These awards are presented to groups or citizens who have made an outstanding contribution to the Toowoomba Region community. The following list includes the Toowoomba Regional Council Australia Day regional awards, which cover service to the region as a whole, and respective service area awards.

Congratulations to all of the winners.

 

For media use:

High resolution image of Regional Citizen of the Year - Michelle Edser

High resolution image of Regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year - Damon Anderson Regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year - Damon Anderson

 

Regional Awards

Michelle Edser Regional Citizen of the Year Michelle Edser works tirelessly to achieve the best outcomes for people, clubs and charity organisations in the Crows Nest area. Michelle always gives more than 100% to ensure the success of community events.

Michelle recently helped raise $18,000 to assist a young person with ongoing medical expenses. She also played an integral role in raising $12,000 to enable a local family to provide quality care for a family member in their final weeks of life.

Sporting groups have also benefited from her generosity. Michelle was part of a team that helped raise a significant sum that allowed the Highfields Under 16 Rugby League team to complete a cultural exchange tour of New Zealand. The tour included several boys from Crows Nest.

Incredibly generous, Michelle has donated countless raffle prizes for charitable organisations and clubs and attends as many functions as possible.

Michelle is a member of the Crows Nest Golf Club, Bowls Club, Fishing Club and previously the Crows Nest Second Division Rugby League Club. She is on the management committee of some of these clubs and has been involved in organising charity days, reunions and club anniversaries.

She volunteers her time without hesitation and displays a positive attitude, enthusiasm and generosity.

Michelle epitomises Australian spirit and values. If there is someone in need, she lends a hand and shows her customary happy and positive attitude.

Damon Anderson Regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the YearDamon is a proud Aboriginal man who has worked tirelessly to share his culture with young people through dance, art and language.

A talented dancer, Damon is a member of the Kooma-Diggeri Dance Troupe and has toured south east Queensland as part of regional NAIDOC celebrations.

Damon has performed with the Russian Ballet and is a popular and capable didgeridoo player, who regularly performs at functions.  He often performs for Japanese visitors from Ena City.

A talented artist, Damon has painted numerous murals around the district and has won awards for his painting. He has a Fine Arts degree.

He served as Oakey State High School Indigenous Leader in 2013 and is a keen and talented rugby league player, who actively contributes to various community events, including NAIDOC week celebrations.


Cambooya

Cambooya’s Citizen of the Year Helen Naumann is a driving force in the community through her ongoing support of the Felton Hall, the Felton Food Festival and Friends of Felton.

Helen assumed the role of Treasurer of the Felton Hall in 2007 and assisted with negotiations for the new hall, including shifting the hall and setting it up.

As ongoing Hall Treasurer, Helen negotiates hall rentals, pays accounts and is responsible for presenting financial reports.

Helen has also organised, or assisted in organising, various events at the Hall, including catering for clearing sales and popular high tea events.

Helen has been a very active volunteer at the Felton Food Festival, where she helps procure ingredients for the celebrity chef, along with other roles.

When plans were advanced to build a mine in the Felton area, Helen became an active member of Friends of Felton and remains on the committee.

A mother and grandmother, Helen organised theatre restaurants at the Cambooya State School when her children were younger. She continues to support many community members, including children with special needs.

Molly Choyce is a determined and talented sportswoman who has achieved multiple awards at state and national level in endurance horse riding.

In 2019, Molly received the ‘1st Australian Distance Rider Junior’ award for successfully completing 1483 competition kilometres.

Molly also won the ‘Spirit of Endurance award’ at the state championships at Bowen in 2019 for encouraging sportsmanship and modelling positive behaviour to fellow competitors, veterinarians, ride organisers and volunteers.

Molly also received the ‘1st Queensland Distance Junior Rider’ award in 2018 and the ‘1st Queensland Distance Horse Junior’ award.

These outstanding results demonstrate Molly’s physical fitness, mental strength and her enormous commitment to endurance riding and her mare. 

Jordon Fenton-Anderson competed at her first equestrian event at the Clifton Show when she was a two-year-old.

The talented sportswoman has continued to demonstrate commitment to her chosen sport and was fourth at the National Interschool Equestrian Championships last year.

Jordan is also involved in athletics, swimming and team sports and served as Divine House Sports Captain at Drayton State School in 2019.

Determined and resourceful, Jordan has used facilities at her disposal to train, including jumping over electric fences, running around the horse arena and training her beloved warmblood mare Ellie, on the family horse stud.

Jordan’s dream is to represent Australia at Olympic level and she would love to work as a sports teacher when she leaves school.

The Wyreema Annual Halloween Event is the largest, family event in the region, credited for successfully bringing the whole community together.

Organised by the Wyreema Community Hall Committee, the event has been running for seven years and continues to grow in popularity each year, with 400 registered children and 37 registered houses in 2019.

Children are given a map of houses for Trick or Treating, before returning to the hall for judging of the costume parade and the best decorated houses.

The party in the hall afterwards is considered a highlight on the Wyreema social calendar. It is an event that the whole community can enjoy.

Preparations start in early September, with the whole community pulling together to create a fun-filled night for the young and young and heart.

The Wyreema Community Halloween Committee is known for their superb organisation skills and for creating an event the whole community enjoys.

