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Region’s 2024 Australia Day Award winners

Australia Day Award winners
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey congratulated the 2024 Bundaberg Region Australia Day Award winners who were recognised in a special ceremony.

From a lifelong commitment to surf or fire safety to a young man’s inspirational achievements after overcoming health challenges – this year’s Australia Day Award winners have been announced.

Mayor Jack Dempsey has congratulated the 2024 Bundaberg Region Australia Day Award winners who were recognised in a special ceremony today.

The annual Australia Day Awards recognise groups and individuals in the Bundaberg Region whose exceptional contributions have made a positive impact on the community.

Mayor Dempsey said each of the award winners were truly remarkable.

“Each year I am privileged to honour the unwavering dedication displayed by the Australia Day Award winners, and this year’s winners are nothing short of inspirational,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Their tireless contributions demonstrate what I always say – that the Bundaberg Region community is the most generous and giving in all of Australia, if not the world.

“On behalf of the entire community, thank you to our award winners for the time and dedication you have shown to the Bundaberg Region.”

2024 Australia Day Award winners

Citizen of the Year – Craig Holden

Craig, a lifelong Bundaberg resident, has made remarkable contributions to the community, particularly in Surf Life Saving, where he is celebrated for his exceptional service.

From the age of five, he has dedicated decades of his life to the cause, serving as the Wide Bay Capricorn Regional Development Officer/Manager/Operations Manager for Surf Life Saving Queensland from 1997 to 2021.

In 2023, Craig received a Surf Life Saving Queensland Life Membership and was honoured with a National Medal, Second Clasp, recognising 35 years of active patrolling as a volunteer surf lifesaver.

A Branch, State, and National Champion in Surf Sports for almost 40 years, Craig's dedication to saving lives, coaching and inspiring young surf lifesavers is commendable.

He actively promotes Surf Life Saving and surf safety through radio reports and extensive community service.

Craig's volunteer roles range from patrol captain to surf coach, coach mentor and selector for Queensland and Australian Surf Lifesaving Teams.

Craig's exceptional character, dedication and leadership make him a valuable asset to Surf Life Saving Queensland, and his contributions to community safety and engagement make him a deserving candidate for recognition on Australia Day.

Australia Day Award winners
The 2024 Bundaberg Region Australia Day Award winners Craig Holden, Carey Mitchell, Christian Lane-Krebs, Moore Park Beach Arts Inc and Unity Drummers Inc celebrate at a special ceremony.

Senior Citizen of the Year – Carey Mitchell

At 76 years old, Carey has made remarkable contributions to the Bundaberg Region’s community through his dedicated service as the First Officer of the Burnett Heads Rural Fire Brigade.

Over his two-decade volunteering journey, Carey has played a pivotal role in transforming the brigade into one of the most competent and valued units in the area.

Under his leadership, the brigade has become a critical and highly regarded community service, evidenced by Carey's impressive record of attending over 50 fires in the past year alone.

Despite his age, Carey's dedication to serving the brigade as long as his health permits him to reflects his selflessness commitment to the public good.

Carey's actions as First Officer have not only enhanced the safety and progression of the Bundaberg Region but have also contributed to its esteemed image, making him a valuable asset to the community.

Young Citizen of the Year – Christian Lane-Krebs

Christian stands out as a beacon of Bundaberg's exceptional youth talent with his remarkable achievements in community service, academics and sport.

Notably, he has secured podium finishes in the Australian Rowing Championships and holds six world records, putting Bundaberg on the national and global map.

Despite facing health challenges and hospitalisations, Christian, the former school captain of Kepnock in 2022, remains unwavering in his pursuit of becoming a doctor, earning admission to the CQUni/UQ Rural Medical school program.

Beyond his athletic prowess, Christian actively engages in community service, participating in Anzac Day commemorations, aiding the homeless, advocating for disability inclusion and championing First Nations people's health.

Christian's impact extends beyond local boundaries, as seen in his role as one of the youngest presenters at the 2023 Disability Conference.

His presentation was so well-received that it was developed into an accredited micro-course by the university.

Christian's resilience and service leave an indelible mark on Bundaberg and serve as an inspiration both for and beyond the community.

Australia Day Award winners
All of the Bundaberg Region's 2024 Australia Day Award nominees.

Community Group of the Year – Unity Drummers Inc.

From humble beginnings as friends drumming on Bargara's shores in 2002, Unity Drummers Inc. has evolved into a vibrant community group with over 60 members and over 1000 Facebook followers.

Unity Drummers Inc. has become a beacon of unity, promoting health and well-being through the transformative power of communal drumming.

The weekly and monthly drumming circles have emerged as a community staple, fostering social engagement and providing a unique form of brain exercise.

All ages and abilities find common ground in the rhythm of the drums, creating an inclusive space that brings families and communities together.

Unity Drummers Inc. is more than drumming; they also give back to the community.

Each year, they nominate local charities for support and actively participate in various local events.

Community Event of the Year – Moore Park Beach Arts Festival

The Moore Park Beach Arts Festival, born in the late 1990s, started with local artists' workshops before evolving into a community-driven event highlighting art, tourism and local businesses.

The two-day festival kicks off with a junior launch featuring a combined choir, and recent additions like the Schools Art Competition have been a remarkable success.

The Art Awards, a festival highlight, has experienced substantial growth last with a 70% increase in entries in 2022 and a further 15% in 2023.

The event includes over 100 market stalls, 20 food vendors, youth-focused activities and a showcase of performing arts from 10 am to 8 pm.

Moore Park Beach Arts Inc. collaborates with various community organisations to elevate the festival's success, including the Moore Park Beach Community Association, Moore Park Lions, Scouts, the Pink House, Men's Shed and more.

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