Cambooya Citizen of the Year – Ian Whan

Ian has been a resident of the Felton district for more than 20 years and currently serves as Chairman of Friends of Felton Inc, Secretary of the Felton Hall Committee and Committee Member of Cambooya Landcare.

Ian has tertiary qualifications in agricultural economics (BSc), a Master’s in economics and agricultural science and a diploma of management. He uses his skills very effectively for the community of Felton and Cambooya.

Ian played a significant part in the Friends of Felton's successful submissions to halt proposed coal mines and petrochemical plants in the Felton Valley. He now continues his long association with Friends of Felton presenting the case against the Inland Rail running through the valley and reducing the littering problem.

Ian was an integral member of the Felton Food Festival committee and oversaw the traffic management when the festival was at its height with 12,000 attendees. He is also a representative on the Darling Downs Environmental Council and organises a community firefighting unit based in Felton.

With his attention to detail and negotiating skills, Ian was instrumental in acquiring a replacement Felton Hall and, with the support of his wife Vicki, has worked tirelessly for the community for everyone’s benefit.
Generous with his time and skills, Ian has made a significant difference to many local organisations and is an inspiration to us all.

Cambooya Sports Award Senior – Kiara Brissington

Kiara Brissington is a talented and dedicated horsewoman, who achieved much success at horse events across Queensland and New South Wales during 2020, coming away with various awards and overall placings.

In April, Kiara and her trusty steed, Rockstar, competed at the NSWPC Sporting and Campdraft Championships at Merriwa, placing first in campdraft and third in gymkhana.

In October, they competed at the PCQ State championships in Millmerran, where they finished first in the Formal Gymkhana, sixth in the Sporting Gymkhana, second in the Stockman's challenge and tenth in campdraft. The pair also won the overall trophy for the rider gaining the highest points on the same horse.

Kiara is completing a school-based traineeship with Queensland Racing for an Advanced Stable Hand and has gained extensive experience with horses while working at the Magic Millions sales.
Long-term, Kiara hopes to work on a property and continue her work with horses.

Cambooya Sports Award Junior – Joint winners: Daniel Burge and Ellie Stenzel

Daniel Burge is a talented and committed hockey player, who has represented his club, the region and state in indoor and outdoor hockey. His indoor hockey achievements include selection in the Queensland Indoor Hockey Team from 2017 to 2019.

Dan also achieved his goal of gaining selection in the Queensland field hockey team in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

In 2020, Dan represented the Darling Downs at the Queensland Secondary Schools’ field hockey titles in the Under 19 division and was selected in the Queensland Schools’ U16 state hockey team. Dan was named U13 indoor player of the year in 2018, Red Lions junior goalkeeper of the year in 2017 & 2018 and was the Sports Darling Downs incentive award recipient in 2018 and 2019. He is also a key member of his club's premiership teams, winning titles in U13 and U17s from 2017-2019, before making his A Grade debut in 2020.

One of Dan's greatest achievement's is overcoming a life-threatening kidney injury in 2015, that saw him transported to intensive care at the Lady Cilento Hospital in Brisbane, followed by a recovery period.

Ellie Stenzel is a talented and dedicated athlete, who has achieved significant success in multiple facets of equestrian competition. 

In 2020, Ellie represented Queensland at the Australian Interschool Nationals for Show Horse in her disciplines of Preliminary and Novice Dressage and Show Horse. Ellie also rides at many of the agricultural shows on the Darling Downs from Allora to Chinchilla, often competing in open competitions against adults.

This year, despite the COVID-19 restrictions, she was again awarded Hi Point Junior Handler for the Darling Downs Dilutes and, at the Queensland Dilute Championships in 2019, won the Champion Hunter Saddle Horse in a field of adult riders. The drought has had a massive impact on Ellie’s competition schedule with equestrian pursuits becoming costly. Given this, she works hard on the family farm feeding livestock, rock picking and completing general farming duties.

Ellie completed Year 6 at The Glennie School in 2020, where she was awarded a scholarship for her sporting achievements and her music endeavours. She served as Junior Years’ Equestrian Captain and represented the school in regional competitions for netball, basketball and swimming during her final year of primary school.

Ellie works hard to support and encourage others to achieve their best. She is a role model to others to strive for excellence and be kind to others.

Clifton Citizen of the Year – Keith Muller

The Clifton Citizen of the Year, Keith Muller, is a tireless and dedicated volunteer who has made a significant and sustained contribution to the Clifton community for more than five decades.

A Life Member of the Clifton Bowls Club, Keith served as Club Treasurer for 35 years and President in 1985, 1994 and 1997.

Keith joined the Clifton Show Society in 1964 and, as a 20-year-old, was given responsibility for ring events and later managed bar facilities.

Keith was also involved in the Basketball Association for several years and was a member of the Clifton Jockey Club Inc. during the 1970s and 1980s, where he ran the bar and served as Treasurer for several years.

In 1965, Keith became a Mason and joined the Clifton Masonic Lodge, holding the position of Worshipful Master and Past Master, receiving many honours and jewels.

Over the years, Keith has also assisted at school functions and celebrations, including the Clifton High School's 25th anniversary.

During the early days of the Senior Citizens Club and Committee of the Aged, Keith managed the bar and assisted at functions for many years.

In 2016, Keith received an Ambulance Committee 10 years’ Service Award and has contributed time to many other events, clubs and organisations over the years.
He is recognised in the community as a quiet achiever, who gets on with the job in a pleasant and unassuming way.

Clifton Young Citizen of the Year – Lexie Mitchell

Clifton Young Citizen of the Year, Lexie Mitchell, is a positive role model in our community who demonstrates commitment, tenacity, dedication, and determination.

Lexie completed Year 12 at Clifton State High School in 2020, where she served as one of four school leaders and was a member of the Student Representative Council Executive. This year, she plans to study dentistry at Griffith University, where she has been offered the prestigious Sir Samuel Griffith Scholarship.

