Australia Day Nominees
Citizen Of The Year
Jorgen (John) Rasmussen
For dedicating his life to serving his community and improving the lives of countless individuals and groups in the Banana Shire.
John Rasmussen is an exceptional individual who has dedicated his life to serving his community in the Banana Shire. A Danish immigrant who arrived in Australia in 1966, John has worked hard to achieve his dreams and give back to those around him. He has been an integral part of the Banana Shire, participating in numerous organisations and helping to improve the lives of countless individuals and groups, including the Kilburnie Homestead, Banana Shire Historical Society, Callide Dawson Flying Club (and other nearby flying clubs), Jambin State School, as well as numerous farming businesses. In 2022, John was presented with a Life Membership award from the Callide Dawson Flying Group in recognition of his services. John is a true silent achiever who embodies the values of determination, generosity, and selflessness.
For his tireless dedication to his community, and his commitment to passing down his skills as a Saddler and Leatherman to the next generation.
Gordon Twiner is a dedicated and active member of the Banana Shire community. For over 13 years he has served as a volunteer member of the Biloela Local Ambulance Committee, becoming President in 2009. During this time, he has worked tirelessly to support local paramedics and their families and has raised funds to provide equipment and facilities that enhance the experience of working for the Queensland Ambulance Service in Biloela. In addition to his work with the ambulance committee, Gordon has also been an active member of the Thangool Race Club for over 10 years, volunteering his time and expertise at each race day as a barrier attendant and providing maintenance services for the club's machinery and equipment. Gordon is also well known for his work as Rural Services Coordinator for the Banana Shire Council. As a highly skilled Saddler and Leatherman, Gordon has set personal goals to continue improving his craft and pass on this legacy to his sons, ensuring that this dying art is kept alive for future generations. Gordon is a reliable, dependable, and selfless individual who is always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.
For over 15 years of dedication to the Callide Dawson Machinery Preservation Club, and her contributions to promoting tourism in the Banana Shire.
Cindy Cooper is a remarkable individual who has made countless contributions to her community in the Banana Shire. Since moving to Biloela in 2000, she has been deeply involved in various organisations and initiatives, all on a voluntary basis. Cindy has served as the Secretary of the Callide Dawson Machinery Preservation Club for 15 years and has also held several other positions including the Queensland Representative of the National Historical Machinery Association and the Secretary of the Queensland Heritage Rally Steering Committee. In addition to these roles, Cindy has also been instrumental in the success of the Queensland Heritage Park and the Rural Hinterland Visitor Information Centre and has worked tirelessly to promote tourism in the Banana Shire. Despite facing numerous difficulties and sacrifices, Cindy continues to volunteer her time and talents to better the lives of those around her.
Community Event Of The Year
Mining and Energy Fun Day
For their dedication to providing an inclusive and enjoyable event for the Biloela community.
The Mining and Energy Union's (MEU) community event was a truly inclusive and enjoyable occasion for all who attended. There was something for everyone to enjoy, along with free food and prizes to be won. The MEU's commitment to bringing people together and fostering a sense of community was evident in the success of this event. Whether there to have fun or to learn more about the union's work, there was something for you at this event. The Mining and Energy Union's dedication to bringing people together and promoting community unity and family values is truly admirable, and their community event is a testament to this commitment.
Pride Picnic in the Park
For supporting and uplifting the LGBTQIA+ community in the Banana Shire.
The first Pride Picnic in the Park was hosted by Bilo Rainbow, providing a free entry event to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community in Biloela and the surrounding areas. The event aimed to deepen community connections and create a safe space for LGBTQIA+ people, particularly the youth, whilst promoting acceptance and understanding within the community. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community in the Banana Shire often feel isolated, and this event was an important step towards building relationships and breaking down barriers. The event was well-attended by people of all ages and provided a chance for local businesses, organisations, and individuals to show their support for the LGBTQIA+ community. The afternoon event had a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere with live entertainment including music, drag, comedy, and market stalls. Many of the entertainers were from Biloela and the surrounding areas, with some former residents returning in support of the event.
