Australia Day 2016




Australia Day 2016 Winners

Congratulations to the 2016 Western Downs Australia Day Award Winners.


Regional Winners for Western Downs

Citizen of the Year Award – Peter McKinnon

Peter is a dedicated member of the local community, his optimism, energy and passion shine through his many contributions to business, sport and community. He has served as town councillor, president of the Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of Dalby-Wambo Tourism – Economic Development Board, captain-coach for Dalby Rugby League, Treasurer of the Dalby Golf Club and is a partner of one of Dalby’s largest employers. Peter is well known throughout the community for being a person of the highest integrity. His friendliness, professional knowledge, down to earth nature and genuine interest in people has seen him become a listening ear, friend and mentor to people of all ages and all backgrounds in our community.

Young Citizen of the Year Award – Jason Erbacher

Jason is a strong advocate for his home town community of Wandoan and actively volunteers with several community organisations. As he has for a number of years, Jason volunteers his time to be involved with the tennis club as Treasurer and Doubles Championship organiser, Diggers Race Club assisting with their promotions and utilising his talent of talking as race day announcer, and the Wandoan Show Society as a member and ring steward, having also been a rural ambassador for the Wandoan show in 2013. Jason’s passion for polocrosse shines through his involvement with the Wandoan Polocrosse Club for which he currently serves as sponsorship manager, PR officer and vice president. While Jason has travelled quite extensively around the world, he still feels he lives in the best place.

Cultural Award – Lydia Cunnington

Lydia graciously shares her wonderful musical talent with the community whenever requested. Performing at community events such Anzac Day, Melon Festival, Mayors Charity Concert, Chinchilla Show, and Anglican Church events in addition to many formal school occasions, Lydia often performs as a soloist or as part of an ensemble using her voice or talents as a trombone player to entertain. Lydia will further her skills and experience in 2016 as she commences study at the Brisbane Academy of Musical Theatre as well as performing in a 2016 Harvest Rain Production of ‘Hairspray’ at the Brisbane Convention Centre in April 2016.

Sports Achievement Award – Sam Rasmussen

At the young age of 12, Sam has already represented Queensland school sports in AFL, rugby league and athletics teams, with the Queensland Rugby League team placing 1st, and the Queensland AFL team placing fourth. At the Queensland Athletics Carnival Sam won gold in the multi-event, bronze in shot put, and 4th in the 100m. At the National Athletics Titles in Canberra, Sam went on to win the  gold medal and be crowned national champion for the multi-event (tetrathlon). It is no surprise from Sam’s accomplishments, that he was awarded the title of Sportsperson of the Year at the Dalby State High School in 2015.

Community Project/Event of the Year Award – Jandowae Zone 4 Junior Rugby League Carnival Jandowae Junior Rugby League Zone 4 Committee

The week-long Jandowae Zone 4 Junior Rugby League Carnival brought not only financial benefit to all business in the small community, but also a great sense of community spirit. The community opened its doors for visitors attending the event, promoting the town and region. It encouraged visitors to discover the attractions of Jandowae including Athlone Cottage and to participate in a farmers challenge, providing kids the opportunity to experience activities such as a tractor pull, fencing, and loading drums into a ute.


Local Winners for Western Downs

Citizen of the Year Award

Chinchilla and District – Yvonne Wolski

Yvonne is a name well known and greatly valued in both the Brigalow and Chinchilla communities, never shying away from being involved. Whilst owning a dairy farm with her husband, Yvonne has always found time to be involved in the community and in particular the Boonaraga Hall Committee, Chinchilla Tennis Club, Brigalow Tennis Club, Brigalow Recreation Grounds Committee, and the Horticultural Society.  Never short of a word or a great big smile, Yvonne is to be admired for her selfless acts of kindness and hard work.

