Duff accepted the award on behalf of Lee Porter and will present it to her at the Murgon Australia Day celebrations on Sunday.

* * *

Volunteer of Year nominees Lorraine Goodchild and John Power (winner) with Cr Duff and Cr Fleischfresser

Volunteer of the Year Award

This award recognises a volunteer community member who has made a valuable contribution to their community, club or organisation and/or given outstanding service over a number of years. Nominees are:

  • John Power (Proston)

John is a highly valued, generous and talented volunteer who is always willing to assist any community organisation, small business or individual. His current, large project, sees him volunteering his time to renovate and rejuvenate the set of shops the Proston community has acquired thanks to a personal donation from Cr Kathy Duff. John spends countless hours volunteering at these shops sanding, painting, doing any repairs, fixing the guttering and more. Any supplies or tools that are needed to complete a job sees him searching through his own shed for items he can donate. He is so considerate to the other businesses around the building that he often comes in after business hours so the noise doesn’t disturb their trading He also volunteers at the Proston Golf Club and the Proston Men’s Shed where he has led the project to erect a permanent building. He is also a member of the Coverty Creek Community Social Club. He has provided assistance to both the NB Department Store and Jacaranda Tearooms on numerous occasions donating all of the supplies he has used. John is a most humble community member and his nominee’s description of him is that because of his selfless example, he is most deserving of this award!

  • Lorraine Goodchild (Murgon)

Lorraine volunteers her time and talent to run the social media and website updates and promotions for the South Burnett Visitor Information Centre Network, Murgon Business and Development Association, Queensland Dairy and Heritage Museum; and Murgon and District Bantam Club. Lorraine has been a volunteer at the Murgon Visitor Information Centre for 6½ years and her skills and passion to grow Murgon has seen the MBDA’s social media presence grow to 3500 followers. She also volunteers her time on the management committee of the Hub Community Network, a service provider for people with a disability; and at Graham House where she teaches computer skills to seniors. Lorraine’s passion for her region is boundless. She does as much as she can to promote Murgon on as many platforms and in as many communities as she can. She also volunteers at caravan and camping expos in south-east Queensland promoting the South Burnett as a tourist destination.

The winner of the Volunteer Of The Year Award is John Power.

* * *

Cr Roz Frohloff, left, and Cr Danita Potter, right, with Junior Sportsperson Award winner Paige O’Connor and Dawn Millard (standing in for her daughter, Summer)

Junior Sportsperson of the Year Award

This award is presented to a nominee aged 17 years and under at January 26, 2020, who made a notable achievement in sporting endeavours. The nominees are:

  • Summer Millard (Nanango)

Summer’s love of sport shines through in the many events and activities she participated in during 2019.  She is an active member of the Nanango Athletics Club and helps educate fellow athletes in how to race walk. Summer also entered all school swimming events, earning herself the 14 years age champion. She has represented the South Burnett in athletics, cross country and football. She has made the Wide Bay teams in cross-country and athletics. Her highlights in athletics in 2019 included a 5th in Australian Athletic Championships, Sydney (U15, 3000m race walk), Wide Bay representative for 14 years cross-country, 1st in the U16, 5km Qld Athletics State Road Race Walking Championships, 1st in U16 Qld Race Walking Club Track Walks Championships; travelled to Adelaide to participate in the Australian Athletics Winter Road Walking Championships (4th in the Open Women’s 10km and two hours later, 6th in the U16 5km) and 3rd in the 3000m race walk in the Qld School Sport Track & Field Championships in Cairns.

  • Paige O’Connor (Nanango)

Paige is a very impressive young athlete who has achieved incredible results over several years. She represented her school at South Burnett and Wide Bay levels this year and performed well as a Wide Bay representative in cross country, athletics and triathlon. At the Wondai Country Running Festival, Paige won the  Women Under 40 and Junior Female titles in the 10km PCA Forest Trail and Rail Trail Run. She also received Nanango State High School’s Sports Person of the Year Award.

