Australia Day 2019 award winners

Australian flag at Picnic Point

These awards are presented to groups or citizens who have made an outstanding contribution to the Toowoomba Region community.

The following list includes the Toowoomba Regional Council Australia Day regional awards, which cover service to the region as a whole, and respective service area awards.

Congratulations to all of the winners.



Download the video of the regional award winners (for media use)

Download the high res image - Regional Citizens of the Year winners Rhonda and David Weston (for media use)

Download the high res image - Regional Young Citizen of the Year winner Jade Kennedy (for media use)

Download the high res image - Regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year winner Ruth Blunderfield (for media use)


Regional Citizens of the Year

westons australia day winners smallRhonda and David Weston (also won Toowoomba Citizens of the Year) 

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Rhonda and David Weston are credited for improving the knowledge, welfare and activity of Toowoomba retirees and for enhancing social cohesion in the city through their involvement in the University of Third Age (U3A).

U3A is an international movement that stimulates, educates and socialises retirees by sharing expertise, experience and enthusiasm. Started in France in 1973, it rapidly spread across the world, arriving in Australia in 1984.

U3A in Toowoomba (U3AT) blossomed when Rhonda and David joined the committee in 2010. David then became the tutor coordinator and Rhonda became president in 2011.

Since then, U3A has grown continuously in size and scope and now has a membership of more than 2100.

The organisation offers 180 courses in academic, art, computer, craft, dance, finance, games, history, language, health, music, philosophy, sport and writing in Toowoomba, Pittsworth and Crows Nest. This success has been largely due to the dynamism and hard work of Rhonda and David, who have been supported by an active committee.

Rhonda has set the direction and tone of the organisation and driven its vigorous development, while David has found and managed courses, tutors, rooms and time slots, written the tutors' handbook and kept computers running.

With the committee, they produce five newsletters each year, annual tutors' appreciation lunches, weekly dynamic life lectures and, with the support of Toowoomba Regional Council, the annual Toowoomba Seniors' Information Expo.

Rhonda was state president of the U3A Network Queensland from 2012-2015, the national chair of U3A Australia Alliance from 2014-2015, and chair of U3A Asia-Pacific 2013-2014. She chaired the 2014-2017 committee of the hugely successful U3A International Conference in Brisbane in 2015 and was invited to speak at the World Seniors' Tourism Congress in China in 2018.

Rhonda and David have presented numerous talks on U3A across Australia and overseas in Japan, France, Singapore and China.

All members of U3A are inspired by their drive and enthusiasm and doing whatever it takes to improve the lives of seniors in Toowoomba. They are constantly at U3A throughout the term, planning, supporting, organising and encouraging the committee, office staff and members.

Both Rhonda and David have given the greater part of their lives and energy over the past eight years to stimulate and encourage the intellectual and social lives of the seniors of our city, with resounding success.


Regional Young Citizen of the Year 

jade australia day winner smallJade Kennedy

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Regional Young Citizen of the Year Jade Kennedy is a talented dancer and dedicated Girl Guide, who is an active and valued member of the Oakey community.

A passionate acrobatics dancer, Jade is a member of iDance Studios in Oakey where she practises almost every day. Mature beyond her years, Jade works as an assistant teacher at iDance where she helps younger children and runs her own classes.

Jade has represented iDance at various auditions with the Queensland Ballet Company and was a member of the iDance USA 2018 tour team that performed at Disneyland, Universal Studios and other venues across America.

Jade entered her first solo competition in the Toowoomba Eisteddfod as an eight-year-old and has not looked back, performing and placing in various Toowoomba, Gatton and Ipswich Eisteddfods.

An active member of the Oakey community, Jade volunteers her time to various community events including Anzac Day, the Santa Fair, Oakey Show and TADOMS (Toowoomba and District Old Machinery Society).

Last year she used her community connections to assemble 28 care packages for soldiers serving overseas.

She is a member of the Oakey Guide Guides and was House Captain at St Monica’s in Oakey.

Hardworking and community-minded, Jade is a positive role model who has a bright future. 


Regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year

ruth australia day winner smallRuth Blunderfield

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Ruth Blunderfield is an inclusive and kind-hearted leader in our community, who volunteers her time to assist and engage youth.

Ruth leads by example.

Described as someone who ‘flies under the radar’, Ruth is a full-time Registered Nurse at Toowoomba Hospital where she has a fantastic reputation for caring for patients and staff and making sure she does everything possible to be of assistance.

In 2018, Ruth was the driving force behind the establishment in this region of the  Emergency Services Queensland Cadets program which aims to build the next generation of emergency service volunteers.

Offered to young people aged 12 to 17, the free program enables cadets to learn a diverse range of emergency response skills from highly experienced personnel.

In previous years, Ruth ran the St John Ambulance Cadet youth program in Toowoomba, teaching young people from eight to 18 life-saving, leadership and social skills. As part of this role, Ruth went above and beyond to help Indigenous and non-Indigenous cadets complete the program and achieve their awards.

Ruth is an active member of the Oakey SES unit and works for St John Ambulance in her spare time.

She volunteered her time as a Registered Nurse for four weeks during the 2018 Commonwealth Games and is an outstanding role model in our community. 

Cambooya Citizen of the Year

Scott Hanson

Scott Hanson has worked tirelessly for the Cambooya State School P&C for the past 11 years, holding various positions on the executive since 2006, including the roles of president, vice president and treasurer.

Hardworking and honest, Scott has undertaken all roles with excellence, humility and a fantastic sense of humour, ensuring all P&C volunteers feel safe and welcome.

Scott's time as an executive member ended in 2017 when his third daughter, Zoe, finished year six as School Captain at Cambooya State School. Scott also attended Cambooya State School from 1975-1980. Ably supported by his parents, siblings, wife Mandy and three daughters, Scott and the Hanson family's contribution to school life are immeasurable.

Key achievements during his tenure on the executive include funding and construction of a covered outdoor learning area and commemorative paver wall. Scott also oversaw the school's 125th anniversary celebrations.

During his 11 years of volunteering on the P&C executive, Scott organised sponsorship and supplier discounts for a number of projects and oversaw uniform sales and inventory to ensure all families have access to affordable uniforms.

He worked with other executive members to establish the school’s initial after-school care program, including employing staff and managing accreditation processes.

Scott gives his time and resources freely and generously and, despite being the first person to arrive and last to leave, he is always modest and humble about his commitment. Scott has juggled family, work, study and other volunteering commitments with his contribution.


Cambooya Young Citizen of the Year

Isaac Anderson

Cambooya Young Citizen of the Year Isaac Anderson is an outstanding young man – a humble, courteous and respectful individual who volunteers his time to various organisations in the community.

Caring, charitable and community-minded, Isaac is a member of the Cambooya Fire Brigade and helps several senior citizens in the community with their yard work.

A positive role model for others, Isaac also volunteers his time to ‘Street Crew’ in Toowoomba, cooking up meals for homeless people and disadvantaged members of our community.

He created and is the administrator for the Cambooya Community Facebook page, which has more than 600 members.

Isaac is also credited for helping people in this community find a voice, when they have struggled to be heard. 


Cambooya Cultural Award

Aylish Ryan

Aylish is a dedicated and supportive member of many local music community groups and is passionate about sharing her love of performing for all to enjoy.

