Australia Day Awards 2021

The Western Downs Regional Council Australia Day Awards are presented annually and recognise those outstanding persons or groups who make a real contribution and difference to the communities of the Western Downs. These prestigious awards are one of the highest honours a Council can bestow to publicly acknowledge those in the community who are making an outstanding contribution.

2021 Australia Day Award Winners

Regional Awards

A local person who has demonstrated vision, leadership, innovation or creativity, has been a positive role model for their peers/community/region, shown significant and outstanding contributions to their community and demonstrated a high level of personal, academic or professional achievements with demonstrated benefits for others.

Marilyn Bidstrup

Marilyn is recognized as Citizen of the Year for her ongoing commitment to her community and her tireless efforts across several local groups and organisations.

In addition to her contributions to the agricultural industry particularly coloured cotton, Marilyn has been a part of various groups and initiatives such as the Uniting Church in Chinchilla, Warra Progress and Heritage Society, Meals on Wheels, garden fetes and fundraising at "Prospect" for various organisations. She also instigated the Thousand Steps Walkway at Warra and History of Agriculture in Warra District Project

Marilyn's vision for her community and the region has been greatly beneficial and her experience with local organisations demonstrates her leadership, innovation and creativity. Through her generosity, Marilyn has made significant contributions to her town and the wider region.

A local person between the ages of 16 and 25 who has demonstrated leadership, innovation or creativity ,has shown outstanding achievement in their chosen field (e.g. academic, sporting, cultural, environment or civic responsibility), is a role model that other young people can aspire to and has shown a significant contribution to the community.

Karsten Duvel

Karsten receives the Young Citizen of the Year for his tireless commitment to his community, particularly the Dalby Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Despite his own challenges as a year 12 student in the COVID-19 pandemic, Karsten continued to work hard in the community and has made outstanding contributions to various initiatives in the region.

Further as Captain, Karsten used his media skills to produce multiple videos for the his school Facebook page, including 'tips and tricks for coming back to school after lockdown'.

This year alone, Karsten has played an integral role in the Dalby Junior Chamber of Commerce by creating a series of videos to help people stay in touch online during the pandemic and was instrumental in delivering a school-based Relay for Life event, among a range of other community efforts. 

Karsten is an enthusiastic and dedicated young leader in the region who is inspiring to his peers and the wider community and has made a noticeable impact on the region in 2020.

Local Awards

A local person who has made a significant contribution at community level through their volunteering and has shown a personal effort that has made a lasting and significant difference to the community.

Cecil Woods

Cecil has always gone above and beyond for his community and has been involved in various groups, clubs and charities over many years.

Cecil is a retired fireman who spent more than 33 years serving as part of the Dalby Fire Brigade. His love of the Service saw him regularly give his own time to improve the station and connection among team members throughout his years as a dedicated firefighter in the region.

Cecil has also volunteered across various local community groups and charities including Dalby and District Pony and Hack Club, Rural Fire Service, Meals on Wheels, Rotary Men's Shed and Dalby Historical Society.

He is a highly regarded member of the Dalby community and a tireless volunteer who continues to give back to the community wherever he can.

A local person who has made a significant contribution at community level through their volunteering and has shown a personal effort that has made a lasting and significant difference to the community.

Donna Woollett

Donna is a longstanding teacher in Jandowae and over the years, has volunteered her time to all kinds of activities such as Rock Eisteddfod and various sporting events. Donna has spent significant time volunteering and organizing the Jandowae Meals on Wheels, working with the Jandowae Business and Community Group, and volunteering at the Domiciliary Care Service.

Donna has taken on various roles and responsibilities to support Jandowae Meals on Wheels in particular, through the COVID-19 pandemic and has continued to support the community ensuring every meal continued to be delivered, even during the height of the pandemic earlier in 2020.

Donna's selflessness and commitment to supporting her community has made a lasting impact on the Jandowae community.

A local person who has made a significant contribution at community level through their volunteering and has shown a personal effort that has made a lasting and significant difference to the community.

Edward Gibbons

Edward 'Ted' Gibbons has resided in the Miles community since 1978 and is a tireless volunteer as part of various community groups, as well as a longstanding local business owner.

After retirement Ted became an active volunteer for various charities and groups including the Miles Historical Village, Miles Arts Council, Murilla Masonic Lodge, Miles Anglican Church, Miles Show Society, Miles Secondhand Bookshop, Meals on Wheels and Myall Park Botanical Gardens.

Ted was also the President of the Miles and District Show Society for a number of years and held various roles across the many groups he was a part of.

