2018 Australia Day Awards

The 2018 Lord Mayor's Australia Day Awards recognised Brisbane's unsung heroes and paid tribute to the special people in our community who have gone above and beyond to help improve the lives of others and contribute to the city's vision of a diverse, friendly and strong community.

2018 Lord Mayor's Australia Day Award winners

Winner profiles

Citizen of the Year - Margaret Page

Serving the community is Margaret’s greatest joy. Her driving passion is to reach out to various community groups and to open her heart and her home to foster children.

For more than 25 years, Margaret has been actively involved with Warrigal Road State School, undertaking various tasks including gardening, cleaning and assisting at the tuckshop. After volunteering at the school for 20 years, Margaret commenced part-time work as a teacher’s aide, but refused to work five days per week, as she still wanted to continue her regular voluntary work at the school.

Margaret is also the treasurer of the Kuraby Cricket Club and has been serving the club for more than 20 years. She also volunteers at the Springwood Pumas Football Club where she is first aid officer, prepares the junior rosters and draws, and bakes goods every week to sell at the club house.

Margaret has also run the canteen at Sunnybank Little Athletics for more than 10 years and has been involved with the club for 18 years. She has been awarded a life-time member for her work in the club.

Margaret has also been a joey and cub scout leader at Warrigal Scouts for five years. Margaret has raised five sons and one daughter. Sadly, her oldest son was diagnosed at the age of three with a genetic terminal illness and he tragically passed away at the age of 15. Margaret and her husband, a police officer, decided they would focus their energy on making the lives of the disadvantaged better and providing a loving home for children in need of care.

Without a doubt, Margaret’s greatest passion is helping vulnerable children. Along with raising her own children, Margaret currently provides long-term care for three foster children, as well as emergency foster care for hundreds of children who are often brought to her by the police at any hour of the night. She makes it her goal for the family home to be a child’s haven, where all they have to do is be a child and not worry about whatever else is happening in their world.

Margaret also provides informal before and after school care for friends’ children who may not be able to access daycare. She loves the company of the children and their parents, and at pickup time will take the time to have a cuppa, pikelets and a chat, or just listen and offer support.

“At 61 years old, Margaret shows no sign of slowing down and is as active as ever involving herself in making the lives of others better, easier and brighter. She is humble to the core and always focusses her undivided attention on everyone that she meets with warmth and compassion.”
– Nominator

Senior Citizen of the Year - Una Gray

At the age of 87, Una is an exceptional leader within the Forest Lake community. After being advised by her doctor that it was time to hang up her apron at Inala Meals on Wheels where she had been volunteering as a cook for more than 15 years, Una sought out other avenues within the community to make a contribution.

Una began by joining the local Rotary Club, Probus and National Seniors Australia. To this day, Una remains an active member of these groups, participating in many of their activities.

In 2007, Una initiated the community-based walking group at Forest Lake Shopping Centre in association with the Heart Foundation. Since its beginnings, the group has grown to more than 65 members, regularly walking as many as three mornings per week.

One of Una’s biggest achievements is her involvement with Pillowcases for Oncology Kids, a grassroots charity that delivers handmade pillowcases to children suffering from cancer and their siblings. Currently, Una leads a group of 13 dedicated ladies who work together, sourcing material which they wash, cut and sew into pillowcases. The items are then sent to the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane for distribution to young cancer patients across Queensland and northern New South Wales. Under Una’s leadership, the charity has donated more than 2000 pillowcases to date.

“Una is an outstanding community leader who shows no sign of slowing down. She is a true inspiration to young and old alike.”
– Nominator

Young Citizen of the Year - Selena Ferguson

Selena is a remarkable, community-minded young lady who is widely respected by her peers, fellow students and teachers. She was elected senior leader at Mt Gravatt State High School and is an active member of both the Student Council and the School Advisory Committee, captain of the String Orchestra and has formed the school environmental club.

Selena’s greatest passion lies in scouting. As a scout for almost 11 years, Selena has won numerous awards including the Grey Wolf – the highest award in the cub section of the Australian Scout Medal.