The Cambooya Pony Club enjoyed an incredibly successful 2019 by boosting membership and hosting several high-profile events that attracted riders from across the state.

The Club hosted the Clifton State High School gymkhana in June. This attracted 97 riders from 27 primary and secondary schools, including entrants from Goondiwindi and Roma. The event has been staged for seven years and this was the first time it was held in our district.

The Club’s annual campdraft was held in June. It attracted 137 nominations from western and south east Queensland, which was a major achievement given the ongoing drought. Another 126 riders also attended the Club’s open sporting day, with many fastest times and personal best times achieved.

Events such as these would not be possible without the ongoing support of local businesses, including the Bull and Barley Inn, QMRC, Cambooya Welding Works and Cambooya Fencing.

Cambooya Pony Club now has more than 80 members and has greatly improved its grounds and facilities and position in the community. 


Clifton

Maryann Bisdee has worked tirelessly to support the Clifton community since moving to the district in the early 1980s.

A passionate and committed volunteer, Maryann gives her time generously to local committees and associations, including the Clifton Community Housing Association, where she has served as Treasurer for the past nine years.

In this role, Maryann was instrumental in helping the organisation gain registration with the National Regulatory System for Community Housing Providers and, more recently, accreditation following countless hours of research, work and training.

As president of the Clifton & District Progress Association, Maryann was a driving force in leasing the Clifton Railway Station from Queensland Rail for use as a tourist information centre. Once this lease was in place, Maryann continued to support the project by helping volunteers and supplying equipment to help with set-up.

Maryann is the current Clifton Lions Club president and was heavily involved in the Clifton Girl Guide Association for more than 10 years, serving as a District Leader.

She has served as chair of the Clifton Australia Day Committee and was involved with the QCWA for some years.

A dedicated mother and grandmother, Maryann continues to support local schools, volunteering at the Clifton State Primary School when required. 

Maryann is a caring, supportive and hard-working volunteer and a very worthy recipient of Clifton Citizen of the Year.

Hayden Bellingham is a fine student and inspirational role model who has made a significant contribution to his school and scout communities.

Hayden was named inaugural academic leader of Clifton State High School in 2019 for his outstanding commitment to goal setting and continuous improvement.

Hardworking, resilient and tenacious, Hayden achieved outstanding academic results in 2019. He graduated as Dux of the school, achieving the highest results the school has attained.

Despite his heavy workload, Hayden tutored other students, with Year 7 students particularly admiring his generosity. They achieved excellence in maths as a result of his encouragement.

Hayden received a Peter Doherty Award for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics in 2019 and attended the QUT Vice-Chancellor’s STEM Camp in 2018.

An inspirational role model, Hayden was a recipient of an Australian Defence Force Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award in Year 12, in recognition of his leadership and teamwork at school and the broader community.

Outside school, Hayden has consistently displayed positive leadership skills throughout his 10 years in scouting, receiving a Grey Wolf Award in 2013 and the Australian Scout Medallion in 2017.

Hayden was a member of the winning team at the Region Venturer Scout Standards Camp in 2018 and in a team that came third at Operation Nighthawk in 2019.

Nobby State School student, Ava Youngberry is a talented athlete who has represented her school, club and district in swimming, touch football, cross country and athletics.

In 2019, Ava excelled at the Central Downs Track and Field championships where she was first in high jump and age champion runner-up at the Southern Downs Track and Field championships.

Ava continued her impressive form by winning the high jump at the Darling Downs Track and Field championships and was second at the Queensland titles.

Ava's hard work and commitment to training culminated in a third place in high jump at the Australian Track and Field championships in Darwin in September. At this national event, Ava also achieved a personal best jump of 1.33 metres.

Ava's dedication to her chosen event is a fine example of a young Australian setting goals and working hard to achieve these goals.

Rachael Bell started her career as a dressage rider at the age of six and has won numerous awards, including two national championships and two national reserve championships.

Hardworking and committed, Rachael’s impressive record also includes eight state championships and four regional championships.

In 2017, Rachael missed a season with a broken vertebra, however after recovering she continued with her winning ways.

Rachael’s dedication to dressage was recognised when she was appointed State captain on several occasions. She is an encouraging mentor for younger riders.

Long-term, Rachel would love to represent Australia at the Olympic Games and, given the opportunity to do so, would serve the Clifton area proudly. 

Like all Lions Clubs, Clifton Lions Club’s motto is: “We Serve” and serve is what they do.

For more than 50 years the Clifton Lions Club has provided help when required. The members have raised money for wheelchairs and installed swings in the park for disabled children.

The hardworking club members also maintain and operate a hire scheme for electric scooters and have a great selection of disability equipment available for short-term loan.

The members also are highly regarded for their barbecue skills. For many years they have volunteered to cook breakfast on Australia Day, Under Eight’s Day at Clifton Primary School, Bunnings and the Christmas in the Street celebrations.

They also man the gate at the Clifton Races and Clifton Show and maintain and hire a barbecue trailer, porta-loo and large marquee at a reduced rate for community use.

Like various volunteer organisations across the country, the Club has struggled to maintain members in recent years. Despite this, the group continues to meet every fortnight and support the Lions Park on East Street, along with numerous local clubs and organisations and people overseas through their spectacles for sight program.

