Current Australia Day Award Recipients
Australia Day celebrations were held at the Burdekin Theatre on Tuesday 26th January 2021 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 – David Cox, Jeffrey Lunn & Leon McCormack, Gloria Vass
I am privileged to announce the 2022 Citizen of the Year Award is presented to Mrs Gloria Vass.
- Gloria has made an outstanding contribution to the Burdekin community through her voluntary involvement in many organisations since arriving in the Burdekin the early 1970's as a schoolteacher.
- Gloria has been involved with Burdekin Netball for 47 years.
- Has played, coached and umpired – still umpiring each week.
- Has coached Burdekin teams participating at regional and state competitions.
- Has played representative netball at regional, state and international games.
- Gloria has been a member of the Executive Committee including serving as President.
- Consistent contributor to working bees, fundraising events and weekly competition.
- She was awarded with Life Membership of Home Hill Netball Association in 1997.
- Awarded Club Person of the Year in 1995, 2000, 2003 and 2018
- Is the Patroness of Burdekin Netball Association
- Gloria served as President of the St Colman’s Parish Committee.
- Volunteered at both Primary and High School tuckshop for over 25 years.
- Volunteers with Burdekin Community Association.
- Volunteers with Meals on Wheels
- Was crowned Monarch of the 2021 Home Hill Harvest Festival.
Each year the Citizen of the Year is awarded a piece of art. This year Gloria is being presented with a framed photograph of our iconic Burdekin Bridge and surrounds which was taken by Mark McDonald of Burdekin Drones.
The 2022 Young Citizen of the Year Award is presented to Mikayla McDonnell.
- Mikayla was the recipient of the 2021 Ayr State High School Junior Citizenship Award
- Assists at Chaplin’s school breakfasts and helps with fundraising
- Is a member of Burdekin Shire Youth Council and Interact.
- Is an Australian Air Force Cadet.
- Representative on Our Town Our Future Committee
- Youth representative for Burdekin Community Advisory Group.
- 2021 Youth Representative and Co-ordinator for Burdekin Relay for Life.
- Member of Burdekin Amateur Basketball as a player, volunteer referee and junior coach.
- She also assists with the Under 8s development Program at Basketball.
- Mikayla was awarded with Burdekin Amateur Basketball 2021 Junior Club Person of the Year
- Deserving recipient of the Sian Kapeechikin Memorial Award for dedication and commitment to Burdekin Basketball.
The 2022 Citizen of the Year Achievement Award is presented to David Cox.
- David was an integral force in securing and funding the Jeff Horn AMAYDA Anti Bullying Program for the Burdekin.
- In 1991 David and his farm held the World Record for the first to cut 100,000 tonnes in one season.
- Awarded Precision Farmer of the Year 2012 by the Precision Ag Institute of USA.
- Was a representative on John Deere Global Ag Innovation Council from 2015 to 2017.
- Recognised as a Sugar Innovator of the Year 2000.
- Volunteered machinery and his time to Burdekin Football Association for ground maintenance.
- Appointed to Bradfield Scheme Advisory Committee in 2021.
- Proud sponsor of many community groups and sporting organisations within the Burdekin region.
Nominees – Burdekin Netball Association's 51st Anniversary Reunion Celebration, Home Hill Tennis Association's 40th Sugar Bowl, Jeffrey Lunn and Leon McCormack Lights Display, Queensland Country Bank Home Hill Harvest Festival Street Party.
The 2022 Community Event of the Year is the Queensland Country Bank Home Hill Harvest Festival for their Street Party. The award was accepted by President Mark Vass.
In 2021 the Queensland Country Bank Home Hill Harvest Festival Street Party was the culmination of another successful "jam packed" Harvest Festival program. With the improvements made to Watson's Green, the Committee had to implement a new layout incorporating the use of the grassed area which encouraged a family friendly environment. There was a multitude of varied and extensive entertainment for all ages. As well as a variety of foods to feed the masses, the regular show rides and market stalls, the Burdekin Art Society showcased a wonderful exhibition of works from local artists. The stage program included performances by Burdekin and Thuringowa Brass Bands, presentation of the Festival Queens and Luke Geiger and Bareback Band who entertained the crowd until late. After cancellation of the Festival in 2020 it was certainly very well supported by the community who came out in their thousands to enjoy everything the Street Party had to offer.
