Australia Day Award Recipients 2014

Australia Day 2014 Award Winners

Australia Day celebrations were held in Home Hill on Sunday 26th January 2014 where 7 residents were recognised for the their community spirit. The Burdekin Shire Council Australia Day Awards recognise members of our community who have made an outstanding contribution to the community, and for exceptional achievement in many areas.

Australia Day Citizen of the Year

Winner Charles Ford


The 2014 Citizen of the Year is known for their dedication to a variety of different community groups spanning more than 50 years. Early in his life, while working as a mechanic, farm engineering instructor and workshop manager, he contributed to the Longreach and Clare Apex Clubs, Toastmasters, the Central Queensland Spastic League, the Clare Club Committee, Clare Amateur Anglers, Soccer and Tennis Clubs, and the Burdekin Special School.

After retiring in 2000, he became even more involved in the Burdekin community by offering his services as a bus driver and carer at the Lower Burdekin Home for the Aged and assisting the Burdekin Community Association with its Seniors Support Service and Seniors Computer Group. He also contributed to the Burdekin Woodcrafts Association, Burdekin Mental Health Foundation and the Burdekin Be Active Advisory Committee. In 2012 the recipient was awarded Life Membership for his contribution to the Probus Club of the Burdekin Shire and was honoured by the Rotary Club of Ayr when he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow Award in appreciation of his voluntary commitment to the local community.

In more recent years, the recipient has devoted the majority of his time to the Burdekin Men’s Shed Association. He served on the Steering Committee, was elected as Foundation President and now serves as Secretary. He used his technical, teaching and management skills to set up and manage the shed; and using his communication and computer skills he also fulfils the role of grants and funding officer. It is his aim to help the Burdekin Men’s Shed Management Committee provide a sustainable association which addresses men’s health and social issues now and well into the future.

Each year the Burdekin Shire Council sponsors the Acquisitive Art Prize section of the Burdekin Art Society Water Festival Exhibition.

The winning piece of artwork is presented to the Citizen of the Year.

The 2013 Citizen of the Year is presented to Charles Ford.

Australia Day Young Citizen of the Year

Winner Alicia Kirk


The recipient of the 2014 Young Citizen of the Year Award has been nominated for her outstanding contribution to the local community through her involvement in school, sporting and community activities.

She has been involved in everything from the local Junior Water Festival Ambassador Program and National Tree Day with Lower Burdekin Landcare, to receiving the 2013 BHP Billiton Cannington Sports Development Bursary and being selected to attend The Vice Chancellor’s STEM Camp at QUT Brisbane; an interactive science, technology, engineering and mathematics program for high-achieving Year 11 students.

Her long list of outstanding sporting, scholastic and volunteer efforts have been recognised at local, regional, state and national level. She sets a fine example that it is possible to mix high level sporting achievement with exceptional scholastic results. In 2013 she was awarded the Burdekin Catholic High School Bishop’s Gold Service Award for volunteering over 60 hours of her own time to community work; was selected in the Basketball Queensland Development Program’s Under17 Queensland Basketball State Women’s Emerging Team which won Silver in Melbourne; and two years ago she was awarded the Australian National Chemistry Institute Award of Excellence for placing in the top one per cent of Australia in the Rio Tinto Big Science competition as well as the Top Scorer Award for being the only student in Queensland to achieve a perfect score.  Despite the recipient’s great success and many accolades, she has remained grounded and humble; and is always courteous, helpful and generous.

Her quiet but determined efforts are an inspiration to all, and her ability to play such a large part in community affairs while remaining an avid sportsperson and retaining an excellent academic record is something to be admired.

The 2014 Young Citizen of the Year Award is presented to Alicia Kirk.

Awardcollected by Burdekin Catholic High School Vice Principal on behalf of Alicia.

Australia Day Community Event of the Year

Winner Burdekin Cruisers Car Club Tenth Annual Burdekin Auto Festival


Last year, this event was the biggest and best of its kind run in the Burdekin and was also regarded one of the finest on the 2013 Calendar for auto enthusiasts and supporters.

The organising Club has been steadily growing its annual auto event each year and in 2013 celebrated its tenth anniversary. The event received record entries with over 150 nominated cars and more than 50 motorbike displays. Members from car clubs across Queensland including Cairns, Mount Isa, Townsville, Charters Towers, Bowen, Collinsville, Mackay, Proserpine, Ingham and Rockhampton travelled to support this Burdekin event.