Clifton’s annual Anzac Day commemorations play a very important role in uniting our community and fostering the Anzac spirit of courage, loyalty and mateship.

Organised by the Clifton RSL Sub-Branch, the dawn service, march past and wreath laying ceremony are inclusive and respectful services that continue to grow in significance and popularity.

The Clifton RSL Sub-Branch encourages significant community participation in the services, including a very moving music and visual presentation containing photos of locals who have served.

High school students read a poem and ‘letter from the front’, church members recite the prayer and all local school students participate in the march past.

Various community groups also participate in the services, including the SES, Rural Fire Service and the local Lions Club who cook the barbecue. Golf players drive the veterans and locals ride as Light Horseman.

Friendship, camaraderie and humour also come to the fore at the Gunfire Breakfast and midday barbeque hosted by the RSL and provided free to the community.


Crows Nest

Michelle Edser works tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for people, clubs and charity organisations in the Crows Nest area.

She always gives more than 100% to ensure the success of community events.

Michelle recently helped raise $18,000 to assist a young person with ongoing medical expenses. She also played an integral role in raising $12,000 to enable a local family to provide quality care for a family member in their final weeks of life.

Sporting groups have also benefited from her generosity. Michelle was part of a team that helped raise a significant sum that allowed the Highfields Under 16 Rugby League team to complete a cultural exchange tour of New Zealand. The tour included several boys from Crows Nest.

Incredibly generous, Michelle has donated countless raffle prizes for charitable organisations and clubs and attends as many functions as possible.

Michelle is a member of the Crows Nest Golf Club, Bowls Club, Fishing Club and previously the Crows Nest Second Division Rugby League Club. She is on the management committee of some of these clubs and has been involved in organising charity days, reunions and club anniversaries.

She volunteers her time without hesitation and displays a positive attitude, enthusiasm and generosity.

Michelle epitomises Australian spirit and values.

If there is someone in need, Michelle lends a hand and shows her customary happy, positive attitude.

The inaugural 2019 Crows Nest Country Music Festival was a resounding success, attracting visitors from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Held during June, the event was organised by members of the Crows Nest Show Society and the Crows Nest Australia Day planning committee to promote tourism, raise money and provide entertainment.

The successful event attracted more than 100 caravans and motorhomes, with local businesses and tourism attractions benefiting from the influx of visitors to the region.

Money raised from the event was used to maintain the showgrounds and fund Australia Day initiatives in the community.

It is now anticipated that the Crows Nest Country Music Festival will become an annual event, as part of the Country Music Festival circuit for Queensland.

Neville Gossow started woodchopping at 18 years and is still competing today as an 80-year-old.

Neville was encouraged to pick up an axe by his uncles – Jack and Mick Gossow – and first competed at the Blackbutt Agricultural Show.

He has successfully chopped at agricultural and Royal shows across Queensland and interstate, winning many awards, including 1st Division Underhand chopping at the Brisbane Ekka on several occasions.

Neville also holds many woodshop records, including the veteran title for the most points in Queensland for three years.

In recent years he has successfully teamed with his wife Gabrielle to compete in the Jack and Jill Crosscut Sawing.

Neville also plays cricket and tennis and still competes today at competition level.

Mason Pugh is a rising star in moto trials.

The Pinelands 10-year-old was introduced to the sport a year ago following an invitation from Western Districts Trials Club president James Wagner to attend a Yamaha “come and try” day.

Since then, Mason has committed to moto trials. The discipline relies heavily on a rider’s skill to overcome difficult and various obstacles without stopping or allowing their feet to touch the ground.

Mason was awarded the Queensland Cup in September at the 2019 Queensland MotoTrials championships at Tamborine Mountain.

He later won the 9-12-year-old division at the New South Wales championships at Maroota, north west of Sydney.

Mason would like to compete in Europe and be recognised as one of the best enduro and trial riders in the world.



Goombungee

Errol Luck is a highly respected member of the community. He is an honest and reliable Aussie bloke, who has worked tirelessly in various voluntary roles for the benefit of others.

Errol has lived his whole life in the Boodua and Meringandan area and has a reputation as a caring and committed friend and family-man. He has helped his parents, sons and grandsons in their chosen careers.

Errol served as Meringandan State School P&C president in the late 1970’s and 1980’s and, with other serving committee members, worked hard to raise funds to build the current tennis court.

Errol also helped organise successful Meringandan Rodeos by getting a lot of support and donations from local businesses.

As Boodua Hall Committee president for 15 years, Errol oversaw fundraising initiates that enabled the committee to restump the hall and replace the dance floor and kitchen.

As Goombungee-Haden Agricultural, Horticultural & Pastoral Society president over the past 10 years, Errol oversaw the 50 Years of Showgirl celebrations and the 100-year celebration of the local Show Society.

An established and respected rural real estate agent, Errol has enjoyed a successful career in his chosen profession and can be relied upon to purchase quality cattle for clients at the saleyards.

2019 Goombungee-Haden Show Girl Tomika Pickering is a friendly and approachable young woman who is an active and well-liked volunteer in the community.

Tomika raised $600 for the Goombungee-Haden Show Society in 2019 to be named Miss Charity.

Tomika also won the Goombungee-Haden Princess in the show’s 50th anniversary year and is now an active volunteer at local shows as a judge.