Congratulations to all involved with the Queensland Country Bank Home Hill Harvest Festival Street Party!
This year the judges have decided to present two Achievement Awards in the Community Event of the Year category.
One of the 2022 Community Event of the Year Achievement Award is presented to the Burdekin Netball Association for their 51st Anniversary Reunion Celebration. The award will be accepted by Glenys Brotto.
Initially the 50th Anniversary of Burdekin Netball Association was to be held in 2020, but like may things in that year the event was postponed due to Covid. This then became the 51st Anniversary of the Association and consisted of 3 days of events. The festivities commenced with a BBQ under the starts at the courts on the Friday night where almost 150 people gathered to reminisce and rekindle old friendships and make new ones. This was followed on Saturday morning with the Patroness' High Tea hosted by the Association's Patroness, Gloria Vass. The event catered for the more senior past members who enjoyed a spread which would rival the most expensive city hotel. The Reunion weekend culminated in the Gala ball at the Mmorial Hall and hosted over 350 people. The frmal event showcased a parade of past Harvest Festival and Water Festival Ambassadro entrants, recognised current Life Members and welcomed a new one.
Congratulations to all involved with the Burdekin Netball Association's 51st Anniversary Reunion Celebrations!
Another 2022 Community Event of the Year Achievement Award is presented to Home Hill Tennis Association for their 40th Sugar Bowl. The award will be accepted by Kate Casswell & Bradley McAllister.
In 2021 Home Hill Tennis hosted the 40th Sugar Bowl after cancelling of the event in 2020 due to Covid. There were many players and visitors from all across Queensland and beyond throughout the weekend, with approximately 320 players making 40 teams that played in the tennis competition. The committee implemented some new events which included the Open Court white themed dinner of the Friday night opening the event and the Sunday evening Pig on the Spit Dinner. At this dinner an impromptu fundraising event provided the perfect audience for one of the players courageously shave his long mullet in support of Col Casswell's battle with brain cancer and proceeds raised were donated to the Laurie's Love Foundation. Proudly having his turn shaving his head on the night, Col sadly lost his battle only 3 weeks later. The event exceeded everyone's expectations and showcased once again the Burdekin Community's support for one another.
Congratulations to all involved with the Home Hill Tennis Association's 40th Sugar Bowl!
Nominees - Gary Edwards, Margaret Greenwood, Brendan Kolb and Sheree McKaig
This category was introduced to recognise the incredible selflessness and dedication of individuals across the Shire, especially in a year where we spent more time at home and relied on community spirit more than ever.
- Brendan has volunteered at for, at for least 10 community events this year - Burdekin Shire Council Fast Track and Sweet Days Hot Nights Festival, Burdekin Singers Debutante Ball and Takes Two, Perform Music Concert, Burdekin Catholic High School Musical – School of Rock, Ayr State High School Musical – Rock of Ages, Burdekin Junior Singers – Jungle Book, Relay for Life and Community Christmas Carols.
- Fundraised for Movember in 2021.
- Assistant Black Belt Instructor at Shim Jang Taekwondo at Home Hill training.
- Represented Shim Jang Taekwondo in the Harvest Festival Parade.
- Cast member of Burdekin Senior Singers production of Mamma Mia.
- Current Publicity and Advertising Officer for Burdekin Show Committee.
The 2022 Environment Award is presented to DEBBIE CALLIGARO for her outstanding dedication and commitment to environmental work.
- Debbie has been a member of Lower Burdekin Landcare since their move to their current location. She has been a driving force through hard work, enthusiasm and knowledge in helping to rebuild the Burdekin Landcare organisation and facilities.
- Is an active member attending nursery weekly working days, monthly meetings, tree planting and monthly environmental clean-up projects.
- Currently holds the position of Treasurer & Project Leader for Burdekin Landcare.
- Debbie is also a member of the State Emergency Service, participating in training and service to the local community.
The 2022 Senior Cultural Award is presented to RACHEL WEBBER for her outstanding contributions to the field of Arts and Culture.
- Is a member of Ayr State High School Music Support Group assisting with fundraising on Saturday afternoons for the past 14 years.
- Donated the Webber Family Trophy, a perpetual trophy which is presented to an Ayr State High School student showing outstanding commitment backstage.