Dalby and District – Peter McKinnon

Peter is actively involved in many charities and charity events. As a ‘quiet achiever’, Peter walks at the Relay for Life, where he helped lead BMO to the top fundraising team twice in the past 5 years, takes part in Movember, and would often be behind the BBQ at school, sports, chamber, and other community events over the years. Through his business as a partner of BMO, Peter has personally contributed to the successes of other small businesses in our town, helping to guide business owners in areas such as taxation, profitability and business development. Peter is passionate about the Dalby community and the people and the businesses within it, regularly attending community events and showing his support for all kinds of community, sporting and business activities in Dalby.

Jandowae and District – Amelia Wood

Amelia is a passionate and proud member of the Jandowae community who has and continues to serve on many local committees in Jandowae, while raising her young family. Amelia demonstrates great leadership as one of the founders of the Jandowae Business and Community Group, and as an integral member of the Jandowae Timbertown Committee since 2010. Known for her fundraising activities, Amelia has also been involved on the Jandowae Squash Club, Jandowae Race Club, and the Jandowae Kindergarten.

Miles and District – Patrick Staines

Pat has been an active member of the Miles and District community since he made the area his home over 20 years ago. Most people know Pat through his involvement in local events and fundraisers as an MC. His gift of the gab stems from 23 years of experience as a rodeo announcer, contributing to countless rodeos in the Western Downs region, across Queensland and interstate. What started as a love of rodeo in his youth has seen Pat climb the ranks of the rodeo scene and utilise his skills and influence to not only raise the profile of the sport he loves, but also to assist the community in running successful special events.

Tara and District – Majella Hetherington

Majella has been described as one of the ‘quiet achievers’ of the Tara and District community, freely offering her time to assist with organisations including the Tara Craft Association, Tara State College, Hannaford State School, Meandarra State School, St Joseph’s School, the Tara Annual Show, Tara Meals on Wheels, and the Tara Tennis Club. Majella volunteers her time unconditionally and is to be commended on the loyalty and commitment she exhibits in all activities she is involved in.

Wandoan and District – Terrance Holland

Since relocating to Wandoan as the Wandoan Postmaster with his family in 1980, Terry has been an active and committed member of the Wandoan and District community. For decades, Terry has been an active member of the Wandoan Lions Club, Presbyterian Church, Local Ambulance Committee, Wandoan Housing Association, and has provided his services as Master of Ceremonies for Anzac Day and Armistice Day. During his extensive volunteering history, Terry has also been involved in the Wandoan State School Parents and Citizens committee, Wandoan Progress Association, Wandoan Tennis Club, and served his community as an elected Councillor for the Taroom Shire Council for seven years.  More recently, Terry was a foundation member of the Wandoan Chamber of Commerce and is involved in the Wandoan Health Auxiliary.  Terry is a great ambassador for Wandoan, welcoming newcomers to the town and making them aware of the many services and amenities available locally.

Young Citizen of the Year Award

Chinchilla and District – Kate Schaefer

Kate is a wonderful role model for the students and young people of Chinchilla, most notably during her very successful year as School Captain at the Chinchilla State High School in 2015. In 2015 Kate won the Youth Speaks Rostrum, Apex Public Speaking Award, and was awarded the Chinchilla Lions Youth of the Year, Regional Lions Youth of the Year, Chinchilla State High School Public Speaking Award, School Captain Award, and the Long Tan Leadership Award.  In addition to her illustrious school career, Kate has been involved in community drama and dance classes, was actively involved in the successful Movement for Mozambique fundraiser and has always been a key worker at the Brigalow Bush Carnival.

Dalby and District – Emma O’Mealley

Emma is a motivated and high achiever in all areas she pursues. In 2015 Emma was a Dalby State High School Captain and achieved exemplary results in all her studies and the multitude of sporting, cultural and community extracurricular activities she was involved in. Emma was the recipient of the Dalby Lions Youth of the Year Award, was a guest speaker at the Dalby Forum Breakfast, received the Dalby State High School School Spirit and School Service Awards, the Long Tan Leadership Award, and in 2016 commences a career in the Australian Navy.

