Current Australia Day Award Recipients
Australia Day celebrations were held at the Burdekin Theatre on Thursday 26th January 2023 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.
Nominees – Gerald Henaway and Katrina Pacey
I am privileged to announce the 2023 Citizen of the Year Award is presented to Mr Gerald Henaway.
- Gerald is a dedicated and well-respected Police Liaison Officer.
- Gerald is respected by his peers as an exemplary community leader; and is also recognised by the wider community for making an extraordinary contribution to the local community over many years.
- He is a role model to the young people that he supports, and to other Police Liaison Officers in the Townsville and surrounding districts.
- Gerald pioneered and is the current President of Burdekin Area Youth Watch, better known as BAYWatch, a program which is aims to mentor and guide Indigenous young people through childhood and adolescence into adult life.
- Gerald works tirelessly to support our Indigenous young people, including running youth and school holiday programs; transporting youth to Sunday School, Touch Football and Basketball; as well as driving them to Townsville to watch the North Queensland Cowboys play to name but a few.
- Gerald is a very humble man, lives his values and everything he does is motivated to give our young people the very best chance at life.
Gerald, Congratulations on being awarded Citizen of the Year!
Each year the Citizen of the Year is awarded a piece of art. This year Gerald is being presented with a framed aerial photograph of our iconic Burdekin Bridge which was taken by Mark McDonald of Burdekin Drones.
The 2023 Young Citizen of the Year is ZAVIER WOOD for his outstanding achievements and contributions to the community.
- Zavier has been a part of the Burdekin Shire Youth Council for four years and is currently the Deputy Youth Mayor. In 2021 Zavier held the position of Youth Mayor.
- Zavier has willingly volunteered at many local events including Fast Track Talent Showcase, Community Christmas Carols and Burdekin Relay for Life as a representative for Burdekin Shire Youth Council.
- Zavier is a great role model for youth within his school community and the Burdekin Shire Youth Council.
- Zavier has been appointed School Vice-Captain for Ayr State High School in 2023.
- Zavier has played an important part in helping to shape the future of the Burdekin Shire as a working group member and youth representative for the Watson’s Green Ninja Park re-development, Burdekin Youth Strategy and the Burdekin Water Park.
The 2023 Young Citizen of the Year ACHIEVEMENT AWARD is presented to BRENT DINGLE for his outstanding achievements and contributions to the community.
- Brent was elected by his peers to be a School Representative Councillor for the past three years.
- Brent has represented his school at District, State and National level in Cross Country, 100m and 800m - winning gold at State Championships and silver at National Championships.
- Brent selflessly spends his time volunteering for the Catholic Women’s League, Park Run and is a member of the Burdekin Shire Youth Council.
- Brent is passionate about advocating for people with disabilities and has been asked to mentor younger children with Cerebral Palsy.
- One of Brent’s proudest achievements was when he undertook a fundraising endeavour to bring the Brisbane Paralympic Football Program to the Burdekin. Brent wanted other children in the district to have the opportunity to join in.
Nominees – Burdekin Race Club - 2022 Burdekin Growers Race Day, Home Hill Tennis Association - 2022 Rally for a Cure and Laurie's Love - 2022 24 Hr Row for a Cure
The 2023 Community Event of the Year Award is presented to the Burdekin Race Club for the 2022 Burdekin Growers Race Day. This award will be accepted by Burdekin Race Club President Ricky Gudge.
The Burdekin Growers Race Day is featured as one of the Burdekin’s most celebrated community social events now entering its 25th year. It is a day celebrated with patrons socialising, dressing fashionably and greeting other racing enthusiasts that have travelled.
The unique race day model offers something for everyone with every patron attending the day going home a winner. The 10-hour day incorporates six to seven local races which also includes the Burdekin Cup. The day begins will local farmers and novice growers displaying and entering their finest produce to win a total of thousands of dollars in cash. The farmers of the district also donate large bins and tons of their in-season fruit and vegetables for race day patrons to take home a box of at the end of the day.
The Burdekin Growers Race Day attracts a crowd size in excess of Home Hill’s population with attendees coming from Far North Queensland, west from Mount Isa and South to Brisbane, NSW and Victoria.
Congratulations to all involved with the 2022 Burdekin Growers Race Day.
Nominees - Sharlie Archibald, Kate Casswell, Michelle Darker, Ricky Gudge, Shane James, Margaret Taylor and Belinda Tinus
The 2023 Volunteer of the Year is KATE CASSWELL in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the community through her volunteer work in 2022.
