John Herwig named QRL’s Central Region top volunteer

Central Region Volunteer of the Year
John Herwig’s 50 years of service to the South Kolan Sharks has been recognised with a Queensland Rugby League Central Region Volunteer of the Year Award.

John Herwig’s 50 years of service to the South Kolan Sharks has been recognised with a Queensland Rugby League Central Region Volunteer of the Year Award.

While he was very happy to have won the award, the humble John said many others were equally as deserving.

“There are heaps of people that have done as much as I have,” John said.

“I was just lucky enough to be the one to receive the award.

“Everyone does their fair share, it’s just something that I do.”

He said he was astounded to win the award and understands he was nominated by Bundaberg Rugby League through Dave Pearce.

“I was just astounded to get the award,” he said.

“It’s a fantastic honour and I appreciate it.”

John was a founding member of the South Kolan Sharks, which were actually known as the South Kolan Rabbits when he was among those to form the very first team.

He said he was playing rugby league in Bundaberg when he met a girl in South Kolan and the area was “coincidentally” forming its own team at the time.

His first game with South Kolan was played at 19 and he continued playing until he was 34.

Since then he has taken on various roles within the club and currently holds the position of president. He is also currently a board member for Northern Districts Rugby League.

John’s involved in as much as he can be for the club, right down to cooking the barbecues.

“It’s just something you do, it’s nothing spectacular,” John insisted.

“I’m only one person. There is a lot of people that give a lot of time to sport.”

Northern Districts Rugby League chairman Robert Redfern, more commonly known as Neil, said John’s volunteer of the year award was an incredible and well-deserved achievement.

“Fifty years service, especially in this time and age, we’ll probably never see it again,” Neil said.

“We’re a volunteer based organisation, to have that commitment and service is just outstanding.”

Neil said John had become a role model to young players.

“It’s very inspiring.”

He said being recognised as the Central Region Volunteer of the Year was a significant acknowledgement given the size of the region.

Neil said it stretched throughout the Wide Bay and out to the Sunshine Coast, down to the Darling Downs and as far north as the Central Highlands.

“It’s one of the biggest regions in rugby league in the country geographically speaking.”

Mayor Jack Dempsey was pleased to be able to congratulate John on receiving the award in person as they gathered to watch the South Kolan Sharks and Avondale Tigers face off in the grand final on the weekend.

“John is an inspiration to many in the Bundaberg Region,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“He would be the last person to talk about his own achievements which makes it all the more special to see the local rugby league community has sought this recognition on his behalf.

“People like John are one of the reasons rugby league and sport in general continues to thrive within our region.”

John said he enjoyed the weekend’s game despite his side’s defeat.

He said South Kolan Sharks were always on the lookout for new players and encouraged anyone interested in participating to contact the club.


  1. Congratulations Beryl and John Herwig, what a fabulous and well deserved award for the both of you. John being the receiver of the award and for you as well Beryl knowing that no volunteering milestones are possible without the support of the volunteer’s partners and colleagues, something that John openly acknowledges often.

    I noticed when Linda Carter and I were up in Bundaberg the absolute passion that John displays when talking about the beloved South Kolan Sharks. A heartfelt passion that only a dedicated person can display. Such commitment to a community institution over such a period, that benefits so many people on so many levels most especially the youth of our country makes him even more deserving of the award. Great work John and I am so glad to be able to call you my brother in law and mate.

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