An Empire Theatre Bursary recipient in 2017 and 2018, Aylish started violin lessons as a five-year-old before joining the Toowoomba Choral Society Youth Choir at nine.

Aylish has participated in Toowoomba Choral Society Youth Choir productions every year since 2013, performing in lead roles such as Tinkerbell in Peter Pan Junior and Viola in My Son Pinocchio. She has performed twice with Opera Australia and has participated in 10 musical productions over the past six years.

Aylish completed her 7th grade AMEB violin exam and her 5th grade AMEB classical voice exam and performed two solo recitals in 2018, showcasing pieces she had prepared for exams.

In 2018 she performed in her first adult productions, the Toowoomba Choral Society’s production of Fiddler on the Roof and the Toowoomba Philharmonic Society’s production of Shrek the Musical

Aylish appreciates the time and expertise of local teachers and the significant contribution they make in our community. She has tried to emulate these role models by contributing to the groups that she is a part of and is Choir Captain of the Toowoomba Choral Society Youth Choir. 


Cambooya Sports Award – Senior

Emma Massey

Emma Massey is a talented and dedicated athlete who has achieved significant success in multiple facets of equestrian competition.

In 2018 Emma achieved her 11-year dream to complete at the Australian Interschool Equestrian Nationals in Victoria, placing 16th in the Combined Training (Dressage and Jumping) 60cm event on her horse Bundy.

As the equestrian captain at The Glennie School in 2018, Emma led the team to overall champion school for Darling Downs and South West Queensland, Champion Showman Team Queensland, Champion ShowhorseTeam Queensland and Overall Champion Queensland School.

Emma was named champion local rider at the 2018 Clifton Show and competed successfully in the Stock Horse ring to be named Champion, where she won three Stock Horse disciplines.

Emma also plays sevens rugby and was part of the winning Glennie team that competed at the Scots PGC carnival in 2018.

A true sportswoman, Emma takes the knocks and modestly accepts the accolades. She supports her team, both as a leader and a team member, and sincerely congratulates all of her competitors on their successes.

Most importantly, Emma is prepared to work hard to achieve her goals in equestrian and sevens rugby.


Cambooya Sports Award – Junior

Kaden Willmot

Kaden Willmot is an enthusiastic and inspiring young Australian who has achieved great success in the sporting arena.

Naturally athletic, Kaden attends St Joseph’s College Toowoomba where he was awarded the Junior Sportsman of the Year for 2018.

In 2018, Kaden captained the Under 12 Queensland Touch Football team to victory at the national championships in Hobart where they defeated NSW 9-5 in the finals. He was also captain of the Under 12 Darling Downs touch team that competed in the state championships at Bundaberg.

Kaden is also a talented soccer player and captained the Darling Downs at the Under 12 state championships in Maroochydore in 2018. He also competes in the South-West Queensland Thunder soccer side in the National Premier League in Brisbane.

Kaden is extremely humble in victory and embraces every opportunity to learn new skills and develop his sporting talents.

Kaden has huge dreams of representing and playing for Australia in soccer and touch.


Cambooya Community Event

Wyreema Community Events Inc. for the Halloween Trick or Treating Event

The Wyreema Halloween Trick or Treating Event has been running for the past five years and is a true representation of Australian community spirit.

Organised by Wyreema Community Events Inc., the fun and inclusive event is recognised locally for building community spirit, with nominations increasing each year.

The organising committee works tirelessly for many months in the lead up to this event to ensure everything runs seamlessly.

As part of the event, families register their house to be a trick or treating venue and/or to allow their children to go trick or treating. The registered children receive a map at the start of the event with the registered houses marked on the map. They are later invited to the Wyreema Hall for a disco and sausage sizzle where prizes are awarded for best dressed entrants.

The event promotes a wonderful community spirit by encouraging people to meet their neighbours. Families get to know each other a little bit better and enjoy the opportunity to be part of an inclusive community.

Clifton Citizens of the Year

Merv and Isobel Holz

Merv and Isobel Holz have provided outstanding community service to the Clifton community for the past 60 years through their sustained involvement in various community groups such as schools, church, sports clubs to community and health services.

Dedicated volunteers, Merv and Isobel have lived in the Clifton district all their lives. Married in 1960, they also provided employment to a number of locals over five decades through their mechanical repair business.

Since retiring some 20 years ago they have been providing musical entertainment on a regular basis to the residents of the nursing home section of the Clifton Hospital, Nirvana and now the Sunflower Centre.

With Merv on the piano accordion and Isobel playing keyboard, they have entertained the residents with many tunes and songs over the years. The residents look forward to Merv and Isobel's musical visits and it has even been reported that some of the residents who haven't spoken in a very long time have been heard singing along to the music, bringing great joy to the residents, their families and staff who care for them.

Merv served as a voluntary officer for the Queensland Ambulance Service for 30 years from the late 1950s, driving ambulances and administering first aid from the Clifton Ambulance Centre.

He also served for many years on the committees of the St John's Lutheran Church parish and the Clifton Bowls Club, often occupying the position of president or other management committee positions.

Isobel volunteered on numerous committees while raising three children. Most notably, she spent several years as a member or on the executive of school Parents and Citizen’s committees, the St John's Lutheran Church Ladies’ Guild and a Women's community group. Isobel also volunteered to teach religious education to students at Clifton Primary School and either drove or accompanied pupils to sporting events or school excursions. She sang with the community choir at local events and organised many charity fundraising events such as street stalls and slide (photograph) competitions.


Clifton Young Citizen of the Year

Naomi Simpson

Naomi Simpson is an exceptional young lady who assists others willingly with no expectation of recognition or reward.

Dux of Clifton State High School in 2018, Naomi is a diligent, passionate and reliable student who continually strives to achieve her personal best.

A role model to young Australians, Naomi was secretary of Clifton State High School student representative council in 2018 and served as a Toowoomba Regional Council Youth Leader in 2017 and 2018.

She volunteered on the Clifton History Project for three years, tirelessly contributing her time and efforts to research and write biographies of soldiers from Clifton and District during World War I.

Completion of the project resulted in the erection of a new honour board, as well as the publication of all the biographies in a book.

Naomi organised an event at Clifton State High School to raise funds for Smalls for All Charity, to help educate African children living in orphanages and slums.

Gracious and engaging, Naomi represented Clifton State High School with distinction on many occasions, including academic competitions and cultural events and public speaking at Anzac Day services.

Despite her many commitments, Naomi mentors other students in their leadership roles and academically and is the recipient of a Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award. 


Clifton Cultural Award

Clifton State High School Year 10 Visual Arts Class (joint winner)

Over the past four years the Clifton State High School Year 10 visual arts class has undertaken a mural art project to commemorate the Anzacs and honour their contributions to the battle for freedom in WW1.

Students completed four significant pieces of art, one each year from 2015 to 2018, under the guidance of art teacher Mr Adam Layton.

Each artwork was unveiled at the high school during a special event that was attended by prominent members of the community. Organised and compered by the students, these events also showcased the talents of the school band and paid respect to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom for others.

The students’ speeches paid tribute to the men and women depicted in the paintings and acknowledged the contribution of those who helped the wounded including stretcher bearers, ambulance brigade members, orderlies, nurses and doctors.

The students learned painting skills and techniques and built their capacity to work collaboratively.

The Visual Art Project provided students with a chance to exhibit their work in a public arena and show their appreciation of the efforts and sacrifices made during conflicts during World War 1.