  • Amy Henderson (Mondure)

Amy is another shining athlete the South Burnett can be proud of, especially in the way she presents herself in school and at representative events. In 2019, Amy made the school team for cross country and swimming and represented the South Burnett for multiple athletics events. Amy received the Murgon State High School Sportswomen of the Year award. She is recognised by her peers as both a competitive performer and a wonderful person who has a great attitude and ethic that complements her efforts on many levels.

The winner is Paige O’Connor. As part of winning this award, Paige will also be presented with the South Burnett Regional Council Junior Sportsperson Bursary.

* * *

Crs Frohloff and Potter presented the Senior Sportsperson Of The Year award to Ricky Collard, who accepted it on behalf of his son Neil

Senior Sportsperson of the Year Award

This award is presented to a nominee aged over 18 years at January 26, 2020, and recognises a person in the community who has achieved significant recognition in sport. The nominee is:

  • Neil Collard (Murgon)

Neil is an amateur privateer off-road motorbike rider, however because of his times and speed being so exceptional, he competes against the professionals in his sport. He has raced year after year in the Australian titles in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and NSW and has been competing since he was 15. He has come 6th in the titles and after recovering from knee operations came 8th, competing against about 40 other riders. Most riders have a team of people behind them for support and taking care of the funds, however as a privateer Neil raises all the funds himself and this can cost $30,000 per year. Neil is an outstanding sportsman and represents Murgon with his fantastic sportsmanship and achievements.

Neil Collard is the Senior Sportsperson of the Year.

* * *

Chris Bodey, centre, won this year’s Coach, Official or Administrator Award; Lynn Schultz and Stan Munday were the other nominees in the category

Sportsperson of the Year – Coach, Official or Administrator Award

This award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to sport and or the community as a coach, official or administrator. The nominees are:

  • Stan Munday (Murgon)

Sensei Stan Munday, from the Murgon Judo club, is well-educated in the art of judo and is known for his caring and compassionate nature and for being a fully inclusive judo instructor. Many students that have come to him for instructions and guidance in the art of judo have disabilities, however Stan has made every effort to make the students feel welcome and accepted among their peers. Stan takes the time to learn and predict the behaviours of students, making adjustments along the way to help keep all the little students well regulated and feeling part of a special community group. He is able to work with students who have autism, ADHD, OCD, lung disease, low muscle tone or learning and hearing difficulties, just to name a few. He fights for inclusion of all races, gender and disabilities making the judo club the most inclusive club in Murgon. His nominees proudly declared “we need more awesome instructors like Stan in the world!”

  • Chris Bodey (Wondai)

His community wants Chris to know how much they appreciate his volunteering and dedication to different sports and maintaining Wondai’s sporting facilities. Chris is the Wondai Cricket Club coach as well as the club’s representative and executive member on South Burnett Cricket Association. His duties include being chief groundsman, looking after the watering of the pitch, mowing and ensuring is all prepared for home and South Burnett representative junior games. He also sets up coaching clinics and training days and constantly encourages teenagers who play at the club. Chris is also chief organiser of the club’s annual fundraiser “Pink Stumps Day” in support of the McGrath Foundation. Chris has been a golfer since childhood and is the President of the Wondai Golf Club and a member of the Wondai Country Club committee. He has volunteered for the Wondai Bowls Club for the past 15 years where he helps organise bowls days, mans the bar and promotes the club whenever he can. Chris is an unsung hero. He is very well liked and respected by the players and all who are involved in the sporting organisations that he contributes to.

  • Lynn Schultz (Murgon)

Lynn has been a part of the Murgon Squash Club for most of her life. She has played squash at the Murgon Squash Club since a young age in various competition levels. She has run the squash fixtures at the Murgon Squash Club for the last nine years where she organises more than 40 players for 40 weeks of the year. She goes to great effort to get to know each of the players and her polite, happy and energetic ways add to the club’s effectiveness. She organises trophies and presentations after every season, and provides mentoring and coaching for beginners and first-time players. Lynn has played a big part in the reconstruction and redevelopment of the Murgon squash courts, and the squash club is a drawcard for newcomers to Murgon. Lynn also volunteers at the Murgon Visitors Information Centre introducing people, providing directions and helping them settle into Murgon.