Tomika has grown in confidence over the past year and is a happy and reliable volunteer, who is willing to take on any tasks.  

Tomika organised a car rally and show while she was a student at Oakey State High School that raised funds for the Queensland Cancer Council.

She worked hard at school and achieved a school-based traineeship which resulted in full-time employment.

Tomika has a heart of gold and a personality like no other.

Kulpi State School’s ‘Potting it all Together’ workshops are credited for bringing the community together and providing children and adults with the chance to explore the world of pottery.

Organised by the Kulpi State School, with the support of the Flying Arts Alliance’s Small Schools Fund, the workshops encouraged students to create their own unique ceramic artwork, with the support of family members, during a five-day cross-curriculum art, science and design workshop.

Students and their family members worked together to design, model, glaze and fire a series of ceramic artworks under guidance of experienced artist, Dianne Peach.

Finished pieces were exhibited at the Rosalie Gallery at Goombungee.

Charli Mickelborough is a talented and committed all-round sportswoman, who has competed at state level for athletics for the past two years.

Active in all sports from a young age, Charli is a member of the Oakey Junior Rugby League Club and the Highfields & Districts Little Athletics Centre, where she was named Little Athletics Aged Champion in 2018 and 2019.

Charli competed at the Little Athletics State Championships in Townsville last year and represented the Darling Downs in long-jump at Cairns.

Hardworking and determined, Charli was recognised as Kingsthorpe State School Sports Captain in her final year of primary school and received the 2018 Kingsthorpe State School Sportsperson of the Year Award.

She is an inspiration to her family, teachers, coaches and friends, who look forward to seeing what Charli can achieve in the future.

Jacko's Hawaiian Bowls Day is credited with bringing people together, raising awareness of cancer and remembering Wayne Riethmuller.

Better known as “Jacko’, Wayne was a well-liked, friendly and funny man who was Peranga Bowls Club president for many years.

Wayne was also known throughout the district as someone who was happy to assist at all events and help others in need.

Tragedy struck in 2012 when Jacko was diagnosed with bowel cancer. After a tough battle, he passed away in October 2015.

Soon after, his wife Jenny and children Craig, Courtney and Bryce, decided to honour the great man and help other struggling families.

The first Jacko's Hawaiian Bowls Day was held in 2016, raising $4300 for Queensland Cancer Council and Bowel Cancer Australia.

Since then, the annual Jacko’s Hawaiian Bowls Day has raised almost $30,000 for the above charities and St Andrew’s Oncology Unit in Toowoomba.


Highfields 

Judith Gray is a fully trained and registered wildlife carer who has been rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife across our region since 2006.

Judith specialises in rescuing koalas and has trained to be very knowledgeable in assessing sick and injured koalas.

In 2019, Judi and her husband rescued 38 koalas in the local that were injured as a result of road trauma, disease or dog attacks.

Every koala rescue can take hours, requiring flagging injured or sick koalas down from the treetops, which requires specialist training.

Each koala is then transported by Judith to a wildlife hospital or veterinary clinic, including Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital on the Sunshine Coast or the RSPCA Wacol Wildlife Hospital in Brisbane. These trips are fully self-funded and done in her own time.

Judith is also a trained submitter of wildlife observation data for the Wildnet Database, submitting vital records for mapping, which is used by local and state governments.

She has also supported various conservation projects on a voluntary basis, including preservation of the Charles and Motee Rogers Bushland Reserve at Highfields and work to preserve native trees and remnant vegetation.

Judith has organised seven consecutive Clean Up Australia Day Events at Highfields and a community awareness project to encourage people to not feed ducks at Peacehaven Park.

Emma Kingdom is a school teacher at Mary MacKillop Catholic College who is recognised in her community for her strong sense of responsibility, incredible work ethic and humility.

Emma’s support for young people goes beyond the requirements of her profession and the relationships she has fostered with her colleagues and parents is nothing short of incredible.

In her spare time, Emma regularly attends Highfields Church and plays hockey. Last year she coached the junior girls’ division 2 hockey team, where her love of the sport and mentorship was valued and appreciated by club members and her team.

A talented sportswoman, Emma was captain of the Newtown A2 women’s team and was voted Best and Fairest in 2019. She also received the Newtown Hockey Club’s award for most consistent female player.

Emma has been described by her peers as a remarkable young woman who deserves recognition for her contribution to our community.

Greg Gall has made a significant and sustained contribution to volleyball in our region over the past 50 years. He has coached young players from entry level to elite competition.

Most of Greg’s involvement has been voluntary, including self-funding of travel costs and course attendance to ensure young people benefit from the fitness and camaraderie derived from the sport.

He has travelled for coaching duties, including trips to Melbourne to coach Harristown SHS teams in the Australian Schools’ Cup and around south east Queensland.

He has coached the Toowoomba Titans in the South East Queensland League and the Premier Volleyball League in Brisbane for more than 20 years.

In 2000 Greg was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident where he sustained a brain injury and broken bones. Two months later he travelled to Sydney for training as a statistician for the Sydney Olympics. In September that year he was courtside recording statistics at volleyball venues at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

After the Olympics he successfully applied for a Commonwealth grant to purchase Olympic volleyball flooring and equipment, which was needed for the new Harristown SHS gym. This allowed the school to continue to develop their training and playing with state-of-the-art facilities.