Ted's volunteering efforts have made a lasting and significant impact on the community, with one achievement being is role in developing Dogwood Crossing Miles whist serving time on the committee. His involvement in the Murilla Masonic Lodge and Hand Heart Pocket also led to the donation of a new bus and car for Murilla Community Centre, which are used to transport elderly and disabled residents.

Ted is also involved in the arts community by helping to deliver local stage productions and music and drama lessons for local children.

A local person who has made a significant contribution at community level through their volunteering and has shown a personal effort that has made a lasting and significant difference to the community.

Linda Steinohrt

Linda is recognized for her ongoing dedication to building a whole community.

One of her biggest achievements is the annual Book Week Parade which is a much-loved community event bringing in several schools to celebrate their love of books and reading.

Linda also organizes Book Fairs, with money raised to purchase new books for the Tara Shire State College school library.

Linda is also a passionate tennis player and has assisted with the organization and running of tennis tournaments for the Tara Tennis Club, as well as supporting local players to improve their skills.

She is always seen at local events with her camera in hand, and enthusiastically photographs the community to help promote all the great things happening in Tara. Her generosity in giving time to take photos and have them processed and made available is very much valued by the community.

A local person who has made a significant contribution at community level through their volunteering and has shown a personal effort that has made a lasting and significant difference to the community.

Dinah Fraser

Dinah has been heavily involved in the Wandoan community for more than 50 years and has been a tireless volunteer as part of several community organisations including Wandoan Cubs & Scouts, Wandoan Swim Club, Wandoan Pony Club and Wandoan State School.

Passionate about preserving the history of the town, Dinah was a founding member of the Juandah Heritage Society Inc, and integral to the establishment of the Juandah Heritage Site.  

Dinah was instrumental in raising funds to purchase the very first ambulance car for the town and continues to offer her time to deliver various community events and fundraising efforts throughout her many years in the community.

Dinah has also been a longstanding member and executive on the Wandoan Community Commerce and Industry Association dedicated to putting forward new ideas and ensuring Wandoan is appealing to both residents and visitors.

A local person who is an outstanding sportsperson with a noteworthy record of achievement in sport and is a role model that people in the Western Downs region can aspire to.

Breanna Collins

Breanna is recognized for her outstanding achievements in trap shooting and clay target shooting.

In late 2019 she was selected to represent Australia at the Oceania Championship for Olympic Trap Shooting, before going on to qualify for Olympic selection for shooting. She was only one of 11 women in Australia to qualify at this level.

Breanna has represented Chinchilla & her school (Chinchilla SHS) in Regional Netball, Swimming, Athletics, Touch, and was part of a Drill Dance Team that attended the National Drill Dance Championships in Adelaide and Sydney.

Breanna is a valued member of the Chinchilla Clay Target Club and helps with coaching the public, which makes them feel more comfortable and raises the profile of the sport in the region.

Breanna's ongoing dedication and success inspires other young people in the community and proves anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

A local person who is an outstanding sportsperson with a noteworthy record of achievement in sport and is a role model that people in the Western Downs region can aspire to.

Mitchell Hemmings

Mitchell has been an active participant in a wide range of school and community sports throughout 2020. He gained selection in several Darling Downs School Sport Representative Teams including water polo, swimming and triathlon.

In August, Mitchell was selected in the Triathlon Queensland's 2020-21 Team and has also excelled in swimming throughout the 2019-20 season, receiving multiple Darling Downs Regional Swimming Association Awards.

Aside from his sporting achievements, Mitchell is an excellent role model and has made a concerted effort to involve himself in all aspects of school life to encourage all students to be the best version of themselves.

Mitchell has dedicated himself to excelling in his chosen sporting endeavors. He also offers his time as part of the various Clubs he is a part of, including the Dalby Dolphins Swimming Club, where he regularly assists younger members, takes on official duties including check starting and time keeping as well as helping to set up and pack up Club events.

A local person who is an outstanding sportsperson with a noteworthy record of achievement in sport and is a role model that people in the Western Downs region can aspire to.

Lachlan Moore

Lachlan has made significant achievements this year in the tactical sport of orienteering.

His dedication and determination has seen Lachlan make outstanding achievements this year, which has led to him earning a place on the Queensland Orienteering Team.

In 2020, he was selected in the QLD Schools Orienteering Honour Team, travelling to various locations across South East Queensland to compete in qualifying events.

Lachlan was the first student to take up orienteering in the South West three years ago and has continued to promote the sport in the region and contribute to its growing popularity.

Lachlan is a wonderful role model and shares his knowledge of orienteering by supporting others on their courses. He helps younger students and adults to improve their skills and regularly stays back to help pack up events.