Jandowae and District – Jonathan Young

Jonathon is a good natured young gentleman who has worked exceedingly hard to achieve outstanding results in his senior year which he completed at the Chinchilla State High School. Jonathon has demonstrated strong leadership qualities in his participation in community and cultural endeavours in the High School Interact Club, Concert Band, musicals and as 2014 Senior Winner of the Personality Quest Ball. Jonathon placed second in two categories at the Rostrum Voice of Youth, competing up to a regional level, in addition to Lions Youth of the Year in 2015 and was the recipient of The University of Queensland Prize. Proud of his results, Jonathon intends to commence tertiary studies in software engineering at university this year.

Tara and District – Emily-Louise Coggan

Emily’s illustrious resume of academic, sport, and cultural achievements is remarkable for a young woman of her age. Notably her achievements have included, being awarded two scholarships to obtain her pilots license, School Captain, Webber House Captain and Academic Committee at Glennie School where she completed her schooling and has been the recipient of the prestigious Pierre De Coubertin Award. In 2015 Emily attended the National Youth Science Forum from which was selected to be one of the staff members at the 2016 forum. Finishing off her senior year, Emily was awarded the Clarke Cup for Citizenship, Leadership & Loyalty, The Head’s award for leadership and service as a school captain and as a committee captain, the Irene Savage Prize for Citizenship, and the Parent & Friends Prize for Accounting.  Emily is an exemplary young leader who believes in being an effective contributor to her community, volunteering time and effort to her community in order to give back to organisations that have supporter her achievements, often raising funds to improve communities locally and worldwide.

Wandoan and District – Jason Erbacher

Jason is a proud member of the Wandoan community, having grown up attending Guluguba Primary School, before completing his high schooling in Miles. Upon returning to the area following university, Jason has immersed himself in all things community, volunteering his time, and knowledge, often utilising his financial knowledge and nous to help the community organisations he is involved with make improvements towards the future.

Junior Cultural Award

Chinchilla and District – Hannah Errey

Hannah is immensely proud of having lived in Chinchilla all her life; attending both the Chinchilla State Primary and High School.  Hannah has competed in public speaking events at both a district and regional level, being awarded the Senior Public Speaking Winner 2014 for Chinchilla State High School, the Rostrum Voice of Youth Regional Runner-Up in 2014, and in 2015 was given the Public Speaking Award in Lions Youth of the Year. Actively involved in the Chinchilla State High School Concert Band, Stage Band and the Saxophone Quartet, her proficiency in both the flute and alto has seen her win in numerous sections at eisteddfods, and has performed at many community events such as ANZAC Day, Melon Festivals, church functions and fundraising events.  Hannah is a conscientious young lady who relishes being involved in her community and is involved in a wide range of cultural activities.

Dalby and District – Daniel Scott

Daniel is a talented young man who is dedicated to his studies, music and community. Daniel’s proficiency in piano has seen him perform for many school and community functions, and he is an Ambassador for Keys to the City, as winner of the James Morrison QLD Piano Competition.  Having performed lead roles in the Dalby State High School Musical, and a member of the Concert and Stage Bands, Daniel has used his knowledge and skills to teach music to younger students.

Senior Cultural Award

Chinchilla and District – Lydia Cunnington

Lydia is truly a local, having lived in Chinchilla all her life and enjoying the values and principles she has learned from her involvement with the wider community. Having completed year 12 in 2015, Lydia relishes being able to share her love of singing at a lot of different community events.

Dalby and District – Pamela Weekes

Pamela has been a dedicated volunteer for the last four years working to enhance the community radio services in the Western Downs.  Pamela has project managed the licences and equipment grants for a geographic expansion to Tara, Wandoan, Meandarra, and Moonie. In 2015 4ddd Radio was a finalist in the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia’s Outstanding Small Station Award Category, reflecting Pamela’s dedication and hard work over the years.