Greg has been awarded life memberships of the Toowoomba Volleyball Association and the Queensland Volleyball Association, which is testament to the high respect that he is held in at local and state levels.

His dedication and lifetime commitment to coaching volleyball and mentoring young people is inspirational.

Many of the young people Greg has trained have remained in the sport and are now themselves leaders of the local association.

The St Anne's Market and Car Boot Sales are held four times a year and are considered major social events in the Highfields area, attracting hundreds of people and benefiting local businesses.

Hosted by St Anne’s Anglican Church, the events typically attract 50 stallholders who sell crafts, household and garage items.

Stalls are available for hire, with sausage sizzles, Devonshire tea and a cake stall also popular with market goers.

St Anne’s is a welcoming community where people of all ages come together to worship, grow in faith and character and serve the community.

Funds raised from the November 2019 Christmas craft and food stall was donated to charity.

Previous funds have gone towards maintaining the Church building and a future building extension, which could be used as an emergency and evacuation centre.


Millmerran and Cecil Plains

Millmerran Landcare Group coordinator Rebecca Kirby is an exuberant and passionate volunteer, who goes above and beyond her role to improve our natural environment.

Working with the kindergarten and schools, Rebecca has upgraded gardens, introduced recycling and inspired children to look after our environment.

She also organises bee-keeping workshops and has organised groups to plant trees, providing shelter for birds and wildlife for years to come.

Rebecca has installed educational signs to promote awareness of local flora and fauna and set up recycling for printer cartridges and beauty products packaging in Millmerran.

She also organises Clean Up Australia Day in Millmerran each year and has motivated larger businesses in the area to pick up rubbish beside roads, which they continue to do regularly.

The Carp Buster is a long-term event which Rebecca organises to reduce the number of pest fish in our rivers. It is a day of fun with a barbecue, raffles and prizes for different categories that attracts people from far and wide.

A talented grant writer, Rebecca successfully secured funding for several community groups, including Landcare and the Millmerran Inglewood Texas Junior Rugby League Club, of which she is the secretary.

She also volunteers time to support the club and encourages children to participate in junior rugby league.

Sarah Lindenmayer uses her teaching and leadership talents to help others achieve their goals.

A Millmerran Scout Group patrol leader, Sarah has volunteered at various community events such as The Australian Camp Oven Festival, the Millmerran Show, Christmas in the Bush, Historical Society open days and Landcare days.

At the 2018 Scout Nighthawk activity held at Crows Nest, Sarah and her patrol came equal second out of 150 teams.

She also participated in many hikes and camps during her time at Scouts and completed a 32km hike to achieve The Australian Scout Medallion.

Sarah was vice captain of Millmerran Primary School in 2015 and received the Lions Club Memorial Award for upholding the social values of the school and broader community.

Since moving to school in Toowoomba in 2019, Sarah has taken part in all activities and subjects on offer, including drama, dance and art.

Craig Stevens is a motivated, competitive young family man with a will to represent Australia in the Triathlon World Championships.

Craig enjoyed a very successful 2018-2019 triathlon season, finishing on the podium in the Texas, Oakey, Dalby, Roma and St George triathlons, which culminated in him winning the Western Downs Tri Series.

Further afield, he finished fifth in his age group and 35th overall at the prestigious Mooloolaba Triathlon and second at the Robina Q5 Triathlon, with both events attracting more than 1000 competitors.

Craig represented Australia as part of a 317-member national team that competed in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he finished 16th in the world in the 30-34 age group.

Craig always displays great sportsmanship, trains very hard and is very humble in his success.

He is an inspiration to those around him and is proud to represent Australia.

Jack Smith is an outstanding athlete who has represented Queensland in shotput and discus for three consecutive years.

A quiet achiever, Jack was named captain of the 2019 Queensland Track and Field team to top an incredible year of sport.

At the Australian School Championships, Jack won a gold medal in discus and a bronze medal in shot put in the boys’ 12-year-old division.

Jack also won a gold medal in shot put at the Australian School Championships in 2018 and a gold medal in shot put in 2017 at the Pacific School Games.

Talented and humble, Jack has a very promising future in athletics and is a very worthy recipient of the Millmerran / Cecil Plains Australia Day Junior Sports Award.

The Yallambee Ladies’ Auxiliary has supported the residents of the Millmerran Community Retirement Village for 30 years.

The group comprises volunteers who raise money to improve the lives of the elderly at the nursing home by purchasing items or hosting events.

In 2019, the group raised funds to purchase equipment to develop a hairdressing salon at the facility so residents could enjoy a total hairdressing experience.

Every resident at the village receives a birthday gift. The volunteers also support the residents’ Christmas party and help with a gift for the celebration.

These wonderful ladies also support residents by helping with personal shopping, mending and sewing clothing and supplying and maintaining plants around the village.

The Auxiliary ladies are a vital part of the Yallambee community and allow residents to remain connected with the wider Millmerran community.

The Millmerran Pony Club hosted the 2019 Pony Club Queensland State Championships at Millmerran which successfully attracted 265 riders and 300 horses from as far afield as Atherton in North Queensland and Gloucester in New South Wales.

Held from September 30 to October 4, the event attracted favourable comments from visitors and generated business in Millmerran.