This year, Selena helped to organise and participate in her third ‘Agoonoree’, a service camp where children with disabilities are supported in experiencing scouting activities. In the 2017 June school holidays, Selena participated in the highly regarded ‘Camp Luii’, an intensive eight-day camp with multiple training courses. Selena has been invited back to next year’s camp as one of only two youth leaders, having shown enormous skill in leadership. Selena is currently the treasurer of her home Scout troup and in 2015 was included in the Queensland Branch Youth Council for Scouts Australia, where she provided youth-driven ideas to develop scouting in Queensland.

In 2015, Selena formed the school environmental club, volunteering on Friday mornings before school to clean up the school grounds and surrounding streets. The group also meets in the school’s environmental centre each Monday lunchtime to rake, prune, plant, fertilise, compost and mulch. Selena also leads a group of student volunteers each year in the Clean Up Australia campaign. Selena has made it her business to get to know the cleaning staff at the school and she regularly bakes treats to acknowledge and thank them for their hard work. Another initiative of Selena’s was to host a thank you event for the school’s cleaning staff, which has now turned into an annual celebration.

Selena has an endless enthusiasm for life and for her community. In a typical act of kindness, she made more than 150 Christmas cards for Brisbane City Council bus drivers to thank them for their hard work and patience with teenage school kids over the year.

“Selena is an amazing young woman who can see the good in every person and every situation. In all of my years of teaching, I have never come across such a remarkable young person.”
– Nominator

Corporate Citizen of the Year - Becis Chartered Accountants

Over the past six years, Becis Chartered Accountants (directors Tony and Maria Becis) has continuously given their time and business support to make a difference in the Brisbane community.

This dedication initially began with Tony raising funds through Ride for Cancer, which soon led to Maria and Tony holding fundraising events with their staff, supporting Hummingbird House, Women’s Legal Service and RizeUp Australia. Maria also participated in Dancing CEOs and was awarded Champion Fundraiser by personally raising $33,000 to provide resources for victims of domestic violence.

In 2015, Tony and Maria established the Run 2 Give Foundation, raising funds and awareness for worthwhile charities and causes through running and other related events. They have also initiated the Calamvale Parkrun and Brisbane’s Great South Run. Brisbane’s Great South Run was first held in 2016 with 900 participants, growing to approximately 1200 participants in its second year.

This year, Tony and Maria hosted the inaugural Running CEOs corporate charity running event, raising $130,000 to support victims of domestic violence.

“Tony and Maria are committed people who come from a very genuine place. On top of all of the fundraising events they organise, they also do a lot of pro-bono work. I just don’t know how they do it.”
– Nominator

Community Event of the Year - Shell Green T20 Cricket Match

The Shell Green T20 Cricket Match is a truly unique community event that not only offers an alternative option for commemorating Anzac Day, but also helps recreate a great historical event and its ties to the local community. The event aims to re-enact the infamous Shell Green Cricket Match, where members of the Australian Army participated in a cricket match in Gallipoli as a diversionary tactic to ensure the safe withdrawal of troops. Free to the public, the event, which is in its sixth year and rapidly growing, sees the Army Service Cricketers take on the Lord Mayor’s Cricketers, which includes local players and players from the men’s and women’s Queensland teams.

The extent that the organising committee has gone to in order to tie in as many strands of history is exceptional. From recognising the fact that the showgrounds were the mustering ground for horses going to war and the contribution the Sri Lankan community made through their deployment, to a dedicated display at the Brookfield Museum, the event is educating the community on the Australian Army’s significant historical contribution at Gallipoli.

Testament to the broadening appeal of this event is the many community groups that actively participate, including local college boys, the Girl Guides, Riding for the Disabled and the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment.

It is understood that the cricket match is the only event in the country to recognise the role that the Sri Lankans played as guards for the Anzac Headquarters at Gallipoli. Sri Lankan catering is provided as a symbol of their significance.