A local person who is an outstanding sportsperson with a noteworthy record of achievement in sport and is a role model that people in the Western Downs region can aspire to.

Addison Clay

Addison is a strong, inspirational sportsperson in the Tara community who has made significant achievements in a range of sports whist also battling stage four cancer.

Addison made the South West Regional School Sport Representative team five times this year, for the sports of aquathon, swimming, softball, basketball and cricket. She also made the Toowoomba under 14s Representative team for softball.

Addison trained for the South West Softball trials whilst undergoing intense chemotherapy at the same time and even underwent a blood transfusion the night before to gain the energy needed to get through the trials.

Her hard work and determination shows anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Facing a major illness and enduring battles no child or person should ever have to face, Addison is an inspiration to everyone.

A local person who is an outstanding sportsperson with a noteworthy record of achievement in sport and is a role model that people in the Western Downs region can aspire to.

Elli Zillman

Elli is a dedicated sportsperson who has made outstanding achievements in several sports in the district.

Elli has reached various sporting achievements including South West swimming representative, South West touch football representation, 2020 South West Swimming Carnival 12 Years Age Champion and Girls Open Champion, 2020 Miles and District Swimming Carnival 12 Years Age Champion and tied Overall Girls Champion, as well as receiving the Daniel Maller Open Shield.

In 2019/20 she also received the Swimming Australia Junior Excellence Award (blue standard), Wandoan Amateur Swimming Club Most Improved Swimmer, Wandoan State School Lockyer Family Trophy for outstanding performance, and Wandoan State School Sporting Girl Award.

In addition to her achievements, Elli is a positive role model to her community and peers and demonstrates good sportsmanship and works hard to reach her goals by never giving up.

A local community group or organisation whose contributions have brought or will bring social, cultural and/or economic benefits to individuals, community organisations or the community in general as well as having significant volunteer involvement or excellence in their field.

Chinchilla Netball Inc is recognized for its outstanding commitment to the Chinchilla community during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and its continued success of 'Walking Netball'.

The Club hosted a successful second season of 'Walking Netball' despite the challenges of the pandemic and worked hard to ensure the sport could continue to be played safely in the COVID-19 environment.

Walking Netball is suitable to all ages and fitness levels and has grown to become an inclusive social opportunity for the community, and is one of the best attended in Queensland.  

Chinchilla Netball Inc is run by hard working and dedicated committee members who are all committed to helping promote, develop and grow netball in Chinchilla.

A local community group or organisation whose contributions have brought or will bring social, cultural and/or economic benefits to individuals, community organisations or the community in general as well as having significant volunteer involvement or excellence in their field.

The Dogwood Motor Auto Group - Miles Motoring Enthusiast Club is recognized for its strong ties to the Miles community and ongoing commitment to various events, festivals and initiatives.

The Club has grown to 37 members with 100 club registered cars and regularly takes part in community events such as Miles Back to the Bush Festival, Miles Races, Australia Day, school formals, sporting and high school events.

The Club has contributed to the Miles and District committees and groups through their commitment to support local by volunteering, sharing of Car Club equipment, donating funds and goods and getting involved in the wider community.

A local community group or organisation whose contributions have brought or will bring social, cultural and/or economic benefits to individuals, community organisations or the community in general as well as having significant volunteer involvement or excellence in their field.

Established in 1977, the Jandowae Squash Club has continued to offer a place for the community to connect, get active, and be involved in their local area. The Club has around 60 members ranging in age from 10 years old right through to 60.

In the past two years the Jandowae Squash Committee has been very proactive in improving their service to the community and gained funding to deliver improved coaching and equipment.

The Club continues to give back to the community by offering a squash banquet every year where members are subsidized, and hosting handicap social days where anyone can come along and have a go.

The Club's commitment to offering low cost training and purchasing of food and drink from local businesses makes it a valuable group in the community that is passionate about community connection.

A local community group or organisation whose contributions have brought or will bring social, cultural and/or economic benefits to individuals, community organisations or the community in general as well as having significant volunteer involvement or excellence in their field.

Tara Future Groups Inc is awarded for its contributions to improving the Tara Lagoon Parklands and its ongoing commitment to the community.

In recent years the Group has worked hard to secure external funding to deliver a range of upgrades at the Lagoon Parklands to make it more appealing for locals and visitors. These upgrades have included improvements to the walkway, entrance, amenities block, playground and other structures.

All volunteers involved in the project thus far, have contributed many hours of their time in the spirit of making Tara a better place to live, play, work and do business.

Tara Future Group Inc is dedicated to the betterment of the local community and their achievements this year demonstrate their commitment to excellence for the welfare of residents and businesses in the Tara area.

