Current Australia Day Award Recipients
Australia Day celebrations were held at the Burdekin Memorial Hall on Monday 27th January 2020 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 – John Furnell and Linda Mitchelson
Winner – John Furnell
I am privileged to announce the 2020 Citizen of the Year Award is presented to Mr John Furnell.
John Furnell is a talented, well-known and well-respected member of the Burdekin community. John readily offers his time and talents to various organisations in a constant endeavour to give back. Most recently John even used his 60th birthday celebration as an opportunity to fundraise for the Laurie’s Love Foundation holding both a breakfast and lunch to support this worthy cause.
John’s career was dedicated to the health and safety of the community in his roles as a Nurse, Paramedic and Surf Lifesaver. John was also a member of the Australian Army Reserve where he again practiced his medical skills throughout his 10 years of service.
Unfortunately, due to serious health issues John was unable to continue with the Queensland Ambulance Service which enabled him to take on further community endeavors.
Impressively, John is a member of the Burdekin Community Association, Burdekin Men’s Shed, Burdekin Walkers and Roadrunners Club, Home Hill Choral Society and Suicide Prevention Community Action Plan Group. He is the Current President of Friends of the Theatre and the 2020 Chair of Relay for Life.
As a prominent, long serving member of the Ayr Surf Lifesaving Club, John is a trainer, first-aid officer, marine stinger officer, grants officer and peer support officer. John has been successful in attaining considerable funds for both Surf lifesaving and the Burdekin Men's Shed in his role as grants officer.
John also enjoys his volunteer role as a “Good Friend of Santa” at numerous venues throughout the shire during the festive season.
His community service has not gone un-noticed though, as John was awarded by The Rotary Foundation for his outstanding service to the Community by awarding him with the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award.
Combined with his extensive volunteer contributions to a vast array of community organisations, you can be sure to see John at almost every community event always cheerful and mingling with those present. John Furnell has shown himself as a very worthy recipient of this prestigious award.
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.
Nominees – Sarah McDonnell and Calem Saxby
Winner – Sarah McDonnell
The 2020 Young Citizen of the Year Award is presented to Sarah McDonnell.
Sarah is a dedicated, confident, committed and enthusiastic young lady who is constantly striving to make a positive difference in the Burdekin Community.
No job is too big or small for Sarah, from single-handedly organising fundraisers to volunteering as a referee at local sporting matches, she understands every contribution to society is valuable. At only 16 years of age, she has an outstanding record of community engagement including her role as 2019 Youth Mayor of the Burdekin Shire Youth Council, Vice President of the Ayr State High School Interact club, the 2019 Burdekin Youth Member of Parliament, and was one of just 200 delegates from across the country who attended the National Youth Science Forum in 2019. Sarah’s efforts are noticed by people of all ages, and she has made a significant impact on the community and inspired every person to make a difference.
Sarah’s consistent efforts and leadership have been recognised through her recent election as 2020 School Captain for Ayr State High School.
Congratulations to this amazing young citizen, Sarah McDonnell.
Nominees – East Ayr State School’s Beauty & The Beast JR Production, Christmas Lights Display by Jeffrey Lunn and Leon McCormack, Laurie's Love Foundation - 24 Hour Row for a Cure,
Winner – Laurie's Love Foundation - 24 Hour Row for a Cure
The 2020 Community Event of the Year is the Laurie’s Love Foundation 24 Hour Row for a Cure.
The award will be accepted by event organisers Andrea Piotto & David Sexton.
The Laurie’s Love Foundation inaugural 24-hour Row for a Cure was hosted in October 2019 by a small team of community volunteers to raise funds for the Laurie’s Love Foundation, a charity set up by local resident, the late Laurence Pavone.
The row took many months of organisation, and in the end culminated in four teams of roughly 13 rowers (including one team from Thursday Island) each rowing for 24 hours non-stop. In addition to the row itself, there was something for all community members to enjoy including food stalls, children’s activities, the ‘Pav’s Party’ disco, and community rowing machines for members of the public to join in and show their support. All funds raised were donated directly to the foundation.
Laurence Pavone sadly lost his battle with brain cancer the week of the 24-Hour Row for a Cure with the family making the selfless decision to go ahead with the event. No-one could have expected the sheer amount of support from the entire community and the overall success of this event.
