The Bundaberg Region’s 2021 Australia Day Award winners have been announced with Nathan Freeman named Citizen of the Year.
Nathan joined an impressive list of award winners which included Senior Citizen of the Year Jeff McColl, Junior Citizen of the Year Maddison Devine and Community Group of the Year Milbi Magic Mosaics.
Bundaberg Regional Council 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,” Mayor Dempsey 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.”
2021 Australia Day Award winners
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 benefitted 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: 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.
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