Cr Edwina Farquhar, back row, at left, with the Rosalie Australia Day award winners … back row, Rob Mackie (Yarraman & District Progress Association), two representatives from the Cooyar Town and Rural fire brigades, and Kevin and Judy Shanks; front row, Mackenzie Bygrave, Zane Renyard, Fay Watkin and Jack Voll (Photo: TRC)

February 2, 2024

A number of Cooyar and Yarraman residents were presented with awards during a Toowoomba Regional Council event held at Goombungee Hall on Australia Day.

The awards honoured achievements within the borders of the former Rosalie Shire.

Yarraman SES group leader Fay Watkin was presented with the Rosalie Citizen of the Year award.

Cambooya Pony Club member Zane Renyard was named Rosalie Young Citizen of the Year.

Yarraman & District Progress Association president Rob Mackie accepted the Rosalie Community Event of the Year Award on behalf of the association for the 2023 Show’n’Shine held at Yarraman Showgrounds.

Representatives from the Cooyar Town Fire Brigade and the Cooyar Rural Fire Brigade received the Rosalie Community Group award.

Kevin and Judy Shanks, from the Cooyar Progress Association, received the Rosalie Community Spirit award.

The Rosalie Junior Community Spirit award was presented to former Nanango State High School captain Mackenzie Bygrave, from Yarraman.

The Rosalie Junior Sports Award was presented to Kingsthorpe State School student Jack Voll.

Rosalie Citizen of the Year … Yarraman SES group leader Fay Watkin (Photo: Supplied)

Toowoomba councillor Edwina Farquhar presented the awards in Goombungee Hall (Photo: TRC)

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Australia Day Awards

This is an edited version of the winner’s citations (from the TRC)

Citizen of the Year – Fay Watkin

Fay is a strong advocate for volunteering and community service. She works tirelessly supporting the wider community and is an outstanding role model.

In an age where volunteering is in serious decline, Fay is a passionate and dedicated advocate and supporter,  giving back to the community she cares for.

Fay is the Group Leader for the Yarraman SES and supports the wider Toowoomba SES community whenever she is called.

She has single-handedly undertaken to maintain the Yarraman SES Group over the past few years to ensure the most northern part of the Toowoomba community retains a functioning and relevant team able to respond to the wide range of contingencies that affect the Yarraman and district community.

She is an exceptionally well liked and respected member of the Yarraman community.

Fay also takes a personal interest in, and responsibility for, many of our elderly and isolated community members, and shows genuine concern for their welfare when she performs her daily duties for Australia Post.

She is a highly motivated and professional community member and is an excellent example of an unassuming and critical member of the Toowoomba volunteer community.

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Young Citizen of the Year – Zane Renyard

Zane, 11, is a Downlands College student who has a passion for horses.

He is a gifted competitor across many disciplines, including showjumping, campdrafting, barrel racing and team penning, and represented Queensland twice in 2023.

He travelled 10 hours to compete at Merriwa in NSW where he was named Reserve Champion in the 11 to 13 years’ category.

He has won the Pony Club age champion title 10 times in Queensland and nine titles for campdrafting.

Zane has represented Downlands for school horse sport, winning three age champion titles at separate events.

He is also a keen rugby union and rugby league player and has represented his school in these codes.

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Junior Sports Award – Jack Voll

Jack has risen through the futsal ranks in recent seasons, highlighting his strong, independent nature and fine sportsmanship.

He represented Kingsthorpe State School, where he is Hughes House sports captain, at the South West Queensland Futsal titles in April 2022.

From this performance, he was chosen to compete at the 2023 Australian National School Futsal titles at the Gold Coast.

Following outstanding efforts at the Gold Coast, Jack was selected to represent Australia for an Under 11 boys’ tour to Fiji in July 2023 where they finished with a bronze medal.

Following the main tournament, the Australian players met Fijian children from Ba province and played a mini World Cup soccer tournament.