- In 1988 Kate joined the Home Hill Tennis Club and has been an active volunteer ever since.
- Currently the Secretary and Night Tennis Coordinator and has held these roles for many years. Kate also assists with writing grant applications for the club and can often be seen in the gardens trimming and weeding in order to keep the facilities looking well maintained.
- Kate is also a qualified Tennis Official Australia Referee and in 2022 she volunteered her time at 2 Junior Tournaments and the Burdekin Open and Age Tournament.
- Kate was the driving force behind many of the successful tennis events held in 2022 including the NQ Games, National Seniors event, the Burdekin Open and of course the very successful Sugar Bowl.
- Kate led a small team of volunteers to organise the 2022 Rally for a Cure where the tennis family and the community came together to raise $24,000 for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.
- Kate participated in the inaugural Women Leaders in Tennis Program delivered by Tennis Australia. The course included 2 face to face sessions in Cairns, 3 online sessions as well as 20 hours of course work and an Action Learning Project on female participation in leadership roles in governance.
- School Sport Tennis is another area where Kate volunteers her time and has been doing so for the past 20 years.
- Currently the Secretary of the 10-12yrs School Tennis Committee.
- Kate managed and convened the 10-12yrs Burdekin and Northern Region School Tennis.
- Kate was awarded Tennis Queensland’s Volunteer of the Year in 2022 and was shortlisted for the Q Sports Awards for the same category.
- Kate is the ‘go to person’ for anyone in the club or community and she is also the first point of contact with Tennis Queensland.
The first 2023 Volunteer of the Year ACHIEVEMENT AWARD is presented to MICHELLE DARKER in recognition of her outstanding contribution as a volunteer in 2022.
- Michelle has been an active member of the Burdekin BMX Club for the past 20 years.
- No longer having any children in the sport Michelle still gives up so much of her time to help, mentor, coach and support every member of the Burdekin BMX community.
- Michelle attends every club meeting, working bee, coaching session and race night.
- She has travelled extensively over the past 20yrs competing, officiating, coaching and training BMX officials all over Australia.
- Assisted in the merge from BMX Australia to Auscycling which at times has not been easy.
- Current BMX Far North Queensland President, Burdekin BMX Coach and Auscycling BMX Coach.
- Current UCI Elite National Commissaire – which is the 2nd highest officiating level – and Michelle is the only female and one of only 4 people in Australia to hold this qualification.
The second 2023 Volunteer of the Year ACHIEVEMENT AWARD is presented to RICKY GUDGE in recognition of his outstanding contribution as a volunteer in 2022.
- Ricky has been an active member of the Burdekin Race Club since 1994 initially volunteering his time at working bees and race days all year round as well as any other duties required by the club.
- Ricky then took on Vice President from 2015 – 2019 and from 2019 he has been in the role of President.
- Ricky also works fulltime, and any hours outside of this are dedicated to the Burdekin Race Club whether it be works within the grounds or meetings with officials. His passion and commitment to the Race Club’s continued development and evolvement has never wavered.
- He works tirelessly to ensure that each and every race meeting is a success and is a pivotal member in working to grow one of the biggest events in the Burdekin each year – the Burdekin Growers Race Day.
- He is fiercely passionate about his community and is driven by how much money the Burdekin Growers Race Day injects into our local economy. This is the motivation behind making each year bigger and better than the year before – to bring more people into our community and help our local businesses benefit.
- As President of the Burdekin Race Club Ricky has been very constructive and achieved many things for the club. He has been the key driver in gaining an upgrade of the main track and running rail, purchased numerous items of necessary equipment to improve the club’s facilities, replaced the fencing around the grounds and is currently working with Racing Queensland and his committee towards finalising the completion of stage 2 of the main building at the Race Club.
The 2023 Environment Award is presented to KEITH KILOH for his outstanding dedication and commitment to environmental work.
- Keith has been a member of Lower Burdekin Landcare Association where he has been a volunteer and has held the position of President for many years.
- He has been a driving force through hard work, enthusiasm and knowledge in helping to rebuild the Burdekin Landcare organisation and facilities with the transition from the small nursery at Kennedy Street to the new one at the present site on International Drive.
- Is an active member with his ongoing service and attendance to the nursery weekly working days, quarterly meetings, tree planting and monthly environmental clean-up projects.
- Works behind the scenes negotiating with other environmental groups to achieve the best outcome for the land and environment.