Importantly, this event also gives members of the Armed Forces and the local community an alternative, less formal and more inclusive way to honour Anzac Day.

In light of this unique event, the wide range of participating community groups and the historical tribute it plays, the Shell Green T20 Cricket Match is a very worthy recipient of the Community Event of the Year.

Australia Day Cultural/Arts Award - Uncle Nurdon Serico

Uncle Nurdon is a well-respected Gubbi Gubbi Elder with a long, strong and proud history of working to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

As an active member of The Gap community for more than 50 years, Uncle Nurdon has been involved with the local cricket club and The Gap Historical Society, where he is currently the vice president and regularly gives talks to the group and wider community.

As patron of the Balaangala Garden Group, which aims to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through sharing creative practices, Uncle Nurdon has devoted his time to sharing and preserving his culture, including sharing his tradition of possum skin cloak making. Drawing on stories and cultural knowledge handed down through generations, he provides insight into the significance of these practices for Aboriginal people and how this relates to traditional methodologies of caring for our country, such as resourcefulness and sustainability. He has shared his artwork and story as part of the Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi Community Cloak and exhibited this artwork at the Museum of Brisbane.

Uncle Nurdon also spends a great deal of time educating local young people, visiting schools and kindergartens to share stories and artefacts. Uncle Nurdon sees his contribution to the Indigenous community as a natural progression in life – “my mother always told me that it was important to get a good education and to use that education to give back to my community – I try to live by that today”.

“We are privileged to have Uncle Nurdon within The Gap community where his cultural knowledge is passed onto future generations.”
– Nominator

Australia Day Sports Award - Terrence (Terry) Ericson

Since joining the Windsor Croquet Club in 1996, Terry has made a remarkable contribution to the sport as a player, coach, referee and mentor. Terry adapted to the game quickly and in 2007, represented Queensland as an individual and in the state team. Terry then went on to represent Australia in Egypt, South Africa, New Zealand and England, and in 2011 was named the highest ranking player in the country.

As well as his success as a croquet player, Terry played a major voluntary role at the club as both a coach and referee, and is currently involved in coaching a selection of state players and mentoring an under 21s team. In addition, Terry was elected to serve on the Windsor Croquet Club committee, where his responsibilities include coordinating the annual awards ceremony.

Between his full-time job as a school teacher and involvement with the croquet club, Terry still manages to go above and beyond, and has been described by his fellow club members as a humble, thoughtful and helpful man, who would do anything for anyone.

“He is an exceptional man, a good communicator and great mentor. Without the likes of Terry, there wouldn’t be a future for croquet in Australia.”
– Nominator

Lord Mayor's Green Heart Award: Individual - Kelvin Barfoot

Kelvin formed the Tennis Avenue Bushcare Group, dedicated to restoring and maintaining a large portion of Enoggera Creek in Ashgrove. Before works first commenced in the area in 2002, the area was inactive for many years. Kelvin came on-board and corralled a dedicated team and, together, the volunteer group has thrived.

Over the last couple of years, the group has maintained the embankment of Enoggera Creek by regularly weeding, planting and maintaining the area. The success of their work was evident post Cyclone Debbie where erosion was minimal as a result of the revegetation along the embankment. Kelvin’s commitment to the ongoing remediation work, including tree planting along this corridor, has enabled the flora and fauna to thrive in this area while also providing a native habitat link for sugar gliders.

As well as his heavy involvement in facilitating the monthly working bee, Kelvin offers assistance to many other local Green Heart organisations. Kelvin also sets himself a personal challenge to constantly improve his knowledge of the most suitable plants for the area. Along with his great organisational and communication skills, Kelvin’s enthusiasm is evident and contagious, leading to an overall increase in the number of volunteers and their productivity, which results in the positive transformation of the park.

Lord Mayor's Green Heart Award: Organisation - Brandon Road Bushcare Group

Brandon Road Bushcare is a perfect example of a local group giving back to the community at a grassroots level. Established in 2006, the organisation aims to restore the wetlands that are part of the upper reaches of the Bulimba Creek Catchment by improving the overall water quality and increasing native plant and animal diversity. Brandon Road Bushcare’s activities include weed control, revegetation and creek bank stabilisation. The group enjoys engaging and educating the broader community and facilitates educational programs for the Girl Guides.

