2021 Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Awards

The 2021 Lord Mayor's Australia Day Awards recognise Brisbane’s unsung heroes and pay tribute to the people in our community who have gone above and beyond to help improve the lives of others and make the Brisbane of tomorrow even better than the Brisbane of today.

Categories

2021 Lord Mayor's Australia Day Awards are open for nomination and include the following categories:

Winner profiles

Citizen of the Year - Dorami Keyt

For over 30 years, Dorami has positively empowered girls and young women to achieve their full potential through Girl Guides Queensland. Girl Guides provides a unique space where girls are encouraged by leaders and their peers to explore personal boundaries in a safe and secure environment, helping them to grow into confident, self-respecting, responsible community members.

Dorami (known as “Winbirra” to her Brownie Guides) started volunteering with the Tugun Brownie Guides in 1987, before transferring to the Hamilton Clayfield Brownie Guides when she moved to Brisbane with her family in 1997.

In 2008, Dorami continued the fun and friendship of Guiding by correspondence by becoming a Lones Guide. As a Lones Guide, Dorami encouraged other girls to work on challenges, earn badges, design service projects as well as participate in fun activities, crafts and more.

When no one else was available, Dorami stepped into the District Leader role in 2009, providing invaluable support and ideas to other unit leaders in the District. In 2017, Dorami was presented with a Long Service badge, surrounded by her family and Brownies.

Through her humble dedication and commitment, Dorami has been a positive force for good in the community by educating, engaging, and inspiring the next generation of female leaders who are skilled, resilient, and capable.

“The Brownie Guides all love Winbirra, her ideas, games, music, and craft activities. They greet her with hugs (now COVID-19 safe of course!) and her patience, guiding knowledge, and ideas are appreciated by all” – Nominator

Joint Senior Citizen of the year - Alexander Garlin

As an 85-year-old ex-servicemen, who was drafted into the Royal Australian Navy in 1954, Alex has worked tirelessly over the years, volunteering to helping the veteran community.

Alex has been volunteering with the Returned and Services League (RSL) for over 60 years, holding several different positions including Secretary, Treasurer and, most recently, Vice-President of the Salisbury branch.  Alex also serves the veteran community by offering assistance to ex-servicemen with acquiring Veteran Cards, liaising on their behalf with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Alongside the NSAA Vice-President, Alex spends his free time visiting veterans in hospitals across Brisbane.

In 1999, Alex begun volunteering with the National Servicemen’s Association of Australia (NSAA). The NSAA, of which Alex is the current Queensland President of, was founded in 1987 and, as the second largest ex-servicemen organisation in the nation, represents the 287,000 young men called up for service across the Navy, Army and Airforce between 1951 and 1972. One of Alex’s initiatives at the NSAA, referred to as his legacy piece, is the National Servicemen’s Nominal Roll. Alex is still working on this project, managing a group of volunteers who help him collate information on training, postings and certificates from all 287,000 men that served during those years. In 1997, Alex was also responsible for the creation of the NSAA Pipe Band, who still perform proudly today and are one of the only National Servicemen bands in Australia.

According to his peers, Alex lives and breathes his volunteer work and has never received the recognition he deserves. Alex says he will “never stop working for my mates, I class them as my brothers.”

“Alex is a true digger and we are honoured by his continual service” – Nominator

Joint Senior Citizen of the year - Ronald Ward

Ronald has been an outstanding member of the community, dedicating his life to supporting a number of community organisations close to his heart. As an ex-professional boxer himself, Ronald has worked closely with the Queensland Boxing Association volunteering as a coach, manager, referee and judge for the last 69 years.

Ronald’s passion for boxing has also seen him build and donate rings to several Police Citizen Youth Clubs (PCYC). Ronald’s dedication to the sporting community extends to his involvement in the Ashgrove Rangers Amateur Running Club where he has been a member, donor and avid supporter for 25 years.