Clifton Cultural Award

Margaret Miller (joint winner)

In 2013 Margaret Miller made an application on behalf of Clifton State High School for an Anzac Centenary Local Grant to restore the WW1 Clifton Honour Board that was destroyed in a fire in 1940.

This grant also covered the production of a book commemorating people from the Clifton District who had enlisted to serve at the Front.

Led by Margaret, this significant cultural project was also supported by the Clifton and District Sub Branch of the RSL, the Clifton Historical Society and The Clifton Courier.

The aim of the grant was to involve students in real historical work, with designated products and time lines.

Students were primarily involved in initial research and write ups of the men listed on the Clifton Cenotaph, with profiles published in the Clifton State High School Newsletter in 2013 and 2014.

Extended profiles of those men were then researched and written by a different group of students in 2015, with profiles published weekly in The Clifton Courier. These 28 profiles provided the foundation for the book.

During this time, Margaret completed research to ascertain if there were new names to be added to the Honour Board. About 50 more names were found and the Clifton Sub-branch of the RSL made decisions about the new inclusions with advice from Mrs Joy King, researcher for the Clifton History Society. On 11th November 2015, the Honour Board was unveiled at the Clifton Museum.

All the above groups were involved with the unveiling, with refreshments provided by the Clifton Branch of the QCWA.

Margaret continued work on the book in earnest in 2016, with the support of Clifton State High School student Naomi Simpson, who had come on board as researcher/writer in Year 9.

This significant cultural project involved a large number of students in the community and enhanced awareness of returned servicemen in the Clifton District. 


Clifton Sports Award

Mia Dickeson

Mia Dickeson is a talented and committed athlete who has achieved great success in karate at state and national level.

Since taking up the sport in 2014, Mia has progressed through the vigorous belt levels of Renbukan Karate and displayed commitment and dedication.

Mia won a silver medal at the Queensland Karate Association (QKA) championships in March 2018 for Kumite in the 14-15 year old girls’ Black Belt division. From there she represented Queensland at the National Karate championships at Caloundra in August where she finished fifth in the event of Kumite for fifth Kyu through to Black Belt.

Mia also qualified to compete for the Queensland team at the National All Styles championship at the Gold Coast in September, where she finished third in Kumite.

Mia was school captain in her final year at Clifton State Primary School and is a student representative at Clifton State High School, where she is achieving well in her academic studies.

A role model for young women in the community, Mia deserves to be commended for her hard work and dedication.


Clifton Sports Administration

Tyler Gillam

Tyler is a committed and talented young sportsman who consistently exhibits the Australian spirit of perseverance, sportsmanship, respect and helping others.

Playing with Wattles Warriors from Under 7s, Tyler has played in several representative sides and made his A Grade debut this year, aged 17.

A life member of the club, Tyler assists coaches to train younger teams by providing advice, support and mentoring. He also helps with carnivals and has taken on the role of referee, linesman and assistant coach.

Earlier this year Tyler represented the Toowoomba Clydesdales at the Central championship held at Gladstone.

He was named age champion in athletics and cross country this year and encouraged his peers as sports captain of Rudd house.

Tyler set a new record in open boys’ triple jump this year and went on to represent Darling Downs at the Queensland State Athletic titles in this event, placing 16th in the state.

Tyler's sporting achievements have earned him respect from his peers and the wider community who have seen him grow into a positive young man.


Clifton Community Group

Clifton Community Op Shop

For the community, by the community is the motto of the Clifton Community Op Shop.

It was established by a hard-working group of volunteers to raise funds for various local projects.

Spearheaded by Julie Burton, the Op Shop also fills the void created by the closure of the Blue Care Op Shop in Clifton and fulfils a practical need in the community to supply recycled clothes and goods at fair prices.

Run by a wonderful group of volunteers, the Op Shop is also credited with fostering a sense of belonging, with friendships formed through a common sense of purpose.

Located on King Street, the Op Shop is making a real difference in the Clifton community. 

Crows Nest Citizen of the Year

Paul Pelling

Australia Day is about recognising individuals who make a real difference in their community.

Paul Pelling’s kindness and generosity to others makes him a very worthy recipient of the 2019 Crows Nest Citizen of the Year award.

Always giving of his time to others, Paul sources food, toys and other items for the local Christmas hamper appeal and delivers packages to families in need.

Paul has helped relocate victims of domestic violence to safe premises and welcomes homeless people into his own home while they get back on their feet.

He moves furniture for people for free and sources household items for those in need.

Always willing to lend a hand, Paul has helped repair cars, install security lights, clean gutters and complete household repairs – it doesn’t matter what help they need, if he can do it, he will.

As an administrator of the Crows Nest Facebook page, Paul works hard to foster a sense of community and support local initiatives and is recognised as someone who can be called on for help during times of need.


Crows Nest Cultural Award

Ron Anderson

Ron Anderson is an active and devoted member of the Crows Nest community.

He has worked hard to increase visitor numbers and foster community connections and good health through his support of a men’s shed and regular tai chi classes.

Ron is chair of the Motorcycle Friendly organising committee and was instrumental in the successful launch of the initiative that attracted more than 300 motorcyclists to celebrate the declaration launch.

As part of this role, Ron volunteers his time to welcome groups visiting Crows Nest and organises and participates in rides with older motorcyclists from the area. Motorcycle parking has been installed on Emu Creek Road and motorcycle friendly signage is in progress.

The initiative has resulted in increased visitors to the region, with motorcyclists organising regular events including the Suzuki AUS-Strom weekend event and Buy-a-Bale.

Ron has been actively involved in the Crows Nest Men's Shed since its inception, including finding premises and sponsors and equipping the shed.

He is a member of the Shed and actively sources and promotes projects including seating in the Crows Nest CBD. Ron set up the Men's Shed website and Facebook pages and continues to maintain and contribute to these.

Ron was involved in negotiations which resulted in the introduction of tai chi for health classes at Crows Nest and regularly joins the classes. He is a professional photographer who documents scenes, wildlife, events and people in Crows Nest. 


Crows Nest Sports Award – Junior

Jeremy Polzin

Jeremy Polzin is a talented and committed young athlete who has represented the Darling Downs at the Queensland State Athletics championships for the past four years.

The 13-year-old achieved great success at the Crows Nest State School athletics carnival in 2018, placing first in 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres, 800 metres, 1500 metres, long jump, triple jump and high jump. He also achieved a third in shot put and a fourth in javelin.

Jeremy competed at the Inner Downs trials at Oakey in 2018, where he was placed third in triple jump, high jump and long jump. He then competed at the Darling Downs trials at Warwick, where he placed third in long jump and triple jump.

Jeremy represented Highfields Little Athletics at the state championships in Brisbane, competing in long jump and triple jump. He also received the age champion award for Under 13s at Little Athletics.

Jeremy’s other sporting interests include cross country, swimming, tennis and bike riding.


Crows Nest Community Event

Crows Nest Girls’ Night In

Jacinta Willis has made a significant difference to building a cancer-free future over the past seven years by raising $27,000 for the Cancer Council with the support of the Crows Nest Girls’ Night In committee.

Jacinta organised her first Girls’ Night In in 2012 following her sister’s cervical cancer diagnosis.

Hosted at Bunnyconnellen Winery, the event attracted 30 women who enjoyed an evening of wine, cheeses and a small raffle.

