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Australia Day Awards

Mayor Mark Jamieson with 2014 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Award Winners

A special Australia Day Awards ceremony was held at Woombye to celebrate the outstanding achievements of locals who are making a difference to the community.

The award nominees were put forward by members of the community. The winners were selected by a panel of local leaders and industry experts.

Citizen of the Year, sponsored by Seven Local News

David Dangerfield, Palmwoods

David’s achievements include:

  • Founded a not-for-profit community organisation (Compass Institute) that pioneered early intervention programs for youth at risk inside mainstream primary and secondary schools.
  • More than 7,000 students had their lives positively changed through these programs, all without one cent of government funding.
  • The Compass Institute has become an accredited post-school disability service provider and today is the fastest growing service of its kind in Queensland.
  • It has five centres from Caboolture to Gympie supporting 73 young people with intellectual and physical disabilities and their families.

Young Citizen of the Year, sponsored by the University of the Sunshine Coast

Joint winners - Bindi Irwin, Beerwah, and Samara Welbourne, Buddina

Bindi’s achievements include:

  • The Kids Empowerment Campaign which challenges adults to look at their own behaviours and the impact of consumption on wildlife.
  • Wildlife Warrior that encourages children to have fun through learning and exercise with her own interactive documentaries, videos and on-line YouTube videos.
  • Recently recognised by the YWCA Queensland as one of the 125 Leading Women in 2013.
  • An actress, singer, songwriter and dancer.

Samara’s achievements include:

  • Wrote ‘How to Make Fairy Houses’ which was published by Boolarong Press and sold throughout Australia.
  • Donates 10% of royalties to Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia.
  • Appeared on the Today Show and was instrumental in getting The Great South East to film a segment on the growing fairy business industry on the Sunshine Coast.
  • Recently been nominated for the Queensland Arts Culture Champion’s Wall of Fame.
  • Volunteers her services to design and facilitate workshops on making fairy twig furniture and holds free classes at local kindergartens.
  • Nipper and occasional Turtle volunteer.

Senior Citizen of the Year, sponsored by Maroochy RSL

Greg McKean, Pelican Waters

Greg’s achievements include:

  • President of Night Eyes Water and Land Care Association.
  • Founder of Night Eyes Juniors.
  • Vice-President of Healthy Schools Incorporated.
  • Member of Pumicestone Passage Task Force.
  • Former member of Caloundra Tidy Towns.
  • He still finds time to build school ovals, refurbish local halls, turn railway stations into tourist centres and work in community radio.
  • Under Greg’s guidance, Night Eyes has grown to almost 300 volunteers and won many grants indulging a $5000 Envirofund at Golden Beach.
  • He is also active with Land Care, Queensland Water and Land Care, Volunteering Sunshine Coast, S.E.Q. Catchments and Sunshine Coast Environmental Council.

Community - Group or Organisation, sponsored by the Sunshine Coast Daily

Queensland Air Museum, Caloundra

Queensland Air Museum’s (QAM) achievements include:

  • Collecting and preserving aviation heritage and exhibiting the collection for the educational and cultural enrichment of the community.
  • Housing the largest national collection of military and civilian aircraft and associated static displays representing Australian history. This is due to the efforts of over 200 volunteer members.
  • Annual visitation has doubled to 18,000 thanks to the QAM committee’s successful tender to loan one of only seven F-111 aircrafts that were retired in 2010.
  • The hand-over ceremony of the F-111 included one of the crew who delivered this particular plane to Australia in 1973 and two of the crew who flew it for the final time in 2010.
  • This was a very significant moment in the life of the volunteers, the honoured guests and the community at large.


Steven McLeish, Landsborough

Steve’s achievements include:

  • Being an events coordinator, musician and performer and does everything from tree-planting, organising festivals and events, connecting people, mentoring, engaging in music and business endeavours, performing himself or advising on community events or celebrations.
  • Involved with Barung Landcare, Caloundra Music Festival, Real Food Festival, World Environment Day and Maleny Wood Expo.
  • Plays in two successful local bands.
  • Coordinated the opening celebrations of the Maleny Community Centre.
  • Set up the Ghandi School – a successful exchange program with South Korea which ran for seven years and choreographed unique green art performances and percussion movement workshops.

Environment, sponsored by Cleantech Industries Sunshine Coast

Eumundi Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre Inc.

Eumundi Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre’s achievements include:

  • Nursing and returning thousands of injured, orphaned and abandoned birds and animals to the wild.
  • Operated by the founder and 30 volunteers.
  • The Centre is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and the number of admissions of birds and animals has grown from just 25 in 1997 to nearly 1400.
  • Has a successful release rate of 60%, which is far higher than other similar organisations.

Sport and Recreation, sponsored by Sunshine Coast Sports Federation

Tim Sheridan, Bli Bli

Tim’s achievements include:

  • Volunteering at Maroochydore Football Club for more than 20 years and club President for the past two.
  • Launched soccer programs for people with a disability and from Indigenous backgrounds.
  • The Maroochydore Football Club became the first club in Australia to provide a soccer skills academy and now delivers inclusive programs for 600 Sunshine Coast residents with a disability each year, including weekly volunteer coaching for local schools.
  • His academy has enabled over 30 people with a disability to participate in mainstream soccer.
  • President of Kunda Park Pony Club.
  • Volunteer life guard at Mudjimba Surf Life Saving Club.
7 Local News aust_day cleantech
Maroochy RSL scsf_logo Sunshine Coast Daily

Last Updated 04-Feb-14