Ronald is a member of the National Servicemen’s Association of Australia Queensland and has supported the organisation for the past 28 years. In addition to this, Ronald has been an active member of his local Returned and Services League (RSL) branch in The Gap, holding the title of the Official Honour Guard. Ronald attends all city and local ANZAC and Remembrance Day services, as well as Armistice and Vietnam Veterans Days, medal presentations, commemorative celebrations and veteran’s funerals. Ronald also shows his support for ex-servicemen by supporting the sales of ribbons and badges at ANZAC Day celebrations. In addition to his dedication to the veteran community, Ronald has also been a member and speaker for The Gap Pioneer and History Group for the past 13 years.

“Ron understands the value of building a strong and connected community” – Nominator

Young Citizen of the Year - Laki Keramidas

Apostolos (Laki, also known as ‘Lucky’) has been volunteering with Brisbane youth in the Greek Orthodox community for 12 years. His involvement includes running a wide range of events and programs which provide a positive, safe and friendly space for young people to meet and feel supported.

Laki exhibits a dynamic volunteer work ethic and has served as Vice-President for the Greek Orthodox Youth Association (GOYA), a co-host on Radio Baraki on 4EB, a fundraiser and organiser for youth soccer and touch football competitions, and tutoring coordinator for Greek youth study sessions, as well as providing disability support to Inclusive Community Care, and being an integral member of the Paniyiri Greek Festival organising committee.

In addition, Laki has played an instrumental role in engaging and supporting the next generation of youth in Brisbane’s Greek community, ensuring a sense of belonging to the marginalised and disabled members.

Laki is a great role model for young people, demonstrating enthusiasm and respect for his heritage while significantly contributing to the landscape of Brisbane’s multicultural community.

“Laki’s friendly personality, his preparedness to work hard and his capacity to relate to people are evident to all in our community” – Nominator

Community Event of the Year - Le Festival

Now in its 10th year, Le Festival is an annual three-day event that unites the community, illuminating Brisbane with French culture through an authentic immersive experience that is inclusive, supportive and positive.

Since its formation in 2010, Le Festival has made an outstanding contribution to the local Brisbane community, developing business and cultural relationships between France and Australia. Driven by a team of dedicated volunteers, exhibitors and partners, Le Festival showcases a diverse range of entertainment, food, wines, champagnes, education, language and lifestyle.

In 2020, when COVID-19 threatened the future of Le Festival, the association showed incredible determination and resilience to keep going, despite the challenging situation. When nearly all public community events were cancelled, Le Festival strove to maintain some level of activity, adapting and organising 17 cultural webinars. As restrictions in Queensland began to ease, the association modified components of their postponed main event into smaller COVID-safe events, including 11 masterclasses and three VIP events, bringing people back together safely and in a way that still reflected their vision and passion.  

“Le Festival celebrates the passion, warmth and spirit that is France” - Nominator

Australia Day Cultural/Arts Award - William (Keith) Bouchard

Keith has been an integral member of the Mount Gravatt District Historical Association since its inception in 1996. A quiet achiever, Keith has worked to provide much-needed administrative support to the society. In addition, Keith has been involved in publishing three volumes on historical information about Mount Gravatt titled ‘Then and Now’, which depicts the history of the area, including local landmarks and icons between the 1800s and early 2000s, helping to preserve the historical knowledge to be passed on to future generations for Brisbane residents to enjoy.

Keith also has a long history of volunteering in his local community, having served on the P&C committee at the school his children attended and being an active member for Neighbourhood Watch.

“Keith is the type to participate and contribute” – Nominator

Australia Day Sports Award - Noela Duncan

Noela is the current president of the Metropolitan Districts Netball Association (MDNA). Located in Coorparoo, the association caters for club competitions ranging from 7yrs to open Senior divisions. MDNA also facilitates some of the State's finest State League and representative netball teams. Noela has been playing and volunteering with MDNA since its founding in 1974. As a founding player, Noela has significantly contributed to women’s participation in sport. Due to her commitment, Noela was awarded Life Member in 2005 and is also listed as an ‘A’ Grade Umpire. There are currently 3000 playing members and numerous umpires and coaches.