Annual events have been held since, including a fashion parade at the Grand Old Crow Hotel, a pink-themed evening and a Roaring 1920’s night at the Crows Nest RSL.

In 2016 Jacinta asked a few of her friends to help to organise the Girls’ Night In as she realised this event was getting far too big to run on her own. From there a committee was formed in 2017, with the popular local event going from strength-to-strength.

The 2018 Girls’ Night In was a sell-out success, raising more than $6000. The theme of this event was Country Glamour and was attended by Tamworth Golden Guitar winner Lyn Bowtell, who talked about the importance of getting treatment for cervical disease.

The popular event draws local people together to have fun and fosters friendship and community spirit.

Highfields Citizen of the Year

Gordon Alden

Highfields’ Citizen of the Year Gordon Alden is a committed volunteer who has made a significant contribution to the Highfields Community for more than 30 years.

Described as an extraordinary pillar of the Highfields community, Gordon is recognised for his substantial voluntary work in sports administration, giving freely of his time and knowledge to help others succeed.

Soon after arriving in Highfields in 1988, Gordon was involved in Under 7s rugby coaching for the Highfields State School and for teams entering the Toowoomba competition. He continued this involvement until 1992, assisting with coaching, fundraising, chairing organising committees and the promotion of sport generally.

This volunteer work led to an advocacy role, with Ron lobbying the former Crows Nest Council to build the first sporting field in Highfields at Kuhls Road.

In 1993, following discussions with Darling Downs Rugby, Gordon assisted in establishing the Highfields Mini Rugby Club, where he served as inaugural president.

He also served as an inaugural committee member on the Highfields Sport and Recreation Association and later became the association’s president.

As Highfields began to grow, Gordon was involved in the formation of netball and soccer clubs, due to his local knowledge and experience in sporting administration.

Having seen the need for more facilities at Highfields, Gordon was involved in discussions and committees with Crows Nest Shire Council that led to the creation of the Highfields Sports Centre and the Kratzke Road sporting fields.

At the same time, Gordon formed a committee to develop a small, unused park on the New England Highway, now called Plaza Park. This project united the community and created a wonderful community space where people can rest and relax in a safe environment.

Gordon has served as a committee member of the Highfields RSL sub-branch for the past 12 years and is the president of Highfields Better Business.

After many years away from his beloved rugby union, Gordon again stepped back into the inner circle of the rugby club committee to help set up the club’s senior teams. After three seasons of involvement Gordon was awarded the President’s trophy in 2018 for outstanding work in all aspects of the Club.


Highfields Cultural Award

Judith Powell

Talented artist and committed volunteer Judith Powell is a most valued member of the Highfields community through her involvement in various community organisations, including Friends of Peacehaven Park, Highfields Friends of the Library and the Highfields Pioneer Village.

Judith is an active member of the Crows Nest Artists and the Cabarlah Art Group and exhibits annually in the Hampton Food, Art & Wine Festival.

In 2015 Judith received a highly commended in the Somerset Art Awards and won the champion entry in the Goombungee Show in 2015.

She exhibited at the Wandoan Library with a solo exhibition and at Easter in the Country in Roma, where she received a highly commended award for a still life and second for her miniature paintings.

Judith exhibits and volunteers regularly at the Highfields Pioneer Village and Village View Gallery. Her work forms part of many private and public art collections in Australia and overseas, including two public murals in the environmental park at Wandoan.

An active gardener, Judith worked as part of a team of volunteers who entered The Chronicle Carnival of Flowers Garden competition at the Highfields Pioneer Village in 2018. She also volunteers with Friends of Peacehaven Park in the native plant community nursery.

Judith has been the financial officer for the Friends of the Library for the past four years, giving her time generously to the Highfields Library book sale and is a member of the Crows Nest Bush Band that plans to sing at many local events in the future. 


Highfields Sports Award – Senior

Tania Clark

Hard work and dedication have paid off for Meringandan bodybuilder, Tania Clark, who won several major Women's Natural Bodybuilding titles in 2018. This followed two years of meticulous training and preparation.

Working with experienced coach Joey Cantlin, the 48-year-old trained four days per week to improve her body's symmetry, a vital factor to success in Figure competitions.

Training at Snap Fitness Highfields, Tania’s training sessions consisted of weights, with cardio sessions closer to competition dates.

In October 2018 Tania competed in an ICN (I Compete Natural) competition in the Figure, Sport and Fitness Model sections, where she achieved the following results: two first places, one second place, two third placings, three fourth places, three fifth places and an equal sixth finish.

Tania stepped up to Figure division with more muscle and better overall shape than her previous season of competing.


Highfields Sports Award – Junior

Thalliss Halliday

Thalliss Halliday is a talented and committed Indigenous rugby league player, who is a role model to young sportsmen in the region.

A member of the Highfields and District Junior Rugby League Club, Thalliss enjoyed a phenomenal year in 2018.

He toured Papua New Guinea in December 2017 as a member of the Under 16 Queensland Murri side.

Thalliss also competed in the Toowoomba Junior Rugby League competition for Highfields in 2018, scoring six tries, one field goal and three goals for a total of 31 points.

A student at St Mary’s College in Toowoomba, Thalliss represented his school in rugby league at the Darling Downs Schools’ competition in 2013 and was voted player of the match, when St Mary’s defeated Easts 26-8 in the 2012 interschool final. 


Highfields Community Event

Highfields Pioneer Village for the Miniature Steam Train Running Days

Highfields Pioneer Village is a non-profit community group, dedicated to preserving the history of the Darling Downs. Each year the village is visited by an estimated 30,000 tourists, with the Miniature Steam Train Running Days a major drawcard for the Village.

Built on the commitment, dedication, and the hard work of volunteers, the rides attract 2,600 visitors annually, with profits re-invested in the venue to ensure long-term sustainability and growth.

The Miniature Steam Train, Known as Myrtle May, is a 10 1/4 inch gauge, scale copy of a C16 Locomotive. Myrtle May has three carriages and can carry up to 20 people.

Henry the Model T Bus, built in 1924, is the original Kilcoy school bus which ran from 1924 to 1940. Faithfully restored by Highfields Pioneer Village volunteers, Henry can carry up to 12 visitors for an informative and comfortable tour through the museum.

The Highfields Pioneer Village rides are regularly advertised as a leading attraction at the centre.

The popular rides also have a positive flow-on effect in the community, with cafes, coffee shops and gifts shops in Highfields benefiting from increased visitor numbers.

Millmerran / Cecil Plains Citizen of the Year

Shirley Ladner

Shirley Ladner is recognised as a pillar of the Cecil Plains community through her involvement with the Anglican Church, Bush Nurses, locals schools and the QCWA.

Shirley joined the QCWA Norwin Branch in 1953 and has been a stalwart member of the branch since, serving a term in each office for many years.

Described as the epitome of the QCWA motto and creed, Shirley was involved in building two halls for the branch with her husband Keith, raising money via street stalls, tennis days and fetes.

Branch members fondly recall Shirley greeting everyone with a smile, a hug and a kiss on meeting days and reading a joke at the end of each meeting, ensuring everyone left with a good laugh.

Shirley also volunteered her time to other organisations in the district including the Church of England and the Cecil Plains and Blanchview tuckshops and Parents and Friends’ Associations.

Hardworking and resourceful, Shirley was happy to start the tractor and finish a paddock when Keith was away.