- Rachel has been member of Burdekin Singers for over 10 years.
- Initially she volunteered her time while her children were performing but has become an integral member of the backstage crew.
- Has recently taken on the role of leading the sound crew for local productions.
- In 2021 Rachel worked on 8 productions – Burdekin Singers - Mary Poppins, Perform Music Concert, Burdekin Christian College Musical – Strictly Ballroom, BCHS Musical – School of Rock, East Ayr Musical – Shrek, Ayr State High School Musical – Rock of Ages, Burdekin Singers – Takes Two and Burdekin Singers Junior Musical – Jungle Book.
Nominees – Gracie Hosie and Lauren Raitelli
The 2022 Junior Cultural Award is presented to Lauren Raitell.
- Lauren was elected as Ayr State High School Cultural Leader 2021.
- Co-wrote the Ayr High Senior Drama Festival Script and received the Directors Award at the Drama Festival.
- During primary and secondary school, Lauren has performed in 11 Burdekin Singers Productions, 4 School Musicals, Perform Music mid-year and senior showcases and many Simply Dance concerts.
- Was the only North Queenslander selected to participate in the Shake and Stir Theatre Company Brisbane Shakespeare Festival in 2019.
- Has completed Grade 6 Speech and Drama Exams with Trinity College of London and Grade 6 AMEB musical Theatre Exams receiving Honour in both.
- Performed in Burdekin Singers Senior Musical Mary Poppins and currently rehearsing for 2022 production of Mamma Mia.
- Regular performer at local events including Australia Day Awards, Burdekin Cultural Fair, Burdekin Singers Deb Ball and Takes Two, Relay for Life, and Community Christmas Carols.
- Performed in 10 sections at Burdekin Junior Eisteddfod including School Choir, Senior Ensemble, Community Choir as well as solo and duo performances, placing for all 10 performances.
- Recipient of Ayr State High School Senior Choralist, Senior Performer Award and Senior Cultural Medallion for consistent dedication to the arts.
- Awarded the Andrea Aleksic Memorial Shield for dedication and commitment to the Performing Arts.
This year, the judges were incredibly impressed with the calibre of nominees for the Junior Cultural Award and have also selected a Junior Cultural Achievement Award.
The 2022 Junior Cultural Achievement Award is presented to GRACIE HOSIE for her many and varied achievements in and contributions to Culture and the Arts.
- Gracie served as the 2021 Cultural leader of Burdekin Catholic High School.
- Was a performer in the Burdekin Catholic High School Musical – School of Rock.
- Assisted with Burdekin Catholic High School Cultural Expo.
- Is a member of the Burdekin Shire Council Cultural and Community Advisory Group.
- Served as Burdekin Shire Council Deputy Youth Mayor 2021.
- Volunteered at Perform Music’s mid-year concert.
- Performed at the Burdekin Cultural Fair and at FC Caledonia’s free showcase.
- Fundraised for Relay for Life Burdekin.
- Competed in the Burdekin Junior Eisteddfod as a member of Perform Music choir and as a soloist.
- Was recipient of the Speech & Drama Encouragement Award at the Burdekin Junior Eisteddfod.
- Competed at Townsville Eisteddfod and awarded Most Promising Drama Competitor 15 years & over.
Nominees - Kimberley Bourke, Ray Collinson, Luke Jack and Mackenzie Linton
The 2022 Senior Sportsperson of the Year Award is presented to LUKE JACK in recognition of his outstanding achievements on the Rugby League field.
- Luke was captain of the Under 18 Ignatius Park Rugby League team
- Debuted for the Burdekin Roosters A Grade Team in 2021 at the age of 17.
- Was a finalist representing the Burdekin Shire Council at the North Queensland Sportstar Awards 2021.
- Captain of the Under 18 Townsville Mendi Blackhawks.
- Selected to play for under 21 Townsville Mendi Blackhawks
- Was selected in the Opens North Queensland Schoolboys Rugby League team
- Was selected in the Opens Queensland Schoolboys Rugby League Merit team.
- Selected as a member of the 2021 Under 18 Australian School Boys Rugby League Team.
Nominees - Matthew Kolb and Kiera Wiseman
The 2022 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.
- Was a finalist representing Burdekin Shire Council at North Queensland Sportstar Awards 2021.