Jack capped a successful trip when he scored the final goal to secure the side’s victory.

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Community Group – Cooyar Town Rural Fire Brigade and the Cooyar District Rural Fire Brigade

The brigades work together as a single unit to defend the Cooyar district and Cooyar town.

The two organisations were established in the early 1980s, starting with a Land Rover with a bucket on the back.

The original shed was donated by the Upper Yarraman Forestry Camp.

Two years ago, a new shed was built to house one light attack truck, two medium attack trucks and a bulk tanker slip-on unit. It was built with the groups’ funds, a grant and State Government funding.

The brigades’ 30-plus members late last year were involved in a prompt and professional response to the Wutul bushfire.

The fire was driven by high winds through heavily grassed paddocks and timbered properties.

The worked in combination with the support of other brigades, plus plane and helicopter back-up, to protect all homes that were severely threatened by the fire.

The brigades worked for long hours and operated on little sleep through the night and the following day to keep the community safe, and maintained a watch on conditions over the following weeks.

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Community Event – Yarraman Show’n’Shine

Eighty-one classic cars and 19 motorbikes took centre stage at the Yarraman and District Progress Association’s Show’n’shine on June 17, 2023 at the Yarraman Horse Sports Grounds.

Visitors could also browse 13 swap stalls, 10 market stalls and food vendors.

A sub-committee. comprising president Rob Mackie, Tracy Heaydon, Leanne and Edwin, Greg Wagner with the assistance of Progress Association members and volunteers. contributed to a successful day.

The Yarraman Men’s Shed designed the car and bike trophies.

The event raised $1300 through gate fees.

It also provided a significant boost to town businesses and aided the wider promotion of Yarraman’s history and cultural heritage.

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Community Spirit Award – Kevin and Judy Shanks

Kevin and Judy have been the driving force behind the Cooyar Progress Association since moving to the town in 2015.

Kevin has been the Association’s vice president and president, as well as secretary of the Cooyar Fire Brigade.

Judy became the Cooyar Progress Association secretary in 2016.

She has been a dedicated committee member who gladly shoulders her responsibility. She is a most diligent and thorough volunteer.

Previously, Judy worked as an executive secretary for Queensland Health and the St Vincent de Paul Society.

The Shanks’ commitment to the Cooyar community has ensured the continuation of the town’s Anzac Day ceremony and encouraged a working relationship with Council.

They have worked to provide clearer road markings in Cooyar’s main street and received a grant to purchase a PA system for community use.

Judy and Kevin contribute countless hours to helping many Cooyar community causes.

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Young Community Spirit Award – Mackenzie Bygrave

Mackenzie Bygrave, from Yarraman, is an exceptional young woman who excels in many endeavours and volunteers to help many causes.

She is very polite and the youngest of four siblings.

Mackenzie is a Year 12 graduate from Nanango State High School, where she was the school captain.

She was an inspiring leader and an exceptional role model to all students.

Apart from attaining high academic achievements, Mackenzie was involved in sporting and cultural activities, including netball, Anzac Day parades, mathematics and poetry competitions. She attended the Women’s Day breakfast with the Queensland Mining and Energy Sector.

Mackenzie completed her Duke of Edinburgh Bridge 1 and 2 and competed in the Lions Youth of the Year in 2023 at the Nanango Club.

She advanced her interest in STEM subjects in 2023 by participating in numerous activities. She won the ADF Future Innovators’ Award and has shown leadership in STEM innovation by participating in programs at school and after hours, including the SPARQ-ed Workshop.

Mackenzie also has a passion for drama and received The Gwynne Drama Award for 2023 in recognition of her dedication to her craft and her peers; as well as representing the school at sports carnivals and Country Cup Netball..

She received the AMPOL best all-rounder award in 2023 at Nanango State High School. This award is recognised Australia-wide and is presented to a senior student who has shown general all-round scholastic and sporting ability, and service to the school through extra-curricular activities.


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