She is a community-spirited lady who has made a significant contribution to the Cecil Plains community. 


Millmerran / Cecil Plains Young Citizen of the Year

Maria Alyanna Borres (joint winner)

Alyanna Borres is an exceptional young role model in our community who has seized every opportunity offered to her since migrating to Australia with her family in 2009.

The eldest of three children, Alyanna attended Millmerran State School where she was Primary School captain in 2013 and senior vice-captain in 2016.

Alyanna was the recipient of the Frank J McCalman Memorial Award for Dux in Year 10 and the Vicki Scott Memorial Award for class valedictorian.

A committed and diligent student, Alyanna achieved academic excellence awards in English, Mathematics, Science, Geography, Home Economics, ICT, History and Visual Arts in Year 10 and was the recipient of the Wilson Spatial Science Award for Work Ethics 2017.

Alyanna was a member of the school band from Year 5 until her senior years, playing clarinet and saxophone. She also contributed to the cultural fabric of the community through her membership of community band, Black Inc.

A talented artist, Alyanna won first prize for paintings at the Millmerran Show in 2017 and 2018 and was judged arts age champion for painting at the Pittsworth Show in 2018.

Alyanna received a University of Queensland scholarship through the UQ Young Achievers’ Program, which recognises high achieving and talented Darling Downs students. 


Millmerran / Cecil Plains Young Citizen of the Year

Alissa Cann (joint winner)

Alissa has shown commendable leadership, exemplary behaviour and a keen involvement in scouts, school and community activities.

A member of the Millmerran Scout Troop since 2010, Alissa has received many badges and awards. Her Scouting highlight was achieving the Australian Scout Medallion in 2018. This is the highest Scout award.

Alissa has shown considerable leadership and teaching skills in her Scouting activities by leading Patrols to above average results at Darling Downs Area Standards and Operation Nighthawk.

Alissa has accepted the role of Cub Scout youth helper.

Her abilities have been recognised at school with the presentation of the Pittsworth Silver Award for exemplary behaviour and positive contributions and two Millmerran State School Blue awards for upholding school values and being a role model.

In addition, Alissa won a 2017 award for academic merit.

She is a member of the school band, the maths team and was a Primary Gore House captain.

Alissa has won all age champion swimming awards in 2016 and 2017 and also been awarded the Royal Life Saving Bronze medallion.

Away from school and the pool, Alissa is a member of the Australian Limousin Society and has been involved in leading and showing cattle at the Millmerran and Pittsworth Shows.

She also was a Millmerran Show Girl entrant in 2015.

Alissa also helps with Landcare at Clean Up Australia Days and on tree planting days.


Millmerran / Cecil Plains Community Group

Anglicare Southern Queensland Bush Nursing Fundraising Committee

The Anglicare Southern Queensland Bush Nursing Fundraising Committee has a long and proud history of supporting the health and wellbeing of the Cecil Plains community through their support of the Bush Nurse program.

The hard-working committee has raised significant funds over the years to purchase essential equipment for the Anglicare (Bush Nurse) Centre, for the benefit of the entire community.

The committee recently raised funds to paint the outside of the Centre and purchased new chairs for the waiting room.

Funds raised via catering at clearing sales and meat raffles have also enabled the committee to lease a car for staff for three years. This significant investment will also benefit members outside this community.

Health services are critical in bush communities and the Anglicare Southern Queensland Bush Nursing Fundraising Committee works tirelessly to keep this vital service for the district. 


Millmerran / Cecil Plains Community Event

Millmerran Pony Club and St Joseph’s School for the Millmerran Horse Sports

The Millmerran Pony Club hosted a school horse event at St Joseph’s Primary School in Millmerran in 2016, 2017 and 2018. This event is designed for Pony Club children to represent their school in their chosen sport with their equine mates.

The event is held on the last day of Term Two, with children competing in all pony club events. The day has been a great fundraiser for the school with more than 100 students attending each year.

Students travel from the north and south coasts, Brisbane, the Lockyer Valley, Goondiwindi, northern NSW and across the Darling Downs to compete.

The activity marks the start of three big days of competition at the Millmerran Showgrounds as the club continues with a campdraft with up to 120 riders on the Saturday and a Gymkhana on the Sunday with 140 riders.

These two events run in conjunction and see many people stay and compete.

This interaction brings lots of business to the town and also creates other fundraising opportunities with St Joseph’s P&C running the canteen for all three days and other local business having stalls at the weekend.


Millmerran / Cecil Plains Sports Award

Jack Smith

Jack Smith is a dedicated and talented athlete who has achieved outstanding success in his chosen sport.

Jack represented Queensland at the 2017 Australian Pan Pacific titles winning a gold medal in shot put as a 10-year-old. His winning throw was 12.95m.

At the Darling Downs carnival in 2018 Jack was first in the 11 years’ shot put with a throw of 14.84m, beating the previous record of 13.47m. Jack also placed first in the discus event.

Jack again attended the Queensland championships in Cairns in 2018 where he placed first in the shot-put, with a throw of 15.37m. He placed second in discus.

Jack represented Queensland at the 2018 Australian championships in November and also served as Millmerran State School Primary School captain for 2018. 

Oakey Citizen of the Year

Betty Richter

Betty Richter is a well-respected and active member of the Oakey community, who has made a significant contribution to various groups over a long period.

A mother of three and a grandmother of three, Betty enjoyed a successful 30-year career with the ANZ Bank, working her way up the ranks to a very senior position at the Oakey Branch.

Betty is a hard-working member of the community, who exercises common sense and compassion.

She is a Life Member of the Oakey Swimming Club and an active member of the Oakey Show Society, Oakey Ladies’ Bowls Club, Landcare and the Oakey Tennis Club. She is involved with the local Chamber of Commerce, the Girl Guides, Uniting Church and Friends of McDonald Home.

Betty always helps with numerous local events including the Oakey Show and Rodeo, Santa Fair, McDonald Nursing Home, church fetes and tree planting for Landcare.

Betty is a Commissioner for Declarations and completes audits and ministerial functions for various not-for-profit groups in a voluntary capacity.

Among other attributes, Betty has a current First Aid certificate and has been called on to administer first aid pending the arrival of the ambulance on at least five occasions.


Oakey Young Citizen of the Year

Jolie Williamson

Jolie Williamson, the eldest of six children, possesses a maturity beyond her years and an inherent sense of responsibility. During 2018 Jolie was an exceptional vice-captain at Oakey State High and enjoyed her role as a T.I.P. leader, helping Year 7 students adjust to secondary school.

Jolie is a conscientious, self-motivated student who juggles family life and responsibilities, part-time work and education and still finds time to ‘go the extra mile’. Time management is one of her strengths.

When Jolie isn’t studying she works evenings at Pizza Hut Oakey and in the office of a local earthmoving contractor during school holidays. Her ability to get the best out of other staff members and remain calm under pressure makes her an excellent shift manager.

Education is very important to Jolie, who seeks opportunities to extend her knowledge and experience base whenever she can. In 2016 she undertook a school-based traineeship and gained a Certificate III in Business. Through her traineeship at Pizza Hut Oakey, Jolie developed knowledge in retail and hospitality, and demonstrated her aptitude in staff supervision and management, and her skills in customer relations.

Jolie is a wonderful ambassador for her school, an excellent role model and is supportive of her peers in their various roles.

Her service at school has been commendable and unique. She has held two Student Council portfolios in two years and was responsible for the conduct of school socials in 2017.