The winner of the Sportsperson of the Year Award is Chris Bodey.

* * *

South Burnett Regional Council CEO Mark Pitt with Lifetime Achievement Award nominees Glenda Perry (winner) and Ron Thorne

Lifetime Achievement Award

This award is presented to a resident over 60 years of age in recognition of their outstanding achievement and who displays ongoing excellence in their field and in the community, demonstrating leadership and innovation whilst contributing towards the South Burnett region. The nominees are:

  • The late Warren Cockburn (Kingaroy)

Sadly, since his nomination, Warren lost his battle with cancer. For most of his life, Warren displayed ongoing excellence in his many fields and in the wider community where it was not uncommon for him to devote about six hours per day, six days per week, working in a voluntary capacity for a wide range of community organisations in the Kingaroy area. Warren usually arrived at his office at the Kingaroy RSL  about 9:00am, and on most days was still there at 2:00pm. He became Secretary and Deputy President of the Kingaroy-Memerambi RSL Sub-Branch in 2009 and only recently resigned from those two positions, due to his deteriorating health. As Secretary, he attended to all correspondence, organised the monthly meetings and completed all the associated Minutes, and planned and controlled any other meetings that were needed. He also interviewed veterans seeking advice regarding claims on DVA, counselled and advised these veterans, and then normally lodged the appropriate claim with the Department of Veteran Affairs. Warren also undertook a lot of work for Legacy and Kingaroy Legatees. Warren was also a Board Member of the Kingaroy & District RSL & Citizens Memorial Club.

  • Glenda Perry (Murgon)

For the past 30 years Glenda has been contributing to the education of young children in the district. Her community describes her as a passionate early childhood educator with a big heart who gives much to support young people. Glenda has worked in many early childhood education facilities including Murgon Childcare and Learning Centre; Childcare Network, Murgon; Ladybug Childcare Centre, Murgon; Gundoo Daycare Centre, Cherbourg; and is now helping shape future adults through her role at Moffatdale State School. Her contribution to the early years of education has been a pivotal point in ‘any a young person’s life within our region. She is such is special person that to many “little people” she is honoured with the title “Nan Perry”.  Glenda is constantly on the lookout to create exciting and educational experiences for all students.  She is a wealth of community knowledge to families both professionally and personally. Every Wednesday, Glenda is the heart and soul of the Moffatdale Community Playgroup. Here she provides the essential link to help make the journey for little people from playgroup to school a little less scary. Her dedication and passion as an Early Childhood Educator has never waned. Glenda is one of many of the unsung heroes of our region and her community values her for her heart and the tremendous work that she does as an early childhood educator.

  • Ron Thorne (Murgon)

Ron is another of the South Burnett’s generous people who gives of his time and resources to help his community to be a better place. Ron runs the weekly PCYC BYTE nights to help reduce youth crime and keep kids off the streets. He makes sure meals are provided for the kids and that they have plenty of activities to participate in to promote a healthy lifestyle and create friendships. An active supporter of the PCYC, he helps with running events and maintaining the facility, helping with the breakfast at the pool or the PCYC twice a week for the Murgon Schools. He volunteers at every Blue Light Disco and is the PCYC’s go-to maintenance person. Ron also volunteers as a driver for the Graham House and takes people to doctor’s appointments and helps with chores and shopping.

The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award is Glenda Perry.

