“I am part of a community that is willing to stand up for what we believe in, and we also take pride in and take care of people who don’t have all the advantages the rest of us have”. “Any community that stands up for itself and cares for its own, I would like to belong to.”
So said Mary Maher after accepting the Westender Award on Saturday in celebration of her work as a champion of the natural environment and as a local leader.
Gabba Ward Councillor Helen Abrahams, who hosted the Local Legends Awards, reminded us in her introduction that, it is not all about winning. There appeared to be general agreement from those gathered, that this was a genuine celebration of the achievements and unique contributions of members of our community. It garnered a total of 22 nominations for local legend across six categories. Judging panellist Tim Quinn commented that selecting winners this year was a particular challenge.
As always, this event was also a celebration of our local businesses. The excellent venue and catering was provided by Miss Bliss Whole Foods Kitchen in Vulture Street, and all winners were presented with strikingly designed representations of the Kurilpa Peninsula by Hiroaki Eba of Hanasho on Boundary Street.
Co-presenters Tim Quinn, Local Member and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, and Federal Member for Griffith, Terri Butler MP, supported Cr Abrahams.
Nominated with Mary Maher for the Westender Award were:
- Phil Heywood, “…a constant and tireless advocate for creating opportunities for the involvement of communities in planning their local environments.”
- Carolyn Vincent for initiating the Go Gabba Go community building project for a more connected, safer neighbourhood in The Gabba Hill precinct.
- Erin Evans and the West End Community Association for being a “dedicated and strong advocate for better community outcomes that align with the community’s vision of West End.”
- Darren Godwell, who has, “…worked tirelessly in the local community to make West End, not just a great place to live, but an amazing place to live.”
- The West End Making History Group for creating “…a rich resource that connects the community to its history, and contributes to a strong sense of identity and pride.”
- Beverly Trimble for her tireless work with homeless people and her support for those in hospital.
- Kerrod Trott for his work of 22 years with The Westender. Kerrod was the winner of the Creativity Award.
Local Business Award
This category also attracted eight nominees. The winner was Jim McClelland, the man who has kept the Souths football club open and alive for the past 30 years.
Other nominees included Bicycle Revolution Co-Op, Fiona Stager of Avid Reader, The Westender, Justine Sinclair of Posto Cafe, local vet Megan Cusack, Nick Goding who has owns local bars,The End and The Tiki Bar, and Scott Mackinnon for his composting and recycling venture, “Ground Around Town”.
Local Environment Award
Jo Bragg with the Environmental Defenders Office took out the Local Environment Award. In presenting the award, Cr Abrahams said that Jo “… has provided invaluable legal advice and legal education to members of the public and community and environmental groups, and has made critical contributions to reforming Queensland’s environmental laws, particularly in successful advocacy for expanded third-party enforcement rights.”
Frank Jordan best known as “The Butterfly Man”, and Jacqui Purse, who has transformed the Jane Street Community Garden and Davies Park natural environments, were the other worthy nominees in this category.
Working with Youth Award
The joint winners for the Working with Youth Award were Dimitra Athanasas and Eleftheria Halicos for their voluntary work at West End State School over many years.
Gaeyl Crisp a volunteer at Dutton Park State School, and Cathryn Giddy a respected volunteer teacher aide at West End State School were also nominated.
Engaging with the Community
The very popular winner of the inaugural Engaging with the Community Award (judging by the many ‘likes’ on Facebook) was well known local identity, Tony Robertson.
In presenting this award, Jackie Trad said that Tony, “… is a person who gives generously of his time for the betterment of the West End community.”
Tony works with West End Community House and with Micah and as an avid photographer is a chronicler of community campaigns and events, particularly those with a social justice focus.
After his win, Tony posted on Facebook,
“I am so grateful and humbled by those who nominated me for the Community Engagement Award. I owe so much to the late Aunty Maureen Watson, who was my first mentor into the local community. You cannot be a local legend on your own, and I acknowledge the relationships and opportunities that have come my way to inspire and encourage my community engagement.”
Kerrod Trott now adds the Creativity Award to his recent Community Action Network Award, for his 22 years of telling West End’s stories through the Westender and for offering an alternative community voice on social justice issues. Nominated with him for this award was the West End Making History Group.
In her concluding remarks, Nicole Lessio, Labor’s Gabba Ward candidate for the coming elections made her commitment, should she win, to continuing the Local Legends tradition. And she thanked Helen Abrahams, who many would say is a local legend in her own right, for hosting the event.