That Dam Run
For providing Biloela's first major running event attracting competitors from all over Queensland.
For the past three years, the Biloela Community Kindergarten has successfully organised Biloela's first major running event, That Dam Run. Last year's event was held in conjunction with a twilight festival featuring food, children's rides, and entertainment culminating with a spectacular fireworks display. That Dam Run showcases Callide Dam and offers various levels of challenges for participants of all abilities, including 2km, 5km, 10km, and 21km distances. In 2022, age-based categories ranging from a Kindy age group up to an Open age group were introduced. The event has attracted competitors not only from the Banana Shire but all over Queensland, including as far away as Townsville, Brisbane, and the Sunshine Coast. It has also provided an opportunity for people to enjoy the beautiful dam and park area, with many taking advantage of the opportunity to camp at the dam. Over the course of the three years, That Dam Run has attracted over 400 competitors and spectators each year and has served as a major fundraiser for Biloela Kindy.
Community Group Or Team Of The Year
The Biloela Baptist Teens Team
For consistently giving their time and energy to support the development of the next generation.
The Biloela Baptist Teens Team is a group of dedicated volunteers who have been creating a safe and positive program for teenagers every Friday night for over 30 years. The team recognised the need for a place for teens to socialise and be supported by caring leaders and role models. The group works tirelessly to plan and run team-building activities, sporting events, and fun activities for 60-100 teenagers every week. Not only do they provide a positive alternative for teens, but they also work with parents and guardians to create a safe, encouraging, and respectful environment. The team’s dedication to the community and its youth is admirable. They go above and beyond by undergoing personal development and safety training in their own time and at their own expense.
For their dedication and hard work improving the lives of students and bringing the community together.
The Goovigen State School P&C is an incredibly dedicated and hard-working group that has made a significant impact on the community of Goovigen. Over the past five years, they have raised an impressive $84,650.50, much of which has been donated back to the students of Goovigen State School in the form of subsidies for camps and excursions, new library books and shelving, playground equipment, and ICT upgrades. In addition to these fundraising efforts, the P&C has also been highly active in organising and supporting school events, managing the recycling program, running the tuckshop and home baking, and hosting the biannual Goovigen State School Community Auction. This auction is a major fundraiser for the P&C and brings the community together for a night of fun, socialising, and supporting the school.
Moura Multi-Purpose Health Services (MPHS)
For their dedicated support for the Moura Hospital, and improved healthcare services in the community.
The Moura Multi-Purpose Health Services Auxiliary Inc has dedicated the last 50 years to supporting the Moura Hospital and the surrounding communities of Moura, Banana, and Bauhinia. Over the years, the Auxiliary has contributed an average of $10,000 annually to the hospital for equipment and amenities, and their volunteer hours and donations have reached into the millions of dollars. In recent years, the Auxiliary has also expanded its efforts to advocate for, and improve, healthcare services in the community, including campaigns to keep Moura Hospital open, securing an aged care extension, fundraising, and managing the Doctor Incentive Fund, as well as donating to the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service. They have also organised events like the Anglo-American Wellbeing Expo to provide accessible health and wellness services to the community. The Moura MPHS Auxiliary Inc is a dedicated and invaluable asset to the healthcare system in their community.
The Twin Valleys Motorcycle Club
For their pride of and commitment to the betterment of the Banana Shire community.
The Twin Valleys Motor Cycle Club has made a major impact on the Banana Shire community over the past 40 years. From its humble beginnings as a group of like-minded motorcycling enthusiasts, the Club has grown into a leading community advocate and supporter. They are passionate about supporting locals and have raised the profile of the region through events like the Postie Bike Safari and their annual raffle. In 2022 their raffle raised over $60,000 with prizes won by locals and over $20,000 in profits donated to many community organisations. The Club actively seeks opportunities to assist the local community which includes annual visits to aged care facilities in the Shire, bringing some sparkle to the lives of residents during Christmas, along with gifts and financial assistance.
