Australia Day awards

    Alyssa Stewart getting involved in the Australia Day tradition of backyard cricket. Photos: SHANE ZAHNER

    At the Australia Day Awards ceremony held in Gympie’s Memorial Park, Sean Connelly was presented with the Citizen of the Year title by Gympie Regional Council Mayor Glen Hartwig, in recognition of his hard work and commitment to helping others in the Gympie region.

    Cr Hartwig thanked Sean for his years of service to the community.

    “Sean has volunteered his valuable time over the years to help several local community organisations, including Bendigo Bank, Country to Coast Queensland, and The Salvation Army just to name a few.

    “Sean is passionate about helping others in our community and this is one of the primary reasons why he was awarded Citizen of the Year,” he said.

    Eight other award recipients were announced as part of Australia Day celebrations.

    Sienna Arthur was awarded the Young Citizen of the Year for her various volleyball achievements, involvement with the Rainbow Beach Surf Club, and becoming School Captain at Tin Can Bay State School.

    Georgia Nugent and Savanna Stey both received the Sports Award.

    Georgia has been competing in Special Olympics sports for several years, including soccer, gymnastics, and athletics. Georgia was recently selected to represent Australia in gymnastics at the World Games.

    Savanna is an accomplished air rifle and smallbore target shooter who competed in the Oceania Championships as a member of the Australian Team.

    Mikaela Sima received the Creative Award for her unwavering passion for enriching the community through diverse cultural initiatives and involvement with several organisations and committees, including the Gympie Show and the Gympie Music Muster.

    Mikaela is also the owner and operator of ‘Moments by Mikaela,’ which is a local business that specialises in wedding and event planning, and decoration hire.

    Friends of Amamoor received the Community Group of the Year Award for their continued commitment to improving the liveability of the township of Amamoor.

    The organisation, which is comprised of dedicated residents, continues to apply for funding to upgrade several local facilities and hosts the monthly “Cheers and Beers” event, which is a big hit amongst locals and visitors to the region.

    Cooloola BMX Club was awarded the Community Event of the Year Award for successfully hosting the QLD State BMX Championships in September 2023, which saw over 950 riders from across Queensland compete in the region.

    Glastonbury Hall and Recreation Association (GHRA) was awarded the Community Organisation of the Year Award.

    GHRA is a not-for-profit organisation that has been servicing the community since the early 1900s.

    GHRA supports our community by creating a warm, welcoming, and friendly environment that continues to attract and host events for the residents of Glastonbury and the surrounding regions to enjoy.

    Michael Condon received the Resilience Award for his continued advocacy work in the disability community, which includes facilitating the monthly Queenslanders with Disability Network Peer Support Group meetings.

    Gympie Regional Council Mayor Glen Hartwig says The Australia Day Awards is one of his favourite days every year because he get to share the stage with some of Gympie region’s most talented and hardest-working residents.

    “I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the 40 new Australian citizens that made the pledge to call our beautiful country home,” he said.