Miles and District – Pat Hinz

Pat has been a moving force for many years in the Miles and District Arts Community. Pat has been a member of the Planning and Steering Committees of Dogwood Crossing, tutored and mentored many groups of aspiring artists from young children to the elderly residents of Milton House, has been a frequent exhibitor at many art shows including in New York, and has donated artworks to many charitable organisations.  There is hardly a day goes by that Pat is not giving her time so willingly to someone or something in the community, passing her love of art on to the wider community, but never looking for any of the credit or recognition she richly deserves.

Junior Sports Award

Chinchilla and District – Olivia Mutch

Olivia is actively involved in both netball and touch football both through school sport and community competition. In 2015 Olivia was selected in the under 14 Australian Indigenous Netball team, competing at the Gold Coast in July against other Australian and New Zealand Teams with her team coming third overall out of a division of 18. Over the past 4 years, Olivia has represented the south-west division in both netball and touch, competing at the Queensland State Championships. In 2014 Olivia was awarded  the Junior Sportswoman Award at the Chinchilla State High School, and in 2015 received Age Champion for athletics at Chinchilla State High School.

Dalby and District – Sam Rasmussen

Sam’s sporting talent has seen him represent the Darling Downs division, as a valued team member of the touch, cross country, rugby league, AFL and athletics teams. Sam’s talent and skill also saw him appointed team captain of the Darling Downs athletics team and was awarded the ‘Most Outstanding Male Athlete’ at this event. Sam has also been recognised as a talented musician and academic achiever.

Miles and District – Jed Bignell

Jed is a very determined and self-motivated young man. Having spent most of his life in Miles, and as a passionate rugby league follower and player, he has been a supporter of the Miles Junior Devils Club since he was old enough to join. Jed is an all-round sportsman, enjoying and exceling in a majority of sports including touch football, soccer, cricket and athletics. Jed is viewed as a leader amongst his peers and has gained respect from both younger and older children, his great attitude, and his ability to show his motivation has given him great rewards in the sporting arena. Making the Queensland Schoolboys Under 12 Rugby League Team has absolutely been the highlight of Jed’s career so far. Jed is immensely proud of his achievements as are his family and the wider community.

Wandoan and District – Daniel Gunnulson

Daniel balances sport and school with the same mindset “work hard to get results”. He is driven in everything he does, and strives to be his best always.  In 2014 Daniel received the Malcolm Miller All-round sports award and highest achiever. In 2015 Daniel achieved age champion in Wandoan, then in Miles and District for both cross country and athletics gaining him a spot on the south west teams for both cross country and athletics. While representing at these events, Daniel achieved two personal bests.

Senior Sports Award

Miles and District – Chloe Kerwick

Chloe is a local Miles girl who just on 12 months ago tried her hand at weight lifting. Within weeks, her natural ability saw her quality for the State titles at her 1st competition. Chloe won a silver medal at the titles and lifted her ranking to fifth in Australia. This gained her an invitation to attend the nationals in Melbourne in August last year where she placed third and recorded another personal best with a combined weight of 132kg. Another personal best of 136kg recently qualified Chloe to compete at the 2016 State Titles. Chloe has recently been awarded a Darling Downs Sports Incentive Award, has completed a Certificate 3 in Group Fitness, and can be found taking classes at the Murilla Fitness Centre.

Wandoan and District – Luke Baker

Luke has been instrumental in the revival of the Taroom Wandoan Battlers Rugby League Club. They played as the Miles Devils reserve grade in 2015 after a 17 year absence in the competition.  Luke captained the side and led the Battlers to the preliminary finals, after having a knee reconstruction at the start of the year and postponing a kidney operation.  Luke’s determination and passion for the Battlers is second to none and his commitment to his team mates and his desire to win games for them cannot be faulted. Luke is a true leader and champion, deservingly being awarded the best and fairest player.

Sports Administrator/Coach/Official Award

Chinchilla and District – Kelly Statham

Kelly has been actively involved in a number of sports in Chinchilla, both as a player and administrator since her childhood. With the birth of her daughters, and the introduction of them to sport, her energy is now largely devoted to Junior Sports Administration.  Kelly has volunteered significant time on the committees of various sporting organisation, with her greatest involvement being with the Chinchilla Netball and Touch Associations.  In 2015 Kelly was responsible for the commencement of a new ladies netball competition in Chinchilla which had been missing from Chinchilla since the early 1990’s.