Lexie is an outstanding and committed athlete who represented the Darling Downs in swimming at the Queensland Secondary School Championships. She was Senior Sportswoman of the Year at the 2020 Clifton State High School award ceremony and received the prestigious Australian Olympic Change-Maker Award for demonstrating the Olympic Spirit by inspiring local communities through sport. She has participated extensively in STEM extension, is a Darling Downs South West STEM Ambassador and attended the QUT Vice Chancellor's STEM Camp.

She was a team member of the inaugural Mayor's Telstra Technology Award in 2018 and received an Australian Defence Force Future Innovators’ Award in 2020.

Lexie received the QATSIF Award for Young Indigenous Leaders (2020) after attending numerous programs developed by the university of Southern Queensland to develop young Indigenous Leaders.

Clifton Sports Award Senior – Jaeden Ruhle

Clifton Senior Sports Award recipient, Jaeden Ruhle, has represented the South West District at the State Tennis Championships in Rockhampton for the past four years.

In 2020, Jaeden also represented the Darling Downs at the State Championships on the Gold Coast and was named Senior Sportsman of the Year at the Clifton State High School Award Ceremony.

Over the past two years, Jaeden has also been coaching tennis across the region, passing on his passion for the game to children in Clifton, Nobby and Allora. Jaeden coaches tennis five days a week after school and plays tennis in Toowoomba once a week. He also attends tournaments on weekends, where possible, balancing his passion for the game with his high school studies.

A positive role model, Jaeden was accepted into a University of Southern Queensland Headstart Program, where he has started a teaching degree.

Clifton Sports Award Junior – Kehan Edwards

Clifton Junior Sports Award recipient, Kehan Edwards, is a talented athlete who has represented Clifton State High School and the Darling Downs in discus and javelin.

Kehan won the award for Junior Sportsperson of the Year at Clifton State High School in 2019, after winning Age Champion in cross country and athletics and breaking a school record in discus.  From there Kehan represented the Darling Downs at the State Athletics Championships in Cairns where he overcame the challenges of travelling, competition stress and humidity to finish 6th in discus and throw a personal best in javelin.

A dedicated scholar, Kehan has maintained consistent Very High achievements and received an Academic Excellence Award and Application to Study Award in 2019 and 2020.

Kehan won Age Champion at the Clifton State High School athletics carnival in 2020 and has increased his strength and endurance training in preparation for the 2021 season.

Clifton Community Group – Clifton Co-Op Hospital Auxiliary

The Clifton Co-Op Hospital Auxiliary has been in existence for more than 50 years, with a primary purpose of raising funds for the Clifton Hospital complex.

The Auxiliary works tirelessly to raise money to fund furnishings, kitchen items and other items to enhance the care and comfort of patients and residents. Items purchased over the years have been used in all areas of the complex, including the hospital, nursing home, nirvana, sunflower lodge and the medical centre.

Members meet monthly in the Hospital Board Room and host a regular store at the Ute and Boot Markets, where they sell a great selection of cakes, biscuits, slices, jams, relishes, sweets and vegetables. The members’ famous jams and pickles are also sold at the Clifton Hospital and The Careflight Shop and they are often seen selling raffle tickets outside Foodworks.

Some Auxiliary members are now in their 90s, but they continue to serve the community quietly behind the scenes with a smile.

2020 was a difficult year for the Auxiliary due to COVID-19 restrictions, but generous donations enabled the Auxiliary to continue purchasing essential items that were requested.

Clifton Community Event – Pilton Soldiers’ Memorial Hall Committee and Pilton Soldiers’ Memorial Hall Centenary Committee 2020

On the 26th January 2020, the Pilton Hall Centenary Committee organised a commemorative day to celebrate 100 years of the opening of Queensland's very first Soldiers' Memorial Hall.

The successful day included an official ceremony, dedication of plaques, historical displays, photographs, vintage vehicles, a church service, maypole, a fashion parade, games and food.  The Hall includes a war museum and honour boards that capture the history of the area and its residents, reminding us to remember our past and to be thankful for our future.

Pilton Hall Committee Member Shirley Murray published a book to commemorate the Hall anniversary that captured our pioneering history for future generations to treasure and enjoy.

In a period of devastating drought, bushfires and negativity, the day raised Aussie spirits and gave the district a sense of anticipation and excitement.

To honour this centenary with such a successful Australia Day event has meant that history will be preserved for future generations and the Hall will continue to be a long-lasting presence in our community.

It is a place where people can meet, organise, create, eat, dance, sing, learn and worship during good and bad times, keeping the community alive.

Crows Nest Citizen of the Year – Narelle Gluer

Gentle, kind-hearted and hard-working, Narelle is a respected and valued member of the Crows Nest community, who approaches every conversation with a genuine interest and an empathetic heart.

A mother of two beautiful young women, Samantha and Elouise, Narelle donates her time generously to various community organisations, including the Show Society, where she guides Showgirl entrants on wardrobe suggestions, decorum, fundraising, dancing lessons, sponsorship and support.

Further to her involvement in the local show, Narelle helped co-coordinate the Darling Downs Showgirl Competition at the Toowoomba Royal show.

With organising being Narelle’s forte, she has co-organised a number of ‘G’day USA’ group student excursions and has volunteered at the Toowoomba youth ballet company.

Narelle became a member of Lions five years ago and works tirelessly for this organisation via fundraising and organising Lions Youth of the Year events, Lions Conventions and leadership projects. She also helps with the breakfast club at Crows Nest State School and has been involved with the Crows Nest Girls’ Brigade for 15 years, helping and guiding the future young women of Crows Nest.

Her quiet determination, generous heart and empathetic ‘you’ve got this’ nature is what makes Narelle Gluer a role model for many.

Crows Nest Young Citizen of the Year – Travis Morice

Crows Nest Young Citizen of the Year, Travis Morice, is a community-oriented and selfless individual who volunteers his time to various organisations within our community.

An active member of the Crows Nest Boys’ Brigade, Travis has earned various encouragement and ‘sure and steadfast’ awards in recognition of his voluntary efforts. Travis was Junior Rural Ambassador of the Crows Nest Show in 2019/2020 and also served as a Junior Steward.