A local person or group that has shown vision, leadership, innovation or creativity and has made an outstanding contribution bringing long or short-term benefits to the arts and/or cultural community of the Western Downs.

The Bell Theatre Group Inc has delivered vibrant, daring and creative theatre performances for more than two decades and continues to hold a strong presence in the community.

The Group hosts unique Theatre Restaurants which are hugely popular in the district and demonstrate the rich cultural offerings in the Western Downs.

The Group's performances involve the wider community, with around 70 volunteers needed to stage a theatre restaurant, and the Group works closely with other local committees such as the Bell Memorial Public Hall.

When do nominations close?
Nominations closed at midnight Saturday 31 October 2020.

Are late nominations accepted?
No late nominations will be accepted.

Can I submit a handwritten nomination?
All nominations must be submitted via the online portal.

When will I know if the person I nominated was successful or not?
If the person you nominated is successful, you and the person nominated will be notified by email no later than Wednesday 23 December 2020. If your nominee is unsuccessful, you will not receive a notification.

When will the winners be announced?
Winners of the Local Awards will be announced on Monday 18 January 2021. Regional Award winners will be announced at Australia Day Award Ceremonies on Tuesday 26 January 2021.

Can the same person win an award more than once?
If the nominated person has won a Regional Citizen or Regional Young Citizen of the Year Award from 2009 onwards, they will be ineligible to win this award again. If the person or group has won a Local Award in the last five (5) years, they will be ineligible to be nominated for a Local Award until five (5) years has passed. If you are unsure whether the person or group you would like to nominate has received an award previously, contact Council’s Australia Day team.

The person I would like to nominate is a voluntary coach of a sporting team. Do I nominate them for a Sports Award or Volunteer of the Year?
Any person who is volunteering their time in any area, including sport, should be nominated in the Volunteer of the Year category.

Do I need to answer all the questions on the nomination form?
Yes. The more information you can provide the assessment panel about your nominee, the better they will understand the outstanding achievements of the person or group. Assume that the assessment panel do not know anything about the person or organisation being nominated, so please give as much information as possible.

Can I upload supporting information?
Yes, you can upload a large amount of supporting material. This can include (but is not limited to) media articles (social and print media), copies of other awards and achievements, personal references, copies of written feedback and photos.

How are the winners decided?
The Australia Day Awards are selected by Council based on responses to the selection criteria. Councillors meet to make their selection on Wednesday 9 December 2020, which will be ratified in a confidential Council.

Can my nomination remain anonymous?
The nominee is not provided with the name of the person that nominated them, however as the nominor, you will be provided with an acknowledgement that the nomination has been received. If the person you nominated is successful, you and the person nominated will be notified by email no later than Wednesday 23 December 2020. If your nominee is unsuccessful, you will not receive a notification.

Can I nominate someone in multiple categories?
A person may be nominated in multiple categories; however, a separate nomination is required for each category. Questions are different for each category so you must provide the information required specifically for each one.

If I nominated someone last year and they didn’t win, can I nominate them again?
Nominations each year can be very strong and choosing a winner is difficult. If the nomination wasn’t successful last year, this doesn’t mean they weren’t a worthy applicant. You may submit an application again; however, you must fill the nomination out using the online nomination portal. We are unable to carry over an application from last year automatically.

If someone has won an award in one category can they win an award in another category?
Yes. Nominations can be received for individuals or groups that have won an award in a different category previously.

Does the volunteer work have to be undertaken in the Western Downs to be eligible?
The contribution made by nominee must be to the Western Downs Regional Council community.

Is there a junior and senior category for the Sports Award and Creative Arts Award?
There is no upper or lower limit on age for nominations for the Sports Award and Creative Art Award.

Australia Day Awards 2020

Regional Citizen of the Year

Michael Wood 

Regional Young Citizen of the Year 

Jenaya Low

Local Volunteer of the Year 

Chinchilla & District – Julie Mutch

Dalby & District – Glenn Shipway

Jandowae & District – Lillian Krog

Miles & District – Toni Brown

Tara & District – James Moran

Wandoan & District – Helen Devlin

Local Creative Arts Award

Dalby & District – Ben McPherson 

Local Community Organisation Achievement Award

Jandowae & District – Jandowae Jackeroos Junior Rugby League Club

Dalby & District – Dalby Players Little Theatre

Miles & District – Miles parkrun

Tara & District – Tara Festival Inc.

Local Sports Award

Chinchilla & District – Darcy O’Sullivan

Dalby & District – Lytana King Togia

Jandowae & District – Myranda Clark

Tara & District – Sarah-Jane Coggan