2013 Australia Day Awards
The Lord Mayor's 2013 Australia Day Awards recognise those who significantly improve the lives of individuals and the community and contribute to the city's vision of a diverse, friendly and strong community.
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You can download the 2013 Lord Mayor's Australia Day award winners (PDF - 939kb), or read the Lord Mayor's Australia Day awards message and learn more about all the award winners:
- Lord Mayor's message
- Citizen of the Year: Mr Lance Mergard
- Senior Citizen of the Year: Emeritus Professor Graeme Wilson
- Young Citizen of the Year: Miss Emma Morrissey
- Australia Day Cultural/Arts Award: Mr Emin Tagiev
- Community Event of the Year: Crackerjack Carnival
- Australia Day Sports Award: My Jay Larkins
- Lord Mayor's Green Heart Award - Individual: Mr Rodney Chambers
- Lord Mayor's Green Heart Award - Organisation: Wishart Outlook Bushland Care Group
- Australia Day Achievement Awards
Each year the Lord Mayor's Australia Day Awards pay tribute to the special people in our city who have gone above and beyond their civic duty to help improve the lives of others.
With a variety of different backgrounds, these unique individuals have each in their own way, selflessly reached out to others in our community. In doing so, they have not only made a significant difference to the lives of individuals, but have also helped enrich our city.
Many of our award winners are quiet achievers, going on about their work day in and day out unnoticed in our busy lives. Tonight's event is about taking the time to ensure these remarkable individuals are appropriately recognised for their efforts and to thank them for helping make Brisbane an even better place for us all to live.
On behalf of the Brisbane community, I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to all of the 2013 Lord Mayor's Australia Day winners and nominees, your tireless work and dedication is greatly appreciated.
I hope you enjoy the evening.
Lord Mayor's Australia Day Award winners
Lance Mergard is committed to ensuring the safety of Brisbane's streets. Lance and his team of dedicated Nightwatch Chaplains proactively patrol popular precincts of the CBD, Fortitude Valley and Caxton Street watching out for anyone in crisis, at risk or in need.
For a long time, Lance dreamed of providing the community with a unique night patrolling service - something that was mobile, not tied to an office or functioned in normal office hours and provided rapid help where it was needed. His aspirations turned into a reality when he founded Nightwatch in 2001.
Nightwatch is a not-for-profit charity aiming to address the issues and consequences of alcohol and other drug related anti-social behaviour, crime and violence. Anyone who has ventured into the entertainment precincts of the city after midnight knows that there is potential for trouble. Nightwatch Chaplains patrol the streets overnight alongside police, ambulance, government agencies, local businesses and transport providers ensuring a rapid community response.
Nightwatch's band of 12 volunteers, aged between 21 to 62 have conducted 110 foot patrols and attended to 1978 incidents from June 2011 to July 2012. Volunteers have intervened in hundreds of fights and assaults, provided frontline first aid, life saving interventions, aided in conflict resolution, offered assistance to secondary victims and provided crowd management. In addition to this, Nightwatch provides referrals to ongoing support services and alcohol and drug advice. As a non-authoritarian figure, Nightwatch plays a critical role in ensuring the safety of the community. Today, Lance is the Senior Chaplain of Nightwatch and continues to strive for safer Brisbane streets by night.
"Lance is a very modest man who quietly goes about the task of responding to any person in need, at risk or in a crisis. He is truly deserving of being recognised for the tremendous work he does across Brisbane."
Graeme Wilson is a shining example of how at any age, volunteering your time and expertise can have a positive impact to the wider community.
In his 95 years of life, Graeme has excelled both in sports and academia. He graduated in 1939 with First Class Honours in Agricultural Science and the University Medal and was named Queensland Rhodes Scholar in 1940. It is no surprise, Graeme has since then made significant contributions to agricultural research as both an agricultural scientist and university professor. Graeme was also one of the five original landholders in greater Brisbane to sign with Brisbane City Council on Voluntary Conservation Agreements.