In previous years Travis has been a member of the local swimming club where he has achieved encouragement awards, taking part in life-saving activities at the coast, helping with fundraising and wherever a hand was required.

Travis is a keen trail bike rider and recently he has helped with the CNSS Funduro bike ride to fundraise for school. Apart from setting up and cleaning on the day, he swept the tracks and helped riders across the weekend.

In 2018, Travis joined, and was a charter member, of the newly formed Crowfields Leo Club (a youth section of Lions). Travis has been an active member of the club with his fellow Leos and has attended two state Leo conventions.
Travis has his community in his heart and his country in his blood. He works the land and is proud of who he is and is not afraid to get in there and get his hands dirty.

He’s proud to be Australian and that can be seen in everything he does.

Crows Nest Sports Award - Junior – Mason Pugh

Mason Pugh has been riding motorbikes since he was three and currently competes across Queensland in Moto Trials with the goal of competing in Europe.

COVID-19 had a huge impact on events this year, but Mason was lucky enough to participate in several competitions in the second half of the year on vintage and modern bikes. The first State Title event was the AMA State Twinshock Titles held in Central Queensland. This event saw Mason competing on a 1974 Yamaha TY175 in some very dusty and rocky conditions where he finished second in a very tight result. The AMA State Titles for modern bikes was held south of Stanthorpe. Mason produced a perfect score on the Saturday and finished third overall after Sunday’s completion.

Mason also won a Championship Trophy in the AMA Combined Club Championship and the Western Districts’ Trials Club competitions.

Crows Nest Community Group – Crows Nest Men’s Shed

Some say the Crows Nest Men’s Shed gets the retired hubby out from under the wife's feet for a few hours a week. But this passionate organisation is so much more than that.

Formed in 2018, the Crows Nest Men’s Shed has grown to include more than 30 members, consisting of men from all ages, capabilities and from all walks of life, including members with special needs and their care supporters.

The Shed provides its members with an opportunity to connect socially, support each other during happy and sad times, learn new skills and pass on expertise to others. Members also enjoy contact with other Men’s Sheds across Australia and overseas, including regular zoom meetings during COVID-19.

The Shed offers its services to individuals, local businesses, and other organisations within the community, quite often for just the cost of materials.

The members have built a toy kitchen for the local kindergarten, restored a garden seat for the QCWA, installed a memorial garden in front of the police station and helped pensioners with maintenance projects.

The hardworking members also helped a farmer erect a dog-proof fence, constructed an outdoor seat at the Crows Nest Ambulance and erected wheelchair access for a young local resident who had terminal cancer. Members also cook barbecues for events and have undertaken projects for the RSL, Bowls Club, Golf Club, Show Society and Historical Society to name a few.

Crows Nest Community Event - Crows Nest A H & I Society Inc Virtual Show

With the announcement of a world pandemic, a lot of scheduled yearly events were cancelled.

The Crows Nest Show Society had spent the previous nine months planning their annual event to showcase the region and, following a quick executive meeting, decided to create a Virtual Crows Nest Show to keep the enthusiasm for the annual show alive.

Through the Society's Facebook page, people were invited to enter various competitions in the 12 days leading up to what would have been the Crows Nest Show date 2020. Before each day's competition, notable show competitors and judges would give online tips for the entries and people were encouraged to view daily entries and take note of winners. No entry fees were collected, or prize money paid during the virtual show, as the overall purpose of the virtual show was to keep interest alive in the local show event. The event was hailed a success and, as a result, many other Show Societies, including the Brisbane Royal National Show Society, copied the Crows Nest idea and held their own ‘Virtual Show’.

This is yet another initiative of the Crows Nest Show Society which has been devised and then adopted and used by other show societies across Australia.

Goombungee Citizen of the Year – Gary Deakin

Gary is passionate about preserving history, making a difference and advocating for the future of regional communities, especially the town of Peranga.

Gary works tirelessly to improve Windmill Park and the Peranga Hall and has been successful in sourcing external funding to purchase and install exercise equipment for the benefit of the entire community.

He has been the driving force behind the town’s newest project, the Peranga Heritage Centre, that aims to preserve iconic local history and attract tourists to the region. Gary’s experience has been vital for the successful delivery of events such as ‘Another Day in the Park’ and the annual Christmas Cent Sale.

His ability to adapt when things haven’t gone to plan and to modify events to ensure the core elements are still delivered is to be commended.

Gary also plays an active role in supporting the surrounding communities of Quinalow, Maclagan, Malling and Kulpi and is an active member of Toowoomba Regional Council’s Heritage Advisory Committee.

Goombungee Sports Award - Junior – Noah Mickelborough

Noah Mickelborough is an energetic and talented young athlete, who represented Highfields Little Athletics at the State Athletics Championships in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

He was named Highfields Little Athletics aged champion in Under 7s, 8s, 9s and 10s and played rugby league for the Oakey Bears Junior Rugby League Club from 2016 to 2019.

Noah attends Kingsthorpe State School, where he has won aged champion in swimming, cross country and athletics for the past three years. 

Noah always puts up his hand to play any sports at school. He continued to train during COVID-19, practising track and field in the backyard as much as possible. 

Noah has a heart of gold and recognises that good sportsmanship is more important than winning.

Goombungee Community Group – Goombungee Public Hall

The Goombungee Public Hall Committee is credited for bringing people together and fostering community spirit by hosting various events and activities throughout the year.

In January, the Committee holds an annual Australia Day breakfast in the hall and tirelessly supports various community events, including dinner dances, school concerts and Toowoomba Regional Council meetings.

Inclusive and friendly, the Committee is proactive at promoting events and ensuring everyone in the community feels welcome to attend. 

The hardworking Committee also oversees the hiring of the hall for private events, ensuring the longevity of this wonderful community asset.

Goombungee Community Spirit – Loretta Voll

For more than 30 years, Loretta Voll has been an active and hardworking member of various community organisations in Haden and Goombungee.