Wandoan and District – Teena Doherty

Teena has been the secretary for the Wandoan Wildcats for the last three years. During her time with the club, Teena has engaged with the wider community to encourage interest and participation in the sport, as well as securing sponsorship and encouraging interaction at breakups and fundraisers. Teena is also actively involved in the senior rugby league, assisting in the 2015 revival of the Taroom/Wandoan Battlers.

Community Project / Event of the Year Award

Chinchilla and District – Brigalow Bush Carnival Brigalow Recreation Grounds Association

The Brigalow Recreation Grounds Association has been running the Brigalow Bush Carnival for the past 54 years. The Bush Carnival is a much anticipated unique event which provides family fun that is affordable and traditional to our rural area. The event draws crowds from far and wide to enjoy the events program featuring rodeo, chainsaw, pushbike, athletic, and horse events for the entire family.  The profits from this annual event are donated back into the community.

Dalby and District – Dalby Blokes Big Breakfast Dalby and District Domestic and Family Violence Group

The Dalby & District Domestic & Family Violence Group is made up of community members who want to bring the issues of domestic violence to the attention of the community.  The group has been running regular events such as the Reclaim the Night Family movie in the park in October and domestic violence awareness events in May each year.  This year the group took the opportunity to host a White Ribbon event which was successfully held at the Dalby Saleyards as the Dalby Blokes Big Breakfast with a crowd of around 250 in attendance.

Jandowae and District – Jandowae Zone 4 Junior Rugby League Carnival Jandowae Junior Rugby League Zone 4 Committee

Jandowae Junior Rugby League Zone 4 Committee hosted the 53rd Annual Zone 4 Carnival in 2015.  The week long carnival brought over 100 families along with many life members, coaches, and supporters to the town. For the first time since becoming involved in the event 38 years ago, the Jandowae and Western Downs team were able to go undefeated all week, winning the carnival.

Miles and District – Dulacca Anzac Cricket Day Dulacca Sports Club Inc

Dulacca Sports Club Committee held the inaugural Anzac Cricket Day in 2013 which has since been followed up with another two successful events in 2014 and 2015.  Held on Anzac Day following the local community’s annual Anzac Day Parade and Commemoration ceremony, the six-a-side cricket match attracts teams from the surrounding district and some 150 onlookers.  The event has become a huge success providing spectacular crowd pleasing entertainment as well as some lively cricket from surprisingly skilled cricketers.  For a small community club with limited members, it is a well organised, highly entertaining event bringing life back into our local community.

Tara and District – The Netherlands display at the Tara Camel Races and Multicultural Festival Tara Craft Association Inc

The Tara Craft Association has participated in cultural displays at the Tara Camel Races and Multi-Cultural Festival since its inception and has won many awards for the Best Cultural Display of the Festival.  Their 2015 display of “The Netherlands” was no different, featuring costumes, food, display items and decorations, and was awarded the Best Cultural Display of the 2015 Festival. This award winning display was much admired and commented on by the public and in particularly a Dutch family visiting were very excited to see their culture on display.

Wandoan and District – Wandoan Camels for Kids Wandoan Kindergarten

Wandoan Camels for Kids, camel races hosted by the Wandoan Kindergarten was a collaboration of individuals and local community organisations that effectively provide for the children of the Wandoan community. The flow on effects of those efforts were far reaching, crossing into social and economic benefits for the entire town of Wandoan and surrounding communities with approximately 500 race goers coming from near and far to participate in the action. Wandoan Camels for Kids was an excellent social event that brought together the community and increase fundraising commitments for all organisations involved.

Certificate of Achievement Dux Award

Chinchilla and District – Harrison McDonald

Dalby and District – Daniel Ash, Declan Caruso, Carmen Duvel

Miles and District – Lucy Keys

Tara and District – Brandon Hayward