The group meets once a month and, over the years, has had up to 56 different volunteers contribute to countless hours of work. In addition to carrying out their monthly duties, volunteers participate in events including National Tree Day, Clean Up Australia Day and Bushcare’s Major Day Out.

Australia Day Achievement Awards

Belinda Adams

Belinda has always had a great sense of community and has volunteered on many projects supporting minority groups over the years, from knitting clothes and blankets for children in Africa to helping in the clean up after the 2011 floods and, more recently, volunteering at Signal Flare’s Barbeques for the homeless. She has also produced a number of documentaries highlighting the contribution of inspiring individuals to the community.

After her son suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI), Belinda realised that TBI was an invisible disability, often not openly discussed or understood, and she became an advocate for those affected, by volunteering for Synapse. In 2014, Synapse made Belinda an official ambassador in recognition of her tireless contribution to their ‘BANGONABEANIE’ campaigns.

On 18 July 2017, to raise awareness for TBI, Belinda set off on a mission to travel alone from Brisbane, around Australia, on Belinda’s Big Bus Tour in her big purple bus/moving billboard, covering more than 8000 kilometres and six states in 32 days, with no personal gain, but entirely for the benefit of others. Apart from building awareness, Belinda also brought a ray of light and hope to so many TBI sufferers and their carers.

While speaking about her own traumatic journey with TBI, Belinda feels it’s her duty to pay forward the knowledge she has gained to help others in need. It seems that she never puts her own needs ahead of the people she is fighting for and would never seek awards or accolades for her work. Belinda is an unstoppable force that continues to bring about changes to the way services are delivered for TBI patients and has already achieved incredible changes.

Birthtalk.org

For 15 years, Birthtalk.org, run by Melissa Bruijn and Debby Gould, has provided the parents of Brisbane a safe and supportive environment to work through challenging and difficult birth experiences. They have developed an abundance of resources, including a popular blog called ‘Birth Trauma Truths’, and a book, How to Heal a Bad Birth, which have been heralded across the world as outstanding and indispensable for mothers and their partners, family and health professionals.

Birthtalk.org holds free bi-monthly meetings called ‘Healing from Birth’ to support new and not-so-new parents in Brisbane who have experienced challenging or traumatic births. These meetings have been listed as the official support group of choice on Brisbane hospital websites.

The contribution that Birthtalk.org has made to the local Brisbane community cannot be overstated. Thousands of women’s lives and those of their families have been changed for the better because of Melissa and Debby’s tireless devotion to women and their babies by offering support, validation, healing and hope.

Eugene Boyle

Over the past 20 years, Eugene has made an outstanding contribution to the Acacia Ridge Younger Stroke Support Group. Eugene first joined the organisation when he was caring for his son, Graham, who suffered from a brain tumour. Despite the passing of his son 13 years ago, Eugene has continued to support the group in a voluntary capacity.

Not only has Eugene taken on the responsibility of secretary and treasurer for 13 years, but Eugene has supported the group by assisting with the organisation of all meetings, including the set-up and preparation of morning tea, followed by the cleaning-up and pack-down. As well as this, Eugene goes out of his way on a weekly basis, offering to help transport other members to meetings. Stroke support is not glamourous work, in fact it is emotionally and physically challenging, particularly when you have had a very personal connection with a stroke victim. However, Eugene does not let this get in his way and remains more committed than ever to assisting this vital support group. He is a true gentleman and the group, which provides critical support to stroke victims, simply couldn’t operate without him.

Darren Clarke

Darren has been a tireless volunteer of St John’s Ambulance since 1979 giving in excess of 3000 hours in community service.

Darren currently manages the Algester division of St John’s Ambulance and has a passion for helping those in need. Darren provides first aid at events at various locations throughout Brisbane and further afield, on the north and south coasts.