Her work ethic, kindness and humble character make her a worthy recipient of an Australia Day Community Spirit award.

Loretta joined the Haden Public Hall Committee as a member in 2010 and became Vice President in 2015, later serving as President from 2016-19. Under Loretta’s leadership, the revitalised group has introduced the popular Haden Market Day, an annual Dinner Dance and co-running the Haden Block Party. Loretta also oversaw receipt of grants from New Hope Group to paint the interior of the Hall and the purchase of new equipment, including two new commercial-sized ovens and dining chairs. Loretta has been instrumental in these endeavours, encouraging the committee to pursue any venture which will keep the Hall running for the benefit of the local community.

Another of her passions is the Goombungee-Haden Show, where she serves as Chief Steward of the Home Cookery section. Loretta competes in the section, where she often wins prizes in fiercely contested categories, such as the fruit cake section.

Over the years, Loretta has been an active member on various local organisations, such as the Goombungee Rodeo Committee, Haden State School P&C, Committee for the 100th Anniversary of the Haden School, Committee for the 90th Anniversary of the Haden School, the 125th Anniversary of the Haden District and more.

Highfields Citizen of the Year – Sue Scanlan 

The Highfields Citizen of the Year Sue Scanlan epitomises the Australian spirit of being there for others and meeting challenges head-on to improve the lives of people in our community.

Sue joined the Toowoomba Horse Riding for the Disabled Association (TRDA) as a volunteer in 1998. Since then she has worked continuously to remove barriers faced by people living with disability. Sue has worked to enable people with special needs, aged from three to 65, to experience the many physical, psychological and social benefits of horse riding. Sue has a passion to make a difference to the lives of others, taking on various roles such as rider’s assistant, side walker, riding coach and treasurer.

Through Sue’s efforts the Toowoomba RDA has achieved and maintained accreditation with the Riding for the Disabled Association of Australia. Sue was the sole accredited coach from 2006 to 2017, committed to ensuring the program was offered every Wednesday and Saturday, despite a lack of suitably qualified coaches in Toowoomba. Sue did not miss a day. Her support and guidance to other volunteers ensures the safety and wellbeing of the riders and the protection of the horses.  She has inspired confidence and trust in young riders, often helping them to overcome their fears and strengthen their belief in their abilities, rather than being bound by the limits placed on them by their disability. Sue has worked closely with parents/carers, health care, and special education providers to help meet the personal and health goals of each rider. Sue has cared for the 10 horses at RDA as if they were her own, visiting them each day to treat any sickness or injury, and agonising over the necessity to terminate a horse if no other option were available.

Throughout the drought, Sue has worked her magic to ensure that the right feed needed by each horse was available. She balanced the budget to keep Toowoomba RDA financially viable, despite the escalating costs of feed, medication and veterinary care.

The long-term volunteers agree that, without the unwavering commitment of Sue Scanlan, the Toowoomba RDA would have closed. This would have resulted in children and adults living with disability in the Toowoomba Region being denied access to the unique physical and emotional therapy that only a horse can give.

Highfields Senior Sports Award – Errol Weir

Errol Weir is an accomplished Indoor Bowler, who won a Gold Medal for Australia in Mixed Fours at the 2019 Trans-Tasman Cup.

Errol has been playing Indoor Bowls for 45 years. He has represented Toowoomba, Queensland and Australia at national and international level.

In 2019, Errol won a Bronze Medal at the Australian National Championships in the men’s singles and won the Gents Pairs Championship at the Queensland State Championship in 2018 and 2019.

Generous by nature, Errol kindly shares his knowledge and skills of the game with new and less experienced players and volunteers his time generously as a Toowoomba Association member.
Errol successfully organised Carnival of Flowers and Australia Day indoor bowling carnivals for many years, attracting many strong players to our region.

He also coached three of his children to Australian trial level, with one representing Australia twice.

Highfields Community Group – Cabarlah Ladies’ Day

Cabarlah Ladies’ Day was imagined by Leonie Brassey and Natalie Fogarty in 2016 to raise funds for HeartKids Queensland, who provide support to children who are born with or acquire heart disease.

The event was organised in memory of Leonie’s son, William, who sadly passed away when he was six weeks old from a hypoplastic left heart.

Childhood Heart Disease (CHD) is the most common birth abnormality in Australia and the leading cause of death for children under one. There is no cure and sadly each week five young Australians will die from CHD.
HeartKids Queensland provides support to children who are born with, or acquire, heart disease, many of whom undergo multiple life-saving heart surgeries. They also provide high quality, caring support, information and advocacy to give hope to families as they undergo their difficult journey.

Now run as an annual event, the Cabarlah Ladies’ Day provides an opportunity for women to come together and enjoy lovely company, stalls, raffles and a fashion parade overlooking the beautiful vines at Bunnyconellen.

Millmerran/Cecil Plains Citizen of the Year – Margot Ladner 

Margot Ladner is a well-respected and active member of the Cecil Plains community, who has made a significant contribution to various community groups over a long time.

A wife, mother, grandmother, farmer, teacher and committed volunteer, Margot has served as Secretary of the Bush Nursing Association for many years.

When the organisation changed to Anglicare Southern Queensland Cecil Plains Bush Nursing Fundraising Co-operative, Margot continued her role as Secretary/Treasurer to ensure the community had the best possible health care.

While working in this position, Margot became President of the Cecil Plains History Group Inc., where she has worked tirelessly to transform the railway station into a museum. Key achievements during her tenure include acquiring a wagon and building a wagon platform for the historical site.

The History Group has been gifted the Norwin CWA Hall, which has led to Margot meeting with the Railway Department and Toowoomba Regional Council for leases and permits that will allow the group to move the hall to the railway site.
Margot and her husband can be found at the Victory Hotel on Friday nights selling raffle tickets to raise money to improve facilities in Cecil Plains for the benefit of the community.

