Individuals, schools and community groups have answered Council’s call to nominate the region’s quiet achievers and unsung heroes for the 2024 Scenic Rim Australia Day Awards.
Some 26 nominations have been received, recognising the contribution of individuals and community events that are vital threads in the fabric of the Scenic Rim community, and judging is underway for the awards to be presented in conjunction with a citizenship ceremony on Friday 26 January.
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen congratulated all the nominees whose contribution to the community makes a difference in the lives of many.
“Council is grateful to everyone who has taken the time to nominate the individuals and community groups whose members give so much of their time in the service of others,” he said.
“Many of the nominees have worked year-round over many decades, often in challenging circumstances, to make a positive contribution to our Scenic Rim way of life.”
The awards will be presented in the categories of Citizen of the Year (16 to 30 years), Citizen of the Year (31 to 65 years), Citizen of the Year (65+ years) and Community Event of the Year.
“Everyone who has been nominated should be proud of the part they play in our community,” Mayor Christensen said.
“Their example of service to others should inspire us all to give back, whether through local service organisations or sporting groups, or simply by being ready to lend a helping hand to others in need.
“I am very much looking forward to the awards presentation and to once again presenting the Mayor’s Award to the most outstanding nominee from among the Citizen of the Year categories.”
The 2024 Scenic Rim Australia Day Awards nominees are as follows:
Citizen of the Year (16-30 Years)
Boonah State High School’s Community School Captain of 2024, Matilda has helped build connections between the school and wider community. She has volunteered for local organisations including the Boonah Show Society and the Junior Show Society of which she is Secretary. Matilda has also been involved with the local Pony Club, as a coach of Fassifern Gymnastics, and has been involved with the Winter Harvest Festival as well as Queensland-based organisations such as Queensland Barrel Racing, Dogs Queensland, and the Quarter Horse Association.
Ruben Cadena is regarded as an inspirational role model for Boonah State High School students and is the school’s Academic Captain for 2024. A STEM ambassador, Ruben is also a drummer with the school’s rock band and has contributed to local church and youth groups. Ruben was given the opportunity to study at Griffith University as a primary school student and is regarded by his school community as a young man who displays motivation and insight beyond his years.
A competitive horse rider, Maddison is an eight-times Junior Barrel Racing Champion and has represented Australia internationally. In 2022 she was crowned Warwick Rodeo Princess Congeniality. She also shows Australian Terriers and Irish Glen of Imaal Terriers and has achieved Best of Breed awards for both, most recently at the 2023 Ekka. Maddison is a sports prefect at Boonah State High School where she is regarded as someone who is always graceful in the face of a challenge.
Kokoda competed in the Boonah Lions Youth of the Year competition, winning the Public Speaking and Overall Winner awards, and received a Finalist Award in the Kalbar competition. Boonah State High School’s Captain of Culture, she is a keen public speaker who inspires other students. She is member of the school’s rock band, playing a key role in recent musicals and, as a member of the local community, has volunteered at the Sunflower Festival.
A Boonah State High School prefect, Lillee is aiming towards a career in nursing and is a qualified Personal Care Worker who regularly assists at the Taroom Aged Care home. In addition to her work with the elderly, she is heavily involved in her school’s extra-curricular activities including the Junior Show Society and Cattle Club. Lillee also plays touch football, for which she received three consecutive Most Valuable Player awards, and has participated in all school swimming and sports carnivals since Year 7.
Charlotte was nominated as a quiet achiever who works tirelessly for the community and those around her. Tamborine Mountain College’s School Captain in 2016, Charlotte won the Lions Youth of the Year Award and represented Australia in the United Kingdom at the 2017 Lions International Youth Camp. While studying law at Griffith University, Charlotte was a representative of the Law Students’ Association and began volunteering at the My Community Legal free legal service where she continues to volunteer. Charlotte regularly assists at St George’s Anglican Church’s Sunday School and with church fundraisers.
Citizen of the Year (31-65 Years)
Justin has dedicated six years of voluntary service to the Beaudesert Kingfishers, actively participating in committee roles and maintaining the grounds year-round. His leadership, vision, and commitment are evident through active participation in organisational aspects, league meetings, and securing community funding through grant applications, demonstrating a genuine dedication to the club as his second family. Despite juggling a full-time job as a school principal and family responsibilities, Justin’s caring and proactive attitude has a lasting impact, fostering a sense of community and learning among the club’s members.