In 2018 Jolie became cultural chairperson and orchestrated several lunchtime concerts for the enjoyment of students and staff. She received the school's 2018 Cultural Excellence Award for her contribution to the arts at Oakey High, and her study in Drama and Music.

Jolie's community service has included volunteering as part of an Oakey SHS Work Party to ‘tidy up’ Oakey’s main street. Jolie also helped with preparations for the annual Oakey Show.

With her trusty guitar, Jolie has supported various district events including the Oakey Music Festival, the Firefighters’ Christmas Party and the Oakey Legends of League football carnival.

In 2017 Jolie performed at Cully Fest in Toowoomba and has competed in eisteddfods in Toowoomba and music festivals across the Darling Downs.


Oakey Cultural Award

SK Studios

In 2009 a small group of young people from Oakey and some youth workers from Toowoomba Regional Council attended a South West Youth Forum in Warwick convened by Department of Communities. During discussions it became apparent that some regional families struggled to find affordable and active programs with positive mentoring for their children.

Sarah Kay-Huybregts was one of the youth representatives and she came up with a dance program concept to address some of those needs in her hometown of Oakey. A grant was sourced from the Department of Communities to cover set up costs and SK Studios started operations in 2010.

Since then SK Studios has been providing an outlet for Oakey youth to discover and enjoy the freedom and discipline of dance, with Sarah and her sister Katie now co-ordinating the program.

SK Studios is a dance ‘family’ first, and a community dance program secondly. It is a not-for-profit program run by volunteers. This unique concept has resonated with a number of Oakey families and has 38 students who regularly attend classes.

More than 200 students have passed through the studio since its inception, with classes available for boys and girls from five years of age, three evenings a week at the Oakey High School hall. The dance program is staffed by three lead choreographers and two student teacher assistants, but all students are encouraged to be part of the creative process.

Each year SK Studios stages concerts to aid various charities and since 2010 their efforts have raised $5,250 for a number of charities, as well as assisting a local family with medical expenses for a child battling cancer.

Last year was a particularly exciting year for dancers from SK Studios. They performed a segment in the Oakey & District Arts Council’s Lest We Forget production. A team of dancers from the studio also travelled to Sydney for the Australian Dance Festival.


Oakey Sports Award – Senior

Don Brown

Don Brown has been an integral part of The Oakey and District Tennis Association Inc. for 37 years.

Don joined the club in 1981 and became president for the first time in 1981, remaining in the position until 1984. In 1989 Don was again elected president, along with stints from 1997 to 2001 and again from 2013 to 2018. He still holds the position of president.

Don was made a Life Member of the Club in 2003.

Don started Saturday morning junior fixtures in the early 1980’s, with many local children benefiting from his knowledge of the game. Quite a few of those juniors are playing today as adults.

The tennis club held a June tournament every Queen’s Birthday weekend, attracting a lot of local players. Don was instrumental in making these events successful, coordinating players, food, drinks, trophies and the draw for each day.

Don also invested a lot of time watering, sweeping and marking the ant bed courts in preparation for the carnivals.

A major achievement of the club under Don's guidance was the construction of four new synthetic courts in 1999 to replace the two ant bed courts. Thanks to Don's continuous maintenance of these courts they have lasted a lot longer than the original recommendation.

Don excels in keeping the grounds and club house in immaculate condition. Thanks to his enthusiasm, fixtures are still played Tuesday and Thursday nights as well as social tennis on Tuesday morning and Saturday afternoon. The courts are regularly hired out by the local community. Don has never asked for recognition in return for all the work, time and effort he has put into the club.

He plays tennis three days a week and is well loved and respected by all tennis players as President and Life Member of the Oakey and District Tennis Assn. Inc.


Oakey Sports Award – Junior

Kaleb Stanton

Kaleb is a multi-talented Oakey sportsmen who has represented his school, the Darling Downs and Queensland in rugby league, touch football and athletics.

Kaleb plays football for the Oakey Bears and made the West Zone rugby league teams in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to play in the Shane Webcke Cup.

Kaleb also played in the Clydesdales team in 2016 and 2017 and was selected to play in the Queensland Under 14 Indigenous side in 2018. He also played in the Indigenous touch squad in the same year.

Kaleb made the Darling Downs Schoolboys’ rugby league squad in 2016 and was named player of the game several times during the state championships at Runaway Bay.

A talented all-round athlete, Kaleb was boys’ age champion at Oakey State High School in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and was Oakey State School’s Indigenous Sportsperson of the Year in 2014.

Kaleb represented the Darling Downs in shotput at the state championships in Townsville in 2015. He also made the Darling Downs team for shotput in 2016 and 2017, competing in the state championships in Brisbane.

In 2018 Kaleb qualified to compete in javelin at the state championships in Brisbane. Despite the heat, Kaleb finished fourth with a throw 7cm short of qualifying for nationals.

He was also a member of the Oakey State High School cricket team in 2018. 


Oakey Community Event

Oakey and District Arts Council Inc. for Lest We Forget

Presented by the Oakey and District Arts Council, Lest We Forget was a community tribute commemorating 100 years since the end of WWI, represented through story, dance and song.

Held at the Oakey Cultural Centre in April 2018, the event presented some of the lesser known local and national stories of WWI to mark the centenary of the end of the conflict.

The concept for the event was conceived in 2017 and made possible through funding sourced from Queensland Anzac Centenary - Spirit of Service Grants Program. This enabled the performances to be open to the community free of admission charges.

The event also showcased Oakey’s amazing community spirit, with individuals, organisations, schools and dance groups working together as part of one cohesive story, including Kingsthorpe and Oakey primary schools, St Monica’s and Oakey State High School.

SK Studios and the Oakey Academy of Dance developed choreography for the production that demonstrated the talents of local dancers and helped to tell the story of WWI without words.

Oakey Voices was formed during preparation to perform more of the story through song.

Local thespians demonstrated the sentiment of the anti-conscription movement formed during WWI and a current serviceman played the Last Post on centre stage.

Members of Oakey Historical Museum Society Inc. set up an Anzac display in the foyer of the cultural centre, provided and served afternoon tea to matinee guests and helped man the door for both performances, assisting ‘Ánnie Cuskelly’ and ‘Brigadier Grant’ on the evening.

Organisers were very grateful to Jim and Anne Austin, whose excellent production service ensured a seamless delivery at both performances. Volunteers also helped with lighting and backdrops for the performances.

Lest We Forget was truly a community event, staged by the community for the community. 

Pittsworth Citizen of the Year

Belinda Saal

Belinda Saal successfully led a dedicated group of local women to secure $219,000 in funding to build three netball courts in Pittsworth over the past two years.

Used by the Pittsworth Wildcats Netball Club and local schools, these courts are an incredible community asset that will benefit the whole community for years.

Belinda has been a member of the Wildcats netball committee for the past seven years, holding positions including vice president, coach coordinator and grants officer.

A talented netballer, Belinda represented the Darling Downs when she was at school and has coached teams at the Pittsworth Club for the past 15 years. She has also coached the representative netball team in Highfields for the past three years.

Belinda served as chair of the St Stephen’s School Board for four years and has been involved in the school P&F for the past 11 years.

As grants officer for the P&F, Belinda secured three grants that enabled the school to upgrade the playground area, change all the light fittings in the school to LED lights and obtained funds to purchase a new shade sail. She also helped with High Teas and many fundraising activities.