Before the event, the Pony Club invested heavily in the refurbishment of the main arena with the assistance of the Campdraft Committee.

The committee also built a 10-bay horse wash and upgraded power and water with the support of The Australian Camp Oven Committee and The Community Liquor and Gambling Fund.

Millmerran embraced the event. Members of the Men’s Shed painted the jumping rails and the Heritage Bank branch purchased Jump Wings for the Club, with the support of the Doctor’s Surgery. 

The Lions Club, Millmerran State School and St Joseph’s School provided catering for the week and the Millmerran Commerce and Progress Association organised a welcome bag for all the riders.

The Millmerran Pony Club was established in 1963 and enjoys a strong working relationship with the Show Society.


Oakey

Lesley Hughes and her husband Alan are widely recognised as devoted Christians in the Oakey community.

They have devoted their retirement to helping others in need.

Hardworking and selfless, Lesley is the Oakey Christian Leaders’ Network secretary and serves as the Religions Instruction Coordinator at schools at Oakey and Kingsthorpe.

As part of her voluntary roles, Lesley organises items for the “Chappies’ Chat” column in the local paper and is very involved in chaplaincy at the schools, including Breakfast Club on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

Lesley also provides chaplaincy services at the hospital and the meatworks.

Welcoming and inclusive, Lesley and Alan also assist refugees in the community through the church they attend in Toowoomba.

Lesley previously has volunteered her time with Clean Up Australia Day and other environmental issues. 

Jack Lord is a hardworking, responsible and reliable young man who served as the Oakey State High School Captain in 2019.

Jack is also the Oakey Junior Chamber of Commerce president and was named Oakey Lions Youth of the Year in 2019.

As Junior Chamber president, Jack worked with the committee to host various events for young people in the community, including a movie night, a skateboarding competition and a music festival at the Oakey Showgrounds.

Jack has a keen interest in engineering and planes and was the recipient of the 2017 AYAA Future Aerospace Leader Award and 2018 Qantas Quest Award for his hard work with aerospace events.

A keen sportsman, Jack plays indoor cricket in Oakey and was voted ‘most improved player’ of the Toowoomba-based AFL Cougars Senior Team.

Jack is a wonderful role model and a very worthy recipient as Oakey Young Citizen of the Year.

Isabelle is a talented and naturally competitive swimmer, who has her sights set on representing Australia at the Olympic Games.

Isabelle started her education at Jondaryan State School, before moving to St Monica’s in Oakey. She graduated from St Ursula’s College in Toowoomba last year and swims for the Toowoomba Grammar Swim Club.

Isabelle won Silver in the 200m butterfly at the Australian Age Swimming Championships in early 2019, after recovering from a back injury. In June 2019 she finished 6th in the 200m butterfly and 12th in 200m backstroke at the World Championship Trials in Brisbane.

She won six medals at the Queensland Secondary Swimming Championships in 2018 and was identified to train at the Australian Institute of Sport.

Isabelle served as Sports Captain of St Ursula’s in 2019 and was named Senior Star of the Year, College Sportswoman of the Year and 2019 Player of the Year at the school’s annual sports award evening.

A valued team member and incredibly committed athlete, Isabelle has worked hard to become one of Australia’s best young swimmers. 

Isabelle Anderson is a vivacious and dedicated young lady who has a bright and promising future in the equestrian arena.

2019 was a particularly successful year for Isabelle. She was a Top 10 finalist at the First Ridden Hunter Pony Class at the Grand National Championships in Sydney.

Isabella also performed incredibly well at the Australian Interschool National Championships, where she was fifth Overall National Champion Primary Show Hunter Rider.

At the Royal Brisbane Show, she won Reserve Champion Riding Pony Hunter, Reserve Champion APSB Mare, Supreme Champion Pinto as well as several other placings. She was also the winner of the best presented horse exhibit in the Grand Parade.

A role model to others, Bella was also awarded the Equestrian Queensland Spirit Award Winner for 2019 for Sportsmanship.

Away from the equestrian arena, Isabella is a talented performer who was invited to dance at Disneyland for an iDance Studios USA Tour in 2018.

Their name is a complete giveaway.

Oakey country music band, The Happy Wanderers, deliver exactly what their name suggests.

The Happy Wanders love to sing and play. They do a marvellous job backing various artists and play whatever musical instruments they have.

On occasions, they might not have heard a song previously, but they pool their talents and get on with an excellent rendition.

The Happy Wanders comprise Evelyn King on bass guitar, Ron King on rhythm and lead guitar, Lyle Stegar on rhythm guitar and Jeanette Kuhl who plays piano and accordion.

Elaine Weise controls the sound with Kevin Webber out the front as compere.

Across nine years of performances, they have been happy and willing to lend their talents for charitable causes.

They have raised around $90,000 for different charities.

The group continues to entertain with a smile with a keen focus on supporting the community.

It is a privilege to meet such a happy group and enjoy their happy shows.

The Oakey branch of the Queensland Country Women’s Association celebrated 95 years of community service in 2019.

Like CWA’s across the country, the branch serves the interests of women and children and provides friendship and mutual support to its members.