Darren enjoys training others in first aid and is passionate about passing on his knowledge to others. He particularly enjoys training young people in not only the practical elements of first aid but also in the importance of community, charity and helping the vulnerable members of society. He regularly trains the cadets, undertakes the administration and paperwork, cleans the vans and sets up at events. Darren is absolutely vital to the successful running of the group. This is a fitting recognition for Darren’s 38 years of volunteering at St John’s Ambulance.

Laurence Deane

Laurence is a founding member and driving force of the Queen’s Birthday Ball – the longest-running continuous gay event in the world, held annually since 1962. Many years ago, the ground-breaking Queen’s Birthday Ball was considered an important part of the cultural and political ‘coming out’ of the modern gay community. Laurence was a leading light and well known personality in the Brisbane gay community, working in and running several bars and night spots in Brisbane. During this time, he realised his passion to advocate on behalf of the gay community, including fundraising for the AIDS Council.

More commonly known as Dame Sybil Von Thorndyke, through his decades of performing, Laurence has been a beacon of joy and happiness for the Brisbane LGBTI community. To date, the Queen’s Birthday Ball alone has raised more than $30,000. Laurence’s efforts over many years have, without doubt, contributed to the changing attitudes and acceptance of the gay community and have proven to be a source of strength and comfort for so many.

Dee Douglas

Dee is an outstanding member of the community who inspires enthusiasm and a passion for living.

Dee’s motivation for helping others comes from first-hand experience when she joined Indooroopilly Toastmasters. With the encouragement of other members and by educating herself through the Toastmasters educational program, Dee grew in confidence and started sharing her experiences with other new members. A year later, she was encouraged to join the executive committee as their membership officer. Since then, Dee has chartered another Toastmasters club (Serendipity Toastmasters at Auchenflower), mentored a struggling club back from the brink of closure (Centenary Toastmasters) as well as assisted her long-standing friend in Toastmasters, John Wells, in the re-formation of a Toastmasters club within the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.

As well as being an active member of two Toastmasters clubs, Dee helped charter the Rotary Club of Brisbane Taylor Bridge in 2012, to bring fellowship and fundraising to her local community from Chelmer through to Corinda. She was instrumental in bringing the club together with the local Sailability program, to help people with all kinds of disabilities to get out onto the water with experienced sailors for a regular splash of joy in their lives.

Dee has a remarkable gift in recognising people’s hidden talents and strengths, and finding ways to empower those to use them.

Constantine (Con) Drozdovskii

Born to a Russian father and Greek mother, Con moved to Brisbane as a child and has now become a spokesperson for the Ethnic Russian Community.

Proud of his Russian Orthodox Christian faith, over the past 50 years Con has become a dynamic spokesperson for community cohesion. Con has encouraged Russian-Australians to immerse themselves in the rich cultural, artistic and musical life of Brisbane through choir singing, seminars, festivals or by devotion to their civic duties. He also works closely with Brisbane’s ethnic communities through strong and continuous connections with the Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre, communicating with the audience and the broader community about their culture and how it integrates into the City of Brisbane.

Through Con’s passion, the Canon Garland Memorial Society (CGMS) was incorporated in July 2013, with an attempt to raise a memorial and increase public awareness of Canon Garland’s role as the ‘Architect of Anzac Day’ and to build cultural heritage awareness. As a committee and foundation member of the society, Con organised three major concerts. Con also developed the ‘Coo-ee!’ online CGMS newsletter which now heads into its 22nd edition.

Con wears his ‘Russian heart’ on his sleeve and continues to be a selfless and passionate believer in sharing the Russian culture, and introducing an awareness of other cultures to the Brisbane Russian community.

Ross Garnett BEM

From humble beginnings working as a young boy in the family grocery and rural supplies store in James Street, New Farm, Ross has developed a strong commitment to serving his community. Being brought up to help those less fortunate, Ross has built a life dedicated to serving his fellow residents in New Farm and to building community pride and spirit.