Millmerran/Cecil Plains Cultural Award - Ned Winter

Ned Winter spent his life on the back of a horse as a stockman, before purchasing 'Ned's Corner Roo Retreat', just south of Cecil Plains with his wife and turning the property into a tourist attraction.

In 1999, with the support of like-minded people in Cecil Plains and Millmerran, Ned instigated the first Millmerran Camp Oven Festival, which has grown into one of Queensland’s major tourism events.

Since his retirement, Ned has swapped camp cooking for the stage, where he is a much-loved teller of tall tales and bush poetry. 

Ned has developed his musical talents, producing a CD and singing various Australian songs including his own song, ‘A Pretty Little Town of Cecil Plains’, that describes the history of the region and the main attractions of the district.

During the Camp Oven Festival, Ned visits campers at Cecil Plains, Apex Park and the free-stay campsites at Millmerran to share his knowledge of places to visit in the area.

He also entertains campers with his music and poetry and is a self-motivated promoter of our lovely corner of the world.

Millmerran/Cecil Plains Senior Sports Award – Patrick Lunney

Patrick Lunney works tirelessly for the benefit of all the families involved in the Millmerran Pony Club.

He constantly helps club members and organises activities and events which benefit the whole community. When it comes to leading by example, he is always first to arrive and last to leave, volunteering hours of his time, and unlimited energy to guarantee the kids enjoy their time with their horses.

His volunteer activities have included coordination with local schools and neighbouring clubs, to running events with more than 100 competitors, bringing many visitors to our town and generating income for our local businesses.

As President of the Millmerran Pony Club, Pat is a positive role model for all pony clubbers, displaying exceptional sportsmanship in every aspect of his involvement.

In 2020, Pat dedicated hours of research and completed miles of paperwork to ensure compliance with COVID-19 restrictions, enabling the children to ride with some normality. Pat is described as a mainstay of the Millmerran Pony Club; a committed volunteer who goes over and above to advance the horse skills of our next generation.

Millmerran/Cecil Plains Junior Sports Award – Joint winners: Jackson Shaw and Pennelope Skene

Jackson Shaw is a driven and committed athlete, who has achieved much success in swimming and triathlon.

Passionate about health and fitness, Jackson started competitive swimming as a nine-year-old. He trains every day at 6am at the Millmerran pool before school.

His hard work has paid off. Jackson has won the swimming age champion for six years in a row at Millmerran State School, along with numerous gold medals at swimming carnivals across the Darling Downs.
Jackson started competing in triathlons in 2018, coming first at the Dalby and Bell Enticer Triathlon events.

In 2019, Jackson finished first at the Dalby, Oakey, Bell and Clifton Enticer Triathlons and the Toowoomba Duathlon.  He also qualified for the Darling Downs Triathlon team in 2019, competing at the State Triathlon Championships in Harvey Bay.
His biggest achievement to date is his selection to represent Australian at the World Championships in Edmonton, Canada, which was unfortunately postponed due to COVID-19.

When he is not competing, Jackson is committed to helping the next generation of Millmerran athletes, assisting with after school training at K&M’s training squad.

Pennelope Skene is an inspirational and community-minded young athlete, who has represented the Darling Downs in golf and tennis.

Penne is from a fourth-generation farming family in the Cecil Plains area and started playing golf and tennis at a young age.

In 2020, Penne represented the Darling Downs at the Golf State Championships in Cairns, where she was third in the 13 to 19-year age group. Penne also created local history last year, when she was named 2020 Cecil Plains Golf Club Ladies’ Champion and 2020 Junior Champion. Penne also attended the Queensland State Schools’ Tennis championships and participated in the independent schools’ Knowles Cup tennis competition.

Outside the sporting arena, Penne has achieved success in her school community, serving as a Fairholme prefect and achieving recognition as a conscientious student.

She plays the bagpipes and is an active volunteer at the Cecil Plains Golf Club, where she is held in high esteem by all and treasured for her cheeky sense of humour.

Millmerran/Cecil Plains Community Group – Darling Downs Eisteddfod Inc.

The Darling Downs Eisteddfod Committee Inc. is a newly formed local organisation, committed to fostering the arts and supporting local business in the community.

The organisation hosted its inaugural Darling Downs Eisteddfod in 2020, attracting 900 entries from 150 competitors in the disciplines of instrumental, vocal, speech and drama, and dance. The event was of an extremely high standard with novice to semi-professional entrants from across Queensland and Northern New South Wales. This resulted in many new faces to Millmerran, giving much-needed economic stimulus into the town, new friendships and connections in the arts industry.
The committee consists of four main organisers and a small team of volunteers who worked incredibly hard to get the event up and running.

Due to the many COVID-19 restrictions on live performance, the Darling Downs Eisteddfod also needed to source outside venues, and these spaces were very generously donated by the local church communities, offering their halls as extra space for our competitors.

The committee received great feedback from attendees and local businesses benefited enormously from the event, with visitors providing a much-needed cash boost during trying times.

Oakey Citizen of the Year – Sam Kennedy

Sam Kennedy’s involvement and passion for the Oakey community makes her a very worthy recipient of the 2020 Oakey Citizen of the Year.

Sam moved to Oakey as a 16-year-old and worked at McGrath Toyota (now Blacks) before moving into childcare and aged care. She currently works at the Oakey RSL.

Sam is a parent helper and Assistant Guide Leader with the Oakey Girl Guides, which she has done for many years. In this capacity, Sam volunteers every Saturday to help prepare the Girl Guides to participate in events including the Oakey Santa Fair, National Tree Planting Day, Clean Up Australia Day and the ANZAC Day March.

Behind the scenes is where Sam is always found. She helps set up community events, works on stalls, and cooks for events. She was part of the committee that helped to organise the Queen’s Baton Relay and has been heavily involved with the Oakey Soccer Club. Sam has been part of the Australia Day Committee for several years, transforming the event from the raft race and billy boiling to one of the biggest Australia Day events in the region. It is an event that so many local people look forward to and Sam was an integral part of growing this event to its current stature.