* * *

Cr Ros Heit, left, and Cr Gavin Jones, right, with Nanango Local Achiever nominees Dawn Millard (for daughter Summer) and winner John Duffy

Local Achiever Award – Nanango

The nominees are:

  • John Duffy

John Duffy and his wife Sylvia settled in the South Burnett from Western Australia. John has had a long involvement with Tai Chi in the Nanango area, having originally supported John Norton’s Tai Chi sessions at the Rainbow Centre and now at Ringsfield House. For the past 12 years, John has conducted Tai Chi sessions each Thursday at Nanango and has at times offered his service to the Yarraman community. John has done this all on a volunteer basis and donates the gold coin asked for each session to the LifeFlight Foundation. For more than seven years, John volunteers on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Canowindra Aged Care Facility playing cards, chatting to residents and being a tour guide. John is also a member of the Nanango Men’s Shed and the Nanango Computer Club.

  • Summer Millard

In addition to the sporting achievements listed earlier, Summer’s community life and contributions go much further. She is a member of the Nanango State High School’s successful HPV team, debating teams and a regular entrant in maths and science competitions. Summer is an active member of Ally Walker Dance Academy competing in dance and helping with the three-year-olds at the academy. During 2019 she danced a solo in the Nanango State High School production of “Spots” and came third in the Kingaroy Eisteddfod.

The winner of the Nanango Local Achiever Award is John Duffy.

* * *

Crs Heit and Jones presented the Kingaroy Local Achiever Award to Michael Murphy

Local Achiever Award – Kingaroy

The nominee is:

  • Michael Murphy

What started out as a way to get fit and lose weight, Michael Murphy turned his daily ritual into something that is really appreciated by local residents. Michael has been helping to put some pride back into Kingaroy by collecting rubbish from the streets, footpaths and parks. On many occasions during 2019, Michael was seen safely stopping his car and walking back, sometimes up to 50 metres, to collect one piece of rubbish. Michael has made through this simple gesture and routine an outstanding contribution to Kingaroy. He leads by example and “is just happy to give back to his community”.

The winner of the Kingaroy Local Achiever Award is Michael Murphy.

* * *

Wondai/Tingoora Local Achiever Chris Bodey with Crs Heit and Jones

Local Achiever Award – Wondai and Tingoora

The nominee is:

  • Chris Bodey

In addition to Chris’ enormous contribution to different sporting groups and their facilities in Wondai, explained earlier, Chris also donates his skills as a qualified electrical contractor to many of the clubs. For more than 20 years he has been the back-up groundsman to several clubs when they are short. Chris has been a member of the Wondai Fire Brigade for many years and he takes this role very seriously, attending as many call-outs as he possibly can.

The winner of the Wondai Local Achiever Award is Chris Bodey.

* * *

Crs Heit and Jones with Hivesville / Proston Local Achiever nominees John Power and Linda Rea (winner)

Local Achiever Award – Hivesville and Proston

The nominees are:

  • Linda Rea

Since taking extended leave from her much-loved role as Proston State School librarian, Linda has continued to serve the Proston community in many many ways.  During a busy 2019, Linda was involved or leading community projects, including the creation and distribution of the community newsletter, “The Proston Post”. This bi-monthly publication has a growing readership, most likely because Linda presents a lighthearted review of news, events and history from the Proston district. Her other outstanding contributions include treasurer of the Proston and District Heritage Association, being instrumental in founding the organisation and securing grants to research and equip a fitting celebration for Proston’s centenary in 2023; writing grant applications with successful applications to construct an outdoor stage in Proston’s Railway Park and a founding member of the Friends of Reinke Scrub. Linda leads walks through the scrub throughout the year and is passionate about finding new ways for the public to experience this special place. Linda also takes a lead role in keeping the village garden beds in Blake Street, Proston, beautiful and stocked with flowers and herbs. She is also a devoted member of the Proston Round Table and Proston Railway Park Working Group.

  • John Power

John’s wonderful volunteer contributions were detailed earlier. John is a highly valued community member who is always willing to assist any community organisation, small business or individual. He is a generous and talented volunteer.

The winner of the Proston-Hivesville Local Achiever Award is Linda Rea.