- Competed in 2021 Water-ski Queensland State Titles at Hutchings Lagoon and placed 1st Overall for Under 17 Girls in Queensland
- One of only 10 Queensland athletes chosen to participate in the 2020/2021 Waterski Queensland High-Performance program.
- Competed in the 2021 Australian National Waterski Championships and placed 3rd overall for Under 17 Girls in Australia.
- Selected to ski at 61st Moomba Masters International Water Ski & Wakeboard Event in Melbourne however the event was cancelled.
- Selected in the Junior World Squad for her potential and ability to perform at a higher level. If selected in the final team she will travel to South America in 2023 to represent Australia.
- Has represented Australia at two Aussie-Kiwi Challenges
- Selected in participate in her third Australian Under 17 Team for Aussie-Kiwi Challenge being held in March this year.
The next category is the inaugural 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)
Silver Awards (30+ years voluntary contribution)
- Kevin has been a diligent, hardworking and respected member and volunteer with Burdekin Swimming club for over 30 years.
- Has carried out the duties of official starter, timekeeper and judge on a weekly basis.
- Is always one of the first to arrive to help with setting up tents and equipment and always stays late to pack up.
- Volunteers at Burdekin Swimming Club nights and carnivals, Webber Shield and local primary and secondary school carnivals.
- Has been a Life Member of what is now known as Burdekin Swimming Club for over 20 years.
- For his dedicated involvement with football in the Burdekin for over 32 years.
- Was involved with Crusaders Football Club since 1989.
- Served as a President, Coach, Club Delegate/ Official and Referee.
- Recipient of 2011 Crusaders Club Person of the Year.
- Elected as President of Burdekin Football Juniors 2016.
- Was Burdekin Junior Zone Committee Member in NQ Football Competition in Townsville.
- Recipient of Life Membership of Burdekin Football Juniors
- Recipient of the Award for Dedication to Growth and Development of Football in the Burdekin.
- Held the positions of President, Secretary, Executive Secretary of North Queensland Football Referees.
- Senior Referee in NQ Football Competition.
- Awarded 2006 Referee of the Year and was 2008 Grand Final Referee (2nd Division).
- Sandra began playing netball in the 1970’s.
- Has managed many representative teams over the years.
- Sandra was elected as Treasurer of Home Hill Netball Association in 1986 and is a position she still holds to this day.
- Over the past 36 years, Sandra has been a hardworking, committed and reliable member who contributes to the ongoing success of the Association.
- In her role as Treasurer, she has capably managed the finances ensuring the Association is financially sound and able to support players and invest in improvements to the facilities.
- Sandra has played a vital role in fundraising activities including running the weekly Bingo and Goose Club, cooking for cake stalls, organising raffles, working with festival entrants on their fundraising events, running of the Harvest Festival Mixed Competition, and all events where money is involved.
- As Treasurer, Sandra has made weekly commitments to manage her role for 36 years.
GOLD Awards (40+ years voluntary contribution)
- Church member and Eucharistic Assistant for the Anglican Church Home Hill
- Home Hill Kindy founding member (over 30 years)
- Member of Rotary since 1970s
- Queensland Cancer Fund member/president (Home Hill branch) now Cancer Council of Queensland
- Rotary member for over 25 years
- Paul Harris Fellow (Rotary)
- Home Hill Primary School P & C President (1980s)
- Home Hill Harvest Festival Committee Member and past president
- Home Hill Choral Society Member
- Burdekin Singers Member and previous president
- Volunteer - Burdekin Junior Eisteddfod
- Member of Burdekin Friends of the Theatre
- Served as a Councillor and Mayor of Burdekin Shire Council
- Volunteers with St Joseph’s Catholic Church and Local Ambulance Committee in Giru
- Volunteers at the Giru Bowls Club and the Giru Show.
- Committee member of the Giru Show for over 50 years.
- Served as Secretary of Giru Show for 25 consecutive years.
- Undertakes sending sponsorship letters, organises judges and stewards.
- Collects all donated prizes and spends endless hours sorting nominations and prizes.
- Organises, delivers and collects entries for judges.
- Organisers and works setting up the hall for displays.
- Recipient of Lifetime Membership Award for Giru Show in 2021
- Betty recently celebrated her 88th Birthday.