With many years of experience and knowledge behind him, Graeme spent his later years volunteering for the Moggill Creek Catchment Group (MCCG). In his eighties, as part of the MCCG, Graeme managed a Bushcare Group that has successfully rehabilitated a stretch of degraded woodland along Gold Creek Road in Brookfield. He has also committed a substantial amount of his time to the running of the plan nursery, which provides free seedlings of native trees to local landholders to help improve biodiversity. Much of the seed Graeme collects himself, treats it as appropriate and sows it. Over the last few years, 10,000 to 15,000 plants have been raised and given away each year. Graeme also maintains the upkeep of the nursery, co-ordinates bi-monthly gatherings to pot seedlings and assembles data for the database manager. In addition to this, Graeme edits and writes for the quarterly MCCG Newsletter and is an invaluable contributor to MCCG committee meetings.
"Graeme's contribution would be worth a significant recognition and accolades whatever his age. That he continues so outstandingly at the age of 95 years is astonishing, such that he is a role model for people of any age. He is a legend."
Emma Morrissey is committed to helping others affected by cancer. As the Regional Fundraising Coordinator at the Cancer Council Queensland, much of Emma's work is unpaid yet done tirelessly with great care and compassion. Her generosity is motivated from a significant place, having lost her mother to cancer at a young age.
In the two years since her loss, Emma has channelled her grief into positive action. Emma has represented the Cancer Council at countless events and takes it upon herself to seize opportunities to raise money towards supporting Queenslanders affected by cancer. She helped raise $28,000 by coordinating the participation of her Cancer Council Branch in the annual Bridge to Brisbane fun run. In the past she has coordinated events such as the Australia's Biggest Morning Tea, Pink Ribbon day and Daffodil Day. Daffodil Day alone involved working over 15 hour days selling flowers and other merchandise to raise money for cancer research and treatment for sufferers. Close to Emma's heart is the Queensland Cancer Council's fundraising, support and awareness ball, which her mother previously ran. After her passing, the ball was renamed the 'White Orchid Ball' after her mother's favourite flower. As the coordinator, Emma raised over $40,000 in 2011 and continues to work on raising more money every year. Emma not only gives up her own time to help steer Queensland closer to a cancer free future, but also brings a unique sense of understanding, compassion and kindness to all the people she meets affected by cancer.
To me, and many others who have been helped by her, Emma is an unsung hero who deserves to be celebrated. She is a young lady who has gone through a painful time and has emerged embracing hope and a quality of maturity and selflessness well beyond her years.
Emin Tagiev is the owner of a private music school in Brisbane, Tagiev Music School.
Emin has always been involved in teaching music, especially with children. Since he came to Australia, he has achieved a formidable reputation as a brilliant violin teacher, coaching many students to achieve beyond their expectations.
Touring with his orchestra of Brisbane students to attend various competitions and festivals around the world, Emin started to envision an international music event for young people being held in his own city. With exceptional persistence, drive and sheer hard work, and the support of many friends, family and volunteers; this dream became a reality when the inaugural Brisbane International Youth Music Festival was successfully held in Brisbane from 25-26 August in 2012. With extremely limited resources and many challenges, Emin was able to bring together a program which showcased world class international performers, as well as the exciting young local talent in Brisbane and other parts of Australia.
Emin's personal contribution to Brisbane and its culture is enormous - not only has the inaugural Brisbane International Youth Music festival enriched the culture and arts of the city, it has also contributed to fostering an environment in Brisbane where young music lovers can pursue their musical dreams.
"Emin Tagiev is dedicated to providing the people of Brisbane with the opportunity of a world class music experience performed by the youth of Brisbane. I believe the Brisbane International Youth Music Festival will grow to become Emin Tagiev's greatest contribution."
Described as a mini Royal Show, the Crackerjack Carnival is a family oriented carnival for the Carina and surrounding community. Now running for 39 years, it showcases a range of events including cultural, music, dance and participation events, amusements, performers and a host of other festival activities over three days. As part of the Carnival's charter, it aims to provide affordable entertainment for all families.
The Crackerjack Carnival not only attracts over 33,000 attendees, it also raises funds for many local charities and community groups. Event managers at Camp Hill Carina Welfare Association also directly reinvests back into over 20 sporting and community groups/clubs in the local region. This positive contribution extends to the wider community, supporting active recreation and healthy lifestyles of over 10,000 people per week across Brisbane.
The contribution of the Crackerjack Carnival truly extends to wider Brisbane, with many community groups from all over the city delivering activities for everyone to enjoy. In addition to this, charities and community groups benefit from the exposure the event provides. The Crackerjack Carnival is truly a cornerstone in Brisbane's local sporting and community landscape.