* * *

Murgon Local Achiever nominees Rowena and Heath Sander (winners), Glenda Perry, and Kitty and Josiah Robertson

Local Achiever Award – Murgon

The nominees are:

  • Glenda Perry

Glenda’s contributions were detailed earlier but her dedication and passion as an early childhood educator has never waned. She is always looking to improve her skills through professional development opportunities to help students with physical, emotional and mental disabilities. Glenda is a generous and giving person who regularly purchases items from her own money for students, including food, gifts for birthdays and prizes from “Mrs Perry’s prize box!” She ensures that any student under her care does not go without. She generously shares her wisdom with new teachers in the Prep/1/2 classrooms by providing guidance and assistance that only come with years of experience.

  • Kitty and Josiah Robertson

Kitty and Josiah bring a special gift to the world – an enduring love for little people with serious health challenges and their local community.T heir move to the clean and fresh country air in Murgon two years ago was to better manage health conditions of their children and it has changed their life for the better .In between managing extensive travel for medical and other appointments and home schooling, they spend as much time as they possibly can volunteering with the Murgon Neighbourhood Watch. Both Kitty and Josiah’s love for their community shines through when attending meetings, helping organising events such as “Turn the Screws” and the Health and Well-Being Expo. Josiah helps out at events through serving customers and selling food to raise money and offering many constructive ideas to make the community safer and stronger.

  • Heath and Rowena Sander

“Team Sander” contributes to many of Murgon’s brighter notes! Contributing in their individual ways and as a team gives life to Heath’s famous statement: “We’re always out there to help the community”. Heath is the president of the Murgon Rotary Club and Assistant Governor of Rotary District 9600, co-ordinator of the Marcus Mission and donates time at the Men’s Shed where their appreciation for his volunteering was recognised with an honorary membership. Rowena is the co-chair of the Murgon Music Muster and the Youth Director for Murgon Rotary Club. She has an active role in promoting suicide prevention across the South Burnett and brought the Marcus Mission and Safe Talk program to South Burnett. For the past three years, Heath and Rowena they have both shared the organisation of the Murgon Music Muster and their compassion for strong communities has extended beyond the South Burnett to partnering with Little Aussie Helpers to organise a Hay Run for a drought stricken property 30km south of Tamworth. Under their leadership and involvement, Murgon Rotary has won the EarlyAct Club of the Year award for four years in a row.

The winners of the Murgon Local Achiever Award are Heath and Rowena Sander.

* * *

Community Organisation of the Year nominees Murgon Junior Rugby League (winners), Kingaroy State High School teachers, and Murgon Neighbourhood Watch with Prof Ken Donald

Community Organisation of the Year Award

This award recognises an outstanding achievement by a group, club or organisation that has made a notable contribution to the community during 2019. The nominees are:

  • Murgon Neighbourhood Watch

The Murgon community appreciates and acknowledges the wonderful community spirit that is built through the efforts of the Murgon Neighbourhood Watch. The group donates its time to help in many ways, including organising events such as “Turn the Screws” in Murgon and helping out with the same event at Kumbia. They have also organised “Under the Bonnet” events, participating with a stall at the Health Expo and continuing to help support the older members of the community by running an event to help them be internet safe. They are regular helpers on the gate at the Murgon Fair and run a community stall to help raise funds to provide the community with extra information on how to stay safe and protect their properties. The Murgon Neighbourhood Watch group is filled with passionate and caring people who strive to make their community better. They really do make Murgon a safer and richer place to live.

  • Murgon Junior Rugby League

The Murgon Junior Rugby League has completed another big year kicking goals. Their events support both the physical and mental health of players, families and surrounding communities throughout the year by hosting junior carnivals, including Under 13s, 14s and 16s, and the 47th Battalion for Under 18s  where 400 players attended. They hosted the Divisional Under 18s Girls where players from all over the South Burnett attended. The Domestic Violence Awareness Day had more than 100 games played with every team in South Burnett attending. They topped off the year with a victory in the A Grade grand final. The club committee has also volunteered huge amounts of hours into the upgrade of the dressing sheds.