A tireless volunteer worker, Noela is very generous with her time and humble about her achievements. Noela wishes nothing more than to bring happiness to MDNA families and their girls through sporting inclusivity and achievements. Noela loves MDNA and its patrons, which brings the community together and sees children who grew up playing at the courts return to volunteer as the second generation of netballers in the district. Because of Noela, MDNA is a strong, successful and well-respected netball association in Brisbane's sporting community.

“Noela is extremely passionate and dedicated to promoting female sport” – Nominator

Corporate Citizen of the Year - Arthur Liu

Arthur has been one of Brisbane’s most exemplary business leaders with a strong sense of community service. From international trade to property development and hotel endeavours, Arthur quietly and humbly demonstrates how business can support the city’s development and local charitable causes.

Currently, Arthur sits on the board as President of Buddha’s Light International Association. In this role, Arthur supports the Buddhism values of equality, respect for others, and social progress. Arthur also plays a significant role in the organisation of the Buddha Birth Day Festival which has grown into one of Queensland’s most prestigious cultural events. Although growing up in a Buddhist household, Arthurs’ values have extended beyond Buddhist causes to help raise significant funds for the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital, Mater Foundation, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust, and many many more.

“As a person, Arthur is kind and gentle, and has been a low-key contributor to Brisbane’s corporate world and community platforms” – Nominator

Green Heart Award - Leo Lee

Leo has been an active member and past president of Save Our Waterways Now (SOWN), a community organisation working to restore the habitats of creeks and waterways in Brisbane’s north west. Leo has been working on an independent project to identify and rehabilitate native fish populations in Cedar Creek, which is one of the most important local creek systems feeding into the Kedron Brook, Brisbane River and Moreton Bay.

To support this continuing work, Leo also oversees the Enoggera Catchment Creek Health Monitoring Program, supported by Brisbane City Council and SEQ Water, to learn more about the health and function of our waterways and inform ongoing management practices.

Leo has made an outstanding voluntary contribution to research in this field and is an asset to the organisation.  His work is invaluable to sustaining our unique creek systems and improving the diversity of the flora and fauna that coexist in our urban environment.

“Leo is the unseen champion of our waterways” - Nominator

Australia Day Achievement Awards

Andrew Darbyshire

Andrew is the Convenor of the St Lucia History Group and he has played a leadership role ever since the group was established in 2002. Andrew has also contributed positively to St Lucia by acting as a spokesperson for the suburb as well as being involved in festivals and the University of Queensland.

Andrew has expanded his interest in local history to the surrounding western suburbs of Brisbane and has supported the formation of various other history groups. In 2017, he coordinated eight history groups and historical societies, including the Indooroopilly, St Lucia, Taringa, Centenary Suburbs, Richlands/Inala, Kenmore, Toowong and Oxley/Chelmer groups, in order to publish the book, ‘Brisbane Spreads West’.

“Andrew has a calm and pleasant way about him and has always been generous with his time and knowledge” – Nominator

Carolyn Robinson

With domestic violence affecting many Australians each year, Carolyn provides hope to victims through her tireless work at Beyond DV. As a grief-stricken mother whose own daughter was a victim of domestic violence, Carolyn’s courage to step up and speak out provides invaluable support to those in need.

Each year, victims are empowered to gain the skills, expertise, and confidence to reclaim their lives. In establishing Beyond DV, Carolyn has assembled a team of experts in health, education, media, communication and finance, and garnered support from high-profile ambassadors as well as corporate, non-profit, and government partners. Through her work, Carolyn has demonstrated tenacity, commitment, care and know-how in providing resources, grants and networks to raise awareness and get the help needed to put an end to domestic violence. As a person, Carolyn isn’t afraid to ask for help and is highly capable of making things happen.

“Caroline is an inspiration and has made a profound impact on our community” – Nominator

Daniel Whelan

For many years, Daniel has gone above and beyond what is expected of a volunteer. Daniel spends every spare moment volunteering at his local Returned and Services League (RSL) club and with a wide range of other community organisations.

Daniel ensures that the members of his local RSL remain connected and for over 10 years makes weekly visits to the elderly either in their home, hospital or nursing home. During COVID-19, Daniel has kept this connection by calling the vulnerable members of his community. Daniel also supports the 129 Army Cadet Unit, Picabeen Community Association, The Nest and Bunya Lions Christmas Lights.