Sam is actively involved with iDance Studios, where she volunteers her time and energy at their dance annual concert. She also organised the iDance float for the Oakey Together Parade and has assisted at other events, including the Oakey Health and Wellness Expo.

Sam puts her efforts into helping where she can and working behind the scenes to bring other people’s visions to fruition. She will jump from organiser to cleaner, to maintenance to cook all in the same day without a hitch. 

Sam’s passion is for the Oakey community and making the Oakey community the best place to raise her children.

Oakey Young Citizen of the Year – Jack Mailman

Oakey’s Young Citizen of the Year Jack Mailman is a respectful, kind and mature young man with an incredibly bright future.

Jack completed Year 12 at Oakey State High School in 2020, where he completed a school-based apprenticeship with Martin’s Stock Haulage, completing a Certificate III Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology.

Jack’s passion for the industry was rewarded when he won the Queensland Training Awards School Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year for the Darling Downs and South West Region.

Jack has maintained high academic results during his time at Oakey State High School and was awarded Stockman of the Year, School Based Apprentice of the Year and a Service to School and Community for Agriculture award during his final year of school.

Jack won the 2019 Darling Downs Sub Chamber for parading cattle, which qualified him to compete in the state event at the EKKA.

An active volunteer, Jack is passionate about giving back to the community and shows great initiative and leadership qualities, and a unique ability to connect with anyone who crosses his path.

Oakey Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year – Jodie Collins

Jodie Collins is an active and committed member of the Oakey community who has worked tirelessly to foster community connections in various volunteer roles.

As a member of the Oakey Reconciliation Group, Jodie spent five years sharing her culture with others through events such as NAIDOC Week and Sorry Day.

During her time at Oakey State High School, Jodie worked alongside staff and students to create a yarning circle at the school and volunteered her time at the after-school homework centre. 

Jodie worked as a Support Coordinator for the ladies’ Broncos program at Oakey State High School and encouraged other students to maintain good grades and attendance.

Jodie and her partner are active volunteers at the Oakey Bears Football Club where they manage the C Grade and Reserve Grade teams.

Described as the first to show up and the last to go home, Jodie has been a part of various projects in Oakey including the 7 Day Town Makeover, the Big Buddy Program and involvement with the Red Belly Blacks.

Oakey Cultural Award – Jim Skinner

When Jim Skinner moved to Oakey 21 years ago, he made it his mission to see the community’s culture thrive.

A big-hearted and joyful man, Jim joined the Oakey Art Group and has been an active member ever since. He has served 19 years on the committee as either President, Vice President or Treasurer. As part of his service to the Group, Jim has been a joint convener of an annual six-day art seminar for many years, giving our local artists the opportunity to learn from critically acclaimed art tutors. Jim also oversaw the relocation of art exhibitions from the Civic Centre to the Oakey Showgrounds for the Oakey Show and volunteered as an art steward for many years.

To further support local aspiring artists, he joined the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) committee and was a member for eight years. In this role he assisted in advising on the allocation of funds to support local arts projects.
Serving many people in his community was a priority and, as such, he joined the Oakey Senior Citizen’s Association where he was president for three years.

He spent 14 years as a member of the Seniors’ Choir, where he sang heartily, recited bush poetry and told jokes. The choir performed three different concerts each year at five nursing homes, including the McDonald Nursing home in Oakey, Ozcare, the McClean Care – CWA House, Lourdes and Glenvale.

Jim also served as a member of the Oakey Australia Day committee, where he was instrumental in moving the event to Arthur Shooter Park, which enabled the expansion of Australia Day activities to include the billy boiling competition.

Oakey Sports Award – Senior – Shane Williamson

Shane Williamson is a hardworking and dedicated member of the Oakey community, who volunteers his time to various organisations and treats everyone with respect.

Shane, known as Skeet to his friends, has a long association with the Oakey Bears Football Club, where he has served in various roles including Senior Club President.

Shane is the Treasurer of the Oakey Chamber of Commerce and is passionate about supporting disadvantaged youth to access support services in the community, along with promoting healthy lifestyles for youth through participation in sport.
When Shane isn't working or volunteering his time with community groups, he is training with the local Fire and Rescue, were he was promoted to Lieutenant in 2017.

A compassionate and caring person, Shane believes that community members should support one another to build a better home for our children and each other.

A father of six, Shane has made a significant and sustained contribution to improving the Oakey community. He is an inspirational role model, who is always willing to lend a hand to someone in need.

Oakey Sports Award – Junior – Terell Anderson

Terell Anderson is a talented and humble rugby league player, who will start training as an Elite Development Player with the Queensland Cowboys for the 2021 season.

Terell was named Oakey Bears Junior Rugby League Club Junior Player of the Year in 2020 and 2019 and has represented Toowoomba and the Darling Downs in rugby league.

He captained the Wynnum-Manly Brothers Under 15 side at the Queensland Murri Carnival in Brisbane, where he was selected in the Queensland Indigenous Under 16 team for 2020. Terell is proud of his Aboriginal heritage and culture and is an active member of two local Aboriginal Dance Troupes and recently completed a Certificate III in Conservation, Land and Environment Management with the Bunya Mountains Aboriginal Rangers, co-operating with Amaroo Environmental Park.

The former Oakey State High School student will relocate to Townsville in 2021, where he will complete high school and pursue his dream of playing in the NRL.

Oakey Community Group – Oakey Combined Chaplaincy Committee

The Oakey Combined Chaplaincy Committee is a not-for-profit group that was established in 1993 to support a Chaplain at Oakey State High School.

Its efforts led to the appointment of Oakey’s first school-based chaplain in June 1995, when Howard Savage was employed on a part-time basis.

Government financial support for a Chaplin started in 2007 and the service was extended in 2013 to include Oakey State Primary School. 

Over the past 26 years, the Oakey Combined Chaplaincy Committee has consistently supported several Chappies in their role.

In 2017, the Committee raised funds to start a regular Brekky Club that provides a fresh breakfast to 150 students twice a week.

