Australia Day Ambassador to attend Coast’s major awards
  • Thursday 22 January 2015

Inspirational Australia Day Ambassador Jerry Coleby-Williams will join Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson at the seventh Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards on Friday, January 23 at Lifepointe Baptist Church, Buderim.

Mayor Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards were an integral part of Australia Day celebrations.

“It is important that we take a moment to publicly recognise excellence in our community and celebrate the achievement and extraordinary contribution of individuals and community groups within our region,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“They significantly improve the lives of others in our community.

“Whether it’s improving our natural environment, helping others less fortunate, or working with children, the elderly or people with disabilities, these residents are making the Sunshine Coast a better place to be.

“The efforts of these quiet achievers can often go unnoticed in our busy lives.

“The Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards are about taking the time to ensure these remarkable individuals are honoured and receive the recognition they deserve.”

Mayor Jamieson said with 85 nominees this year the judges had a very difficult task in selecting a winner for each of the seven categories:

• Citizen of the Year sponsored by Seven Local News
• Young Citizen of the Year sponsored by University of the Sunshine Coast
• Senior Citizen of the Year sponsored by Maroochy RSL
• Community -Group or Organisation sponsored by Sunshine Coast Daily
• Creative sponsored by TAFE Queensland East Coast
• Environment sponsored by Cleantech Industries Sunshine Coast
• Sport and Recreation sponsored by Sunshine Coast Sports Federation.

“I also extend a warm welcome to Australia Day Ambassador Jerry Coleby-Williams who will join me at the awards ceremony,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Jerry will share his own inspirational story and inspire us all.”

Australia Day Ambassador Jerry Coleby-Williams Background
Jerry is a curator, author, Director of the Seed Saver’s Network and patron of Householder’s Options for Protecting the Environment. For the past 15 years Jerry has been a presenter on ABC TV's Gardening Australia.

Jerry started gardening at the age of four and later trained under the Royal Horticultural Society at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He is qualified in horticulture, management, conservation, arboriculture, and botanical sciences. In 1982 Jerry was awarded a scholarship to study flora in Western Australia. It was there he discovered new species such as the critically endangered Darwinia polychroma.

Jerry has managed nurseries, urban forests, heritage parks, London's busiest garden centre and helped establish Mt Annan Botanic Garden—Australia's largest native plant garden. In 1998, he created the award-winning Rare and Endangered Plants Garden, where he planted the first Wollemi pine.

In 2003, Jerry founded Bellis, an award-winning sustainable house and garden in Brisbane. Bellis is part of the Open Gardens Australia scheme and ABC TV regularly films there. The organic food garden is home to 200 productive plants and rare insect species, including a new species of beneficial Leucospis wasp.

In 2009, Bellis won a national Save Water Award (built environment), and in 2011 Jerry won a HMA Horticultural Laurel for the Best Technical Television Gardening Segment on how to produce new plant varieties.

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.