- Represents the Landcare organisation with the greatest of commitment on many occasions from Department office meetings to school presentations.
- Keith’s enthusiasm and passion for the environment is infectious which he is generous to share with others. He is a true friend of the environment and is dedicated to make this world a better place to live.
The winner of the 2023 Senior Cultural Award is AILEEN JONES for excellence and dedication in the field of Arts and Culture.
- Aileen is a quiet achiever in the cultural field. She is not one for the lights on stage, Aileen is all about making sure others shine on stage.
- Longstanding member of the Burdekin Singers orchestra for its annual musicals playing for shows such as Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, The Secret Garden, The Boy from Oz, Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins and Mamma Mia. She gives much of her time each year to make this invaluable contribution to the Burdekin Singers and the wider community.
- Music Teacher at BCHS and an important part of the success of the school’s biannual musicals where she can be found in the orchestra pit coaching students who are new to the world of musicals. The result of this coaching has led to some of these students now being part of the Burdekin Singers orchestra.
- For decades she operated her music school nurturing the talent we see on the Burdekin stage today with hundreds of children been taught piano by Aileen.
- Organist for the CWL and Sacred Heart Parish as required.
- Active Volunteer for Friends of the Theatre and the Burdekin Junior Eisteddfod for many years.
The 2023 Senior Cultural ACHIEVEMENTAWARD is presented to ELIZA WORLEIN for her many and varied achievements in and contributions to Culture and the Arts.
- Eliza has made a significant contribution to arts & culture in the Burdekin community.
- Active member of the Burdekin Singers for over 10 years.
- Performed in both the Singers’ annual Junior Theatre Restaurants as well as the major musicals staged at the Burdekin Theatre.
- Important member of the Perform Music Choir as well as Burdekin Catholic High School’s choir and vocal group performing at the Burdekin Junior Eisteddfod and the Festival of Arts.
- She has also taken to the stage in the school’s biannual musicals and has performed annually at the Burdekin Interschool Drama Festival and Fast Track Talent Showcase.
- Vocalist at the Sacred Heart Parish and various CWL events where she performs for the community.
- Performed at Burdekin Community Christmas Carols.
- Eliza’s enthusiasm and willingness to share her talent and work with others saw her awarded the position of Year 12 Cultural Leader at Burdekin Catholic High School.
The 2023 Senior Sportsperson of the Year Award is presented to JARROD LANGFORD in recognition of his outstanding achievements in Ten Pin Bowling. Jarrod is currently in the USA competing on the Professional Tenpin Bowling Association Tour. His Aunty, Rachel Webber will be accepting the award on his behalf.
- Jarrod has been a high achiever Tenpin Bowler both Nationally & Internationally for years.
- Highlights of his 2022 season include winning the Melbourne Tenpin Cup for the third year in a row.
- Being a member of the National Training Squad.
- Placing 3rd in Australian National Rankings and countless place finishes in tournaments all around the Country.
- Jarrod received a Bronze Medal at the Tenpin Bowling IBF World Cup on the Sunshine Coast in November.
- Jarrod always gives back to the local bowling community at Burdekin Bowl and will be travelling to the USA in January 2023 to compete on the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) tour.
Nominees - Ashlee Colls, Khyla Cursio, Amaya Mahoney, Ellyana Mugica, Shae Munro, Makayla Pirrone, Shae Scalia, Byron Sutcliffe, Toby Wilson and Kiera Wiseman
This year, there was a record number of nominations received for Junior Sportsperson of the Year and the judges were incredibly impressed with the calibre of nominees. They have decided to award an Achievement Award and two Junior Sportspersons of the Year Awards.
The first of the 2023 Junior Sportsperson of the Year Award is presented to MAKAYLA PIRRONE for her outstanding achievements in Swimming and Basketball.
- At 13 years of age Makayla has excelled in many sports particularly in Basketball and Swimming.
- Makayla broke 9 records in club and school Swimming.
- Awarded Female Junior Sportsperson of the Year at Burdekin Catholic High School.
- Makayla’s U14 Burdekin Basketball team competed at the Basketball QLD State Championships in Cairns where her team won GOLD in Division 2. Makayla was also top scorer in her division with 334 points over the 4-day carnival.
- Invited to progress to Phase 2 of the Queensland Academy of Sport’s YouFor2032 program for Swimming.
- Was a finalist representing Burdekin Shire Council at the North Queensland Sportstar Awards 2022.