For 14 years Ross has been president of the New Farm and Districts Historical Society, playing an integral role in its growth as a warm and welcoming group dedicated to preserving and researching local history. Ross recognised that, despite the wide range of ages and demands in most people’s lives, people have a need for company and companionship. With a generous afternoon tea served after the guest speaker has presented, Ross provides a friendly environment for all members. From a small base number of attendees, Ross has encouraged the society’s growth into a monthly meeting group that often exceeds 100.

Each November, Ross promotes the ‘Empty Christmas Tree’. His simple request is that members take a moment to think of those who may be struggling during Christmas and translates that into providing an offering of useful goods or money for donation.

Ross oversees and promotes involvement in other community activities, such as ensuring that local primary schools are supported on important national days, such as Anzac Day with wreath-laying.

Great attention is paid to negotiating the creation and placement of historical plaques in the area. The importance of remembering the past is always in Ross’s plans and is yet another way in which he seeks to help build a cohesive community.

Ross is always helping those less fortunate than himself and makes sure that everyone, regardless of their background, is made welcome. He is so much more than the president of the society.

Michael (Mike) Gilmour

Mike is an enthusiastic and passionate volunteer who has tirelessly given his time to assist socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and families across Brisbane.

For the past 14 years, Mike has been a volunteer member of the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVDP), where he served as president of the Sacred Heart – Red Hill SVDP Conference for four years, and is currently the president of the SVDP Rosalie Regional Council. As president of the Sacred Heart – Red Hill SVDP Conference, Mike guided the oldest conference in Queensland (with a handful of members on the brink of closure) into an amalgamation with the Rosalie Conference, which reinvigorated membership to more than 25 volunteers.

In his service to SVDP, Mike has been a tenacious advocate for social welfare for families in the inner north-western suburbs, providing frontline support in the form of meeting people in need of emergency food, clothing support, referral information, advocacy, furniture, budget support, assistance with utility bills or back to school costs. He has brought his leadership and financial knowledge to improve delivery of services and recruitment of volunteers and has served as a member of the SVDP finance committee since 2014.

Mike has also found time to serve as a board member and director of Open Minds Australia, an independent not-for-profit organisation that works with people to enhance their mental health and well-being. Mike’s passion and commitment to governance has been instrumental in the growth of Open Minds, helping those living with mental illness and disabilities. Mike always goes well beyond what is required of his role and is the first to put his hand up to attend client events or simply spend time with those in need.

Charles (Charlie) Grove

Charlie has made a significant contribution to the local Brisbane senior community for decades. He is a passionate resident of Stafford, always suggesting ways to further engage with local seniors. Charlie also serves as a dedicated Justice of the Peace and uses this as an opportunity to help the elderly with paperwork and forms.

Charlie provides regular assistance to the elderly residents of the Marchant Ward in various ways, including helping out at the local churches, Meals on Wheels and assisting elderly residents in the process of moving home as well as regularly completing chores for them. This has made a significant difference to the everyday lives of local seniors, who may not be able to complete tasks independently.

Charlie also organises activities such as day trips for local elderly residents, ensuring they are able to partake in these activities. This brings joy and happiness to many local seniors, who are otherwise isolated and unable to participate in social events, nor connect with the wider community.

Charlie understands the everyday struggles experienced by senior citizens and displays an admirable passion for increasing the quality of their lives. He is passionate about improving the lives of elderly residents and ensures that people who need help receive help.

Shirley Rea

Shirley has lived in Seven Hills for more than 50 years and is a highly respected member of the community. She has been involved in Morningside 1 Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) for 29 years and was treasurer for 12 years. She always helps with events and still delivers the NHW newsletters in her area. Shirley was also involved with the Metropolitan Districts Netball Association for 30 years, volunteering as a coach to players, and has held the positions of both president and treasurer.

Over the years, Shirley has also volunteered with St Thomas’s Church, St Thomas’s School, St Vincent de Paul, Mt Carmel Catholic and St Martins Catholic Schools. Shirley is highly regarded by the residents in her neighbourhood and nothing is too much trouble for her to do. She is an incredibly humble lady who has done so much for so many without seeking any accolade at all.

