Australia Day celebrations were held at the Burdekin Theatre on Wednesday 25th January 2017 where 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.

Citizen of the Year

Nominees – Keith Kiloh, Gwen Marshall, Erin Brennan, Gerald Henaway, Ross Romeo, Rhonda Martin

Winner – Ross Romeo


The 2017 Citizen of the Year Award is presented to someone who has worked tirelessly for our community.  He is well known as the Queensland coordinator for CORES (Community Response to Eliminating Suicide).  Since taking this role in 2009 he has trained more than 500 people in the Burdekin district.

This vital training provides people with the skills to recognise those with suicidal thoughts and how to deal with them.

Ross has established CORES networks in Townsville, Charters Towers, Innisfail, Ingham, Cloncurry, Mount Isa and most recently the Whitsunday region.

He was responsible for setting up a Suicide Bereavement Group in the Burdekin which has helped many people come to terms with the loss of a loved one. He has also successfully organised many events to highlight suicide including It Takes Two and Move for Life.

Over the years, he has also been involved in coaching soccer and basketball teams, he is an active participant in the Burdekin Singers and a valued member of our community.

It gives me much pleasure to present the 2017 Citizen of the Year Award to Ross Romeo.

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.

Young Citizen of the Year

Nominees –  Gabby Stace, Lauren Bozzetto, Keely Johnson, Tianna Previtera

Winner – Keely Johnson


The recipient of the 2017 Young Citizen of the Year Award is the founder of the Golden Octopus Foundation which raises funds for childhood cancers and to upgrade regional paediatric oncology treatment facilities including the provision of a community childhood cancer nurse.

She is providing a voice for children on the Queensland Health steering committee on upgrading regional health facilities for children. The Australian Adolescent Health Organisation has made Keely an honouree member and asked she be the voice for adolescents and be keynote speaker at this year’s conference in Sydney.

Her tough journey with cancer began when she was born with a condition which required two lifesaving brain surgeries by the time she was 6. This young woman has endured her illness with strength and has become the voice of children with cancer.

Keely has raised more than $500,000 towards childhood cancer. She is also a talented musician and, with the help of her friend Lee Kernaghan, continues to raise money for charities through concerts. She is an inspiration to young and old.

The 2017 Young Citizen of the Year Award is presented to Keely Johnson.

Young Citizen of the Year (Achievement Award)

Winner – Tianna Previtera


The recipient of this Achievement Award has played an integral role in running of the 2016 Wilmar Sugar Home Hill Harvest Festival. She has coordinated the Festival Fun Run two years running, took on the role of minute secretary, helped coordinate the successful 2016 Bride of the Year and assisted the executive.

She did all of this whilst holding down two part-time jobs and completing her second year of studies for a primary education degree.

Tianna epitomises the true Aussie spirit of “having a go” at what she is asked to do.

The 2017 Junior Citizen of the Year Achievement Award is presented to Tianna Previtera.

Life Time Contribution Award

Nominees – Robyn Hewson, Treena List, June Pola, Gerald Henaway

Winner – Treena List


The recipient of this award has provided years of service to many Burdekin community groups including the Burdekin Water Festival, Ayr Surf Life Saving Club, Burdekin Tourism Association and the Burdekin Readers and Writers Association.

Her love of the Water Festival stretches back to the event’s beginnings.  Over the years she has held many roles in the organising committee, including President and Patron.  She has been a source of information and inspiration to many committees over the years.

She often puts the needs of the community ahead of her own.  She not only offers physical help, but also provides valuable guidance and knowledge. Her drive is the betterment of the community and any personal benefits are secondary.

The 2016 Life Time Contribution Award is presented to Treena List.

Community Event of the Year

Nominees – Burdekin Clay Target Club (2016 Official Re-opening), Burdekin Community Church (Angels on Alert), Rotary Club of Ayr (Community Raffles), Burdekin Singers & Theatre Company Inc. (2016 Addams Family Production), Home Hill Harvest Festival Committee (2016 Bride of the Year), Burdekin Uniting Church (2016 Burdekin Craft Spectacular), Burdekin Readers and Writers Association (2016 Burdekin Reader and Writers Festival), Ayr Pastoral Agricultural & Industrial Association Inc (2016 Burdekin Show)

Winner – Burdekin Singers & Theatre Company Inc. (2016 Addams Family Production)


The Community Event of the Year Award is awarded to a group that have provided entertainment for our community over the past 20 years.

In 2016, The Addams Family production was almost a complete sell out for all 6 shows, which reflected the high quality of this show. It received great reviews from local and Townsville media and drew a lot of patrons from outside the Burdekin.

This group of performers and entertainers provide an opportunity for local people from as young as 11 to showcase their talents and abilities, both on and off the stage. The Addams Family production involved 34 cast members, 10 band members and more than 50 people were involved in the production of costumes, sets and props.

We look forward to this year’s production of Phantom of the Opera.

The 2017 Community Event of the Year is presented to Burdekin Singers & Theatre Company for hosting the Addams Family Production in 2016.

