Sunshine Coast Australia Day Award winners
  • Thursday 26 January 2012

The fourth annual Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards celebrate the achievement and contribution of individuals and organisations on the Coast.

The awards are an opportunity to publicly acknowledge those who have made an extraordinary contribution or are an outstanding achiever.

Winners of the 2012 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards are;

Sport and Recreation - Gordon Howitt

In his 60s, Gordon Howitt learnt how to draw orienteering maps using a specialised computer program and then established the Sunshine (Coast??) Orienteer’s Club. Mr Howitt has identified suitable areas for orienteering on the Sunshine Coast and created high quality maps; introduced and developed Mountain Bike Orienteering; has mentored and coached younger orienteers and school children; is still in demand from organisers of Adventure Races for course setting and maps; crafted hundreds of beautiful wooden trophies awarded for navigation sports and as a competitor in this field, has won numerous state and national titles.

Creative – Jacqui O’Connor

Jacqui has operated Studio Horizon since founding it with her husband, musician Tony O’Connor, in 1988. Jacqui’s creativity is in the field of studio production and marketing. She also mentors local musicians, donates music CD’s to hospices and local hospitals, utilises ethical and sustainable principles in her business and promotes the local character of the Sunshine Coast internationally.

Business – Ross Hopper of Maleny Dairies

Maleny Dairies supports and promotes local dairy farms and businesses and has a very strong buy local policy. The business employs 25 Range residents and proactively promotes The Range as a tourist destination. Founder, Ross Hopper, is well known for his entrepreneurship and does not hesitate to help others in supporting new ventures and local events. Maleny Dairies follows clean, environmentally friendly farming practices on all its farms and recycles the vast majority of its waste.

Environment - Kerry Jones

Kerry has been involved in environmental work for the last 10 years including the Mangrove Nursery Project which has seen around 1500 mangroves planted on cane-land river frontage; the

Knowledge Recording Project through SEQ Catchments; sharing his cultural connections to the Maroochy River in a pictorial book, Our Maroochy, published by the Maroochy Waterwatch Community Network and as part of council’s Floating Land 2011 event. Kerry is now planning to operate a natural resource management and cultural tourism business which is 100% Aboriginal-owned. He is also keen to work in an area which takes advantage of his heritage as an Australian South Sea Islander.

Community - Jessie Wen Jie Li

Jessie has been involved with: Volunteering Sunshine Coast as the local organising committee member of the Sunshine Coast Multicultural Awareness Expo during Senior ‘s Week; Sunshine 60 and Better offering free Tai Chi training to local retirement villages and community centres; was a foundation member of two committees – one that established the Australian International Cultural Exchange and another that established the Australian Chun Ming Tai Chi Institute; and actively participates on the Sunshine Coast Multi Cultural Network.

Senior Citizen of the Year - Ruth Bode

Ruth arrived in Australia from Germany in 1973. She was a successful businesswoman who gave it all up to become the primary carer (for the last 13 years), for her now 17-year-old profoundly disabled granddaughter. Ruth is an active member of many organisations, too numerous to mention but which include: being on the Board of the Multicultural Excellence Awards; taking on the role of a Multicultural Ambassador for the Caloundra ALP Branch; running events and social clubs for Carers Queensland and other groups; and being responsible for establishing a support group to assist truck drivers who spend long periods away from family.

Young Citizen on the Year - TIE – Ailish Bolt and Ashley Ogilvie

Brother and sister team Ashley and Ailish are previous Joey Ambassadors with Wildlife Warriors and have designed and launched their own website Planet You in June 2011. The site raises awareness and shows young people how they can make a difference. Ashley and Ailish started by phoning lots of young people to find out what they wanted to learn about and now they travel all over the country interviewing children and adults. They are make videos on a range of topics from saving the whales to homelessness, war and global warming. All appear on their website. To date they have raised more than $10,000 for various causes including homelessness, conservation and wildlife.

Outstanding Achievement Award [Posthumous] - Stan Tutt

Stan Tutt was a writer, historian and environmentalist who sadly passed away in July last year aged 97. Stan made a huge contribution to researching and recording local history; wrote a historical column for a Sunshine Coast newspaper for 20 years; and was a key player in the creation of the Landsborough Museum and the Landsborough Historical Society. The Caloundra

Branch of Sunshine Coast Libraries Local Studies Area is named in his honour. Mr Tutt was a founding member of the Sunshine Coast Environment Council and was recognised with an Order of Australia Medal in1994.