Bruce Meers

From an early age Bruce has volunteered his time to a large number of organisations, proving his life-long commitment to help others and make a difference. Some of the organisations Bruce has volunteered for include Cancer Council Queensland, Queensland Blue Light Association Incorporated, the 12th Regional Army Cadet Unit, Scripture Union Camp, Camp Quality Companion, Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club, Little Athletics and PCYC Carindale.

Bruce’s bigger achievements over the decades as a volunteer include being a counsellor and youth worker for Lifeline, a scout leader for 14 years, vice president of Camp Hill Lions, and a ready reader at multiple state schools across Brisbane for six years. In addition to this, as a passionate musician, every fortnight Bruce plays music and sings songs at an aged care facility for patients with dementia. Not only does this give patients a lot of joy and something to look forward to, it also helps them engage and socialise. Bruce always goes the extra mile during these visits and stays far longer than he needs to, encouraging the residents to have a good old fashioned sing along.

David Lloyd

David has been an active volunteer for Variety – the Children’s Charity for more than 12 years. During that time, he has raised in excess of $150,000 for children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs.

David has completed 12 Variety Bashes, along with his team members who are all operational fire fighters. All volunteer their time to raise funds to enter the Variety ‘bash’ in a decommissioned fire appliance, a donation organised by David to Variety Queensland from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS). During the ‘bash’, they visit a number of schools and youth clubs, and carry out fire awareness and safety.

David has also participated in numerous other Variety events such as the 4WD Explorer and the Jet Trek, both as an entrant and volunteer official. Officials are not required to pay a ‘provisions levy’ to cover food and accommodation, and yet David insists on paying this levy for these additional events out of his own pocket. This means more funds are available for the kids who really need it.

David was recognised for his tireless fundraising efforts in 2012 when he was awarded the prestigious ‘Basher of the Year’, as voted by his fellow fundraisers. His fundraising efforts continue throughout the year, whether it be at the local McDonalds or shaking tins outside Roma St Station at every single State of Origin match played at Suncorp Stadium.

In 2015, as floods had devastated parts of Queensland, Variety kindly donated the ‘OV FIRE’ truck to help the community in a time of need. QFRS gladly accepted the offer and allowed David and his team to do this in an official QFRS capacity. Led by one of David’s long-term teammates, Trevor Jarvis, the crew hit the streets of Brisbane and helped with the big clean-up. The crew spent days around Brisbane helping with wash downs and pump outs.

Richard Speechley

Having lived in The Gap for his whole life, Richard has been actively involved in the community since a young boy. As a member of the St Johns Wood Scouts as a teenager, he assisted in forming the first Gap Scout Troop and also was the first cub master at The Gap, serving for many years. Later on, he became group scout master at Dorrington and Inala, and formed the Sea Scouts at Jindalee. Richard also helped in the establishment of a local kindergarten and The Gap Primary School Swimming Club, and served on both committees for several years.

In addition, Richard was the administrator for several groups in the Queensland Youth Orchestras, including the Junior Strings Ensemble and the Queensland Youth Orchestra 3. He was also actively involved in the performing arts and enjoyed being part of local amateur dramatic associations, putting on plays and musicals for the local community.

Following his retirement, Richard set his efforts to writing about his youth and growing up in The Gap. He wrote and published two books on the local history of The Gap, which involved extensive research and interviews with many descendants of the early settlers of the area. The articles published in a local community newspaper received such acclaim that many local residents wanted to be involved in the establishment of a local historical society. In 2000, Richard established The Gap Historical Society Inc. and held the seat of president until 2017.

As a patient of kidney disease and a transplant recipient, Richard is also an active member of Kidney Care and is involved in programs to provide valuable information to assist patients.

Richard has always given 100% to any endeavour he sets his mind to and is held in high esteem within the local and broader community for his involvement in so many community-based activities. His involvement in local and state-wide organisations proves an inspiration to all who know him.

More information

For more information, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

29 January 2018