Junior Sportsperson Of The Year
For her determination and dedication to succeed in the sport of equestrian.
Georgia Creed is a dedicated and hard-working member of the local equestrian community. Not only is she an active member of Pony Club and Equestrian Australia affiliated clubs, but she is also always willing to lend a helping hand during competitions. Georgia is a great role model for young riders, always displaying excellent horsemanship and sportsmanship. In 2021 and 2022, Georgia was selected to represent Queensland in the Inter-school National Championships for dressage, but unfortunately, the 2021 event was cancelled due to Covid. However, she continued to work hard and was again selected as part of the Queensland team in 2022, where she qualified to represent the State in eventing and combined training on multiple horses. At the State Championships, she was awarded the Brett Family Trophy for the highest-scoring rider overall, as well as the award for the highest-scoring off-track thoroughbred. In September, she travelled to the Inter-school National Championships in Sydney to compete in eventing and rode the Olympic course. Prior to her trip to the Nationals, she was named the winner of the Remi Stud Young Rider Scholarship, which will provide her with many opportunities to continue achieving her goals.
For her talents and success as an all-round athlete.
Marley Ellis is a talented and dedicated junior sportsperson who has excelled in a variety of sports over the past year. She has participated in softball, tennis, basketball, gymnastics, and dance, and has consistently demonstrated impressive skills and sportsmanship throughout these activities. In softball, she has played for the Frenchville Scorpions Softball Club and has been selected to represent Miles, the Southwest, and even the State in various competitions. In tennis, she was selected for the Miles and District, and Southwest teams, and even travelled to Cairns to compete in the School State Tennis Championship. Marley has also excelled in gymnastics, earning multiple medals at her level, and being named the overall winner in her last competition. In addition to all these sports, Marley also participates in dance and has even achieved the second-highest result in her Aero exam.
For his inspirational commitment to sport and his achievements in Cross Country.
Jaxon Green is an inspiring and dedicated junior sportsperson who has overcome numerous obstacles to achieve his goals. Despite facing physical and cognitive disabilities, following a motor vehicle accident as a pedestrian, Jaxon has remained determined and committed to his sports, consistently giving 100% and representing his community with pride. In recent years, he has excelled in cross country and track and field events, winning gold in the Queensland team for cross country and competing as part of the Queensland team in track and field events in Brisbane. Jaxon’s resilience and dedication to his sport is truly admirable, and he serves as a role model for others who may be facing challenges in their own lives.
For consistently giving it her all, and her achievements as an accomplished athlete.
Shanyce Lower is a talented, devoted, and inspirational young athlete who has excelled in a variety of sports and helped lead in the community. She has represented her region in cross country, football, and track and field events, consistently giving it her all, and achieving impressive results. In cross country, she came first at the Port Curtis level and narrowly missed out on a spot in the Capricornia team. In football, she was chosen to represent Capricornia in the State Championships in Cairns. In track and field, she won seven 1st place finishes at the school level and placed third in the 1500m event at the Capricornia selections. Shanyce is not only an accomplished athlete, but she is also a role model for her peers. She has served as the school Sports Captain for several years and has been an active participant in the school's cheer and dance teams. She also plays team soccer in the women's division in and around her region.
For his hard work, commitment and dedication to his local sports clubs and community.
Rylan Reynolds is a hard-working, highly committed sportsperson who has contributed greatly to his local sports clubs and communities. Over the years, he has played soccer, cricket, swimming, squash, and athletics, consistently showing his commitment and dedication to his sports. This year, he was chosen to represent the Rockhampton District in squash and was named the Moura State High School Junior Sportsperson of the Year for 2022. He was also part of a successful combined team in the inaugural CQ Football U/14 Premier League competition. Despite facing challenges such as injuries and sacrifices in family time due to travel, Rylan has remained determined and has consistently given his all in his sports.
For her dedication and passion in dance, and track and field.
