Amber Brown and Molly Patterson getting into the Australia Day spirit at Harbour Beach.
Amber Brown and Molly Patterson getting into the Australia Day spirit at Harbour Beach. Emma Murray

AUSTRALIA DAY AWARDS: Spotlight on our community spirit

WHILE the controversy surrounding our national day continues to swirl, our Australia Day award recipients fill me with hope and pride for our community.

This new community I have chosen to call home is filled to the brim with people who embody the spirit of what I believe it means to be Australian.

Hard-working, selfless Aussies who help their communities in an unassuming manner.

CAN YOU ACE OUR AUSTRALIA DAY TEST?

Kathryn George has dedicated her life to ensuring regional students in Mackay had access to quality music programs, with more than 40 students now boasting a career in music since she began in 1979.

Firefighter Nigel Burnell and Paramedic John Hammond have served Queensland's regions for decades.

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO AUSTRALIA DAY ACROSS MACKAY IN 2019

Their selfless actions are among so many we should celebrate today and I congratulate each and every one of our award winners.

We all need to ask ourselves how we can make a difference too.

Australian Fire Service Medal: Nigel Burnell

Now stationed in the Mackay region since 1987, Nigel Burnell has worked for the Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting Service or 49 years

Ambulance Service Medal: John Hammond

Starting his career in 1998 with the Queensland Ambulance Service as an ambulance officer in Mackay, he was appointed as a paramedic the following year.

OAM: Kathryn George

Dedicated to enhancing student learning and well-being through the power of music, Kathryn George has made a name for herself in the teaching world.

Kathryn George, who is the head of performing arts at Mackay North State High School can reveal today that she is receiving an Order of Australia Medal.
Kathryn George, who is the head of performing arts at Mackay North State High School can reveal today that she is receiving an Order of Australia Medal. Emma Murray

Mackay 2019 Citizen of the Year: Meecham Philpott

Best known for his booming voice behind a microphone, the Mackay 2019 Citizen of the Year is a larger-than-life character. 

RADIO: Meecham Philpott of ABC Tropical North.
RADIO: Meecham Philpott of ABC Tropical North.

2019 Australia Day Mackay Young Citizen of the Year: Taleiyah Minniecon

Taleiyah Minniecon has already helped influence decision-making as a passionate young voice for the region.

Lori Burgess Community Volunteer Award: Judy Johnson

IF you've ever had a Christmas gift wrapped at Caneland Central there's a good chance Judy Johnson was the whiz with the paper and ribbon.

Australia Day 2019 Mackay Environmental Achievement Award: Lynette Keir

Lynette Keir is passionate about everything from our natural environment to homegrown produce.

Kellie Woodford and Lynette Keir have been learning chainsaw skills under the watchful eye of 'the chainsaw whisperer' Rod Miller.
Kellie Woodford and Lynette Keir have been learning chainsaw skills under the watchful eye of 'the chainsaw whisperer' Rod Miller. Emma Murray

 

Australia Day 2019 Mackay Arts and Culture Award: Dominic McCarthy

Dominic McCarthy has been a ballet dancer with Theatre Arts Mackay Dance Excellence for the past 12 years.

Australia Day 2019 Mackay Community Group Award: Grapevine Group

Grapevine Group has trained nearly 5000 people in the Mackay region in life saving suicide prevention training.

Australia Day 2019 Mackay Senior Sports Award: Trent Dyson

Trent Dyson is entering his 20th year of volunteering his own time teaching and instructing karate at the Mackay PCYC.

Mackay touch player Shameus Edwards will represent Australia at the youth touch world cup in Kuala Lumpur.
Mackay touch player Shameus Edwards will represent Australia at the youth touch world cup in Kuala Lumpur. Daniel McKenzie

Australia Day 2019 Mackay Junior Sports Award:  Shameus Edwards' and Keeley Walker

Shameus Edwards' and Keeley Walker's dedication and commitment to their beloved sports, touch football and hockey, is inspiring.