A mother of three, Belinda also held committee positions as her children passed through kindergarten and is recognised as someone who is always willing to support the community. 

Belinda strives to make our community a better place by working on projects that will benefit the whole community in the long term.


Pittsworth Young Citizen of the Year

Nathan Pukallus

Nathan is an incredibly inspirational young man who overcame significant adversity to successfully complete Year 12 in 2018.

During 2017, while in Year 11, Nathan was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. He endured multiple operations and subsequently had a leg amputated.

While undergoing treatment, Nathan continued to study several of his Year 11 subjects externally with support from teachers at Pittsworth State High School.

Nathan returned to school to complete Year 12 in 2018.

It was a strong testament to his character and willingness to overcome adversity that despite missing the majority of Year 11, Nathan still attained an Academic Excellence Award at Pittsworth SHS’s awards night.

Nathan won the subject award for English and attained Very High Achievements in both English and Mathematics B.

Nathan was recognised with the Rob Raymond Encouragement Award for his efforts in overcoming significant setbacks. Nathan is a very fitting nominee for Young Citizen of the Year. He has been an inspiration across the entire school for both students and teachers.

Nathan is an incredibly talented young man with significant potential for the future. He leads by example, reminding us all that success is always possible, regardless of what must be overcome.

Nathan epitomises the values of persistence and integrity and is a fine example to us all.


Pittsworth Cultural Award

Alexavier McEwan

Alexavier McEwan has been involved in various cultural pursuits for many years.

In 2018 Alexavier represented Pittsworth State High School in the Year 9 Queensland Debating Union semi-finals. He was runner-up in the house speaking competition and also a vocalist at Creative Generations.

Alexavier is an enthusiastic member of the school concert band and choir. He also engages in various cultural activities in the wider community including Black Ink choral performances.

Alexavier is very passionate about his cultural interests and dedicates many hours to the various commitments he has made.


Pittsworth Sports Award – Senior

Morgan Prentice

Morgan Prentice is a talented all-rounder and positive role model who actively and successfully participates in all facets of sport, highlighted by many achievements on and off the basketball court.

A student at Pittsworth State High School, Morgan has assisted in coaching, refereeing and playing basketball at school and further afield.

She has volunteered countless hours to coaching junior teams. Without her assistance the Friday night schools’ competition would not have occurred.

Morgan has played in the Darling Downs squad and for the women’s Toowoomba Mountaineers basketball team. Her selection in the Toowoomba Mountaineers is a great achievement as she competes against older women.

Morgan has received wide praise from her team mates and was voted Most Valuable Player and Player’s Player during her basketball career.

She has been picked in the Toowoomba All Star team from the Toowoomba Friday Night Basketball competition.

Morgan has also excelled off the basketball court, receiving age champion for athletics and cross country in 2019. She has also participated in athletics at an Inner Downs, Darling Downs and Queensland level.


Pittsworth Sports Award – Junior

Charlotte Ostwald

Charlotte has shown great fortitude to achieve her equestrian goals.

She received multiple fractures following a fall from her horse in 2016.

Soon after returning to horse competition from injury, Charlotte had another fall and sustained concussion, resulting in another trip to hospital.

She is the epitome of resilience. Her passion for horse riding has enabled her to rise above the setbacks and overcome fear and flashbacks.

Charlotte has represented her school, St Stephen’s Catholic Primary School Pittsworth, at interschool equestrian competition for the past two years. She has competed at local, regional, state and national levels. Her love of combined training (dressage and show jumping) is inspirational.

While Charlotte has won lots of ribbons, sashes, trophies, rugs and saddlecloths, it’s the manner in which she conducts herself that is truly unique.

She never misses wishing every other competitor good luck, always thanks judges and volunteers her spare time to all with a smile.

She is a credit to herself, her horse, equestrian competition and her school. 


Pittsworth Community Event

Club Pittsworth – Arthur Postle Gift

The staging of the inaugural Arthur Postle Gift by Club Pittsworth was an outstanding success.

The Club Pittsworth committee assembled the Postle family, the Queensland Athletic League, Toowoomba Regional Council, local sponsors, competitors and the local community to provide a day of exciting competition and entertainment.

The concept of honouring Arthur Postle, a brilliant athlete, with an event which featured his best distance of 75 yards in his home town will provide a lasting legacy of his extraordinary achievements. It will also ensure his running feats are passed to successive generations.

The committee quickly drew in other organisations to assist with the event as well as sponsors to provide prize money for the athletes.

The event was most successful in terms of support from competing athletes and community backing. The day saw close competition.

The day drew athletes and their support teams from outside the region.

Every town is trying to attract more visitors and Club Pittsworth showed how a unique events could achieve this goal.

Club Pittsworth worked to encourage local athletes to compete in the various events to keep a local flavour throughout the day.

Rosalie Citizen of the Year

Donna Menkins

Donna Menkins hasn't just served her community - she's kept it alive. While other villages disappear, Haden remains a vibrant and inclusive community due to her sustained efforts.

Donna was born in 1963 to Phyllis and Henry Schick of Haden and spent her childhood in the town on the family farm, where she still lives today.

To say that Donna was shaped by her childhood, and especially her mother's spirit of charity, is an understatement. As a farmer’s wife, Phyllis not only helped in that capacity and in the raising of eight children, she also found time to help on many committees. While not seeking accolades, she was honoured with many awards.

During her life, she was a founding member of the Haden Community Club, a member of the Haden CWA, Leukaemia Foundation branch, Bowls Club, Tennis Club, Hall Committee, Haden State School P&C and many more organisations.

Donna recounts how her mother cooked and baked for coming events and fruitlessly tried to hide exactly how much she had cooked from her husband (even though he loaded goods in the car). Phyllis cleaned and decorated her local church with fresh flowers her whole life.

Donna has strived to continue her mother's charitable work. In the same vein, Donna has spent her entire life on committees, such as the Haden School P&C, Haden School Anniversary committee, Community Club, Haden Hall Committee, Tennis Club, and many more.

Like her mother, she is never the centre of attention and does not seek top leadership roles. Instead, she devotes her time and talents to other roles on the committee. Like her mother, she too hides her baking bounty from her husband.

Donna’s work has helped secure grants to paint the Haden Hall interior. She has helped her colleagues to keep the Haden community alive by initiating or continuing successful events, such as the annual dinner dance, market day, Debutante Ball, fete, trivia night, anniversary celebrations and more.

She has helped cater for weddings, funerals and parties; taught religious education as a volunteer; raised funds after tragedies in her community and even donated land to the Haden Park for the creation of the Scrub Turkey Monument Park in memory of her father. Her mother’s charitable spirit survives in her today.


Rosalie Young Citizen of the Year

Grace Fill

Grace possesses a strong sense of community spirit and loves living in Goombungee.

She values the sense of belonging, knowing locals by name and volunteering when time permits.

Grace has been involved in a local youth group, volunteered at the Rosalie Gallery and other organisations and is a regular at Anzac Day services.

During her time at Oakey State High School, Grace assumed various responsibilities and has been an excellent role model. In 2018 she was a school vice-captain and a TIP leader which gave her the chance to help Year 7 students as they adjusted to high school.

Grace was a sports house captain in 2017 and also one of two science ambassadors for her school. As an ambassador, Grace assisted with coordination and presentation of a range of science-based activities for students, Year 6 pupils from local primary schools and the wider community on family night during Science Week.