  • Special mention: Kingaroy State High School teachers

While not technically a “community organisation”, the judges wanted to acknowledge the wonderful contribution and role a collective of dedicated and community-minded school teachers have contributed to the South Burnett region’s culture, art, sporting, creative and other personal development opportunities for the emerging generation of young people. A special mention is made of the teachers at the Kingaroy State High School who ensured a highly successful production of the Gilbert and Sullivan musical, “Pirates of Penzance”. These teachers’ dedication and sacrifice of their personal time over many months led to the delivery of three public performances. You are all valued, and tonight honoured for your selfless sacrifice in role-modelling what it means to be a great Australian! A special and grateful thank you to Susan Dowideit-Reiger (director);  Zoe Basham (co-director); Nadine Gray (conductor); Christine Pink (pianist); Ashleigh Mobbs, Kara Godwin and Ashley Menelaws (dramatic coaches); Craig Reiger and Callin Penfold (sound & lighting); Andrew Maddern (set design & construction, orchestra); Jenny Underwood (wardrobe);  Zoe Basham and Ashley-Meneclaws (backstage); Wendy Corstiaans (art team); Richard Hendersen (photographer).

The winner of the South Burnett Community Organisation of the Year is Murgon Junior Rugby League Club.

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Guest speaker Prof Ken Donald, centre, with Junior Citizen of the Year nominees Kate Perrett, Megan Frohloff, Brenna Prendergast (winner), Brock Wiley and Michael Malone

Young Citizen of the Year Award

This award recognises an individual under 25 years of age at January 26, 2020, who displays ongoing excellence in their field and in the community, demonstrating leadership and innovation while contributing to the development of the South Burnett region. The nominees are:

  • Michael Malone (Proston)

Michael was Murgon State High School’s 2019 School Captain and conducted his duties to a very high standard.  He represented the school at Murgon Anzac Day services and hosted the Governor of Queensland. He played rugby league for the school side, and at the 2019 school speech night, Michael was awarded the Long Tan and Academic Merit Awards. Michael also participated in the school’s Relay for Life team and further displayed his leadership and commitment to his community by turning up to cadets having minimal sleep and supervising their training the next day. Michael has been a member of the Wondai 135 Army Cadet Unit since starting high school at Proston.  During the past four years he has been a Section Commander of 10 cadets, an instructor and second-in-charge of the unit. At the start of 2019, Michael was promoted to Cadet Under Officer of 28 cadets and is now the highest-ranking cadet at the unit. CUO Malone mentors younger cadets as they start their journey and attends events each year including the South Queensland Cadets Annual Field Exercise where some 1400 cadets attend. Michael also assisted at the South Queensland Brigade Junior Leadership Course in the June school holidays. He plans to join the Regular Army mid-2020 in an information technology role.

  • Brock Wiley (Murgon)

Brock regularly volunteering his time and talents in a variety of capacities to the Murgon State High School community. Brock often feeds the animals at the farm outside of school hours on weekends, public holidays and before and after school. He was keenly involved in the agricultural programs and other opportunities at school, participating and representing his school in the Murgon and Wondai shows as well as Farmfest. Brock volunteered at numerous sporting events and information evenings at the school for the benefit of the community. His “hands on” approach saw him setting up and packing up after events such as rugby league, BP Shield, athletics carnival, swimming carnival and preparing barbecues for parents as well as Interact and school information evenings. Before school, Brock regularly assisted the school janitor and grounds staff setting up parades. While completing Year 12, Brock was also finalising a school-based apprenticeship through Top of the Town Butcher. This saw him balance and coordinate the demands of formal schooling while transitioning into his chosen career pathway a butcher. Brock is highly regarded among staff as a student who contributes voluntarily to Murgon State High school and community life.