Peter, a 30-year Australian Army veteran, has dedicated the last 23 years to the Scenic Rim. Peter has been involved with projects like the Big Battery Rescue and Lids for Kids, fostering a social network of environmentally conscious individuals in and around Beaudesert. His commitment to community extends to his role as an auxiliary firefighter and his establishment of the Scenic Rim Veterans Group, showcasing his consistent leadership, resilience, and positive impact.
Amy transformed a local traveling coffee stop into a community hub, fostering a family-like atmosphere where people can gather and socialise. Despite personal challenges, she consistently delivers exceptional customer service with a smile at events, demonstrating resilience and dedication. Amy’s unwavering commitment to maintaining high standards, her ability to overcome personal struggles, and her active support for community events make her deserving of recognition.
Daniel, a dedicated teacher in the Scenic Rim, has positively influenced countless students and is an integral member of the Beaudesert Theatre Group (BAMS), participating in numerous musical performances. His unwavering integrity and genuine passion for teaching make him a respected figure in the community, where he serves as a mentor and role model for both the youth and seasoned members of BAMS. Daniel possesses an exceptional commitment to education and the arts and consistently goes above and beyond to inspire and enrich the local cultural scene.
Elizabeth is a dedicated wildlife rescuer, environmental leader, and advocate for suicide prevention, having walked 6,000km across Australia to promote mental health. Her deep commitment to community is evident in her involvement with the Wild Mountains Trust, Boonah Landcare, Kooralbyn Community Garden, and her volunteer work for the Lifeline suicide prevention hotline. Despite being originally from New Zealand, Elizabeth has made the Scenic Rim her home and over the past decade, has actively engaged with the community, inspiring students through the ‘Kids of the Earth’ program, and demonstrating a profound care for both nature and people.
A former student of Boonah State High School, Elliott has made a significant contribution to the school since graduating through his dedicated volunteer work. This includes mentoring senior hospitality students, organising a gala dinner – including securing donations from local suppliers – and fostering positive connections between the school and the community. Elliot’s patient and calm demeanour, along with his ability to empower students and build community support, has left a lasting and positive impact on the school.
Ian has been an integral part of the Canungra community for over 25 years, serving 15 years as a Canungra auxiliary firefighter, holding the position of treasurer at Canungra RSL, and actively participating in ANZAC Day parades as an ex-serviceman and Navy veteran. Recently, he has dedicated significant time and effort to establish the Canungra Menshed where he serves as president, helping community members in need and organising first aid workshops. Despite facing health challenges including heart failure diagnosed at age 20, Ian remains an inspiration, embodying hard work, honesty, and generosity.
Shane, a 25-year Australian Army veteran, played a key role in establishing the Scenic Rim Regional Cadets Inc., which aims to build character and community spirit in local youths. As a dedicated leader, Shane instils pride, honour, and a passion for community service among the cadets, serving as a role model and offering guidance. His commitment to inclusivity has contributed to the unit’s significant growth and through his vision and strength of character, he has created a thriving not-for-profit youth organisation, impacting the lives of many.
Lisa demonstrates an unwavering commitment to the safety and rehoming of vulnerable dogs and animals, investing personal resources, time, and effort to prevent abandonment and homelessness. Her altruistic passion and selfless sacrifices showcase a true sense of compassion, making her a community superhero who prioritises the well-being of animals and people. Despite facing challenges and negativity in the animal rescue charity community, Lisa’s bravery and resilience shine through, reflecting her motivation to provide a safe and happy life for even the most vulnerable animals.
Citizen of the Year (65+ Years)
Effie grew up on Tamborine Mountain and has contributed to her community over many decades through organisations including the Lions Club, Community Care, Show Society, Zamia Theatre and the Historical Society. In 1948, after winning 10 shillings in a competition to name what is now the Zamia Theatre, Effie gave her prizemoney to her mother and has continued to give to others ever since. Having been teased as a child for being ‘coloured’, Effie became a teacher, inspiring students in schools in Queensland with high Indigenous populations to see education as a way to overcome poverty, and was in Darwin when Cyclone Tracey ravaged the city in 1974.