A very emotional and heartfelt weekend for all of those in attendance was certainly worth it, with the event raising over $44,000 for the Laurie’s Love Foundation, contributing to research into causes and treatment for brain cancer.
Congratulations to all of the event organisers of the Laurie’s Love Foundation 24hr Row for a Cure, and I would also like to acknowledge members of Laurence’s family who are here today.
Winner – Christmas Lights Display – hosted by Jeffrey Lunn & Leon McCormack
This year the judges have decided to present an Achievement Award in the Community Event of the Year category.
The Community Event of the Year Achievement Award is presented to Jeffrey Lunn and Leon McCormack for their annual Christmas Lights Display.
For 10 years now Jeff and Leon have shared and invited the community to their house to see the spectacular display of lighting set to music. Every year the event grows, and more and more people attend to see the amazing lights, listen to local performers and enjoy candy canes, fairy floss, popcorn and snow cones which are given out by Santa’s helpers. Even Santa knows it’s the place to go as he always attends for photo sessions with the kids.
This amazing light display is now a highlight on many locals’ calendar and has brought the community together to celebrate Christmas in a welcoming and entertaining atmosphere. Donations are often given by generous local visitors, with Jeff and Leon donating these funds to local community organisations.
Jeff and Leon present this spectacular light display on their own initiative, simply to give back to the community. This is a true example of community spirit.
Congratulations on all your efforts and community spirit Jeff and Leon.
Nominees – Home Hill State High School and Peter Papadomitriou
Winner – Home Hill State High School
The 2020 Environment Award is presented to Home Hill State High School.
The award will be accepted by Principal Frank Kingma & School Captain Laura Loizou.
Home Hill State High School makes a continual and conscious effort to recognise, act on, educate and raise awareness of the environment and sustainability in the Burdekin. They have formed partnerships with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Research Centre, Farmacist, Burdekin Productivity Services, Wilmar, Pacific Reef Fisheries, local farmers to name a few.
The School has also opened the Karen Merchant Science Centre for Sustainability, which includes an Aqualab, hydroponics, water tanks and solar panels where vegetables, red claw, a worm farm, mango plantation are all produced and there are plans are for future plot development.
This dedication to the environment and sustainability has been adopted by all levels of teachers, staff and students at the school. The Student Council have run various activities and initiatives and even the School Chaplain became inspired to replace plastic cups with reusable ones for the weekly Monday Lunch Club. To provide additional support, the P&C have arranged recycled container collections.
Congratulations to the staff and students of Home Hill State High School.
Nominees – Machelle Slatcher and Jonathan Mundraby
Winner – Machelle Slatcher
The 2020 Australia Day Senior Cultural Award is presented to Machelle Slatcher.
Machelle makes the most of every opportunity doing all she can to see the community she loves thrive. She devotes a large amount of her own time to providing assistance, support and opportunities for the Burdekin’s cultural activity to flourish. Machelle will do whatever it takes to help someone, no matter the time or energy required. She is constantly assisting with community events never expecting anything in return, she is very humble in her efforts, with her biggest reward seeing others have fun and our community prosper.
Starting with the Burdekin Gymnastics Club in 1995, Machelle has dedicated her time to assist the club with various events including Water Festival floats, gymnastic meets and competitions as well as any other jobs that arose. She has been a valued member of the Burdekin Singers and Theatre group for 22 years, assisting with everything from costuming to props. Recently, she has created her own business around the arts to provide world class dance costumes and accessories to locals, with her latest achievement the creation and management of the Verve Dance Festival held last weekend at the Burdekin Theatre. The event attracted participants from around the region for days.
Congratulations Machelle Slatcher.
Nominees – Julia Nosworthy and Taia Favale
Winner – Julia Nosworthy
The 2020 Junior Cultural Award is presented to Julia Nosworthy.
Julia is an incredibly talented young lady who has dedicated hundreds of hours to her art. She has a love of performing, but also in fostering new talent, never shy to teach others. She has been a great role model for the younger performers locally, showing lots of patience and compassion.
