The 2014 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards go to…
  • Friday 24 January 2014

The founding member of not-for-profit community organisation Compass Institute, David Dangerfield, is the 2014 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Citizen of the Year.

Compass Institute is an accredited post-school disability service provider and today is the fastest growing service of its kind in Queensland.

David joined some of the Coast’s most noteworthy residents at special Australia Day Awards ceremony at Woombye this evening to celebrate the outstanding achievements of locals who are making a difference to our community.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said he was humbled by the achievements of all the nominees and honoured to announce the winners of the 2014 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards.

“This year we received 82 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.

“On the eve of Australia Day, 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 2014 Australia Day Award recipients were nominated by the community and selected by a panel of local leaders and industry experts:

Citizen of the Year sponsored by Seven Local News - David Dangerfield, Palmwoods

In 1991 the not-for-profit community organisation David founded pioneered early intervention programs for youth at risk inside mainstream primary and secondary schools. Over a period of 15 years more than 7,000 students had their lives positively changed through these programs – all without one cent of government funding. This was an Australian first and made a huge impact on our community. In 2003 the Compass Institute became an accredited post-school Disability Service provider and today is the fastest growing service of its kind in Queensland with five centres from Caboolture to Gympie supporting 73 young people with intellectual and physical disabilities and their families.

Young Citizen of the Year sponsored by the University of the Sunshine Coast: joint winners - Bindi Irwin, Beerwah, and Samara Welbourne, Buddina

Bindi is an actress, singer, songwriter, dancer and tireless Wildlife Warrior who encourages children to have fun through learning and exercise with her interactive documentaries, videos and on-line You Tube videos. Her Kids Empowerment Campaign challenges adults to look at their own behaviours and the impact of consumption on wildlife. Bindi is a wonderful Ambassador for the Sunshine Coast and Australia and was recently recognised by the YWCA Queensland as one of the 125 Leading Women in 2013.

Samara volunteers her services to design and facilitate workshops on making ‘fairy twig furniture’. Due to its popularity, Samara wrote How to Make Fairy Houses which was published by Boolarong Press and sold throughout Australia. Samara donates 10% of royalties to Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia, has appeared on the Today Show, was instrumental in getting The Great South East to film a segment on the growing Fairy Business industry on the Sunshine Coast and has recently been nominated for the Queensland Arts Culture Champion’s Wall of Fame. Samara holds free classes at local kindergartens, is a Nipper and occasional turtle volunteer.

Senior Citizen of the Year sponsored by Maroochy RSL - Greg McKean, Pelican Waters

Greg is President of Night Eyes Water and Land Care Association, founder of Night Eyes Juniors, Vice-President of Healthy Schools Incorporated, a member of Pumicestone Passage Task Force and former member of Caloundra Tidy Towns, yet he still finds time to build school ovals, refurbish local halls, turn railway stations into tourist centres and work in community radio. Under Greg’s guidance Night Eyes has grown to almost 300 volunteers and won many grants including a $5000 Envirofund at Golden Beach. He is also active with Land Care, Queensland Water and Land Care, Volunteering Sunshine Coast, S.E.Q. Catchments and Sunshine Coast Environmental Council.

Community - Group or Organisation sponsored by the Sunshine Coast Daily - Queensland Air Museum, Caloundra

Queensland Air Museum (QAM) has the largest, most important national collection of military and civilian aircraft and associated static displays representing aspects of Australian history thanks to the efforts of over 200 volunteer members. Annual visitation has doubled to 18,000 due to the QAM committee’s successful tender to loan one of seven F-111 aircraft retired in 2010. The hand-over ceremony with one of the crew who delivered this particular plane to Australia in 1973 in attendance, along with the two crew who flew in her, for the final time in 2010 was a very significant moment in the life of the volunteers, the honoured guests and the community at large.

Creative - Steven McLeish, Landsborough

Steven is an events coordinator, musician and performer with a social and environmental conscience that translates into practical action. He does everything from tree-planting, organising festivals and events, connecting people, mentoring, engaging in music and business endeavours, performing himself or advising on community events or celebrations. He works with Barung Landcare, Caloundra Music Festival, Real Food Festival, World Environment Day and Maleny Wood Expo. He plays in two successful local bands, coordinated the opening celebrations of the Maleny Community Centre, set up the Ghandi School – a successful exchange program with South Korea which ran for seven years and choreographed unique green art performances and percussion movement workshops.

Environment sponsored by Cleantech Industries Sunshine Coast - Eumundi Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre Inc.

The Eumundi Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre was established in 1997 and since then has nursed and returned to the wild thousands of injured, orphaned and abandoned birds and animals. At present it is operated by the founder and 30 volunteers. The Centre is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and the number of admissions of birds and animals has grown from just 25 in 1997 to nearly 1400 in 2012. The Centre is very proud of its overall release rate of 60%, which is far higher than other similar organisations.

Sport and Recreation sponsored by Sunshine Coast Sports Federation - Tim Sheridan, Bli Bli

Tim has been a volunteer at Maroochydore Football Club for more than 20 years and Club President for the past two. In 2010 he launched soccer programs for people with a disability and from Indigenous backgrounds. In 2011 Maroochydore Football Club became the first club in Australia to provide a soccer skills academy and now delivers inclusive programs for 600 Sunshine Coast residents with a disability each year, including weekly volunteer coaching for local schools. His academy has enabled over 30 people with a disability to participate in mainstream soccer. In his spare time he is also President of Kunda Park Pony Club and a volunteer lifeguard at Mudjimba Surf Life Saving Club.

The Australia Day celebrations are listed in council’s Sunshine Coast Festive Season Program 2013/14, making it easy for residents and visitors to plan the day’s activities.

Sunshine Coast Council acknowledges its supporters – Sunshine Coast Daily and 7 Local News.

For more information on Australia Day events head to council’s website to view the Festive Season program guide.