The Griffith Australia Day Awards held on Saturday 13 March left few who attended in any doubt about the truth of the old saying, “Giving is its own reward.”
As one of the attendees commented: it is refreshing in a time of so much outrage and anxiety to stop and celebrate those who give so much to the community.
The Griffith awards recognise volunteers who perform extraordinary or outstanding voluntary work in the Griffith electorate. Locals nominate volunteers from the community to acknowledge their remarkable efforts. A committee then selects the recipients.
Kevin Rudd initiated the awards 20 years ago when he was a member for Griffith, and current member Terri Butler has continued the tradition.
“These awards are a wonderful example of the work that people do voluntarily to contribute to their community. Every single person in this room is making a contribution to your community. You’re doing it not because you seek recognition or reward for effort, you’re doing it because you think it’s the right thing to do and you want to help,” Ms Butler said.
Ms Butler observed that in the year of the pandemic we needed the support of our community volunteers more than ever in areas as diverse as the environment, the arts, sports, the community, and civil liberties.
“For whatever you’re done, you’ve made a difference.”
This year’s recipients are listed below with a summary of their nominations.
Candi Kelly, Barny Barnhill, Julie Barnhill, Andrew Grace, Noel Murray, Carl McAlevey, Rodger Graf, and Ben Goodwin – Community Friends
Many in West End will know of and may even support Community Friends: a local organisation that collects and delivers food to our most vulnerable community members. They are in Bunyapa Park each Wednesday afternoon.
Luanne Carter – Royals Netball Club
Lu has made a tremendous contribution to the Royals Netball Club, managing registration, encouraging participation, and making everyone feel welcome and supported, with a smile on her face.
Nicole Carey – Camp Hill P&C Association
Nicole has dedicated her time to the Camp Hill P&C Association through various roles over the years. Nicole spends an enormous amount of time supporting the school. She has been described as “a superwoman for her calm, happy and inclusive demeanour.
Bill Dahl – Lions Club of Brisbane Camp Hill Carindale
Bill is the President of the Lions Club of Brisbane Camp Hill Carindale. He is an outstanding community leader, who volunteers his time to people of all ages by assisting school students in our local electorate to develop their public speaking and leadership skills, older people build their IT skills, and by welcoming new citizens on Australia Day.
Jeff Croll – Brisbane Holland Park Lions Club
Jeff has been a proactive and valued member of the Brisbane Holland Park Lions Club since 2006. He has held roles such as Secretary and President. Jeff has been integral to the club’s success; he’s coordinated events, fundraisers, and a food drive for those experiencing hardship during the pandemic. Jeff even procured and arranged the installation of an at-home chair lift for an elderly gentleman.
Chris Dawson and Tracey Olivieri – Friends of South Brisbane Cemetery
Chris and Tracey have worked with South Brisbane Cemetery for over 15 years. They have organised 23 community cleaning bees and over 100 other events. Friends of South Brisbane Cemetery is now the largest cemetery-related community organisation in Australia, and Chris and Tracey dedicate over 40 hours of their time each week to the cemetery.
Stephanie Ford – Norman Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee
Stephanie is the President of the Norman Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee. She cares for our Southside environment daily; in addition to her role in the Committee, she runs a community nursery, a Bushcare group, and supports other Bushcare groups in the area.
Angela Christodoulou – Queensland Koala Society
Angela is from the Queensland Koala Society, and she has put in countless hours rescuing Koalas in South-East Queensland. Angela also spends her time educating others on the risks that Koalas are facing and how they can help.
Bailey Newbold – Holland Park Meals on Wheels
Bailey volunteers at Holland Park Meals on Wheels. He gives back to the community by volunteering in the kitchen, sharing his skills as an apprentice chef with contagious enthusiasm and a can-do attitude.
Peter Talbot, Deslyn Marment, Debra Phillips, Jodi Whitton, Clare Godwin, and Keith Phillips have tirelessly run a junior rugby league club every year. In 2020 they navigated a global pandemic to keep their juniors playing.
Cate Vickers – Bulimba Community Centre
Cate is a community contributor through her work for the Bulimba Community Centre. Cate and her Committee have re-positioned the centre to turn it from a senior citizens centre to a community hub, preparing the centre for the future while honouring its history.
Ali Kadri – Charity Australia, Islamic Society of Holland Park, and Islamic Council of Queensland
Ali Kadri is an outstanding advocate for the Muslim community and against discrimination, including at the Holland Park Mosque. Ali has been the Queensland Coordinator of Charity Australia for almost a decade and a member of various advisory councils that work to build community understanding and cohesion.
Linda Francis – Bulimba Hockey Club
Linda has been the Secretary of Bulimba Bulls Hockey Club for over five years and a club member for over 20. She has worked tirelessly to create a clubhouse. Linda has even welcomed Brisbane hockey newcomers into her own home for several years.
Elizabeth started House Conspiracy in West End and is a valued member of Kurilpa Futures. She nurtures and empowers local artists and creative directors and advocates for Indigenous rights, climate change, and the environment.
The chair of the selection committee, Mr Craig Bowen OAM, said of the recipients:
“These volunteers are what Australia is famous worldwide for: across all ages, from the young to the senior members of our community.”
Ms Butler concluded the official part of the day with thanks to all recipients.
“What’s really important is that we do just take a minute to reflect on the value of community: you have all been part of that, and I want to say thank you to every single one of you. Thank you for everything you’ve done.”
See profile of Elizabeth Cowie here