FLASHBACK: Kingaroy local businessman Ken Mills with Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington
 (Photo: Nanango Electorate Office)

January 26, 2022

Retired Kingaroy businessman Ken Mills has been named the South Burnett’s 2022 Citizen of the Year.

COVID concerns forced the South Burnett Regional Council to cancel its formal awards ceremony which was to be held in Blackbutt on Sunday, opting instead to release the list of winners (see below) on Australia Day itself.

Ken Mills began his career in the motor industry as a mechanic at the age of 15.

He and his wife Cheryl took over the Kingaroy Toyota dealership in 1993 and immediately threw themselves into supporting local causes.

Ken has been a long-term supporter of the instrumental music program at Kingaroy State High School as well as local rugby league.

In 2020, Ken Mills secured the naming rights for the South Burnett Rugby League competition as well as sponsoring the Beyond The Nest junior league training program.

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South Burnett 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.


Anitta Stallwood

Anitta has done many amazing things for the community. She ran a Body Shop at home and was a real estate agent at the same time. In 2019, she also took on the role of merchandise co-ordinator for BaconFest and was a vital member of this committee. She is now on a mission to raise money for people who have Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, along with volunteering at the kindy to educate students that even if you have a disability you are still as important as everyone else.

Ken Mills

Ken has made a significant contribution to the South Burnett through his involvement in local organisations, events and businesses. Like his idol, Wayne Bennett, Ken has an uncanny ability to identify people who have potential, whether it be in the workplace, community or sporting arena. He has supported many South Burnett residents achieve their goals and dreams, and his assistance and contribution to the South Burnett has been impeccable.

Nina Temperton

Nina has been a member of the KCCI executive for more than 11 years and has been a valuable member with her knowledge and experience in relation to business practices. She has guided the KCCI along a positive path to help local businesses and the citizens of the South Burnett. Nina is also the CEO of South Burnett CTC where she assists people with a disability, youth and families. Nina has also been involved in countless other organisations across the region. She is committed to the growth and sustainability for our region. Nina is always thinking of others and inspires others to succeed.

Mervyn Birch

Merv has given a lifetime contribution to the local area, whether it be through agriculture, the school bus, a member of the St Aubyn’s Hospital Board, assisting with Memerambi and Corndale community events or youth leadership. These days, he is a member of Probus and the Murgon Men’s Shed. Throughout Merv’s life he has always considered the needs of others. He is also very caring and thoughtful when it comes to the wildlife. Merv is always open to new ideas and willing to help his fellows out when needed. In his 20s, Merv was very active in the local Christian community and in the early 1950s he heard a call from God and became active in Minister roles. In 1974, Merv and Betty bought the Memerambi School bus route.

Barry Krosch

Barry served in the RAAF and saw service in Vietnam. He then joined the Police Force where he served for the next 30 years. Barry has also given 40 years of service as a Justice of the Peace to the Kingaroy community. Barry is a valued member of the Kingaroy-Memerambi RSL Sub-Branch and is the events co-ordinator for remembrance and commemorative events. He has the ability to communicate articulately with many government agencies and has gained the respect and admiration of many. Over the years, Barry has sponsored various organisations and has proven on many occasions that he is a valuable volunteer who gives his time tirelessly to the local community.

Carol Weekes

Carol is a dedicated and motivated member of the Bunya Mountains community and has demonstrated this in many ways. Her list of achievements is many and varied across the organisations in which she has devoted herself. She is secretary of the Bunya Mountains Community Association Inc, Liaison Officer for the Disaster Management Sub-Committee and the Minutes secretary for the Bunya Mountains Rural Fire Brigade. Carol advocates on behalf of artistically inclined residents by securing bursaries for art workshops. She publishes a quarterly newsletter which is sent out to BMCAI members all over Queensland and interstate. Carol also volunteers her time to cook sausages to raise funds for the BMCAI at Bunnings and was a part of the recent successful Open Day in Alan Stirling Park and the opening of the Bunya Mountains emergency helipad.