Community Event of the Year Achievement Award

Winner – Burdekin Clay Target Club (2016 Official Re-opening)


This year the judges have decided to present an Achievement Award in the Community Event of the Year category.

The recipient of this Achievement Award is has been awarded to a club that was brought back to life and officially opened on Sunday 9 October 2016 in conjunction with a weekend competition shoot.

The Club worked hard for 15 months to establish the world-class facilities at which the event was held.

The shoot attracted 165 competitors, some travelling from the Northern Territory, and also attracted the Queensland Clay Target State Management Committee to hold its annual conference in Ayr on Friday 7 October.

More than 300 people attended the opening, including Member for Dawson George Christensen MP, Member for Burdekin Dale Last MP and Burdekin Shire Mayor Lyn McLaughlin.

The 2017 Community Event of the Year Achievement Award is presented to the Burdekin Clay Target Club for hosting the 2016 Official Re-opening.

Senior Environment Award

Nominees – Keith Kiloh

Winner – Keith Kiloh


Since arriving in the Burdekin more than 20 years ago, the recipient of this award has voluntarily dedicated countless hours to the Lower Burdekin Landcare Association. He has held the position of treasurer and president.

His passion for working in the garden, or down at Plantation Park, shows his desire to create something that others can enjoy. His dedication and commitment extends to attending monthly plant propagation workshops, as well as making an invaluable contribution to National Tree Day each year.

During his teaching career, his goal was to educate school children of the importance of planting trees and maintaining the environment for their future benefit. This goal has no doubt been achieved.

His work in Plantation Park in creating a cost effective, natural walkway to benefit the entire community is something of which he is most proud.

The 2017 Senior Environment Award is presented to Keith Kiloh.

Senior Cultural Award

Nominees – Jaynai Slatcher, Sam Row, Solange Fabbro

Winner – Jaynai Slatcher and Sam Row


On this occasion there was a unanimous decision to honour two nominees with the 2017 Senior Cultural Award.

The first recipient of this award has been involved in the arts since she was 3 and she has been involved in numerous Burdekin Singers and Theatre Company productions and eisteddfods.

Eight years ago she fulfilled her life-long dream to become a dance teacher and now has her own dance studio Rhythm Edge Dance Studio.

She now has more than 100 dance students and employs 7 community members, including 4 student teachers.

She is an outstanding role model for the community through encouraging youth and instilling self-confidence in her students.

The first winner of the 2017 Australia Day Senior Cultural Award is presented to Jaynai Slatcher.

The second recipient of this award, is a talented musician and a quiet achiever who is happy to work in the background and help others perform to their best ability.

He has taken his love of music through school and university and recently graduated with a Bachelor of Music from Griffith University Conservatorium.

He generously gives his time to local community events when he’s home on holidays. He has played saxophone and piano accompaniment for local productions and choirs, such as Home Hill Choral Society in the NQ Eisteddfod, Kindred Spirits concerts and Morning Melodies with Ricky Romeo.

He is a role model for small rural/regional town youth showing that with perseverance, vision and talent, you can attain your dreams.

The second winner of the 2017 Australia Day Senior Cultural Award is presented to Sam Row.

Junior Cultural Award

Nominees – David Ballin, Taia Favale, Kacee Bromham

Winner – Kacee Bromham


The recipient of the Junior Cultural Award is committed to the performing arts, starting with the Burdekin Singers and Theatre Company at the age of 6. She has performed in junior theatre restaurants, musical productions, drama festivals, eisteddfods and with Queensland Opera.

She has voluntarily performed in Christmas events at the Ayr and Home Hill Home for the Aged and Council’s Community Christmas Carols. Kacee has also performed at school events, festivals, community events and sporting events.

This talented teen also studies piano and over the past three years was accepted into the Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium’s State Honours Ensemble program.

Her passion for music, dance and the performing arts makes her a deserving recipient of this award.

The 2017 Junior Cultural Award is presented to Kacee Bromham.

Excellence Award

Nominees – Brad Perry, Christine Monday, Irene Cole, Judy Peterson, Keely Johnson, Rhonda Martin, Robyn Hewson, Val Roxburgh

Winner – Irene Cole


This year’s Excellence Award recipient received 2 nominations in this category and is the long term coordinator of Angels on Alert, a volunteer support group which engages the community to support all agencies and individuals.

Angels on Alert provides support and advice to the community through meetings and personal requests to give emotional, cultural and family support.

The Angels also visit all Burdekin emergency service organisations and over morning tea provide an opportunity for emergency workers to discuss any problems or issues. They also dedicate time to provide a Christmas function for the emergency service groups.

This recipient was one of the founding members of Angels on Alert. She is a great role model for our community by showing years of love and support to children at times of need. Many of these children are now adults and continue to visit the recipient in honour of her support.

Her dedication to her community has shown that one person can make a difference and that we can all work together as one, regardless of background, gender or age.

The 2017 Excellence Award is presented to Irene Cole.

2017 Excellence Achievement Award

Winner – Brad Perry


The recipient of the Achievement Award started the Burdekin Relay for Life and 100km for a Cure Walk. Last year he organised the 10th 100km for a Cure walk which raises funds to find a cure for cancer. These funds have been donated to the Cancer Council Queensland and the Golden Octopus Foundation.