Established in 1924, the Oakey branch has also contributed significantly to the betterment of life around Oakey by establishing the CWA Hospital and CWA House in Oakey. (recently sold to McLean Care)

The branch has also hosted the annual Oakey baby show for 59 consecutive years, bringing joy and delight to young children. The members also have supported wider issues, such as fundraising for international initiatives.

In recent years, the group has made significant efforts to give back to the community and forge stronger relationships with other groups to deliver wider benefits to Oakey and surrounding districts.

The Filipino-Australian Community in Oakey, Inc. was established in 2016 to help Filipino-Australians integrate with the community and build connections and camaraderie through organised activities.

By encouraging community spirit through working together, the organisation also aims to assist everyone in their personal and community development.

Last year, the group organised a Philippine Independence Day Celebration in Oakey that attracted more than 1000 participants from across Queensland and New South Wales.

This incredibly successful event promoted cultural inclusion and tolerance and boosted tourism in Oakey and across the region.

During the year, the group also raised funds to donate a basketball backboard to the community in partnership with St Monica’s School.

Members have been invited to perform in multiple cultural celebrations around Queensland, including the Toowoomba Languages and Cultures Festival, Harmony Day in Oakey and Toowoomba, Dalby's Delicious & Delightful Festival and the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.


Pittsworth

Greg Quinn has generously contributed to the Pittsworth community and its sporting clubs for the best part of 35 years.

The youngest of seven children, Greg attended St Stephen’s Primary School at Pittsworth, before serving as school captain and sports captain at Pittsworth State High School in 1986.

A talented sportsman, Greg represented Queensland Country in rugby league during his playing days and is serving his third term as President of Pittsworth Senior Rugby League.

Under his leadership, Pittsworth secured a Queensland Rugby League Intrust Super Cup game, as well as Pittsworth’s first Toowoomba Rugby League Anzac Day fixture game, both held at Club Pittsworth in 2019.

Greg has given more than 20 years’ service to Pittsworth Junior Rugby League as a player, volunteer, coach and President. He is recognised for his consistent encouragement and development of young players.

Greg is also an active member of Club Pittsworth, volunteering countless hours over the years to working bees or club functions. His guidance has been a major contributing factor to the growth and development of Club Pittsworth.  

Given his passion for athletics, Greg is one of the driving forces behind the annual Arthur Postle Sprint that is now a permanent event on the Queensland Athletics calendar.

Greg and his wife also have devoted countless hours to Pittsworth swimming, cricket, little athletics, basketball, netball and local schools.

Along the way they have inspired their seven children to be active in the community and raised money for their respective schools, clubs and charities.

Ben Cavanagh is a talented and caring young man who has demonstrated great commitment to his family, school and community.

Ben was Pittsworth State High School vice-captain in 2019, where he maintained a high level of academic achievement. He was a member of the school band, took part in eisteddfods and helped other students with assignments and tutoring in mathematics.

Ben won the Lions Youth of the Year in 2019 and represented Pittsworth Rotary Club at the 2019 National Science Youth Forum in Canberra.

On the sporting field, he played rugby league for the school and the Pittsworth Danes and served as club captain for the Junior Danes in 2018.

Following an injury, Ben became a referee and officiated at the Queensland rugby league school titles in 2018 and 2019. Last year he was awarded the Referee with the Most Potential award from the Toowoomba Referees’ Association.

Ben plays cricket for Southbrook, has represented the school in athletics and has been in the Darling Downs orienteering team.

His community involvement includes playing the trumpet for Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services at Pittsworth and Southbrook.

He has been a member of Cubs and Scouts and is an active member of the Pittsworth Amateur Theatrical Society, where he not only performs, but helps with backstage work.

The Pittsworth Amateur Theatrical Society (PATS) was formed in 2015 to help people of all ages develop their musical abilities and provide entertainment for the community.

Since its formation, the society’s talented members have produced three successful musicals, including Oliver in 2015, My Australia in 2016 and The Sound of Music in 2019.

The Sound of Music was a particularly exceptional performance. It was a sell-out that showcased the extraordinary talents of young and mature Pittsworth performers.

The production also highlighted the wonderful community spirit in Pittsworth, with many people helping behind the scenes to produce a top-class musical.

The self-funded society charges a minimal membership fee and raises money through raffles, donations and entry fees to their productions. 

Esther Quinn is an integral part of the Pittsworth sporting community, who has volunteered as a coach in many sports, while balancing her own family and work demands.

Over the past six years, Esther has been the mainstay of the Pittsworth Piranhas Swimming Club. The club has blossomed, with Esther instilling a love of swimming in club members.

As club president and coach, Esther selflessly gives her time to train children with no financial gain.

Esther also has coached netball in Pittsworth since 2010 and has passed on valuable skills and her love for the game. She also volunteered as a Little Athletics coach for four years.

As a coach, Esther combines her passion for sport, skill as a teacher, patience as a parent and pride in her community to help young people reach their potential.

Away from the sports field, Esther provides regular transport for an elderly community member to visit the local pool.

When she is not coaching, Esther maintains her own fitness. She is a fine role model for fellow Pittsworth residents who are looking to achieve better health, wellbeing, enjoyment and success.

Coaching from the heart, Esther brings out the best in young people and has a gentle, but very influential influence on many sports in Pittsworth.

Johanna Wilson’s effort and dedication to continually improving her athletic performance is an inspiration to many young people.