WINNER: Ken Mills

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FLASHBACK: Taabinga State School principal Felicity Ditchburn with school captain Luca Campbell and local police … Luca organised a special morning tea in late 2021 to say “thank you” to local police officers for the work they do in the community

Young Citizen of the Year

This award recognises an individual under 25 at January 26, 2021, 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.


Flynn Woodall

Flynn has made an extremely positive contribution to the South Burnett in a wide range of activities, volunteering a considerable amount of time through numerous community activities while studying at Kingaroy State High School. Flynn has demonstrated leadership qualities, attention to detail, a tireless work ethic and has always encouraged others. Flynn is a fine young person who is very well regarded by his teammates and also within the school community.

Luca Campbell

Luca was the school captain at Taabinga State School in 2021. To most students, this is just a badge but to Luca it was a lifestyle and it was her time to make a positive change within the South Burnett. Luca is not someone that uses the word “I” but instead uses the word “us”, “team”, “together”. This is what makes her such an outstanding leader and role model for other students. Luca volunteers at many events both at school and also assisting the wider community. Luca is a young woman with a heart of gold, always looking out for those around her and putting others before herself.

Caitlyn Carney

Caitlyn is an accomplished and natural public speaker and has demonstrated this skill on numerous occasions this year as St Mary’s Catholic College captain, including at the Kingaroy Anzac Day ceremony, formal and graduation speeches, and many more. Always aware of those less fortunate than herself, Caitlyn has supported various fundraising drives for charities at the college. She also serves students at the Breakfast Club on Friday mornings and visits the local kindergartens to read.

Benjamin Perrett

Ben is a fantastic role model for all students and is always striving to do his best. He was vice-captain at Nanango State High School in 2021. Ben has represented school in the HPV Team and is captain of the school’s campdraft team. Ben has taken part in the school’s co-curricular activities, including the opportunity to participate in the Lions Youth of the Year public speaking event where he was awarded Speaker of the Night 2021. Ben always maintains a positive attitude and his efforts can be described as 110 per cent.

Mia Glenny

Mia was awarded the Prix d’Honneur for 2021 at the Nanango State High School annual awards night. This is awarded annually by the teaching staff to a senior student who has displayed outstanding qualities of leadership, co-operation and service to the school community. Mia has contributed in a variety of ways during her time at school. She has been Tarong’s Sports House Captain and a QIP leader. She also represented the school at Anzac Day and captained the netball team. She is a true role model and a highly respected by all members of the school.

WINNER: Luca Campbell

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Hard-working Kingaroy Rotary Club members are a familiar sight at local events … and their ham wheel is especially popular at the Kingaroy Christmas Carnival

Community Organisation Of The Year

This award recognises an outstanding achievement by a group, club or organisation that has made a notable contribution to the community during 2021.


The Kingaroy Men’s Shed

The Men’s Shed work tirelessly to bring together the community. They they have assisted the community with various projects as well as NDIS clients. Their primary goal as an organisation is to bring men together from around the region to support mental health. One of the major projects for 2021 was to hold a Dinner Under the Stars and this event raised just over $6000.

Rotary Club of Kingaroy

The Rotary Club of Kingaroy is a group of 23 members who give their time and efforts to serve the community. They work tirelessly to fundraise for our projects that support Youth Suicide Prevention and Youth Mental Health. These efforts have raised $40,000. The club also supports various community organisations and project across the region such as South Burnett CTC, South Burnett Care, CWA, Salvation Army and school awards, just to name. In 2021, they hosted the massive District 9600 Conference in Kingaroy.

Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce & Industry

The KCCI is a great representation of how to support the community. They have achieved a lot this year with the implantation of the SMILE program (Supporting Mental health through Information, Leadership, Education) which offered training to support mental health awareness for staff within local businesses. In addition to the normal advocacy and support for businesses, the KCCI is in the process of establishing a business hub which will be a great addition for smaller businesses and the community in general. Last but not least, the assistance that the KCCI has provided to the Kingaroy Transformation Project has been exceptional.