A pioneer of the Scenic Rim’s tourism industry, Pam has spent much of her life working tirelessly to promote the region and was appointed to the Tourism Queensland board by Premier Anna Bligh. She is also actively involved with local community groups such as the Barney View Church and Rathdowney Memorial Ground. Her hands-on community commitment is shown in her willingness to serve in the canteen on local market days and her project management of the recent significant upgrades to the memorial grounds.
While not a Scenic Rim resident, Paul’s focus during the past 12 years has been Tamborine Village and surrounding areas. At 87 years of age he is the most active member of the Tamborine Village Lions Club. A club member since 2011, he has served as Vice President once and President seven times, a position he currently occupies. Paul continues to contribute to projects, for example attending at 4.30am to set up for the Lions monthly markets and towing barbecue trailers to various fund-raising events.
As a volunteer, Tom Moore has entertained audiences around Beaudesert for many years and has often stepped in to assist when other performers have been unavailable. His singing and guitar playing has been enjoyed by audiences at the Wongaburra Home for the Aged, Beaucare, Centre Care, Blue Care, Senior Citizens and Whiddon Star. He has also entertained the Nashos and Legacy Ladies and has brought joy to many through his music and willingness to share his talents, receiving nothing in return except perhaps morning tea or lunch.
For the past 35 years, Wayne has volunteered his time to the Canungra Sports and Recreational Reserve Grounds, overseeing many projects and works that have benefited the Canungra Show and Rodeo. He was also at the forefront of establishing the popular camping site at the grounds which generates tourism and revenue for the township. Wayne has been an advocate for grants applications that have funded defibrillators for the local ambulance station and sports grounds, a new fire truck for the Rural Fire Brigade and computers for Canungra State School.
Since Charmaine started a ‘Women’s Shed’ in Harrisville more than 10 years ago as a place for women to meet and socialise, the group has grown to more than 30 members and is still going strong. With new housing developments in town, the Women’s Shed is a place for newcomers to make new friends and learn about the local area. Charmaine sources guest speakers for the group, organises excursions and projects such as knitting beanies for premature babies or for seafarers seeking support from the Mission to Seafarers organisation. She is known as someone always ready to lend a listening ear or helping hand.
Community Event of the Year
2023 Gold Coast Junior Rugby League Grand Final – Beaudesert and District Junior Rugby League
The grand final event, which saw Gold Coast rugby clubs hosted within the region for the first time in several years, attracted over 2,000 people. The event organisers received many compliments about the town’s community spirit and local rugby talent, which left a lasting impression on Gold Coast Rugby League. Many local businesses decorated their buildings in club colours, which demonstrates how this event brought Beaudesert together to support its local talent.
Christmas in the Village – Tamborine Village Lions Club
This annual event has brought the community together since 2010 and serves as a way for the Lions to give back to the community that supports the club throughout the year. The event features Christmas carols, twilight markets, and even a visit from Santa on a fire truck. As a non-profit organization, the Lions engage in various community activities, including monthly markets, fundraising, and support for local and international projects, fostering a strong sense of community spirit in Tamborine Village.
Harrisville Eat Street – Fassifern Bombers (Hayes Oval)
The inaugural Harrisville Eat Street attracted thousands of attendees to the otherwise quiet town, many of whom were first-time visitors from outside of the region. With a positive, family-focused atmosphere, the event not only garnered regional acclaim but also strengthened the bond among Fassifern Bombers’ committee members, fostering a sense of community pride after its remarkable success.
Bushrats Grand Final – Mount Tamborine Bushrats Football Club
This grand final brought together a large crowd who witnessed the sportsmanship of the club and Bushrats’ team on full display. It fostered ongoing community enthusiasm for the Bushrats and contributed to the junior club’s growth in popularity and size. The event’s atmosphere was family-friendly, fun-filled, and reflective of a strong community spirit, promoting a healthy and inclusive outlet for all ages and abilities.
Tamborine Mountain Show 2023 – Tamborine Mountain Show AH & I Society
The show serves as a mutual support system where the community and various groups assist each other through fundraising, activities, and collaborative efforts. Regarded by the local community as the region’s premier show, the event fosters a sense of fun and togetherness, and is particularly enjoyed by children. The show society actively engages with other groups, providing donations for their assistance and offering prizes sourced from local businesses for competitions, creating a positive and supportive environment that brings the community together.