REVEALED: Region’s citizens of the year announced
Local champions have been recognised with the Bundaberg region's 2021 Australia Day Award winners announced today.
Nathan Freeman was named the region's Citizen of the Year, joining an impressive list of award winners for this year.
Professionally, Mr Freeman is a town planner but he has also served as an Auxiliary Firefighter since 2010.
But it's his role as a volunteer in the community where his spirit shines through.
Jeff McColl was named Senior Citizen of the Year.
Mr McColl moved to the region 50 years ago and is in a leadership role with the local Meals on Wheels.
Under his guidance, the local organisation delivered 62,067 meals last year during the covid crisis, an increase of 10,667 on the previous year.
20-year-old Maddison Devine was names Junior Citizen of the Year who has found many ways to give back to the community.
An elected member of the Catholic Parish Stewardship Council, Ms Devine has used her time on the council to help run parish events and fundraisers.
She has also established her own earring business and through a collaboration with Bundaberg Tourism she helps promote the region with her collection based on the Great Barrier Reef.
Milbi Magic Mosaics was names Community Group of the Year.
Lead by local artist Paul Perry, his goal was not just to create an iconic piece of public art but to share his skill and passion with the next generation of community arts champions.
It took two years, 260 volunteers, 100,000 tiles and 6300 hours to create the Milbi Magic Mosaic which is now on display at Archies Beach.
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey said the region's typical community spirit remained strong throughout 2020 which had proven to be a challenging year.
"As always our community has banded together through a difficult year and shown how resilient the Bundaberg Region is," he said.
"I commend all award winners on their dedication to our community and their continued support throughout 2020."
Award winners are selected by an independent committee made up of community members and Mayor Dempsey thanked them for their time in considering the nominations.
"Every year we receive so many worthy nominations and I don't envy the Australia Day Awards community panel their task of whittling that list down to just one award winner in each category.
"Thank you to everyone who participated in the process, not just our winners but those who took the time to place a nomination to give our community champions the recognition they deserve."
Find out more about this year's winners below.
Citizen of the Year: Nathan Freeman
On a professional level, Nathan's role as a town planner has enhanced the region and furthered its development.
He has also served as an Auxiliary Firefighter since 2010.
But it's as a volunteer that his true community spirit shines through.
Whether promoting sport through Diggers Football Club and Falcons Rugby Union Club or performing for the iconic City of Bundaberg Drum Corps, Nathan always gives it his all.
Board membership of Regional Housing Limited, Urban Development Institute of Australia, Bundaberg Chamber of Commerce and the Waves Sports Club also illustrate Nathan's tremendous influence for good in many aspects of our community.
Senior Citizen of the Year: Jeff McColl
Jeff moved to the Bundaberg Region almost 50 years ago and over that time has established himself as a true stalwart of the community.
The outstanding leadership he has offered Meals on Wheels has topped his list of achievements for 2020.
Under his guidance Meals on Wheels Bundaberg delivered 62,067 meals last year, throughout the COVID crisis. This was an increase of 10,667 over the previous year.
Jeff joined the Lions Club of Bundaberg in 1998 and remains an active member sharing in the groups many achievements including the installation of a Peace Pole in Buss Park.
He was also heavily involved in a number of cricket and tennis associations, helping to develop the sports in the region.
Junior Citizen of the Year: Maddison Devine
At just 20 years of age, Maddison has already found so many ways to give back to her local community.
She has donated her time as an elected member of the Catholic Parish Stewardship Council since 2016, assisting in running many parish events and fundraisers.
Her times and talents have benefited many local events including Relay for Life and Cycle Fest.
Maddison's entrepreneurial spirit has seen her create her own earring business and, through a collaboration with Bundaberg Tourism, help to promote the region with her collection based on the Great Barrier Reef.
Community Group of the Year: Milbi Magic Mosaics
It took two years, 260 volunteers, 100,000 tiles and 6300 hours to create the Milbi Magic Mosaic.
Now on display at the Archies Beach amenities block this public art exemplifies community spirit with school groups, Indigenous organisations, artists and community members all taking part.
Led by Bargara-based artist Paul Perry, his goal was not just to create an iconic piece of public art but to share his skill and passion with the next generation of community arts champions.