From humble beginnings as friends drumming on Bargara's foreshores in 2002 to having three drum circles around the region, Unity Drummers Inc. was recognised as Community Group of the Year at the Bundaberg Region’s 2024 Australia Day Awards.
The group has grown to over 60 members and 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 Drummer’s Lester Lewis said they were absolutely thrilled to receive the award.
“I think these awards are really important because you don’t go and do things so you might get recognised,” he said.
“You just do what you do and then this happens anyway.
“I think people can see we are genuine in what we do, but also see the benefits of just working together in the community in a fun way.”
Lester said community was ingrained in him from a young age.
“My mother said to me once when I was a kid, ‘you don't just live in a community you are a part of it’ and you become totally involved,” he said.
“I've done that all my life – wherever I've lived in Queensland.
“But also working with groups of people – it's amazing when people know that they are valued, they actually get together and want to help.”
Unity Drummers has helped Lester make connections around the world.
“I met a couple from America at full moon drumming last year and then when we went to America on a holiday they looked after us when we went to their hometown and took us to a massive drum circle,” he said.
“We're always looking for other opportunities for people to join.
“They're a great bunch of people, they really are.”