- Selected in the Townsville Fire Mendi Junior Basketball Academy.
- Represented North Queensland in the QLD Schools Basketball State Championships.
- Represented North Queensland in the QLD Schools Swimming State Championships in Brisbane winning a Silver medal in the 100m Freestyle and a Bronze in the 50m Freestyle.
- Makayla was then selected to represent Queensland at the Australian School Swimming Championships in August in Brisbane where she placed 5th in the 50m Freestyle and won a Bronze Medal in the 100m Freestyle and her QLD Relay team won Bronze in the 4x50m Freestyle Relay.
The second of the 2023 Junior Sportsperson of the Year Award is presented to KIERA WISEMAN for her outstanding achievement in the sport of Waterskiing.
- Kiera competes at many local club competitions throughout North Queensland as well as at State and National levels with great success.
- Invited to the Australian Junior Ski School, Labtrobe Valley, Victoria to undertake intense training and after training was complete, she competed in the Australian Junior Masters at Latrobe Valley placing 3rd in Trick and 3rd in Jump. She then went on to Bridge Water in Victoria to compete in the Australian Masters in the U17 Girls where she placed 2nd in Jump, 3rd in Trick and 3rd overall.
- Selected to ski at Moomba Masters and Nationals however due to a knee injury she was unable to compete at either event.
- Selected to ski for Australia in the Aussie/Kiwi Challenge in 2022 however due to COVID the event was cancelled.
- Invited to ski at the Oceania Championships, Mulwala NSW in open women for Slalom, Trick and Jump.
- Kiera has been part of the Australian Junior Worlds Squad for two years and was selected to represent Australia in Chile, South America in January 2023. In Chile, Kiera competed in all three disciplines Slalom, Trick and Jump. Only 8 under 17 competitors from Australia were selected. At these World Championships in January, Kiera placed 10th in the world for Jump and 10th overall for the three events, with a number of PB’s on the world stage.
The 2023 Junior Sportsperson ACHIEVEMENT AWARD is presented to ELLYANA MUGICA for her outstanding achievements in the sport of Football (Soccer).
- As a 15yr old Ellyana is the youngest player on the Burdekin Panthers Women’s Premier team.
- Attended a Coaching Clinic with Football QLD and became a Mini Roo Coach.
- Football QLD Northern U17 Girls Academy player competing in carnivals in Ipswich, Cairns and Townsville.
- Represented North Queensland at the 13-15yrs Girls QLD Schools State Football Championships where Ellyana was Captain of the NQ team.
- Ellyana represented Queensland in the U16 Girls team at the Football Australia National Youth Championships held in Coffs Harbour in September.
The next category is the Lifetime Service Awards recognising the significant voluntary contribution of members of our shire to community organisations. These are individuals who willingly offer to help others without expecting payment. They devote countless hours of work, over many years for their chosen organisation.
We are very fortunate in our region to have volunteers of this calibre who through their selfless contribution of their own time and work have enriched numerous groups. We believe that the introduction of these awards is a fitting recognition of these outstanding members of our community and their nominations are testament to the impact they have had on the organisations they have been a part of.
Bronze Awards (20+ years voluntary contribution)
- Joan has been an integral part of the Burdekin Tourism Association and Tourism Group for up to 28 years, serving on the executive committee for many years.
- She was a foundation member of the group when it began in 1994 with the goal to assist in the development of Tourism in the Burdekin Shire.
- Joan was part of the volunteer group that renovated the old Council Foreman’s Office into the Burdekin’s first Visitor Information Centre.
- Joan has brought a wealth of experience to her volunteer role.
- Flo has been a loyal volunteer at the Burdekin Visitor Information Centre for the past 27 years.
- Flo was a part of the original group of volunteers that began in the Burdekin Tourism Association in 1995
- Flo was part of the team that transformed the historic Council Foreman’s Office in Plantation Park into a Visitor Information Centre.
- Flo is an active member of the Burdekin Tourism Volunteer group and still commits to several shifts each month.
- Other organisations that Flo has volunteered with include the Ayr Lower Burdekin Lions Club and Meals on Wheels.
- Maureen is one of the longest standing Tourism Volunteers at the Burdekin Visitor Information Centre and member of the Burdekin Tourism Association.
- Maureen and her husband Norm were the driving force behind transforming the historical Council Foreman’s Office into the first Burdekin Visitor Information Centre in 1995.