This recipient began walking to get fit and lose weight after suffering a heart attack. He decided to put his walking to good use and began raising money for charity.

He is a local businessman and has volunteered a lot of his time and money to organise the 100km for a Cure walk. He is an inspiration and “one in a million”.

The 2017 Excellence Achievement Award is presented to Brad Perry.

Sports Administrator Award

Nominees – Bradley McAllister, Steven Sunderland, Rhonda Martin

Winner – Rhonda Martin


The recipient of the 2017 Sports Administrator Award moved to the Burdekin in 1995 and since that time has dedicated many volunteer hours to people with a disability and track and field.

In the early 2000s she developed and implemented the Burdekin Track and Field Club. She has managed and coached the Little Athletics Club and conducts weekly group and one-on-one training sessions for children and teenagers wanting to excel in track and field.

She is passionate about track and field and loves to see children achieve their best. She is a very humble person, always giving and never expecting anything in return.

The 2017 Sports Administrator Award is presented to Rhonda Martin.

Senior Sportsperson of the Year Award

Nominees – Lawrence Lampton, Shane Kennedy

Winner – Lawrence Lampton


Over the years, this awardee has represented the Burdekin in all levels of representative touch football, including the Australian team in 2002.

Last year his dream came true with his selection in the Queensland State of Origin Team Men’s 45 years. He was also named players player by this team.

He encourages young players to compete at a high level by coaching and refereeing at the NQ Junior Touch Championships each year. Last year there was a record number of Burdekin juniors competing in these championships.

He is dedicated to assuring touch football has a strong future in the Burdekin and demonstrated this by the volunteering his time to coaching, refereeing and helping the committee.

The 2017 Senior Sports Person of the Year is presented to Lawrence Lampton.

Senior Sportsperson of the Year Achievement Award

Winner – Shane Kennedy


The recipient of the Achievement Award receives this award for his achievements in Rugby Union.  He has played representative football in Townsville, North Queensland and Queensland Country in the past couple of years.

He has shared the knowledge he has gained from his experience at those levels with the Burdekin club.

He trains with and does the media reports for the junior rugby union players.

He is a dedicated helper to the Burdekin Rugby Union Club and for this deserves praise and thanks from our community.

The 2017 Senior Sports Person of the Year Achievement Award is presented to Shane Kennedy.

Junior Sportsperson of the Year

Nominees – Adam Walton, Charles Slaney, Tara Jenkins, Hayden Lammon

Winner – Adam Walton


The recipient of the 2017 Junior Sports Person of the Year Award is an outstanding ambassador for the Burdekin through his love of tennis. He regularly competes at an elite level throughout Australia and overseas.

The recipient began playing tennis in Grade 1 at the Home Hill State Primary School. He has since then excelled in the sport and regularly puts the Burdekin on the map in tennis circles in Queensland, Australia and overseas.

He is currently ranked 54th in Open Men in Australia and 16th in Queensland which is an amazing achievement for a 17 year old.

His success in tennis in 2016, along with his willingness to travel, train hard and play at a very high level make him a worthy recipient of this award.

The 2017 Junior Sports Person of the Year is presented to Adam Walton.

Junior Sportsperson of the Year Achievement Award

Winner – Charles Slaney


The recipient of the Achievement Award has excelled in soccer in 2016 and is now a member of the Senior Fury team in the National Premier League. He was a representative in the northern region, Queensland and was selected as a shadow player for the Australian School Boys’ Soccer Team.

His commitment to his sport while maintaining a strong academic focus has been inspirational to others. He has successfully managed his commitment to various sports during his senior years of school along with his school work.

He is very humble in his sporting achievements. He has been a representative at a North Queensland level in athletics, but chose to forgo that opportunity to further this representation last year to concentrate on soccer.

He has proven that with grit and determination a boy from the country can succeed in the national sporting arena.

The 2017 Junior Sports Person of the Year Achievement Award is presented to Charles Slaney. 

Sports Person with a Disability

Nominees – Brent Dingle

Winner – Brent Dingle


The 2017 Sports Person with a Disability awardee was 1 when his parents were told he would not walk independently as he suffered cerebral palsy. Since then and especially last year he’s defied those words.

He competed at the Challenge Games in the 100m, 200m, 800m, Shot Put and Long Jump. He successfully qualified for Burdekin representation in the 100m and 800m. From districts he qualified for North Queensland representation in the 800m reducing his personal best time by 13 seconds.

He then travelled to Brisbane where he competed in the 800m, won a gold medal for North Queensland and qualified for the state team. At the national event he competed in the 800m and won a silver medal. He also gained a silver medal in the relay.

His character, determination and positive attitude has led to him being asked to mentor younger children with cerebral palsy.

This year he undertook a fundraising endeavour to bring the Brisbane Paralympic Football program to Ayr because he wanted children in our region to join in and see what the program offered. He was successful and the program came to Ayr in June last year.

The 2017 Sports Person with a Disability is presented to Brent Dingle.

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