The 2015 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards go to…
  • Friday 23 January 2015

The Founder of SunnyKids and Read2Remember, Chris Turner, was named the Sunshine Coast Australia Day Citizen of the Year at a special ceremony held today (January 23) at Lifepointe Baptist Church, Buderim.

Chris Turner’s commitment and dedication to helping people reach their full potential was recognised at the awards when he joined some of the Coast’s most noteworthy residents at a celebration of outstanding achievement.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said he was humbled by the achievements of all the nominees and honoured to announce the winners of the 2015 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards.

“This year we received 86 nominations for the Awards and today we had the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge their achievements,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“We are extremely fortunate to have dedicated people like this in our community – people who make a difference through their outstanding contributions to this region.

“It is only through awards such as these that we can provide some much-deserved, public recognition for the work these people do.

“These winners epitomise what it means to be an Australian – a quiet achiever, an unsung hero, a hard worker who expects no fanfare but works hard to make Australia, and this community, a better place.

“I congratulate them all – the nominees and those people and programs named as winners – for being outstanding ambassadors for this region.”

The 2015 Australia Day Award recipients were nominated by the community and selected by a panel of local leaders and experts:

Chris Turner – Citizen of the Year Award sponsored by Seven Local News
Chris has over 20 years’ experience in social research, child, youth and family work, and as the Founder of SunnyKids and Read2Remember, Chris's commitment and dedication to helping people reach their full potential has been steadfast.  He was personally recognised as the AIM Sunshine Coast Not for Profit Manager of the Year for leading the Strategic Plan to identify SunnyKids’ vision, mission, values and goals for children and young people and families and how they contribute to the Sunshine Coast Community.

Sarah Morcom – Young Citizen of the Year Award sponsored by the University of the Sunshine Coast
Sarah is an exemplary student who has contributed her time to multiple community, sporting and cultural activities. Sarah has fundraised for humanitarian trips to Cambodia and Laos, been selected for the youth science forum in South Africa and actively volunteers her spare time to working with the Smith Family and local surf club. She has won multiple awards including the Long Tan Award for Leadership and Resourcefulness, Order of Australia – Certificate of Community Service and has represented her school at events such as ANZAC Day Ceremonies and the Women’s Leadership High Tea for Zonta International Women’s Day.

Prudence Cawley – Senior Citizen of the Year Award sponsored by Maroochy RSL
Prue’s whole life has been, and continues to be, dedicated to helping others and serving her community. She pursued a career in nursing and after retiring 12 years ago has displayed tireless efforts to enhance the community of Buderim. Prue has been a member of the Buderim War Memorial Community Association, Buderim Old Post Office, Welcome to Buderim Committee, Sunshine Coast Cultural Heritage Reference Group, Buderim Historical Society and its Pioneer Cottage. In her efforts to support these groups she has applied for government funding, run community fundraising initiatives, education, recreational, and historical programs.

Ferre De Deyne – Creative Award sponsored by TAFE Qld East Coast
Ferre is a committed supporter of the creative industries on the Sunshine Coast, particularly the visual arts. Ferre is the public face of the De Deyne – Proost family and has supported the local creative arts industry through personal effort, time, sponsorship, finances and advocacy. His efforts have supported the development of the University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery, Sunshine Coast Art Prize and awareness of Indigenous art and culture.

PCYC Sunshine Coast – Community Award sponsored by the Sunshine Coast Daily
The Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) has demonstrated outstanding success in developing and maintaining strong relationships with The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of Nambour and surrounds. For more than 40 years this group has encouraged and supported cultural continuity and awareness of the local Indigenous population while focussing on services to young, vulnerable people at risk through sport, recreation, cultural, welfare, transport, catering and community engagement programs.

Derek Foster and Reef Check Australia – Environment Award (joint winners) sponsored by Cleantech Industries Sunshine Coast
Derek is a renowned and cherished advocate for the protection and conservation of coastal waterways. He has displayed a tremendous level of leadership as president of Sunshine Coast Marine Group, Bilai Environmental Centre and founder of Maroochy Waterwatch, Maroochy River Catchment Network and Mary River Renewal project. Derek’s works have extended internationally in Asia where he worked on tsunami recovery efforts.

Reef Check engages the community in hands-on citizen science and education initiatives to help volunteers take an active role in appreciating, understanding and protecting their local reef resources. Reef Check has helped to build citizen science capacity, collect meaningful reef health data, implement collaborative conservation projects, inspire reef appreciation and empower local stewards of the marine environment.

Julie Templeton – Sport and Recreation Award sponsored by the Sunshine Coast Sports Federation
Julie is a much respected core member of the Sunshine Coast Riding for the Disabled Association and through her Carriage Driving Coaching has been invited to be a representative for Riding for the Disabled Australia. Julie's voluntary coaching sessions are structured to ensure all achieve a safe, fun, and encouraging lesson. Julie works towards providing opportunities for those with a disability to engage in horse-related activities as well as developing, supporting, guiding and mentoring other volunteers who wish to get their coaching accreditation in Carriage Driving.

To get involved and find out what’s happening on Australia Day in your local area or for details on the Australia Day flag raising ceremony at Kings Beach Caloundra, head to council’s website or check out the Sunshine Coast Daily.