On top of all the regular tasks undertaken by Daniel, he still finds time to help out in a wide range of areas, such as delivering items to veterans including RSL mail, Defence newspapers, birthday cards and other items.

“Dan, through his tireless volunteer work is very much respected and appreciated by a large number of people in the north-west area of Brisbane. He has consistently made himself available at all hours to assist his local RSL and organisations in the broader community” – Nominator

Gerry Barry AM

2020 marks the 50th year that Gerry has been the volunteer president of the QLD Stoma Association, a charitable organisation providing support and care to people who require a stoma following treatment for conditions such as cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, trauma or birth defect. Under Gerry’s guidance and leadership, the QLD Stoma Association has grown from a small peer group of 70 to a large professional organisation supporting over 4000 people. Gerry has also represented ostomy patients within a national and international context during this time. Through Gerry’s determination and willingness to help others, he has played a critical role in the development of the Commonwealth-funded Stoma Appliance Scheme. The scheme now supports over 46,000 Australians by providing them with access to a pool of over 4000 critical medical appliances that are essential to maintaining a high quality of life and state of wellbeing following their ostomy surgery.

“At 82 years of age, Gerry is still as determined as ever to see that members of QLD Stoma Association can continue to receive the after-surgery care that they need” – Nominator

Gordon Letford

Gordon is an outstanding volunteer in Brisbane’s senior citizens' community who has assisted the Bethesda Aged Care facility for 16 years. Every Friday morning, until when the facility went into lockdown due to COVID-19 restrictions, Gordon would meet and greet all the residents, staff and fellow volunteers, taking time to connect with everyone. Gordon also helps with the washing up and the running of bingo sessions, going around to talk with all the residents who are unable to join the bingo sessions to provide much-needed social connection and engagement. While COVID-19 has been challenging, residents have been understanding and resilient with the help of Gordon, who maintains a positive outlook.

At 93 years of age, Gordon is very youthful, mobile and socially active, and requires no assistance to live independently. He especially loves to chat to anybody with a connection to his beloved Scotland since migrating to Australia over 60 years ago.

Apart from his volunteer activities at Bethesda, Gordon is an active member of local clubs and societies, and a friend and mentor to all.

“As a person, he is delightful, holds a really positive outlook, always willing to help, extremely cheerful, and resilient” – Nominator

Graeme Smith

Graeme has served the Mount Gravatt community for over 30 years through a variety of community organisations. This includes working with the Rotary Club of Mount Gravatt for more than 30 years in different roles, including as President of the Club. Graeme has run many fundraisers for all the great causes that the Rotary Club supports.

Graeme is also a long-serving member of the Mount Gravatt Men’s Shed and serves on the Board as treasurer of the Mount Gravatt Showgrounds Trust. Each year, the Mount Gravatt showgrounds attracts thousands of visits each year through its various events and weekend. The Mount Gravatt Showgrounds also houses the heritage Memorial and Community Halls buildings and the Hamlyn-Harris Pavilion which is used for many events including clothing markets, yoga, business training, weddings, and family functions. As treasurer, Graeme provides invaluable support to the trust through his financial oversight that enables the successful planning and execution of community run programs.

“Graeme is always helping people and numbers is his game” – Nominator

Jason Mayweather

Jason is an unsung hero who helps bring sport to Brisbane residents living with a disability. Born with cerebral palsy, Jason’s parents were told he would never walk or talk. However, by the age of nine, Jason had taught himself to speak and, just last year, at 36 years of age, Jason took his first steps. Not one to let obstacles stand in his way, Jason has gone on to have a successful career in Boccia, being named Captain of the Queensland Boccia team and representing Australia at four World Championships. Jason is also dedicated to encouraging, coaching and supporting people with a disability to join the sport.

Over the last six years, Jason has volunteered with the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association, an organisation dedicated to making active goals accessible, enhancing the lives of people with a disability through health and fitness, sport, active recreation and building inclusive communities. Through his work, Jason has helped to break down the stigma about disability by visiting schools as part of the Adaptive Activities School Program. One of the ways in which Jason does this is by introducing disability sports to able bodied children.