South Burnett Western Performance Club

This club has been a proud supporter of the South Burnett equestrian community since 1996. It provides all horse groups access to the facilities at the Nanango Equestrian Centre including the South Burnett Endurance Club and Equestrian Group. Members range in age from five years old to 78. It is a group which welcomes all ages and abilities and supports local businesses even during the most challenging times.

Nanango Agricultural, Pastoral and Mining Society

The Nanango Show Society presents the annual Heritage Nanango Country Muster. In 2021, there were 460 caravans camped at the showgrounds and local motels and caravan parks were full. The Muster focused on supporting a great line-up of Queensland artists. The Society supports businesses within the area by using local tradespeople for the upkeep of the grounds and buying local products where possible.

Nanango Cycling Inc (David Kenny)

In 2019, a Rail Trail LINK TRAIL was established connecting the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail head at Yarraman to Nanango via the existing Stock Route. It it was here that a group was formed, Nanango Cycling Inc, thanks to David Kenny and Mark Gaedtke. With the community’s assistance they have been steadily progressing the trail since this time. David is also on the management committee of the Visit South Burnett Tourism Group. The ultimate goal is for people to take their bike on a train, get off at Wulkuraka and embark on a 4-5 day bike adventure riding the trails. David is very passionate community member and is always striving to seek growth in the South Burnett.

WINNER: Rotary Club of Kingaroy

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Juliana Evangelista in Kingaroy State High School’s 2021 performance of “Godspell”

Junior Cultural Award

Presented to an individual 17 years of age and under at January 26, 2021, who is making a significant contribution to the cultural life of the South Burnett.


Cooper Mollenhauer, Murgon

Cooper is a gifted and talented student at Murgon State High School. He excels in the fields of science, mathematics, engineering and music. Cooper received straight As on his report card last year and is a talented member of the Concert Band (playing the tuba). Cooper also represented his school by playing the trombone at the QUT Songwriting Project. When Cooper was 13 years old he joined the South Burnett Community Orchestra and was able to perform all styles of orchestra music. Cooper is also a member of the South Burnett Community Pop Orchestra which was launched in 2021. In his spare time, Cooper designs and makes his own model planes and rockets. Cooper launches his  rockets at the Queensland Rocketry Society launch site near Jimboomba once a month.

Juliana Evangelista, Kingaroy

Juliana has been an integral member of the Kingaroy State High School’s Instrumental Program, performing at the Kingaroy and Dalby eisteddfods on several occasions. She has also been a member of the KSHS marching band and performed as part of the symphonic orchestra at several Anzac Day ceremonies and concerts. Juliana has always applied herself to her studies consistently throughout her senior schooling. She always aims to excel, especially in public speaking, and received a Lions Youth of the Year Public Speaking Award. Juliana has been awarded a Triple A Certificate on several occasions, an award issued to students that display excellent attendance, effort and behaviour. Juliana is admired for her determination to succeed. She is very highly regarded for her work ethic and honesty. Juliana is always courteous and respectful and has a willingness to work independently or with others.

WINNER: Juliana Evangelista

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Caz Dingle, third from left, singing with “6 Appeal” in Kingaroy last year

Senior Cultural Award

Presented to a nominee over 18 years of age at January 26, 2021, who is making a significant contribution to the cultural life of the South Burnett.


Julee-anne Bell, Kingaroy

Julee-anne is a devoted singer known for her performance on the national TV show “The Voice”. Julee-anne’s audition performance was viewed a massive 187,000 times on YouTube along with her impromptu duet with Guy Sebastian. She even made the international news by receiving a standing ovation from the judges. Julee-anne also donates her time to charity events,  teaches privately and works with the South Burnett Chorale.

Jane Erkens, Nanango

Over the years Jane has committed herself to progressing Nanango’s development and enhancing the social and cultural fabric of the Nanango community. The local businesswoman contributes her time across multiple community organisations and events, one of these being “The Shed” a gathering space for local musicians and live performances. This has given South Burnett residents access to new musical flavours and inspiration without needing to travel outside the region.

