Australia Day Winners Proudly Announced
  • Wednesday 26 January 2011

A handful of the Sunshine Coast’s most noteworthy residents were honoured this afternoon for their outstanding achievements at this year’s local Australia Day Awards Ceremony held at The J, Noosa Heads.

The Sunshine Coast Council Australia Day Awards were proudly presented to recipients by Mayor Bob Abbot.

The Mayor said the Awards acknowledge those individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the Sunshine Coast community.

"We are extremely fortunate to have people like this in our community and I am delighted they have received this much-deserved recognition," Cr Abbot said.

"They have all made a wonderful contribution to our region and I congratulate them on being named winners of the Sunshine Coast Council’s Australia Day Awards."

The winners of the seven categories were nominated by their peers and selected by a panel of local leaders and experts. This year also saw the introduction of a special ‘Outstanding Achievement Award.’

And the winners for 2011 are:

MANUEL BARTH & NATHANAEL FORD (tied result) - Young Citizen of the Year Award
After moving to the Sunshine Coast from Germany in 2005, Manuel not only adapted to life in Australia – he has excelled in everything he does. He has shone in his studies along with undertaking community work with The Salvation Army Door Knock Appeals and ANZAC Day marches. Manuel was awarded with the Australian Defence Force Academy Education award for his outstanding leadership qualities.

Nathanael, a Petty Officer with the Noosa Navy Cadets, has devoted time helping other cadets learn to sail and has also volunteered for many charity events including the Red Shield Appeal with the Cooroy Rotary Club and McHappy Day in Nambour. Nathanael likes to encourage other young people to reach out and follow their dreams and enjoys seeing them succeed in becoming model citizens in their local community.

KEVIN JOHN FRANZI - Senior Citizen of the Year Award
A professional documentary filmmaker and photojournalist for 60 years, Kevin started his career in Melbourne, where he worked with Crawford Productions on the pioneering TV series Homicide and Division 4 before moving into his real love – documentaries. Kevin has used his love of film-making to teach others, promote the region and set up a movie museum in Kenilworth that is considered the best collection of working cinema equipment in the country. Kevin’s dream is for an Australian Image Hall of Fame that combines a community filmmaking centre as a new attraction for the region.

GLENDA LLOYD - Community Award
After a childhood of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, Glenda turned her life around positively and meaningfully and has become someone so worthy of this award. Glenda is an extremely humble lady and does not often speak of her achievements unless prompted to. She was unfortunate enough to experience the suicide death of her only sibling due to the abuse and now works closely with families who have lost a loved one through suicide. Glenda has been a foster-carer for over 34 years; is currently caring for autistic children; is a volunteer puppy raiser for Guide Dogs Queensland; coaches netball voluntarily working with children and is a life member of pony club again working voluntarily with children.

AMBER WERCHON - Business Award
Amber is one of Australia’s youngest real estate principals and franchisors whose passion for real estate was sparked by her first property purchase at 16 years of age. Ten years later, she had established Amber Werchon Property – a successful business that now employs 42 staff at three offices in Caloundra, Alexandra Headland and Noosa. When not running her business, Amber is active in the Sunshine Coast community. She has hosted two charity golf days for the Motor Neurone Disease Association of Queensland, raising $27,000 for the disease that took the life of her uncle last year.

CYNTHIA MORGAN - Creative Award
Cynthia is an internationally recognised artist whose work is acquired by collectors around the world. She works from her studio overlooking Tooway Lake at Moffat Beach, inspired by the colours of the sea to dye the fabrics that make up her acclaimed artwork. Her art reflects her concern for the growing struggle between the natural environment and sustainable development. Since moving to the Sunshine Coast in 1987, she has held many workshops to teach local artists her techniques. She regularly teaches in the US and has attracted American textile artists to come to Caloundra to attend workshops with her. This year, Cynthia has been invited to exhibit 18 of her art quilts at the American National Quilt Museum from June to September 2011.

LEIGH WARNEMINDE - Environmental Award
Leigh was a foundation member of the Coolum District Coast Care Group in 1997 and has seen the group expand to 110 members. This conservation group, which protects the coastal area between Mudjimba and South Peregian, has been highly influential. In 2008 Leigh received the Froggie Award in recognition of her ten years in biodiversity preservation with the group. She has instigated weekly working bees since 1997, 200 hours of volunteer labour per week valued at $4000 and in-kind contributions of more than $180,000 annually. In 2010, she lobbied the State Government against a desalination plant at Marcoola and commenced lobbying for a multi-use Marine Park for the Sunshine Coast to sustain coastal and marine ecosystems.

GUY TANNER - Sport and Recreation Award
Guy is an exemplary Australian, embodying all that is good about our culture. Guy was an inaugural member of Mudjimba Surf Club 15 years ago, starting as club captain and held the position of president for many years. At the same time Guy contributed to the life of the club and the community by fostering positive relationships with other community groups such as the Progress association, Art Group, Island Charity Swim and Lions Club. As Chief Training Officer, Assessor and club representative at both branch and state levels, Guy contributes enormously. For the last three seasons Guy has given freely over 200 hours of his time to the community each year.

JESSICA WATSON – Outstanding Achievement Award
Born 18 May 1993 on the Gold Coast, Jessica currently lives in Buderim Australia. She has recently become the youngest person to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the world, boasting such a wonderful achievement.

Since Joshua Slocum first sailed singlehanded around the world in the late 1890’s, sailors of all nationalities and ages have been drawn to this ultimate challenge: ‘The Everest of Sailing’ and the Sunshine Coast’s very own Jessica Watson has risen to the challenge.

After 210 days gruelling days at sea, Jessica arrived back in Sydney Harbour on 15 May 2010. During her welcome back reception she told the world, "I don't consider myself a hero. I'm just an ordinary girl who believed in a dream." On her 10m yacht, ‘Ella's Pink Lady’, she had covered approximately 23,000 nautical miles (38,000 kilometres).

The 2011 Award winners will celebrate along with the rest of the region at the Australia Day Celebration event on Wednesday 26 January at Kings Beach with live music and festivities throughout the day.