Julia has most recently choreographed and performed in Perform Music Studios’ 2019 concert; Burdekin Catholic High School’s production of Matilda; Burdekin Singers and Theatre Company’s Lion King Junior. She is also performing in the upcoming production Beauty and the Beast. Julia has been a student teacher, assisting at Simply Dance. It certainly was a busy year for Julia as she was a Cultural Captain at Burdekin Catholic High School in her senior year and even found time to direct and perform in her school’s Drama Festival performance.
Congratulations Julia Nosworthy.
Nominees – Zoe Bonanno, Isabella Linton, Makayla Pirrone, Calem Saxby, Ryan Scodellaro, Kiera Wiseman
Winner – Isabella Linton and Kiera Wiseman
This year the judges have awarded joint winners for the 2020 Junior Sportsperson of the Year. The Junior Sportsperson of the Year Award is presented to Isabella Linton and Kiera Wiseman.
Isabella Linton is a multi-talented young athlete, who enjoys a range of sports and shows extreme dedication and determination. Bella’s hard work and determination has helped her get to the top of her sporting field, with sights set on future competitions and, hopefully one day, the Olympics.
Bella was selected to compete in Shotput at the North Queensland Track & Field Trials where she placed 1st in the 13yr Girls Shotput setting a new North Queensland record. Following on from this success, Bella was selected in the North Queensland Track & Field team to compete at the Queensland Schools Track & Field State Championships held in Cairns in October 2019. At these Queensland Championships Bella received a Gold Medal in the U13yr Girls Shotput qualifying her to be selected in the Queensland team. In December 2019, Bella went on to represent Queensland at the Australian Schools National Track & Field Championships in Perth where she won gold in the Under 14 female Shotput. This was not Bella’s first time on the podium at a National level, having placed third in Australia for Shotput the previous year.
Proving to be a true all-rounder, Bella has represented the Burdekin Netball Association at the State Age Netball Championships in Brisbane. Locally, Bella was named age champion at Home Hill High School in swimming, and she represented her school at the Burdekin Cross Country Trials. Bella has set new records in discus and shotput at a school level.
Kiera Wiseman is a dedicated young person with an extreme passion for her chosen sport of water skiing. As well as working extremely hard on her own goals in skiing, she is constantly working to share her passion with others by helping at competitions, providing advice and encouragement, and is one day hoping to coach others.
Kiera has represented the Burdekin at a local, state, and national levels on many occasions. At the Queesland state titles held in April 2019, she placed first in Slalom, Jump and Trick, and received a gold medal for overall under 14 girls.
She represented Australia at the Australia vs New Zealand Challenge in February 2019, where she placed 2nd for Jump and 3rd overall for Australian under 14 girls. In two weeks, Kiera will travel to New Zealand to represent Australia at the 2020 Aussie/Kiwi Challenge.
Kiera recently attended the Australian Junior Masters where she won 3rd place in slalom, 1st place in jump with a Personal Best of 26.1metres, and she was named Overall Champion for U/14 Girls.
Kiera is currently ranked #1 for jump, #2 in slalom, #3 in trick and is ranked #1 overall in Australia for U/14 Girls. In November 2019 she was named the Wilmar 2019 NQ Junior Sportstar of the Year.
Winner – Makayla Pirrone
The Australia Day Council has made provision for Council to present an Achievement Award to an individual who has made significant contribution to their community or given exceptional service to the community. This year the judges have decided to present an Achievement Award in the Junior Sports Person of the Year category.
The 2020 Junior Sportsperson of the Year Achievement Award is presented to Makayla Pirrone.
Makayla is a determined and passionate young lady who has shown a commitment to her chosen sports of Swimming and Basketball which is well beyond her years.
At only 10 years of age Makayla has represented her school, the Burdekin, North Queensland and Queensland in Swimming. She has represented North Queensland at the Queensland School Swimming Championships where she won Gold Medals in the 50m & 100m freestyle events. This subsequently earnt her a spot on the Queensland Team to compete at the Australian School National Swimming Championships in Melbourne. Here she narrowly missed out on a medal, placing 4th in the 100m freestyle and 5th in the 50m freestyle.
On top of a swimming training regime that includes swimming 4 mornings per week and 4 afternoons per week, Makayla also races at club night and attends most NQ Carnivals throughout the season.
Although showing a clear passion for swimming Makayla also excels at Basketball and has represented North Queensland at the Queensland School Basketball Championships.