The Committee also secured funding to complete a major refurbishment of Chappy's Room at Oakey State High and a ‘Bella Sisters’ after school program in 2018 to build the self-esteem and resilience of young women.

When COVID-19 struck, the committee supported Chappy Sharon Salomon throughout the year as she encouraged and cared for more than 800 students,100 school staff and their families.

The Committee was instrumental in bringing motivational speaker Joshua Schloss to Oakey for a three-day Deeper Intervention Framework Seminar and a ‘Walk in your Potential’ seminar in October.

Pittsworth Citizen of the Year – Leah Moore

Leah Moore is an approachable, committed and dedicated volunteer, who has been an invaluable member of various Pittsworth schools, churches and community groups for more than 30 years.

Selfless, imaginative and warm, Leah is known in the community for her enthusiasm and energy and has been the driving force behind many charity and committee events and gatherings across the region.

Leah is the current President of the St Stephen’s P&F and has previously served as a Committee Member (10 years), Treasurer (7 years) and Diocese representative (5 years). She served as President of the St Stephen’s School Centenary in 2016 and has consistently volunteered for sports days, swimming carnivals and working bees.

As President of the Pittsworth C&K Kindergarten, Leah was instrumental in securing a $120, 000 grant for extensions. She also oversaw a constitution change and enhanced disability access for students during her tenure.
Leah is Vice President of the Pittsworth Amateur Theatrical Society, Treasurer of the Pittsworth Swimming Club and a manager and coach of basketball and soccer teams.

Welcoming and community-minded, Leah has hosted two Japanese exchange students and often opens her home for community meetings and significant events, including the 2015 Australian Open Garden.

Pittsworth Young Citizen of the Year – Amy Sturgess

Amy Sturgess is an outstanding young person with a tremendous positive attitude to life and willingness to involve herself in the community.

Amy completed Year 12 at Pittsworth State High School in 2020, where she was awarded the Col Presneill Award for Caltex All Rounder, in recognition of her exemplary conduct, academic achievement, sporting endeavours and community involvement.

Amy also received an Academic Excellence Award and the subject award for Physical Education at the 2020 Pittsworth State High School Senior awards ceremony. Highly respected by her peers and teachers, Amy was elected Pittsworth State High School Captain in 2020. During the year she was heavily involved in Project Positivity to support students during the Learning at Home phase of COVID-19.

A talented netball player, Amy is heavily involved in playing, coaching and umpiring netball at Pittsworth State High School and Pittsworth Wildcats, where she completed her C level badge for umpiring.

Amy plans to study a Bachelor of Nursing this year and work as a paediatric nurse in the future.

Pittsworth Cultural Award – Gail Parish

Passionate historian Gail Parish is the recipient of the 2021 Pittsworth Cultural Award for her role in preserving the rich history of our pioneering families for future generations.

An active volunteer at The Pioneer Village and the Pittsworth Family History Centre, Gail is responsible for cataloguing, sorting and archiving all donations to the Village.

Happy to share her knowledge, Gail also assists people who are interested in researching their ancestors and provides a valuable insight into the challenges faced by our pioneers.

With the help of her assistant Mary Sullivan, Gail is researching and documenting the lives of citizens who are buried at the Pittsworth Cemetery, including unmarked graves.

Gail also handles bookings at The Pioneer Village and volunteers her time to teach the art of lace making to young people.

Pittsworth Sports Award – Senior – Johanna Wilson

Johanna is a dedicated athlete who consistently sets herself new challenges to overcome, which she then accomplishes with a quiet and humble manner.

Johanna began to participate in triathlons at a serious level in 2019. In 2020 she was selected to represent the Darling Downs at the State Championships at Hervey Bay. From there she was selected in the Queensland team, but was unfortunately unable to compete at the National Titles due to COVID-19 cancellations.

Johanna has been a community leader through her efforts to organise and administer the local Park Run event in Pittsworth. This event enabled the community to remain fit and active while adhering to community COVID-19 safety requirements.

In 2020, Johanna was second at the 2020 Peak to Park 10km run, completed the run leg of the Hell of the West Triathlon and a 112km Ride the Range cycling event.

Pittsworth Sports Award – Junior – Chloe Denning

Chloe is an extremely talented athlete who has the potential and desire to reach great heights in the triathlon field.

Chloe has achieved outstanding results in triathlons in recent years, including selection in the Darling Downs and Queensland triathlon teams, where she finished second at regional level and fifth in the state.

A talented all-round athlete, Chloe also won Age Champion at the Concordia Lutheran College swimming, cross country and athletic carnivals.

Chloe shows exceptional sportsmanship when competing and is a valued member of the Concordia Lutheran College Athlete Development and Commit to be Fit programs.

Chloe works extremely hard to develop her skills and has made huge improvements in the variety and depth of her ability.

Pittsworth Community Event – Pittsworth & District Campdraft Association Inc – High School Percentile Cup Campdraft

The High School Percentile Cup Campdraft is a wonderful community event that provides a safe environment for youth to interact and learn about agriculture, while bringing economic relief and social interaction to a small community.

An annual event, the Percentile Cup provides an opportunity for entering schools to gain an aggregate score from their combined individual scores; a system that encourages riders from all abilities to come together and compete.

The 2019 event attracted 30 schools and 230 students, including entries from as far as Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Mount Isa and the Northern Territory.

Before the event begins, the students are addressed by noted judges of the sport and veterinary equine experts.

The event brings an enormous economic boost to the region, with students bringing along parents, family and friend spectators, who book accommodation and support local businesses.

Socially, the event offers a relaxed atmosphere that has fostered many friendships over the past three years.

Toowoomba Citizen of the Year – Shirley-Anne Gardiner

Shirley-Anne Gardiner is a leading health advocate in our region, in her role as Executive Director for Toowoomba Hospital.

Shirley-Anne is also a dedicated volunteer, who generously gives her time and expertise to support vulnerable members of our community through various organisations.

