Twenty-one finalists have been named for the 2024 Ipswich Australia Day awards, representing the best and brightest of Ipswich residents and community groups.
Across six categories – Sport and Recreation, Cultural, Young Citizen of the Year, Senior Citizen of the Year, Community Group of the Year and Citizen of the Year – those who give back to their community have been recognised.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said it was always inspiring to hear the stories of finalists across the categories and why they are deserving of recognition and celebration.
“This year’s finalists represent those who give back to our community every day – some who have been doing so for decades, and others who are just starting their journey,” Mayor Harding said.
“I hope that by honouring their tireless efforts, we can continue to celebrate Ipswich as a dedicated, caring community.”
Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chairperson Councillor Andrew Fechner said the finalists spanned the breadth of Ipswich’s diverse community.
“From rising sporting stars to senior citizens, these finalists all have fascinating and inspiring stories to share,” Cr Fechner said.
“I’m proud of our community and I’m pleased that we can celebrate our achievements in these awards.”
Winners will be announced at the 2024 Ipswich Australia Day Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, 17 January, 2024.
Finalists for the 2024 Ipswich Australia Day Awards
Citizen of the Year finalists
- Pauline Alchin – Pauline has been Club President of Thistles Ladies Hockey Club for 40 years, and also acts as assistant coach and manager for club teams. A passionate advocate for junior hockey players, Pauline is well known for her community leadership.
- Amanda Draheim – President of the Riverview Neighbourhood Watch, Amanda volunteers many hours each week to the community. Amanda’s energy and tenacity means she regularly achieves great outcomes for the Riverview community through her advocacy for the suburb and dedication to keeping all residents connected.
- Jozef Maynard Borja Erece – Jozef passed the bar at a remarkably young age and is now a highly qualified barrister. Alongside a stellar academic career, Jozef organises the Grant Autumn Festival in Springfield each year.
- Kirsty O’Brien – Kirsty is a key volunteer in the Ipswich Central Partnership with an instrumental role in efforts to improve the amenity of Bell Street through creative collaborations with Ipswich residents and community groups.
Senior Citizen of the Year finalists
- Geoff & Priscilla Dickie – Following the tragic loss of their daughter Allison Baden-Clay, the Dickies packed up their retirement at the Gold Coast and moved back to Ipswich to raise their three young granddaughters, dedicating their life to also advocating for women who suffer under domestic violence.
- Fay Ison – Through decades of volunteering, Fay has contributed to the Ipswich community across sporting club committees, Meals on Wheels, and a host of volunteer organisations. In 2019 she was named Honorary Life Member of Ipswich Netball.
- Hugh Taylor – President of the Ipswich Historical Society, Hugh is a local historian known for his documentation of the Box Flat Mine disaster. Hugh is also owner of Taylor Mining Services.
Young Citizen of the Year finalists
- Maynah Erece – 21-year-old Maynah is co-organiser of the Grand Autumn Festival in Springfield, overseeing 400 volunteer performers for the two-day event. A trained ballerina, Maynah is hearing impaired.
- Louie Galman – As the 2023 Youth Member for Bundamba in the Queensland Youth Parliament (QYP) Louie successfully passed a “Nurturing our Nutrition” Youth Bill. He represented Australia at the 2022 Children’s General Assembly, and serves on the 2023 Ipswich Youth Advisory Council.
- Adam Jude Varghese – Adam is a 17-year-old student at St Peter’s Lutheran College in Springfield and Ipswich Youth Advisory Council member. Adam has raised $11,000 for cancer research through a World’s Greatest Shave, and organised a Red Blood Drive at his school for the first time.
- Ryan Zimmerman – Ryan is a 17-year-old with a passion for teaching children with additional needs the enjoyment and freedom of ballroom dancing. Ryan partners with young students at dance competitions across Australia, supporting them in their goals.
Sport and Recreation Award finalists
- Ipswich and District Athletic Club Inc. – A club that has had a strong impact on the growth of athletics in Ipswich, providing development opportunities for up and coming athletes with national results.
- Holyee Jackson – A 14-year-old BMX athlete, Holyee has competed internationally while also championing the growth of her sport. Holyee is forging a pathway to be a mentor for future sporting generations and works tirelessly to achieve her BMX career.
- David Reid – David’s passion for photography has seen him attend and promote many Ipswich events, from Willowbank Raceway to the Ipswich Laps. David is a champion for men’s mental health.
- Leusila Vaotu’ua – Leu is an accomplished boxer who now runs a gym that provides a place for challenged youth to develop personal skills, work ethic and self-control. Leu provides guidance, discipline and support through boxing.
Cultural Award finalists
- Maynah Erece – Maynah’s passion for the Arts has led her to creating the original concept of “Theatre in the Park” where local performers are able to network and showcase their talents.
- Jenny Stubbs – Director of the StoryArts Festival Ipswich since its inception in 1995, Jenny has led the development of children’s literature in Ipswich through the festival’s national attraction while supporting local authors and illustrators.
Community Group of the Year finalists
- ArtsConnect Ipswich Inc – Artsconnect has been a major player in the Arts Community for promoting art and culture regionally, while using art as a tool to give minority groups a voice and support local charity.
- Ipswich District Volunteers in Policing – Volunteers in Policing (VIP’s) play a crucial role in community policing by enhancing community engagement and safety by assisting police officers. The Volunteers in policing have assisted countless members of the community through 750 hours of volunteering in 2023.
- Leichhardt One Mile Community Centre – Home to the Yarning Shed, where identified men catch up on Saturdays to discuss brain health, connection to country, culture, yarning & dreamtime stories from elders, gaining support from each other.
- Riverview Neighbourhood Watch – The Watch group represents residents to help improve the quality of life for people of all ages, religions and cultural backgrounds by encouraging interaction and community.
For more information about the 2024 Ipswich Australia Day Awards, visit Ipswich Australia Day Awards.