  • Brenna Prendergast (Tingoora)

Brenna has made an outstanding contribution to the South Burnett in her short 17 years; 2019 can only be described as “one very big year” for Brenna as she graduated from Kingaroy State High School. But she has amassed a large collection of achievements over the years, including Class Captain in 2015, 2017 and 2018;  Junior School Vice Captain in 2016; School Captain and President of Student Council in 2019; finalist at the Qld Trainee of the Year awards for her completion of her Certificate 3 in Business in 2019; Australian Olympic Change Maker for Kingaroy State High School in 2019; attended the 2019 Leadership Retreat at Griffith University; attended the GRIP Leadership Conference at Highfields; and attended the International Women’s Day Breakfast in Kingaroy; attended the QRRRWN conference in Kingaroy in 2018. As well as her outstanding achievements as a student, Brenna is also an accomplished sportswoman and a natural leader. Some of her recent sporting achievements include 2019 SBRL U17 Girls Best Forward Player of the Year; 2019 SBRL Junior Referee of the Year;  2019 SBRL Most Improved Referee of the Year; 2018 Year 11 Encouragement Award KSHS and Open Girls Netball award; 2018 Queens’ Baton Relay participant; 2017-18 SBRL U16 girls captain; 2017-18 U18s Vicki Wilson school netball captain; 2015-16 Wide Bay U15 cricket captain; amd 2015-17 Relay for Life team captain. Brenna has made many contributions to her community through volunteering at the South Burnett Rugby League, Murgon Junior Rugby League, Kingaroy Speedway, Wondai Races and Relay for Life event at Kingaroy Showgrounds.

  • Megan Frohloff (Kingaroy)

During 2019 Megan chaired the Kingaroy State High School community committee, volunteering her time to develop rosters for herself and other students to assist at Danny’s Diner.  She also successfully rostered and co-ordinated more than 225 students to participate in the school’s Relay for Life event. Megan also rostered Year 12s to volunteer at the school’s canteen during lunchtime breaks, and filling in when others weren’t available. Megan is also heavily involved in the Kingaroy Girl Guides group where she works extensively with younger community members and is a wonderful role model. Her community involvement led her to volunteering to assist with community events such as the Dinner with the Captains, the Mayor’s Ball and Relay for Life. For her dedication and service to community, Megan was awarded a Gold Service Award at the Kingaroy State High School Speech Night Awards.

  • Kate Perrett (Nanango)

Kate has contributed in a several ways during her time at school. She was the 2019 Nanango State High School captain, has been a QIP leader and was awarded the QRRRWN “Young Woman with a Vision” Award. She has participated in public speaking, many sporting teams and the Duke of Edinburgh program. Kate represented her school at Anzac Day and Australia Day services and volunteered for the Nanango Heritage Committee. She is an exceptionally hard worker who displayed exemplary conduct. Kate is respected by all members of the school community and was a well-deserved winner of the Nanango State High School’s highest award, the Prix d’Honneur.

The winner of the South Burnett Junior Citizen Award is Brenna Prendergast.

* * *

Mayor Keith Campbell, second from right, with Citizen of the Year nominees Glenda Perry, Kathy Duff, Mark Beil (winner) and Richard O’Neill

Citizen of the Year

This award recognises a South Burnett resident who has made a valuable contribution to their community and/or given outstanding service to the South Burnett community over a number of years. The nominees are:

  • Kathy Duff (Boondooma)

Kathy has represented Division 5 and the people of the South Burnett as Deputy Mayor with passion and has a strong commitment to promoting the South Burnett on a State level. In her capacity as a private citizen, Kathy has shown amazing support for Proston and its people by donating money to the Proston Qld Ltd group to enable them to purchase a set of shops in Proston. This kindness brought to reality their planning which started in early 2018 to acquire the shops and breathe life back into this country town. Kathy’ bravery in sharing her story and personal experiences has given her a voice in the conversations our communities are having about suicide and mental illness. Her advocacy and compassion for people reminds us all of the importance of checking in on each other, and taking the time to learn how to have those difficult conversations. Kathy has also been a strong advocate for the Proston Men’s Shed in helping them secure a location to build their shed. Her private donation towards the purchase of their building will be of significant benefit to the men of Proston. Cr Duff was awarded the prestigious Butch Lenton Memorial Bush Council Innovation Award at the 2019 Local Government Association Conference held in Cairns.

