Seven selfless Townsville locals named Australia Day Award winners

Townsville’s most outstanding citizens have been recognised for their efforts with today’s Australia Day Award live stream.

Mayor Jenny Hill said the winners exemplified what it meant to go above and beyond for the community.

“We have a hard time picking our Australia Day Award winners each year because the quality of nominees is always so high.

“It’s with great pleasure that I announce that Douglas Millican as the Citizen of the Year for his work with Northern Queensland Legacy. Douglas works tirelessly to represent Legacy in his community and volunteers countless hours to this important cause. Congratulations Douglas,” Cr Hill said.

“Young Citizen of the Year Kate Pemberton has made the city proud with Kate’s Campaign for Change, giving care packs to help people in need across Townsville. Kate is a shining example of how young people in Townsville can strive to make their friends and family proud while giving back to the city.

“Robyn Croft is a mainstay in the Townsville arts scene, founding the Croft-Gilchrist School of Dancing in 1971 and has given tirelessly to her students in the decades since, which is why we are proud to present her with the Arts and Culture Award this year.

“Malcolm Marks’ commitment to spreading the joy of music through aged care homes has had far reach across Townsville, showing just how much of a positive impact volunteering can have on the community. Congratulations to Malcolm for earning the Community Volunteer Award.

“Anyone who is in the know with rugby league knows that Andrew Walters has been tireless in his efforts to get kids involved in footy and to bring old clubs back to life – I’m pleased to name Andrew Walters as the winner of the Senior Sports Award.

“Jacob Fowler is an outstanding young athlete, competing in water polo and Surf Lifesaving Queensland Inter-Branch comps. The Ignatius Park student is a role model for his peers and is well deserving of this year’s Junior Sports Award.

“And last but certainly not least, Carolyn Dixon has been named the winner of the Environmental Excellence and Sustainability Award for her commitment to Magnetic Island’s national parks. Her work as the Magnetic Island National Park Volunteers coordinator is vital for protecting the island and I, along with the rest of the community, thank her for her effort.”

Australia Day Award 2022 winners

  • Citizen of the Year – Douglas Millican
    • Douglas Millican has been an integral part of North Queensland Legacy for the past six years. In that time he has mentored many legatees and currently supports 12 beneficiaries ranging from 12 to 90 years of age. He has worked hard to develop the club and its volunteer capacities, as well as incorporated Ingham, Charters Towers and Bowen into the North Queensland branch. Doug is currently the President of NQ Legacy. He works tirelessly to represent Legacy in his community and volunteers countless hours to the cause. Doug is also a member of the Townsville RAAF association and is currently the Vice President. He is a very active member within the association both attending meetings and representing at various local ceremonies. Doug also attends the local defence force resettlement seminars providing advice on life in Townsville post separation from defence. Doug’s willingness to mentor and teach members of the club, support beneficiaries and educate the wider community is unending. He has provided selfless and generous experience and mentorship to the wider community for many years. It is on this merit that Douglas is the 2022 Australia Day Citizen of the Year. Congratulations Douglas.
  • Young Citizen of the Year – Kate Pemberton
    • Kate Pemberton started a grassroots movement in 2017 called “Kate’s Campaign for Change” with the aim of donating a range of Care Packages to assist those who are in need and at risk within our local community. Relying solely on donations and the assistance of volunteers, The campaign uses Facebook as a means of giving the local community a way to help each other. There are currently 1800 people who follow the activities, many of whom are active participants in the campaign.Kate’s Campaign for Change allows locals to collect, and donate unused toiletries, preloved goods, cash and gift cards. It also gives locals a space to volunteer their time to the communities most vulnerable. A network of drop-off points have been established to make it easy for everyone to donate goods. The Care packages are then distributed to local not-for-profit organisations so that they can be utilised in conjunction with the range of assistance that the organisations have on offer. Kates Campaign for change has been featured on national television programme Sunrise. In addition to Kate’s campaign, she also volunteers her time at the Good Shepheard Nursing Home and Townsville Women’s centre. Kate stands by the ethos that “each one of us can make a difference, and together we can make change”. Congratulations Kate on receiving the 2022 Young Citizen of the Year.
  • Arts & Culture Award – Robyn Croft
    • Robyn Croft is a long-standing pillar and mentor within the dance community of Townsville. After a successful career dancing on international stages with Royal Ballet, Robyn returned to Townsville to open her successful dance studio Croft-Gilchrist School of Dancing in 1971. Robyn has taught thousands of Townsville students over five decades. Many students have gone onto dance professionally themselves. The Croft-Gilchrist School of Dancing regularly volunteer their time at many community events. Further to this, Robyn has played a significant role in helping to establish the North Queensland Dance Company. Robyn is a humble person who lives to share her passion of dance and give back to the community which helped foster her career and love of dance.
  • Community Volunteer Award – Malcolm Marks
    • Malcolm organises events, plays instruments and sings for residents and Aged Care facilities across Townsville. His events are often themed for celebrations such as Easter and Christmas. Further to this he also he keeps things exciting for the residents with other themed concerts throughout the year, like Mexican theming, costumes included! With help from his volunteers, Malcolm unselfishly gives his time, effort and money to his musical endeavours and has provided entertainment to the elderly in our community for almost 30 years.
  • Senior Sports Award – Andrew Walters
    • Andrew Walters is a long standing sportsman within the Townsville community. He has dedicated countless hours giving Townsville youth the same opportunities he had growing up. A Townsville local, Andrew grew up playing football for Souths Rugby League. He is a passionate footballer having represented North Queensland and Queensland whilst holding a scholarship with the Canberra Raiders. He has volunteered his time and coached both junior and senior level teams with many clubs throughout Townsville. Andrew has taken on Presidency of Souths Rugby League Club est 1908. He has reinvigorated the club and re-established it in the community. He is a positive and strong role model to young sports men and women in the community. Having revitalised one of Townsville’s oldest standing clubs, Andrew has contributed to the growth and development of sport in our city for future generations. Congratulations Andrew.
  • Junior Sport Award – Jacob Fowler
    • Jacob Fowler has excelled in his chosen sports of Water Polo and Surf Life Saving despite setbacks aligned with COVID-19. Jacob is the Carew House Captain of Ignatius Park College. He has represented both North Queensland and Queensland on a national level and is set play in the National U17 Water Polo Championships this January, which will serve as selections for the Australia Team. He is a champion Surf Life Saver having won both the U17 and open age championship with a total of 6 Gold and 4 Silver Medals. When Jacob is not traveling to Brisbane for training, he volunteers his time patrolling the local beaches for Townsville Picnic Bay Surf Life Saving Club. Congratulations Jacob on receiving the 2022 Australia Day Junior Sports Award.
  • Environmental Excellence & Sustainability Award – Carolyn Dixon
    • Carolyn Dixon has been fully committed to the preservation of Magnetic Island (Yunbenun’s) natural environment for over 14 years. Yunbenun’s ecosystems are under threat by invasive weeds, threatening biodiversity and hindering the regrowth of indigenous species. With guidance from the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Services, Carolyn has took the initiative to organise a group of volunteers to hand weed the areas of significant concern. Carolyn provides leadership, care and coordination of up to 40 volunteers. Her consistency in coordinating her volunteers year long has made a significant positive impact on the ecosystems of Yunbenun. Her energy, dedication and commitment to ensuring ecological landscape restoration are a good example of excellence in conservation and sustainability.

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