In 2015 Grace was a junior leader at Oakey High and during her leadership roles at school she has been committed to fulfilling her responsibilities with excellence.

In 2017 Grace was named Year 11 all-rounder for her achievements across academic study, school sport and visual arts. She is passionate about art and has demonstrated her artistic talent through participation in art exhibitions and competitions.

In 2018 Grace was named the Caltex all-rounder of her cohort due to her continued performance across all areas of her education.

An honest, down-to-earth young adult, Grace is reliable, dependable and loves to contribute to her community.


Rosalie Community Group

Kingsthorpe State School P&C

The Kingsthorpe State School P&C Mega Auction and Art Exhibition is a successful and inclusive community event that has raised more than $42,000 to improve school facilities.

Held for the past two years, the Exhibition is credited for bringing the community closer together, with more than 100 local businesses supporting the event through sponsorship and donations.

The 2018 event in particular reflected a strong community spirit, with locals supplying lights and generators following a power failure hours before the Exhibition.

Funds raised in 2018 will support the community, with money earmarked to install audio visual equipment (projector, screen, sound system and digital scoreboard) in the Hall.

It is hoped these upgrades will enhance the delivery of educational programs at the school and create a space where the community can gather for social and recreational events.

Funds raised at the 2017 event were used to air-condition all 10 classrooms at the school, which was a great achievement for a small school. 


Rosalie Community Event

Goombungee State School P&C for the Goombungee Trail Bike Ride

The Goombungee State School P&C organised a successful trail bike ride in July 2017, raising more than $55,000 and attracting more than 1100 riders and their family and friends to the region.

The event was run over three days and took more than 12 months to plan. Event volunteers came from the P&C as well as the local community.

Many volunteers with no previous interaction with the P&C gave up their time to assist.

The P&C partnered with many organisations such as Crows Nest SES and local firefighters.

The event would not have been possible without the local landholders who provided access to their land months in advance for more than 80 km of track to be identified and marked.

The essence of the Australian community was highlighted by the show of mateship between the team of track markers, helping hands from strangers and the generosity of landholders who banded together to aid the community.

Toowoomba Citizens of the Year

Rhonda and David Weston (also won Regional Citizens of the Year)

Rhonda and David Weston are credited for improving the knowledge, welfare and activity of Toowoomba retirees and for enhancing social cohesion in the city through their involvement in the University of Third Age (U3A).

U3A is an international movement that stimulates, educates and socialises retirees by sharing expertise, experience and enthusiasm. Started in France in 1973, it rapidly spread across the world, arriving in Australia in 1984.

U3A in Toowoomba (U3AT) blossomed when Rhonda and David joined the committee in 2010. David then became the tutor coordinator and Rhonda became president in 2011.

Since then, U3A has grown continuously in size and scope and now has a membership of more than 2100.

The organisation offers 180 courses in academic, art, computer, craft, dance, finance, games, history, language, health, music, philosophy, sport and writing in Toowoomba, Pittsworth and Crows Nest. This success has been largely due to the dynamism and hard work of Rhonda and David, who have been supported by an active committee.

Rhonda has set the direction and tone of the organisation and driven its vigorous development, while David has found and managed courses, tutors, rooms and time slots, written the tutors' handbook and kept computers running.

With the committee, they produce five newsletters each year, annual tutors' appreciation lunches, weekly dynamic life lectures and, with the support of Toowoomba Regional Council, the annual Toowoomba Seniors' Information Expo.

Rhonda was state president of the U3A Network Queensland from 2012-2015, the national chair of U3A Australia Alliance from 2014-2015, and chair of U3A Asia-Pacific 2013-2014. She chaired the 2014-2017 committee of the hugely successful U3A International Conference in Brisbane in 2015 and was invited to speak at the World Seniors' Tourism Congress in China in 2018.

Rhonda and David have presented numerous talks on U3A across Australia and overseas in Japan, France, Singapore and China.

All members of U3A are inspired by their drive and enthusiasm and doing whatever it takes to improve the lives of seniors in Toowoomba. They are constantly at U3A throughout the term, planning, supporting, organising and encouraging the committee, office staff and members.

Both Rhonda and David have given the greater part of their lives and energy over the past eight years to stimulate and encourage the intellectual and social lives of the seniors of our city, with resounding success.


Toowoomba Young Citizen of the Year

Jessamyn Douglas

Jessamyn (Jess) Douglas is an enthusiastic and service-minded young woman who has taken on various leadership and mentoring roles through her long involvement with the Girl Guides.

Jess joined the Girl Guides in Toowoomba in her youth and became a qualified leader in October 2014. Since then she has dedicated her time to delivering the Australian Guide Program to girls in the Harlaxton area, providing them with a chance to grow into responsible community members.

In this role Jess has gone above and beyond, gaining qualifications in canoeing, archery and abseiling to provide regular opportunities to the Darling Downs Border Region Girl Guides.

Last year she took on the role of co-ordinating the region camp, which attracted more than 100 girls and 40 leaders. Although an algal bloom had closed the dam, Jess was able to adjust the program to include activities other than the original boating activities.

Jess participates in a number of community activities and came back to Toowoomba on weekends to be part of the sessions in the area when she temporarily moved away for her work.

Jess is a true ambassador for Girl Guides and the Toowoomba area.


Toowoomba Cultural Award

Glen Englart

Retired firefighter and passionate historian Glen Englart is the recipient of 2018 Toowoomba Cultural Award for his role in preserving the rich history of our local firefighters, who have protected the community since 1877.

Glen joined the Toowoomba Fire Brigade Auxiliaries in 1983, where he served six years, before becoming a permanent firefighter for 26 years.

In 1994 Glen started restoring old Toowoomba fire engines with fellow firefighters and assumed the role of secretary of the Fire Brigade Historical Society in 1996, a position he still holds today. In this role Glen has helped restore engines and preserve archives and historical artefacts.

Glen was instrumental in helping the Toowoomba Fire Brigade Historical Society find a permanent home at the Highfields Pioneer Village four and half years ago. This move was made possible through a payroll deduction of $2 per fortnight, contributed by firefighters and Gaming Fund and emergency services support.

Glen mans the museum and volunteers with other retired firefighters, providing safety fire talks to more than 4000 school children who visit the museum annually. 

The Society also collects donations for the Firefighters' Discretionary Fund, which gives emergency cash to victims of fires and disasters in the Toowoomba region.

Established through a generous donation by the Englart family, the fund provides payments to fire victims to use on emergency accommodation, food and groceries, medical prescriptions or animal care.


Toowoomba Community Group

Klub VW Darling Downs

Dubs on the Hill is described as the highest VW car show of its kind in Australia.

Held at Picnic Point in Toowoomba, the free family fun day celebrates all things VW, while supporting disadvantaged groups in our community.

Held annually for 20 years, Dubs on the Hill has become an iconic event that brings people together who own or have an interest in VW cars.

Attendees also share knowledge and technical advice and increase public awareness of the Klub.

Described as a celebration of a bygone era, Dubs on the Hill is an inter-generational event that attracts local and interstate visitors.

The car show has expanded in recent years to include music, children’s activities, markets, raffles, food stalls, trade stalls and media.

The popular event also attracts tourists to the region, with organisers expecting record car numbers in 2019. 


Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2019 12:17
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