“Jason is one of those guys that always asks ‘What’s next? What can I do to help other people with a disability? What can we achieve?’” - Nominator

Karen Robinson

In 2010, after a neighbour’s home was broken into, Karen approached members of the local community to explore the possibility of forming a Neighbourhood Watch to help combat crime in the area. As a result, the Bridgeman Downs Neighbourhood Watch Group was formally established and Karen has since dedicated her time to hosting meetings in her home, publishing and distributing a neighbourhood watch newsletter, and coordinating volunteers to conduct letterbox drops.

Karen is also an active member of the Aspley Bowls Club and Aspley National Seniors Branch. As the Marketing and Communications Coordinator of Aspley Bowls Club, she has been instrumental in creating the first Club Diary, which coordinates the club’s calendar and sponsorships. Karen has also coordinated a range of events for the club, helping to fundraise, strengthen the local community and keep people connected. 

“People like Karen help make Brisbane a better and safer place to live” – Nominator

Mai Nguyen-Tu

After arriving in Australia in April 1975, Mai began working as an interpreter at Wacol Migrant Centre supporting other Vietnamese refugee families. Recognising that many Vietnamese women were working in low paying jobs while sending money home to support their families, she founded the Vietnamese Women’s Association. Mai saw that the Vietnamese women were strong and resilient and wanted an avenue to highlight their strength. The association serves to help its members, protect women’s rights, preserve cultural identity, and partners with organisations with shared values.

Before coming to Australia, Mai had started studying social work. However, she finally was able to complete a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Queensland in 1991. Mai is passionate about preventing domestic family violence in the community and has developed connections with Refugee House, a safe house for women that need emergency shelter from domestic and family violence. Mai has also made a significant contribution in building the Community Wellbeing Cottage in Gailes.

“Mai is a deserving candidate for the 2021 Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Awards for her dedication to volunteering, leadership in the Vietnamese community and commitment to multiculturalism” – Nominator

Mandy Shaw

Mandy has been a volunteer for the domestic violence charity RizeUp Australia for four years, advocating tirelessly on behalf of the forgotten and unseen members of the community that have previously, or are currently, experiencing extreme trauma. RizeUp is a community-driven organisation of passionate men and women, dedicated to supporting families affected by domestic and family violence.

As the Brisbane Linen Coordinator, Mandy has provided individually tailored linen packs to 170 women and 230 children. In addition to this, when families leave a refuge, they are given a basic property, which RizeUp transforms into a purposefully created home specific to the families individual needs. Of the 240 homes that RizeUp has transformed in Brisbane over the last year years, Mandy has helped set up 170 of them, providing a loving and safe space for vulnerable families within the Brisbane community.

“Mandy is one of our community’s unsung heroes and without the Mandy’s of Brisbane we as a city will struggle to break the cycle of domestic and family violence” - Nominator

Melinda Carey

Melinda’s coaching journey and passion for empowering young women through AFL began in 2016 at the local Calamvale Leopards Junior AFL Club. Encouraged by her mentor and Club president, Gary Dunn, she continued to coach the Under 13's Girls as well as Sunnybank Hills State School Gala Day teams. She also became Assistant Coach for the Brisbane South District team (Vixens) Under 14’s Girls.

During 2019, Melinda began assisting with training sessions for the QLD AFL inclusions team that saw her working with young men with varying disability levels. By 2020, Melinda moved into coaching the Under 15’s while working towards attaining her level two coaching accreditation and taking on the role of AFLQ community ambassador. Melinda's coaching philosophy is that “success is a journey, not a destination” and understands that football is the pathway to many different destinations. Her holistic approach to coaching unquestionably helps build young community leaders.

“Melinda adheres to the principles ‘good people first, core skills always’ and strives to build relationships with all people in the football community. As a result of her passion and involvement, she has become a well-respected figure in the wider football community” – Nominator

Michael Ma

Through his devotion to community service Michael has made a significant contribution in promoting deeper ties between Brisbane and the local Chinese community. In his role as Secretary-General of the Queensland Chinese United Council, Michael has worked tirelessly to encourage the community to enjoy and become a part of Australian society, culture, way of life and to be charitable to the vulnerable.

