Finalists announced for 2023 Ipswich Australia Day Awards

Eighteen inspiring residents and community groups have been named as finalists for the 2023 Ipswich Australia Day awards.

The six categories this year are Sport and Recreation, Community Group of the Year, Cultural, Young Citizen of the Year, Senior Citizen of the Year and Citizen of the Year.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the annual Ipswich Australia Day Awards was an important opportunity to acknowledge, honour and celebrate those who better our community.

“The finalists this year are local heroes who have sacrificed and given so much to Ipswich, enriching our community through their efforts and example,” Mayor Harding said.

“They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and each and every one of them has made the city a better place to live.”

Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chairperson Councillor Andrew Fechner said the nominees reflected a modern and vibrant Ipswich.

“This is the first year we have had the Community Group of the Year award and I think it really showcases the great community spirit and all the exceptional people we have here,” Cr Fechner said.

“Ipswich is a caring and dynamic city where we look after our neighbours, we help and inspire each other, and I think the finalists all reflect this.”

Winners will be announced at the 2023 Ipswich Australia Day Awards Ceremony on Thursday, 19 January 2023.

First Nations artist Jennifer Kent will create this year’s award trophies.

Finalists for the 2023 Ipswich Australia Day Awards

Citizen of the Year Finalists

  • Donna Cavanagh – helps the lives of many in the community, from organising Crossroads in the Park, Christmas hampers for Hannah’s House, The Women’s Crisis Support Services and Ipswich Foodbarn, to volunteering for cook ups, Australia Day flag planting and flood recovery work.
  • Amanda Draheim – has served as the editor, social media coordinator, secretary and now president of the Riverview Neighbourhood Watch, going above and beyond in organising community events and programs.
  • Bruce Morton – has advocated health and environmental issues through his work at the West Moreton Health Public Health Unit for the past 15 years, most recently playing an active role in the unit’s COVID-19 response.
  • Kirsty O’Brien – is a leader and advocate for the Ipswich Central Partnership, secretary of the Ipswich Ratepayers and Residents Association Inc. and volunteers for the Ipswich Residents Against Toxic Environments, creating art to connect the community and raise awareness.

Senior Citizen of the Year Finalists

  • Terry Carter – has been a dedicated and active member of many community groups such as Rotaract, Apex, Rotary, the Prostate Cancer Support Group and the Ipswich Men’s Shed.
  • Geoff and Priscilla Dickie – are the parents of Allison Baden-Clay, they continue to work and volunteer to raise awareness about domestic violence.
  • Rita Langer – is a well-known volunteer across the city, particularly at Norths and Blair State School, where she’s volunteered for more than 50 years.
  • Donna Reggett – has supported mental health initiatives and suicide prevention, especially within the veterans community, for more than 20 years.

Young Citizen of the Year Finalists

  • Koby Saunter – an aspiring DJ who organises music events to raise funds for the Black Dog Institute and Beyond Blue.
  • Noah Springall – organises and supports many charity events, helping organisations from the RSPCA to people affected by bushfires.

Sport and Recreation Award

  • Mat Britton – started a charity called Trial to Triumph that raises awareness and funds, through various sporting events, for the research of mesothelioma and other dust diseases.
  • Archie Graham – a fantastic role model to other youth living with a disability, Ipswich’s indigenous youth, and young residents with sporting aspirations.

Cultural Award Finalists

  • Mieke den Otter – a dedicated and passionate supporter of the city’s arts and cultural scene, who also mentors young artists and fundraises for charities
  • Robyn “Tallman” Wakkajinda – as principal artist of the Living Breathing Gallery in Bell Street, he engages with the public to take ownership of art projects and encourages a pride of place.

Community Group of the Year Finalists

  • Arts Connect Ipswich Inc – for more than 60 years it has been fostering creativity, supporting artists, curating exhibitions and supporting shows, festivals and charities.
  • Foodbarn Ipswich – provides low-cost food hampers full of healthy food, fruits and vegetables, while also providing social support to thousands of people each week.
  • Ipswich Men’s Shed – helps men with mental health and social isolation through woodwork and other skills, while having a cuppa and a friendly chat.
  • Marburg and Districts’ Residents Association – engages constantly with the community through many diverse activities, from the Marburg ANZAC Day service to awards for academic and sporting achievement.

For more information about the 2023 Ipswich Australia Day Awards, click here.

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