In April 2020, Shirley-Anne was recognised as a ‘Health Hero’ by Queensland Health in recognition of her efforts leading the Toowoomba Hospital COVID-19 taskforce.

The Toowoomba Chronicle also named Shirley-Anne one of the Top 10 most influential people in Toowoomba for her role in keeping our community safe during the pandemic.

A passionate health advocate, Shirley-Anne is the Chair of the Toowoomba Obesity Prevention Focus Group, a Board Member of Sunrise Way and a member of the Protea Place Management Committee. Shirley-Anne is also a member of the District Disaster Management Group (DDMG) and the Darling Downs Health Diversity and Inclusion Community of Practice.

As Chair of the Queensland Health Chief Operating Officer (COO) Forum, Shirley-Anne led the development of a state-wide Multi-Faith Framework for Queensland Health, which aims to provide a stronger focus on Multi-Faith support for patients and their families.

Empathic and caring, Shirley-Anne works hard to raise the importance of helping others and leads by example as an advocate for vulnerable communities.

Toowoomba Young Citizen of the Year – Joint winners: Radhika and Krishnapriya Bhardwaj

Radhika and Krishnapriya Bhardwaj are inspirational sisters, who are credited for feeding stomachs (and souls), during the 2019-2020 bushfires and COVID-19.

Compassionate, hardworking and selfless, the Bhardwaj sisters asked their parents to cancel their overseas holiday in 2019, using money to cook and distribute 13,000 meals to firefighters and families impacted by the Toowoomba bushfires.

Responding to calls from other areas, the family then travelled 12,000 kilometres to share meals and kindness with people impacted by the devastating fires in Kangaroo Valley, Bega, the Snowy Mountains and Cooma.

When COVID-19 stuck, the hardworking teenagers responded by distributing 100 meals a day to healthcare workers at the Toowoomba Base Hospital. The sisters also initiated a Facebook group to assist international students in Toowoomba and cooked meals for vulnerable members of the community, including elderly residents.

Grateful responses motivated the young chefs to keep cooking, despite finding it difficult to source ingredients after panic buying emptied supermarkets of many staple foods.

Radhika and Krishnapriya’s compassion and generosity is inspirational and they are very deserving recipients of Toowoomba’s Young Citizens of the Year award.

Toowoomba Cultural Award – Ian Grieve

Ian Grieve has been collecting, researching and documenting the Golden Years of Australian Old Time Radio for more than three decades.

An archivist and radio enthusiast, Ian enjoys the thrill of finding and identifying shows thought to have been lost and then researching their history and the people involved in their production.

Passionate and meticulous, Ian has spent countless hours logging radio program titles, the cast, characters and production details, including print advertising, cast photos and, where possible, a single representative episode.

His research relies on detective work and reading transcriptions to source information on shows that were destroyed. His extensive collection enables us to see how Australian Radio has evolved over the years, starting with music, then imported drama and home grown shows including Dad and Dave, When A Girl Marries, Bob Dyer and Jack Davey. American scripts, quiz shows, and sports and music then dominated the airwaves.

Ian has radio contacts across the world and has attended radio conferences in the USA, where he has received awards.

This Cultural Award is an acknowledgement of the time Ian has invested preserving a major part of our history and the role he has played helping younger generations understand our past and heritage.

Toowoomba Sports Award – Senior – Mark McDonough

Toowoomba Senior Sports Award recipient Mark McDonough is passionate about bringing the joy of football to the community at a low cost.

Community-minded and inclusive, Mark has served as Competition Coordinator of the Toowoomba Community Football competition since 2017.

Established in 1988, the popular competition typically attracts 10-15 football teams each year, consisting of players who cannot commit to club football and those wishing to stay active play the game later in life. The competition is also very popular within Toowoomba’s multicultural community, attracting teams from African, Nepalese and Yazidi communities, along with various church and faith-based teams. 

As part of his voluntary efforts, Mark liaises with Toowoomba Regional Council to secure available venues and organises insurance and fundraising to purchase goals posts and equipment. He also organises player registrations, managers, referees, the draw, trophies and a competition website.

2020 obviously presented many challenges for Mark, who implemented a Toowoomba Community Football COVID-19 safe plan for players and volunteers that enabled players to enjoy half the usual season.

Toowoomba Sports Award – Junior – Charlie Pietsch

Fourteen-year-old baseball player Charlie Pietsch has enjoyed an impressive career, achieving selection in the Met West Regional Team in 2019 and 2020.

Charlie last year was selected in the Queensland State team and the Queensland Merit team.

Charlie’s outstanding drive and extensive knowledge of the game resulted in his selection for the Brisbane Bandits’ 2020 Academy. Being a part of this Academy means he will train and play games in Brisbane to expand his experience.
Outside baseball, Charlie is an active member of the Athletic Development Program at Concordia Lutheran College, where he attends school.

Charlie has fantastic drive to achieve results to the best of his ability and has great potential to reach great heights in whatever he chooses to do in the future.

Toowoomba Community Group – Pure Land Learning College Association Inc.

Since its establishment in 2001, the Pure Land Learning College Association (PLLCA), led by Venerable Master Chin Kung AM, has successfully promoted social resilience and social harmony in our culturally diverse Toowoomba community.

The Association has hosted a Friendship Dinner every Saturday night from its inception, followed by talks on cultural and religious diversity.

The Association also opened a Multi-Faith Multicultural Centre in 2010 to strengthen religious and social harmony across multicultural communities.

The Association is guided by a strategic roadmap that places emphasis on promoting religious and cultural understanding through training, forums, workshops, community integration activities, focus group discussions and exchange programs.

Through these programs, the community can express and celebrate its cultural and linguistic diversity and foster a caring, safe and inclusive community.

In 2012, the Association formed the Goodwill Committee of Toowoomba and the Toowoomba Interfaith Working Group in 2016. It has successfully organised 45 Peace Conferences nationally and internationally to date.
Supportive of the wider community, the Association has generously donated annual grants worth $120,000 to the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation Medical Research Program and the Toowoomba Hospice since 2002.