Carolyn Dingle, Kingaroy

Carolyn is a very talented musician who not only contributes musically to many local art groups, she is also an integral part of these organisations.  She is always there to help organise, advertise, set up and clean up after each group’s rehearsals and performances. Carolyn is the first lead violin player in the South Burnett Orchestra and a member of the South Burnett Community Pop Orchestra where she mentors young string players. She is also a member of the South Burnett Chorale and the newly formed acapella singing group “6 Appeal”. Carolyn is not only a successful musician, she will always be the first to raise her hand to do anything that needs to be done and is a wonderful mentor.

WINNER: Carolyn Dingle

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FLASHBACK: Then-Wondai QCWA president Eileen Beer, Cr Kathy Duff and other QCWA members celebrate the branch’s 90th birthday in 2013

Volunteer Of The Year 

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


Damien Martoo, Kingaroy

Damien is president of the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce & Industry and has been for the past three years. During this time, the KCCI has grown to new strengths because of the leadership he has shown. He has spent many hours of communicating with businesses promoting Kingaroy and the South Burnett, especially about the Kingaroy Transformation Project which he has proudly promoted as a future in which we can move forward. Damien is an inspiring and passionate person, always has the time to listen and encourage others. This has been evident through assisting with the SMILE project (supporting mental health) and the SMILE Gala Ball which brought people together during hard times.

Eileen Beer, Wondai

Eileen has been an active volunteer in many organisations across the South Burnett for many years. Some of these include being a part of the Wondai QCWA along with the Wondai community choir. She is currently the treasurer, music and drama convener and assist at the Wooroolin CWA’s monthly markets, Eileen is very passionate about helping others within the community and has been a member of the Wondai Hospital Auxiliary for the past 30 years.

Barry Krosch, Kingaroy

(See description in South Burnett Citizen of the Year category)

Keith and Carol Greaves, Murgon

Keith and Carol are lifetime members of the Murgon Mustangs Junior Rugby League Club, giving many hours of their time over the years to support the club. Keith has been instrumental in the completion of the new dressing sheds and is often found on a mower or wielding a whipper snipper, preparing the fields ready for play. Keith not only donates his time but donates the materials, fuel and parts required. Carol volunteers in the canteen. She arrives bright and early, doing the multitude of tasks that are required to run a successful day. Carol has helped other volunteers to establish processes for efficiency and safety and has continued to volunteer despite significant knee surgery. Keith and Carol volunteer to ensure the club can continue to offer a place for children to develop their skills and character.

Carol Weekes, Bunya Mountains

(See description in South Burnett Citizen of the Year category)

Glenda Gillies, Maidenwell

For the past 18 years Glenda has been a member of the Maidenwell QCWA. During this time, she has not only been known for her knowledge but also her support for her colleagues. Glenda is also the Maidenwell Library Convenor. She travels to Kingaroy Library and collects the exchange books in her own time every three months and keeps the library in order.
Glenda is a generous caring lady who has served the Maidenwell community as a volunteer for many years.

WINNER: Eileen Beer

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Nathan Roderick in action for Murgon in the South Burnett cricket competition

Junior Sportsperson Of The Year

Presented to a nominee aged 17 years and under at January 26, 2021, who has made a notable achievement in sporting endeavours.


Lachlan Zelinski, Murgon

Lachlan has been a great representative for South Burnett sport. He has represented Murgon State High School, Murgon, Wide Bay and the Sunshine Coast. During Lachlan’s schooling, he led the team to win the Broncos challenge; he was also a member of the Open Boys touch team, Wide Bay squash team, South Burnett and Wide Bay touch team, Open Boys swimming champion, Open Boys cricket team and has participated in all school activities, including swimming and athletics. Outside school, Lachlan has participated in various Touch and Rugby League activities, including the Queensland Youth Academy Broncos squad and the Under 18s Sunshine Coast Team. Lachlan juggled all these sporting commitments whilst staying on track to complete Year 12.

Nathan Roderick, Murgon

Nathan has been an outstanding sportsperson over the past year. He played in and captained multiple teams for Murgon State High School, Murgon, the South Burnett and Wide Bay. Nathan was a part of the U15s Rugby League team, Open Boys touch team and the cricket team which played in a State T20 competition. Nathan also played U15s squash. Outside school, Nathan participated in various cricket competitions, squash and golf – which he started in only March last year and now has a handicap of eight. Nathan has represented his town, region and school at a high standard and to his full potential.