Tayla Tappin is a dedicated and passionate young athlete who has excelled in dance, and track and field. In dance, she has been a part of Karla's Dance Collective for over two years and has achieved numerous awards in the Under 10 and Under 12 age groups. She has travelled to various locations to compete, including Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Kingaroy, Maleny, Gladstone, and Rockhampton, and has consistently placed in the top two in her dance exams. Despite sacrificing many extracurricular and family activities to devote up to 15 hours per week to dance training, Tayla remains dedicated to her sport and consistently presents with a smile. In track and field, she qualified to compete in the Port Curtis Trials for cross country, and the 800m, 1500m, and high jump events winning age champion trophies at multiple competitions.
Volunteer Of The Year
For her dedication and selflessness in caring for the users and amenities at the Rainbow Street Sporting Complex.
Julie McNaught is a true volunteer hero in her community. At the age of 70, she dedicates her time to helping keep the amenities and grounds of the Rainbow Street Sporting Complex in tip top condition. Julie goes above and beyond by picking up rubbish on the fields and surrounding areas, providing water and ice blocks to children on hot days, and even washing lost property. Julie also takes the initiative to report any issues after events at the Rainbow Street Sporting Complex and takes care to sweep and clean the cement around the toilets and complex. In the past, she has even taken the time to wash football jerseys. Not only does she do this without being asked, but she also selflessly provides and restocks amenities out of her own pocket.
For his passion and hard work volunteering with the Biloela Local Ambulance Committee and Thangool Race Club.
Gordon Twiner is an outstanding and dedicated member of the Banana Shire community. He has been a volunteer member of the Biloela Local Ambulance Committee for over 13 years, serving as President for many of those years. During this time, he has worked tirelessly to support local paramedics and their families and has raised funds to provide equipment and facilities that enhance the experience of working for the Queensland Ambulance Service in Biloela. Gordon has actively participated in numerous regional and state conferences, where he has engaged with senior management of the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) and worked to facilitate open communication between the QAS and the local community. In addition to his work with the ambulance committee, Gordon has also been an active member of the Thangool Race Club for over 10 years, volunteering his time at every race day as a barrier attendant, and providing maintenance services for the club's equipment. As a highly skilled Saddler and Leatherman, Gordon has set personal goals to continue improving his craft, and pass on this legacy to his sons, ensuring that this dying art is kept alive for future generations. Gordon is a reliable, dependable, and selfless individual who is always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.
Young Citizen Of The Year
For her positive impact on her community through various leadership and community development roles and activism.
Samantha Dendle is an incredibly accomplished and driven young woman who has demonstrated her commitment to making positive change in her community and beyond. She has served as the Queensland Youth Parliament representative for the Callide Electorate, worked with a mentor to expand her skills and knowledge of rural leadership and community development as a winner of the Country to Canberra Leadership competition, and has been selected to participate in the University of Queensland's Young Changemakers Program. In addition to these achievements, Samantha has also been an active member of the Home to Bilo campaign and has volunteered with Zonta Biloela, an international service organization dedicated to advancing the status of women.
For her dedication to her school and community and for being a positive role model for other students.
Hayley Thornton is an active and dedicated member of the Banana Shire community, particularly within the school community at Biloela State High School. She has demonstrated her leadership and coordination skills in a variety of roles, including serving as a Junior School Captain, Year 9 Mentor, and a Student Council Representative, along with participating in community events such as the ANZAC Day march, and Day for Daniel community walk. Hayley received numerous academic awards in 2022, including the Junior All-Rounder.
In 2022, Hayley was recognised by Little Athletics Queensland for her 10 years of membership. She is a respected senior athlete acting as a role model for younger aspiring athletes to look up to. She has been a valued and active member of Biloela Little Athletics and Biloela Netball Association since she was six years old, and the Callide Valley Touch Association for the last three years. Hayley participates in fundraising events for her clubs and has represented her clubs at Regional and State levels. In January 2022, Hayley applied for and commenced employment locally, where she has gained valuable experience in the workforce, and has further developed her excellent time management skills, enabling her to enjoy all aspects of life with the benefits of successful achievements.