Michael is a key organiser of Brisbane’s signature Lunar New Year event that has grown into the BrisAsia festival, which showcases contemporary and traditional Asian arts and cultural events, programs, and initiatives.

“Michael is a big advocate of Brisbane multicultural diversity and believes that by showcasing and sharing one’s own culture, the cultural fabric of our city will be enriched” - Nominator

Norman Shrubsole

Norman is a renowned community contributor who is truly inspirational, energetic, and hardworking. Since 1976, Norman has been an active member of the Lions Club exemplifying its values of service by providing support to humanitarian efforts, people with disability, community greening, and fundraising for worthwhile causes. Some of the projects Norman has raised funds for include medical research, drug awareness, organ donor awareness, hearing dogs, and youth programs.

At the age of 81 his participation in the club is still strong. He has frequently volunteered at a range of fundraising and social events the whole family can enjoy, such as sausage sizzles and the Bardon Lions ‘Christmas in July’ event which served Christmas goodies, music, and fun to nearly 100 local people.

Norman is dedicated to making his community a better place to live, work, and grow while making a tremendous contribution to the club over the past 44 years. His positivity, selfless attitude, and dedication are truly an inspiration and the difference he makes to the community is invaluable.

“Norman always works with a smile and a joke and never seeks credit or the limelight” - Nominator

Paul Lucas

Paul is President of the Bald Hills Memorial Committee. This committee oversees the management of the Bald Hills Memorial Hall, a historic and heritage listed icon that celebrated its 100th anniversary in August this year. Paul has been a driving force in rebuilding the hall following a devastating fire in 2015. The committee works tirelessly to steadily bring the halls maintenance and operations back to pre-2015 level and successfully hosts a number of permanent hall users every day most weeks.

Paul is also an avid supporter of the community and gives back by serving as Treasurer for Home Assist as well as volunteering each week in the Domestic and Family Violence Court through Court Network. Court Network is a front-line community that supports people in accessing the court system providing non-legal support as well as information and appropriate referrals to other services, such as victim support, housing, mental health and community legal centres.  Paul also still manages to find time to volunteer in the tuckshop at the school his grandchildren attend.

“Paul’s positive contribution to both the Bald Hills Memorial Committee and Court Network fills an important gap in maintaining Brisbane’s heritage and social justice programs” - Nominator

Paul Shih

Since his university days, Paul has always found time to engage and give back to the local community. Paul has served in various positions in the Chamber of Commerce and professional bodies such as Proprietors Alliance, where he has been a key driver behind multicultural events such as the Brisbane Taiwan Festival. Paul’s work has led him to become an honorary ambassador for the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust and he has had considerable success in fundraising, especially given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic this year. Paul has also helped to mobilise local restaurants to provide free hot meals for local hospital staff.

“Paul is not only enthusiastic about community services, he uses different methods and activities to inspire people to join him in service to their community” - Nominator

Robert Innes

Robert Innes is an accomplished sporting competitor who established the Australian National Dance Association in 1986, the first amateur ballroom dancing association ever in Australia. Robert retired from dancing that same year, but continued his involvement with the sport for the next few years. During Australia’s bicentennial celebrations, he also helped establish the main ballroom dancing competition that became one of the biggest entertainment drawcards at World Expo 88. Robert has also been a fully accredited tennis coach since 1980 and taught as head coach at Laff’s Tennis Centre until it closed in 2011.

In 2007, Robert tragically lost his 14-year-old daughter, Morgan, in a ferry accident on Sydney Harbour. This accident also claimed the lives of three of his friends and seriously injured Morgan’s coach. Following the accident, Robert worked tirelessly to make Sydney Harbour safer and used funds raised from media interviews to support the Morgan Innes Foundation that he founded in loving memory of his daughter. The foundation aims to provide financial support to young figure skaters (like Morgan) to train with elite coaches overseas.