Dustin Ramke, Mondure

Dustin is a fine, young gentleman who always presents himself with dignity and respect and has accomplished many great things. He captained the premiership Under 14 Murgon Mustangs, he played for the Under 15s South Burnett rugby league team in the Toowoomba competition was was awarded the best and fairest. Dustin was chosen in the Broncos Elite Player Development Squad for rugby league and will continue this year. Dustin has accomplished so much over during his sporting career and this was acknowledged through the CROW-FM September Sports Star of the Month for his achievements.

Matthew Springate, Nanango

Matthew was presented with the Ampol Best All Rounder Award at the Nanango State High School’s 2021 Annual Awards Night. Matthew is an all-rounder. His in-class behaviour, effort and great results have been an example to others. Mathew is a natural leader in all aspects of his schooling and was elected school vice-captain for 2021. Matthew has represented the Wide Bay region in rugby league, touch and cricket. He made the South Burnett Athletics as well as represented the school in the Broncos Challenge. Matthew also volunteers at the local cricket club in Nanango where he is a positive role model for junior players.

WINNERS: Lachlan Zelinski and Nathan Roderick (tie); both will receive a $500 bursary

Lachlan Zelinski scores for the South Burnett Eagles in the 2021 Toowoomba Under 18s JRL competition

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Scott Collier came second in the 25m Standard competition at the State Championships in 2021

Senior Sportsperson Of The Year

Presented to a nominee aged 18 years and over at January 26, 2021, who has achieved significant recognition in sport.


Jayde Novak, Wooroolin

Jayde was born into a sporting family and has excelled at equestrian sports. She is also an accomplished swimmer. As a part of the elite McDonalds Junior Team, she won the school State champion in Mundubbera. Jayde was also named St Mary Catholic College’s Sportsperson of the Year and has achieved academic excellence many times. Jayde has competed in equestrian events at the Royal Queensland Show (the Ekka) and has been in the top five for State eventing on more than one occasion. She has achieved all of this with severe scoliosis and other disabilities. Jayde never draws attention to herself and always finds the time to help out others in need.

Scott Collier, Kingaroy

Scott Collier is deeply involved in local sport as a parent, coach and competitor. Scott is a great supporter and volunteer for South Burnett Little Athletics where he helps to officiate and assist coaches. Scott also coaches “Tiny Touchies” children’s touch football team. As a member of the South Burnett Pistol Club, he is a qualified Range Officer and managers the club’s social media accounts and is active in club working bees. He was placed second in Queensland for two different divisions of pistol shooting and was highly placed in six other divisions.

WINNERS: Jayde Novak and Scott Collier (tie) 

FLASHBACK: Jayde Novak, right, celebrates with her mother Colleen after collecting three wins at a school equestrian competition (Photo: John Dalton)

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South Burnett Rugby League president Dave Tierney with hard-working SBRL volunteers Brenna and Sheree Prendergast

Sportsperson Of The Year (Coach / Official or Administrator)

Presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to sport and or the community as a coach, official or administrator.


Sheree Prendergast, Murgon

Sheree has been a part of the South Burnett Rugby League for the past five years. It has been tough with COVID but still she has ensured the governance of the SBRL to ensure the sport returned to the paddock in 2021. She has made considerable individual contributions to this sport. Sheree has always performed the role admirably and with great dedication and determination. Without this, the sport would have struggled to return to play.

WINNER: Sheree Prendergast

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Lifetime Achievement Award

Presented to residents aged over 60 years in recognition of their outstanding achievement, ongoing excellence in their field and in the community, demonstrating leadership and innovation while contributing to the South Burnett.


Clare Schultz, Kingaroy

Clare has been a member of the Kingaroy Senior Citizens Club since 1987. In that first year, she became the club secretary, a position she held for 14 years. During Clare’s 34 years of being a club member she has filled many other positions, playing an active role in supporting the club.