The Brisbane Paralympic Football Program was started in 2006 under the direction of Head Coach Jay Larkins. Jay's direction has been fundamental in providing many children with physical disabilities the opportunity to engage in sport and exercise. Jay himself has always been interested in sports and played for the Brisbane Olympic Team in the Brisbane Premier League during the eighties. However, it was when his son was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as a child that he became involved in and passionate about Paralympic Football. Jay spent a number of years as the Queensland Paralympic Football Coach and now is one of the coaches involved with the Queensland Junior Development Program. This position involves dealing with athletes with disabilities across many Paralympic Sports.
Today, the Program now has more than 90 participants, three assistant coaches, managers and a regularly visiting physiotherapist and many wonderful volunteers. The program has also resulted in a number of players going on to compete in a number of National and International Paralympic competitions. Thanks to the vision, the ongoing commitment and hard work of founder Jay Larkins, four of the Brisbane Paralympic Football Program participants have represented Australia, and many participants are currently working towards qualification for the 2016 Paralympic Games. Most importantly, the Brisbane Paralympic Football Program provides participants with an inclusive environment for young athletes with disabilities to develop their skills and confidence.
"Jay's never say never attitude has been inspirational to the many participants of his program."
Rodney Chambers is an environmental leader in his neighbourhood. Twenty-three years ago he started a local bushcare, Teneriffe Bushland Park Group, to restore Teneriffe Park, the most inner-city remnant of urban bushland, which was over-run with weed trees and vines.
In conjunction with Brisbane City Council, Rodney undertook consultation with neighbours bordering the park to get consent for the weed trees to be removed. Although this was a huge task, Rodney's coordination ensured trees were cut down and laid across the slopes of the gully and the area was replanted with hundreds of local rainforest trees. In addition to bushcare, Rodney organised the construction of walking tracks. Completed by using recycled stonework from Teneriffe's old kerbing, today this is a very well used system of tracks, which takes visitors and residents through a shady canopy of rainforest trees and drier Eucalypt ridges which make up the park.
Since the inception of the bushcare group Rodney has planned and organised monthly working bees and been a persuasive and effective advocate for the natural values of Teneriffe Park. The testimony to all his hard work is there for all to see at Teneriffe Park - a restored jewel in the crown of inner-city Brisbane.
The Wishart Outlook Bushland Care Group works in conjunction with Brisbane City Council's Habitat Brisbane program, to restore native vegetation in the Wishart Outlook area. The group works along the upper reaches of Bulimba Creek in Eight Mile Plains where it is prone to flooding and requires much bush care. The group's environmental focus is to enhance the Riparian native vegetation to establish a corridor of quality habitat connecting to the Wishart Community Park Habitat site. Meeting at least once a month for working bees, the enthusiastic community of volunteers have shown that with just a few willing hands, a lot can be achieved.
Australia Day Achievement Awards
Jackie is the President of the Friends of Tingalpa Cemetery Heritage Group Inc. Jackie established the group in 2002 to help save the former Anglican Christ Church in Tingalpa from demolition and restore the historic cemetery to its former glory. Over many years of hard work and determination, she succeeded in her goal and also saw the restoration of the cemetery's burial register, which was known to be incomplete and inaccurate. Today, the decommissioned old church is known as the Tingalpa Pioneers' Chapel and is used both in civil and religious ceremonies, with all charges being used to assist with future maintenance. Through Jackie's leadership, the strong network of volunteers and supporters will ensure the Pioneers' Chapel will be enjoyed and admired by the Brisbane community into the future.
Jeffery is the Director of Hands on Art (HoA) - a community arts organisation bringing creativity, opportunity and inspiration to people of all ages, cultural backgrounds and abilities. Jeff has been the driving force in the organisation, often spending seven days a week to ensure projects are completed. He is most passionate about Art Gardens a concept he brought to life for creative play and an outdoor environmental learning space. As a sustainable and evolving form of art, it also nurtures an awareness and respect for the environment. Art Gardens not only benefit the schools they are created for, but also benefits the artists, landscape designers, engineers, architects and gardeners who create them. Other than Jeffery's many projects and day to day running of HoA, he helps artists find work, mentors youth and is involved in many community events.