In 2008, Robert was selected as one of Australia’s 80 torchbearers for the Beijing Olympics. On his return from the run, he met fellow torchbearer George Stephanos and together they began regularly attending schools to share their unique experiences running with the Olympic torch. Since 2008, Robert and George have attended more than 40 schools and spoken to approximately 50,000 children about the Olympics. Where time permits, they have allowed the children to have a go at holding an Olympic torch.

Robert now volunteers as a mentor for young people with Fair Go Australia and at the Police Citizen Youth Clubs (PCYC) “breaking the cycle” program. Robert also sponsors and presents an annual award for aerobics in Morgan’s name at Camp Hill Primary’s graduation and attends the Lourdes Hill graduation each year to present the Grade 10 Dux Award in Morgan’s name.

“Robert genuinely wants the world to be better” – Nominator

2020 Spirit of Brisbane Award

Alastair Tomkins

Alastair created the Music for Mateship project in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic to promote being ‘isolated but united on ANZAC Day 2020’. Music for Mateship encouraged the community to bring out their instruments to play The Last Post, observe one minute of silence, and conclude with Rouse (or Reveille) on their own driveway at 6am on Saturday 25 April.

Music for Mateship also encouraged musicians to reach out to aged care facilities in their area and play for these residents, outside their accommodation and in a COVID-safe manner. There were many school age musicians who played to honour our fallen ANZACs as well as returned and current Australian Defence Force personnel.

Starting in Brisbane, this initiative quickly became national, as musicians of all ages wanted to get involved to find a way during COVID-19 restrictions to recognise the sacrifices of our service men and women and the ANZAC legacy. Australian Jazz legend James Morrison also participated and promoted the event and, on ANZAC Day, it was covered by multiple national news outlets.

“What started out as a small idea soon became the Australia-wide good news story that everyone needed at the time” - Nominator

The Hut Environmental and Community Association

The Hut Environmental and Community Association (THECA) is a community group that provides environmental education and activities for the Brisbane community, encouraging participation and raising awareness of environmental issues. The group also runs programs for kindergarten and primary school aged children such as bushwalks and art shows to encourage the next generation to value sustainability of the local ecological system.

During the COVID-19 pandemic when most art shows and community events were being cancelled, THECA still managed to organise its fourth annual environmental art show. Themed ‘The Wild and the Beautiful’, the art show was held over the October long weekend and brought the community together to celebrate many talented local artists. A record 82 artists submitted work and well over 300 visitors visited the show in a COVID-safe manner. Operating out of a World War II hut, THECA and its annual art show are run by dedicated volunteers.

“The Hut Environment and Community Association work extremely hard and willingly give their time to spread the word about caring for our environment” – Nominator

Tudor and Wesley Vasile

Brisbane brothers Tudor and Wesley established ‘Walk for Awareness’ in 2010 to raise awareness of suicide after losing two friends within three months. In the 10 years since this event began, Tudor and Wesley have been achieving their mission of ‘preserving lives by empowering individuals’, by encouraging people to bring mental health discussions from behind closed doors into everyday life.

Walk for Awareness encourages mental wellness through participation, movement and the sharing of experiences. The event helps spread awareness and break the taboo around suicide, allowing people to grieve their lost loved ones, but also to celebrate life and support the family and friends around them. It also fundraises for the Mental Awareness Foundation to fund programs that are making a difference on the front line of mental health issues.

Through the efforts of Tudor and Wesley, this event has grown from 120 people in 2010 to 3200 in 2019. Due to COVID-19, this year saw a massive increase in people facing mental health challenges so this event became more important than ever. Tudor and Wesley pivoted the event to run virtually as well, and 400 people around Australia participated in addition to the 1474 who attended the COVID-safe event in Captain Burke Park.

“I've volunteered for 6 years now and today I had a conversation with a stranger about how this event saved his life. He was suicidal and came along looking for a reason to live and the reason he found was community. He was not alone. I was so touched and in that moment it validated the importance of the Mental Awareness Foundation and the work they do.” – Nominator

Previous winners

Read about the 2020 Lord Mayor's Australia Day Award winners.

More information

For more information, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Last updated: 5 February 2021