Johanna enjoyed a remarkable 2019 by winning the Queensland Cross Country title and finishing third at the National Cross Country Championships in the Under 16 division.

She finished third in the 3000 metres representing Darling Downs at the State Track and Field Championships at Cairns.

Last year, Johanna was the first female to finish the Peak2Park 10km run and was second in the Second Range Crossing half marathon. She also completed in the Second Range Crossing Bike Ride (78km), the Range Crossing Ride (160km) and the Toowoomba to Mooloolaba 220km ride.

She was named Queen of the Mountain at the Great Brisbane Bike Ride (110km) and finished second at the Noosa Classic 160km ride. Johanna also earned first place female in two Toowoomba Tri Club duathlons and was named Pittsworth State High School Senior Athlete of the Year.

Johanna rises at 4.30am daily and trains without compromise. She runs and rides in all conditions, including heat, rain and cold.

Three years ago, Pittsworth residents Carolyn Kohler, Donna Ariell, Jo Saal, Kerry McIntyre and Rhonda Ashton were given the unenviable task of once again making the Pittsworth Show Society's Show Ball a highly anticipated community event.

In the space of three years the innovative group of women has resurrected the Show Ball format and increased attendance from 50 to more than 230 patrons.

The Night of Nights last year was extensively supported by the wider community through sponsorship and raffle prizes, successfully raising significant funds to maintain and upgrade facilities at the Pittsworth Showgrounds.

The updated format has also enabled Pittsworth’s young people to share their passion and vision for agriculture through the Showgirl and Rural Ambassador competitions.

In a time when so many other rural communities have abandoned similar events due to a lack of interest, these inspirational women have created a successful and enjoyable event the whole community can enjoy.


Toowoomba

Estelle Dempster is president of the Toowoomba Trefoil Guild – the adult section of the Girl Guides, who continue to maintain friendships and serve the community by supporting youth and fundraising activities.

Estelle joined Girl Guides Queensland in 1979 and has since held various leadership positions including State Support Group Adviser, Region Manager for the Darling Downs Border and Regional Learning Partner.

In 2019, Estelle received a highly prestigious Girl Guides Queensland Meritorious Service Award “Emu” for service to all levels in Guiding, including the district, region and state.

Estelle is also involved in various community clubs including the Toowoomba Toastmasters and her local church. She also supports numerous community events including the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services.

In 2020, Girl Guides will celebrate 100 years of supporting the Toowoomba community and it is only fitting that Estelle be recognised for her 40 years of service to that organisation and our community during this anniversary year.

Estelle is a calming influence and a wonderful role model to many, who continues to serve our community well into her retirement years.

Shannyn O’Brien is part of the leadership team at Off The Chain K9 Rescue Queensland, where she works tirelessly to rehabilitate and rehome animals in need.

Devoted and energetic, Shannyn initially signed up as a foster carer, before assuming responsibility as one of the main rescue leaders.

She also handles adoptions, events, intake of new pound animals, online advertising and photography. She devotes around 30 hours a week in her voluntary role.

Shannyn is described by her peers as a happy go-getter, with a strong moral compass and community spirit; someone who leads with integrity and love.

Despite working full-time in an aged care facility, Shannyn always makes herself available to help animals and humans in need, including dog rescues on cold winter mornings.

A quiet achiever and very humble, Shannyn is a very worthy recipient of Toowoomba Young Citizen of the Year.

Mason Hughes is an incredibly talented athlete who has a very bright future on and off the sporting field.

A student at Harristown SHS, Mason has represented his school and his club, the Darling Downs Athletics Club, at local, state and national level in discus and shot put.

In 2019, Mason won a gold medal in the discus and a silver in shot put at the Oceania Athletics Championships in Townsville, including a championship record in discus.

He also won gold in discus and shot put at the Australian Athletics Championships in Sydney in the Under 18 division, and a silver and bronze in the Under 20 age group – a remarkable achievement for a 16-year-old.

Mason trains at least five times a week, including every Saturday at the Gold Coast with the Queensland Athletics Throws Coach, Brett Green.

As well as his on-field achievements, Mason was chosen as co-compere for the Darling Downs School Sport 40th anniversary breakfast in March last year and was honoured as male field captain for the Darling Downs school sport athletics team.

Mason was named Harristown SHS Sportsperson of the Year in 2019 and will serve as male School Captain this year.

Mason exemplifies competitiveness and sportsmanship and is a wonderful role model to young people in our community as an athlete and community leader.

From little things, big things grow, is the perfect adage for the Business disABILITY Awards of Australia.

Founded in 2012 by a father and a few of his friends, the Awards aim to recognise businesses that support, educate and employ people with a disability.

Managed by a hard-working committee, the awards have grown from 60 attendees in 2012 to more than 250 in 2019. Last year it generated $85, 000 for The Toowoomba West Special School P&C.

Over the years the committee has managed to attract high-calibre guest speakers, including Kurt Fearnley, Jessica Rowe and Mat Rogers.

This year the committee has set an ambitious target of 500 attendees and the successful event will also be replicated by way of a licensing agreement in Brisbane in 2020 and on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast by 2021.

More importantly, the event has achieved its ambitious goal to spark meaningful and thought-provoking conversations about giving people with a disability the chance to gain and retain meaningful employment.