David is well known within the Sherwood State School community for his tireless dedication to coaching the Sherwood Arrows skipping team. As the longest running Heart Foundation Jump Rope For Heart demonstration skipping team in Australia, the Sherwood Arrows will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2013. David has been the coach of this team since 2000 and has given many hours to training and coaching members before and after school and taking the team to events and tours in Queensland and northern New South Wales. He also holds a skipping session open to the whole school during the lunch period. The Sherwood Arrows are ambassadors for the Heart Foundation and perform at many schools and community events promoting an active and healthy lifestyle in the fight against heart disease. Much of David's work with the Sherwood Arrows skipping team has come out of his own time, with the vast majority out of working hours. He is motivated by his strong belief in the importance of exercising to stay healthy.
Wendy has been volunteering at Greenslopes Private Hospital for over six years. She began volunteering with the War Widows Guild hospital visitation program and has not looked back since. The War Widows Guild provide companionship and comfort to War Widows, particularly in difficult times relating to their partner. Her warm demeanour and engaging smile is a welcoming sight to those who may not get many visitors. In addition to the War Widows Guild, Wendy also gives her time to the Greenslopes Private Hospital Care Volunteer Program, where she not only supports patients but also helps make family and friends feel more relaxed in what can be a stressful environment. It is Wendy's enthusiasm for doing small gestures like offering tea and coffee, a listening ear or assisting patients at admission time that makes Wendy an inspiration to other volunteers who cross her path.
Bronwen is the CEO and founder of the Hope Foundation and self-published author of 'Trophy of Grace'. The foundation was established five years ago to assist women and their children involved with addictions and/or the sex industry. The Hope Foundation provides an opportunity for a better way of life by offering specialised programs, counselling, a sense of belonging, rehabilitation, re-skilling, and accommodation assistance. The foundation benefits society by transforming the lives of women, who in turn become contributing members of the community. Under Bronwen's leadership, the Hope Foundation is run by a team of dedicated staff and volunteers. Today, there is currently no other organisation in Brisbane that provides the same assistance.
Tony has never been someone to adopt a single cause, but has been active in several community organisations. Most notably, Tony has volunteered with Indooroopilly State School P & C, St Andrew's Anglican Church Parish Council, the Mandalay Progress Association and most recently the Kenmore Baptist Church. He freely gives his time to anyone who needs it, from giving professional financial advice to widows and single mothers, to fixing toys for children or installing a door at Kenmore Baptist Church. Many relatives, friends and neighbours are recipients of Tony's generosity. Although it takes Tony a bit longer to do his handyman jobs due to Parkinson's disease, he still continues to give as much as he is able - even volunteering for medical research to benefit future generations.
Lesley has been a volunteer for the St Luke's Theatre Society for over 31 years. The society donates a portion of its door takings to charity after each major performance. As an active member, Lesley not only supports these charity donations but has also taken it upon herself to personally raise additional donations through maintaining a stall and raffle in the lobby. Since 1981, Lesley has been selling handicrafts, second hand goods or any other bric-a-brac, which she gathers and transports from her own home. It is estimated that Lesley has helped raise approximately $57,000 donated to many local and international charities.
Meredith has volunteered her time generously to the ToughLove Parent Support Program for the last 14 years. The ToughLove Program provides vital support for parents with troubled children. Parents who turn to ToughLove are often desperate to reclaim and rebuild stability in their families. Meredith sought help from ToughLove herself when she was having difficulties with her own child. She was so grateful for the help she received, that Meredith began to offer her time to support other parents in the program. Today, Meredith could be described as a full time volunteer - giving up days, nights and weekends to attend support groups, deliver workshops and over the phone support for parents. Meredith is a passionate advocate of the ToughLove Program, empowering parents to make positive changes in their lives and providing leadership and encouraging others to become involved in running of the program.
Sharen initiated Unit Watch in 2012. As a tenant of a unit complex owned by the Department of Communities, Sharen has made a major impact to the lives of all the tenants who reside there. Tenants were facing difficult and sometimes violent incidents in the complex and were left feeling isolated and unsupported. Sharen decided to initiate Unit Watch to break the silence and help create a safer environment. Through ongoing monthly meetings, tenants who were initially reluctant to approach authorities, now feel supported and part of the community.