  • Glenda Perry (Murgon)

Glenda’s many contributions to the Murgon community and the young children of the district have been detailed previously. Glenda is one of the unsung heroes of our region and her community value hers for her tremendous work.

  • Michael Armstrong (Kingaroy)

Michael works full-time job as an electrician and team leader at one of the South Burnett’s largest manufacturing businesses, and supports his community as a Lieutenant with the Queensland Fire & Emergency Service. His Michael’s personal sacrifice as a dedicated and passionate member of the QFES sees him regularly attending  emergency callouts for situations, including accidents across the region. This important community service takes Michael away from his young family, the greatest sacrifice of all.  The community appreciates the sacrifices Michael makes and recognises him as a truly dedicated and passionate community member.

  • Mark Beil (Kingaroy)

Mark has a long history of being a community volunteer, serving as a volunteer with the SES for 26 years until 2006. Mark also joined the Rural Fire Brigade in 2002. His skills and dedication have seen him move on to become a regional trainer and fire instructor for regional fire brigades, other volunteers and property owners. He has held the positions of 1st, 2nd and Deputy Officer at rural brigades and since 2017, has been the acting Brigade Training Support Officer with the Queensland Fire & Emergency Service. Mark has attended and conducted numerous community training events such as “Prepare – Act – Survive”, providing support, guidance and assistance to community members, volunteers and property owners. Mark is regularly and very heavily involved as an officer and volunteer co-ordinating and assisting at major incidents that affect the South Burnett, including catastrophic storms and fires. Mark is one of the South Burnett’s special unsung heroes, clearing roads, checking property owners, alerting emergency services and Council in times when the region is affected by natural disaster. His personal dedication often goes unrecognised in the busy-ness and demands of emergencies but does not go unnoticed by those who know him, have learnt from him and have been helped by his many, many years of support and training and assistance in emergency events. He is a  quiet achiever that gets the job done and does what is right by the community.

  • Richard (Richie) O’Neill (Murgon)

During his “short” 87 years living in the South Burnett, Richie has been part of the army of awesome volunteers making our place a better place to live. Richie has had a long association (at least 45 years) with the South Burnett Ambulance Committee where he has held roles such as the South Burnett delegate for the Darling Downs Local Ambulance Reference Group, serving on the Qld Ambulance Board for eight years and helping instigate the rural road numbering system in the South Burnett. Another organisation close to his heart is Queensland Ag Shows (formerly known as QCAS) where he has been a director for 37 years and held every executive position on the QCAS Board. He has also been a part of the Queensland Dairy and Heritage Museum Community for 10 years, volunteering at the Murgon Visitors Information Centre and more recently, president of the Country Creative Association. Richard’s long history of service includes serving on the Murgon Shire Council for 10 years; 22 years as chairman of the Anzac Day parades committee; 39 years holding executive positions on the South Burnett Sub Chamber; liaison officer for the Showman’s Guild and co-ordinated South Burnett markets for more than 10 years.

The winner of the South Burnett Citizen of the Year Award is Mark Beil.

The proud Beil family after the awards … Citizen of the Year Mark, centre, with son Jackson, father Murray, son Tommy, daughter Ruby and wife Melissa

All the award nominees and winners (and a sprinkling of councillors) gathered for a group photo at the end of the night

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[UPDATED with correction]


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One Response to What Unites Us, What Divides Us

  1. Great coverage. Thank you southburnett.com.au. This is the day that unites us all, irrespective of our personal challenges or cultural backgrounds. As the Australia Day Ambassador Ken Donald said at the conclusion of his address “We will succeed”. I concur, we will.

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