Peter Verbakel, Kingaroy

Peter is a willing servant of the South Burnett having provided considerable personal service in order to assist the community. He has been a Volunteer in Policing for more than 15 years at the Kingaroy Police Station. Peter has initiated and supported numerous projects that support the QPS’s strategic goals, including promoting road safety and the “Tightening the Screws” program. Peter has also held many other roles in the community.

John Scott, Nanango

There have been six generations of Scotts in Nanango, so John well deserves to be called a true local. John was born at Ringsfield House in 1946 and has spent his entire life in the area. In 1995, he was appointed director for the Southern Zone Droughtmaster Breeding Society. He was a part of the organising committee and has been made a lifetime member of the Droughtmaster Association in recognition of his contribution over many years. In 2010 and 2011 John was involved in the South Burnett Bull Tours.  After moving into town, John became more involved in the community groups such as the Birdkeepers Association and the Barambah Beekeepers Association.

Mervyn Birch, Kingaroy

(See description in South Burnett Citizen of the Year category)

WINNER: The panel of judges decided to award all nominees a Lifetime Achievement Award

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Local Achiever Award – Proston / Hivesville


John Walden, Proston

John was nominated by more than one community member for his persistence and dedication in caring and attending to the Proston community. He has a “can do” attitude is and committed to following through with any task that is asked of him without praise or recognition. The community of Proston feels they are richer because of his participation.

WINNER: John Walden

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Local Achiever Award – Murgon


Sonia McMahon

Sonia is being recognised for her sterling efforts that she continues to make in running a music program, “Rockin’ our Abilities”, each Thursday in Murgon. She helps the local residents with a disability so they don’t have to feel social isolation and loneliness. Sonia previously worked with a similar music program for people with disabilities on the Sunshine Coast and recognised that there was a gap within the South Burnett and in 2020 took up the challenge. Recognition for Sonia’s efforts is very well deserved.

WINNER: Sonia McMahon

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Local Achiever Award – Wooroolin / Memerambi


Jayde Novak

(See description in Senior Sportsperson of the Year category)

WINNER: Jayde Novak

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Local Achiever Award – Kingaroy


Diane Gatenby

Diane spends her days contributing to young peoples lives. She is the director of the South Burnett Childcare Centre where she has been for more than 16 years. The children at the centre refer to her as “Miss Di”.  Diane is loving, caring and very passionate, which is what we all look for when leaving our children in someone else’s care. Diane provides a sense of warmth and security. People like Diane play an integral role towards our children’s future. The imprint that she has left on many will not be forgotten.

Mervyn Birch

(See description in South Burnett Citizen of the Year category)

WINNER: Diane Gatenby

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Local Achiever Award – Kumbia


Brett McGlone

Brett is a proud Australian Defence Force veteran who has been an active member of the Kumbia community since 2018. He has made a personal commitment to increasing support services for the local veterans and their families and in doing this he identified that there was a need for an RSL Sub-branch in Kumbia. He also organises the Anzac Dawn service, bingo sessions and helps to raise funds for local activities and services. On a more practical level, he assists some of elderly community members with their gardens and home maintenance.

WINNER: Brett McGlone

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Local Achiever Award – Nanango


Lachlan White

In 2019, Lachlan  moved from Durong to Nanango. His interests are within the church and gem hunting, as a member of the South Burnett Gem & Fossicking Club. His interest in theatre is what drew him to Nanango where he quickly became involved. He has supported the Nanango Theatre Company through behind-the-scenes activities, including organising the wardrobe and building sets. He also oiled the verandahs and undertaken required maintenance. All of this has amounted to hundreds of voluntary hours of service. Lachlan is a reliable, tireless and willing volunteer. He has a great depth of life experience and applies this to identifying problems and implementing solutions.

WINNER: Lachlan White

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Local Achiever Award – Maidenwell / Bunya Mountains


Carol Weekes 

(See description in South Burnett Citizen of the Year category)

WINNER: Carol Weekes

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NB. This is an edited version of the speeches that would have been presented by councillors last Sunday at the South Burnett Regional Council’s cancelled Australia Day Awards Ceremony at Blackbutt.

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables


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