As the nominated coordinator, Sharen has been generous with her time and willing to listen to tenants who trust her guidance. She has been a significant driver for change, which has made a positive difference to many lives in her community.
The Mount Gravatt Show has been bringing the community together for 97 years. With the tradition of the Mount Gravatt Show, it is held every last weekend of July since 1915. Offering all the traditional country show attractions for adults and children alike, the 2012 Mt Gravatt show saw record crowds gather for popular attractions such as rides, show bags, farm animals and fireworks. The show also provides an avenue to showcase talent with the Student Achiever Awards and the Cotton Creation Fashion Parades. The Mount Gravatt Show Society is made up of a dedicated group of volunteers who are committed to preserving the show for the enjoyment of the community for many years to come.
David has been a hardworking member of the community for many years. He has dedicated over thirty years to the Boy Scouts, where he has held a variety of roles including Group Leader, Jamboree Promotions Officer and District Commissioner. In addition to this, David was awarded Life Membership for over 20 years of voluntary service with Neighbourhood Watch. Today he is still the editor of the Carseldine 4 Neighbourhood Watch, where he produces and photocopies thousands of newsletters for distribution. David has also been involved with the Aspley Classes for Seniors for over a decade.
Marie has been a dedicated member of the Queensland Catholic Netball Association based at Downey Park. She has been awarded life membership with the association after many years of volunteering. Marie has spent countless hours helping out at netball games, training sessions and Netball Queensland state league events. She also gives her time freely to anyone interested in picking up a whistle, offering personal training and mentoring to potential umpires of all ages.
Jocelyn is passionate about improving the quality of life of senior citizens in the community. As an unwavering supporter of a number of community organisations, Jocelyn truly embodies the concept of community spirit and selflessness. For 15 years, as the Welfare Officer of Gaythorne RSL Sub-Branch, she has organised home visits, provided companionship and assistance to those with limited mobility. Jocelyn is also the founding member of the Mitchelton Day Club, where veterans and seniors can get involved with programs that enhance their health and wellbeing. Similarly, as the founder of the Gaythorne Friendship and Diggers Club, she spends much of her time calling veterans and their partners to encourage participation in community activities. Jocelyn is also a Welfare Officer with Gaythorne Legacy Care Group, providing support for members and helping at events.
Ralph has touched many lives in the Brisbane community - from children to seniors and across multi-faith and multicultural communities, he has been using his knowledge for the betterment of others. As a marketing specialist and an active member of Brisbane's Buddhist community, he has assisted with events such as the Chinese New Year celebrations and the Buddha Birth Day Festival and has represented the Buddhist community at multi-faith and multicultural events. Outside of these events, Ralph is also involved with assisting the elderly by helping stage free lunches for senior members at Bulimba's Cafe Citrus. He is also on the organising committee for the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital Foundation Butterfly Ball, which raises much needed funds for Perinatal Research.
Robert is a passionate volunteer dedicated to preventing and educating the community about spinal cord injuries. Two days before Robert's 18th birthday, he sustained quadriplegia while playing rugby league. For 19 years as a volunteer for Spinal Education Awareness Team (SEAT), Robert has shared his story with almost 150,000 Queensland school children from prep to Year 12. Over the past two years, Robert has also taken his story into the workplace with SEAT's WORK team. Robert not only inspires people to stay safe, but to also be considerate to others in the community who have some form of physical disability. Through sharing his story, Robert also shows that a spinal cord injury does not stop you from living an active and fulfilling life.
Kay has been a volunteer for Richlands East State School for over ten years. Known to the children as Nana Kay, Kay helps the school out in any capacity where she is needed. Volunteering about three days a week, Kay supports students and teachers in the classroom. Whether it's helping children learn, or odd jobs like filing, cleaning or bringing morning tea for teachers, Kay is willing to do anything to help out. She will often provide children with stationery out of her own pocket to help students participate in the curriculum. This year, she has added to her duties and assisted at the tuckshop, office and other wider school activities. Kay also regularly participates in charitable fundraising efforts, and in the past campaigned to clean up an abandoned skating rink in her area. Kay is an active member of the community who makes volunteering a priority in her weekly routine.
2012 Australia Day Awards
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