Over 1400 people attended the family-friendly event held at the Burdekin Race Club in Home Hill. Spectators enjoyed a full day of auto attractions, entertainment, fun and games, and food and drink. The organising Club prides itself on providing an ideal opportunity for its members to showcase their unique cars and bikes, and to enable enthusiasts and supporters to meet and share ideas, information and friendship with each other.

The Burdekin community benefits greatly from this annual auto event as many entrants and supporters spend a long weekend in the towns of Ayr and Home Hill enjoying the quality accommodation, unique boutiques, restaurants and cafes, and other entertainment venues. Our friendly Burdekin hospitality is greatly appreciated by visitors and last year’s visitors have reported that they are all keen to attend the Club’s 11th annual event in 2014.

The 2014 Community Event of the Year is presented to the Burdekin Cruisers Car Club Tenth Annual Auto Festival.

The award will be accepted by Vice President Peter Pattinson.

Australia Day Senior Cultural Award

Winner Allana Barbagallo


For almost 20 years, the recipient of the 2014 Senior Cultural Award has made an outstanding cultural contribution to the Burdekin community through her involvement with the Burdekin Singers and Theatre Company and more recently the Burdekin Water Festival Committee.

She began her affiliation with the Burdekin Singers as a seamstress when her children participated in Hans Christian Andersen in 1996. Since that time she has been involved in countless theatrical productions, fashion parades, theatre restaurants, charity events and debutante balls. Although she has also volunteered her time as backstage and sound crew, the recipient is best known for her outstanding efforts as head costume designer for theatrical productions including, but not limited to, Cinderella (1999), Les Miserablès (2001) and Copacabana (2004); and of course the spectacular job she does decorating the Burdekin Singers debutante balls.

In 2009, the recipient was appointed President of the Burdekin Water Festival Committee; and working with a whole new executive committee, provided Burdekin residents with wonderful festival celebrations for three consecutive years. After retiring from the position of President, she continued to assist the succeeding executive committee to the best of her ability; offering her knowledge, guidance and support.

She has shown a great commitment to contributing to the culture of the Burdekin community; maintaining her own high standard of artistic flair whilst also encouraging others to do their best through activities such as art workshops organised as part of the Burdekin Water Festival, as well as pattern-tracing, sewing and decorating working bees for Burdekin Singers members.

Not only does the recipient fulfil all the requirements of the Senior Cultural Award but she also displays all the qualities of a great Australian: hard-working, passionate, humble and friendly.  The Burdekin is fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated individual supporting the community’s cultural activities.

The 2014 Senior Cultural Award is presented to Allana Barbagallo.

Australia Day Junior Cultural Award

Winner Amaia Licciardello


The recipient of the Junior Cultural Award has been nominated for her outstanding contribution to the cultural life of her school and the Burdekin community. As a member of the Burdekin Singers and Theatre Company, she has performed in a collection of stage productions including her lead roles in Cinderella (2012), Pinocchio (2013) and Cats (2013). For the past five years, she has volunteered her time to entertain crowds at community events like the Burdekin Water Festival, and in 2013 often visited the Lower Burdekin Home for the Aged to have a sing-a-long or play the piano. She also performed the National Anthem for the 2013 Cabinet Meeting with the Queensland Premier and sang a song at the 2013 North Queensland Arts Awards night in Townsville. 

Last year, the recipient worked one week with the Maidavale State School to prepare students for an end-of-year concert. She regularly attends Youth Masses at the local Catholic Parish and takes a lead role in singing through the liturgy. She has assisted with entertaining young primary children who were invited to Burdekin Catholic High School for Founders Day celebrations, and often performed at school assemblies singing the National Anthem. Her cultural contributions have recently been rewarded with her appointment as Cultural Captain of Burdekin Catholic High School for 2014.

The recipient has outstanding talents that she consistently and regularly contributes to her school community, the parish community and the wider Burdekin community. Many locals have been beneficiaries of her generosity and talents. She is an outstanding role model for her peers, a great cultural ambassador for the Burdekin community and a most worthy recipient of this award.

The 2014 Junior Cultural Award is presented to Amaia Licciardello.

Sports Administrator Award

Winner Steve Sunderland


The 2013 Sports Administrator awardee is an avid cricket player who, as a member of the Burdekin Junior Cricket Association, undertakes the role of Coach and Administrator.