- Maureen has been a Tourism Volunteer for the last 27 years
- Maureen has also volunteered at many other Burdekin organisations including Ayr Rotary Club, Meals on Wheels and the Catholic Women’s League.
- Judy has been a valued Tourism Volunteer at the Ayr Visitor Information Centre for the past 25 years joining the Association in 1997.
- For the past 20 years Judy has dedicated her time assisting with church services at the Lower Burdekin Home for the Age and also volunteer within the Burdekin Community Church.
- Beth has been a passionate tourism volunteer at the Home Hill Visitor Information Centre since its opening at the Home Hill Courthouse in 2002.
- Beth also dedicated her time to Burdekin’s local Sweet FM 97.1 Radio station by serving on the committee and being a presenter.
- Michelle has been heavily involved with Burdekin BMX, BMX Australia and now Auscycle over the past 20 years.
- During this time Michelle has been recognised for her dedication to the sport of BMX, being awarded Female Volunteer of the year in 2013 and 2015 by BMX Queensland, Official of the Year in 2018 and Far North Queensland Coach of the Year in 2018.
- Michelle currently holds the Elite National Commissaire which is the 2nd highest officiating level in Union Cyclist Internationale (UCI) the World Wide Governing Body for Cycling. Michelle is the only female in Australia to hold this qualification.
- Michelle officiates at many events all over the country including state, international and World Cup events held in Australia.
Silver Awards (30+ years voluntary contribution)
- In 1988 Kate joined the Home Hill Tennis Club and has been an active volunteer ever since.
- Since 2002 Kate has taken on bigger volunteer roles including writing grants, Registrar, Tennis Referee, Secretary and Night Tennis Coordinator.
- Kate is the driving force behind many of the successful tennis events held in the Burdekin including the NQ Games, National Seniors event, the Burdekin Open, Home Hill Sugar Bowl and the Rally for a Cure to name a few.
- Kate is not just involved with Club Tennis, she has been involved in School Sport Tennis events for the past 20 years and is currently the Secretary of the 10-12yrs School Tennis Committee and has just received a 20yr Service Award recognising her for this. This year she will be convening the 13-19yrs QLD Schools State Tennis Championships and also the 10-12yrs National Tennis Championships with lots of planning and organising currently underway for these large-scale events.
- Kate was awarded Tennis Queensland’s Volunteer of the Year in 2022.
- Ricky’s ultimate passions are Rugby League, Thoroughbred Horse Racing and the Burdekin community.
- He first started volunteering in 1990 as Coach of the of the U12 Burdekin Rugby League team.
- As with all clubs, fundraising is critical, and Ricky and his family were forefront in their efforts to keep the Home Hill Devils a valuable team in the Burdekin Rugby League competition and assisted with many fundraising and working bees to support the club.
- In more recent years Ricky was Coach of the Home Hill Devils in the Town of Origin series leading his team to 2 wins and also coaching Home Hill to victory in the Club of Origin.
- Ricky has been an active member of the Burdekin Race Club since 1994 volunteering his time at working bees and race days all year round as well as any other duties required by the club
- Vice President of the Club from 2015 – 2019 and President of the club since 2019, Ricky has played an instrumental role in working to grow one of the biggest events in the Burdekin each year – the Burdekin Grower’s Race Day.
- Margaret has been a volunteer with the Uniting Church for more than 30 years raising money for Chaplaincy through cooking and organising street stalls, assisting with Chappie breakfasts and lunches at Home Hill State School and the Home Hill High School, cooking and assisting at Youth Club at the Baptist Church on Friday nights.
- Assists with organising the Uniting Church Craft Fair prizes.
- Helped and cooked for a large street stall towards a modified van for Aiden Carrington.
- Funded her own trip to New Guinea to volunteer on the YWAM Ship.
Gold Awards (40+ years voluntary contribution)
- Desley was a founder of the Home Hill Rotaract Club which was established in 1968.
- Desley has volunteered on many committees including Home Hill Rotary, P&C Committees at Primary School and High School, Molongle Creek Boat Club, Home Hill Harvest Festival, St. Colman’s Parish Council, Home Hill Chamber of Commerce, Burdekin Memorial Hall committee, Burdekin Netball, Visitor Information Centre, Home Hill Local Ambulance Committee and Meals on Wheels just to name a few.
- Her involvement with the many organisations named included serving on executive committees and numerous fund-raising activities.
- Desley was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow Award which is the highest award an individual Rotarian can receive. Only 150 are awarded internationally each year.