The recipient’s enthusiasm for getting children into the game of cricket is to be admired. He works tirelessly for the game and his efforts are greatly appreciated by his junior cricketers. He is fair, yet firm, with his teams and encourages all juniors to not only do their best, but to have fun while doing it. He is an inspiration to every young cricketer in the Burdekin. He knows that every junior cricketer wants to be the next Michael Clarke or Mitchell Johnson and his encouragement and guidance gives them the confidence to strive to make their dream reality.

During his time with the club, the recipient has taken on a number of roles and responsibilities and in the process has made the club a welcoming and enjoyable experience for both parents and children. He is a man that wears many hats: coach, administrator, umpire, event co-ordinator and team selector, to name a few.  He doesn’t do what he does for the glory, but more for the satisfaction of seeing local junior cricketers do their best and enjoy the game of cricket. His favourite saying after many of the junior games is “The biggest winner today is the game of cricket!”

His passion and dedication to cricket, the club and its members is admirable and inspiring and truly deserving of acknowledgement.

The 2014 Sports Administrator Award is presented to Steve Sunderland.

Senior Sportsperson of the Year

Winner Brianne Rossato


The recipient of the 2014 Senior Sportsperson of the Year Award is an inspirational role model to her peers and an excellent example of the great Aussie attitude of just giving everything a go.

She is a valued member of the Burdekin Netball, Burdekin Touch, Burdekin Track and Field and Ayr Surf Lifesaving clubs. In 2012 she was nominated by NQ School Sport as a Future State Great for the second year in a row and received an Award of Distinction – the first of its kind – in recognition of an extraordinary record of being selected in 31 teams and participating in 28 State Championships over the past eight years.

In 2013 the recipient began study at James Cook University where she still manages to fit in a wide variety of sporting activities as well as working as a part-time lifeguard. Throughout the year she represented her college in cross country, swimming, water polo, netball, volleyball and basketball, and captained and coached the touch football team. She also attended both the Northern Uni Games in Brisbane for mixed touch – where she received a silver medal – and the Uni Games at the Gold Coast for ladies touch – where she received a bronze medal.

Last year she was named in James Cook University Blue and Gold Honour Teams for netball, basketball and touch football. Following her outstanding sporting performance during her first year of university, the recipient was awarded Most Valuable Player for swimming and touch football and was also presented with the Sportswoman of the Year award. Her dedication to sport continues into 2014; this month she visited the Cook Islands, where her netball team competed in the Netball in Paradise Tournament.

The recipient has shown continued dedication and great success in a wide variety of sports over a long period of time. She undertakes everything with a positive attitude and her sense of fair play and sportsmanship is commendable.

The 2014 Senior Sportsperson of the Year is Brianne Rossato.

Junior Sportsperson of the Year

Winner Alicia Kirk


The recipient of the 2014 Junior Sportsperson of the Year Award has represented the Burdekin in four different sports; Cross Country, Track and Field, Futsal and Basketball. She has excelled in her chosen sport of basketball and has represented the Burdekin in local, regional and state level competitions. She has also represented Queensland at four National Basketball Championships and has been a part of the Queensland State Performance Program for the identification and development of talented basketball players.

The recipient has made a great contribution to the local community as a sportswoman. Throughout 2013 she volunteered more than 88 hours for Burdekin Amateur Basketball; she coached an Under 10 Junior Basketball Team twice weekly from February to November; was a Junior Basketball Referee for Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 fixtures every Wednesday and Friday from February to November; provided assistance with the coaching of the Under 12 Girls Burdekin Basketball Representative Team for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 Representative Seasons; and she was a demonstrator and coaching assistant for Burdekin Basketball Coaching Clinics, Workshops and Junior Player Development Programs. Her generosity, commitment and the sacrifices she makes to achieve her goals are an inspiration for other Burdekin children, showing that anything is possible if you work hard at it.

In addition to her sporting prowess and volunteer dedication, the recipient has been an outstanding student at school. She has balanced a heavy schedule of sporting and academic commitments, excelling in both areas at a very high level and still manages to find time to help her basketball and school peers, or others within the community.

The recipient is an outstanding young person and a truly great ambassador for our region with her high standards of excellence and personal conduct. She embodies all that the Australia Day Awards represent and is an inspiration for all those who come in contact with her.

The 2014 Junior Sportsperson of the Year is Alicia Kirk.

Alicia was away at a basketball tournament. Burdekin Catholic High School Vice Principal Ms. Elisa Rigano collected the award on her behalf.

The Burdekin also welcomed two new citizens at the celebrations with the naturalisation of Mr Prabin Babu and Miss Vandana Gupta who have moved to the Shire from India.

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