Griffith Australia Day Awards 2020

By Terri Butler MP

27 February 2020

On Australia Day I announced the winners of the 21st Annual Griffith Australia Day Awards, a tradition started by my predecessor as member for Griffith and former Prime Minister the Hon. Kevin Rudd. Each of the wonderful people who received an award this year has made an enduring contribution to our community as a volunteer, seeking neither financial reward nor recognition.


Suzanne Bosanquet, from the Gabba Business Association, has been a leader in that group and has also been involved with a number of grassroots organisations and impressive projects in the Woolloongabba community. Kerry Schilling, founder of Kerry's Wildlife Rescue & Care centre, rescues and cares for animals and provides advice to others regarding injured wildlife. The dedicated founding members of the South Brisbane Men's Shed have realised their vision for a men's shed that supports fathers and male relatives of kids with autism. Darren Godwell has done extensive, varied and transformational work with First Nations people and with the West End community and beyond—nationally, at a state level and locally.

John Evans OAM dedicates six days a week to caring for the environment with the group he founded, SCRUB Catchment Care Group, and with B4C, the Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee. Greg Kerswell has kept the Bulimba Book Club alive for more than a decade. Constantine Drozdovskii is a leader in the Russian community, working to continue and support both Russian and Australian culture. Brian and Margaret Besgrove have put in countless hours and made an enormous contribution to RSL Queensland's National Servicemens Sub Branch and have supported the Nashos community. Jenny Purnell from Sing Australia volunteers for that association as well with the Cannon Hill 60 and Better Association, bringing joy to the people she sings to and visits in nursing homes. Aileen Patterson has worked tirelessly for the past 15 years preparing food and events for her Cannon Hill 60 and Better Association community. Shirley Neander always makes people feel welcome and has been a member of both the Cannon Hill 60 and Better Association and the Cannon Hill School of Arts Association for more than a decade.

Leanne Cameron from Cannon Hill Community Kindergarten, who taught my children, is a dedicated educator who has gone well beyond her paid role to support early learning for local kids for decades. Carolyn Robinson, the founder of Beyond DV, Time Out Workshops, Hope 4 Life and Bright Start, has been a burst of light and hope for families escaping violence. Jak McPhail is a crossing supervisor at Greenslopes State School, knows every student by name, and volunteers extensively throughout the school community, implementing Containers for Change and encouraging families to recycle. Alison and Robert Coombs have supported local classical music radio station 4MBS for more than 15 years. Noela Billington has volunteered at 4MBS as a classical music announcer, programmer and trainer for 20 years. Wendy Tyson has been on the board of 4MBS and has overseen the accounts and administration for more than a quarter of a century.

Barbara Clarke is a guide for people with disabilities wanting to get involved in walking or running through the Achilles Brisbane group, and, as president of the group, she has led by example, overcoming her own challenges. Mark Delbridge has been essential to saving the much-loved Coorparoo Bowls Club, which came perilously close to closing—Mark has volunteered at least thirty hours a week, doing everything from tending the bar to negotiating contracts. Nera Komaric, a refugee from the former Yugoslavia, founded World Wellness Group in my electorate and has dedicated her life to making sure culturally and linguistically diverse communities can have access to essential services. Michael Spragg and Jessica Gregg from Carina Juniors Rugby League Football Club have both worked tirelessly raising funds, organising events and running the club. Jill Lane has been with the Belmont Ladies Bowls Club for almost 20 years and is now its honorary treasurer—despite being a volunteer, she's done everything from modernising their accounts system to preparing their financial reports, handling their cash flow and implementing the Single Touch Payroll system, which I'm sure some small businesses can tell you is not easy.

I want to especially mention 92-year-old Mary Lehn, who's only just stopped running the Carina Senior Citizens Club catering department—a role she had for 15 years. She was running the catering; she did everything from buying the food, organising the people to do the serving, even doing the washing up in that catering role. She also visits residents in the Salvin Park aged-care facility and has helped with hospitality at her local church.

It's an absolutely wonderful crop of recipients for this year's Griffith Australia Day Awards. I want to thank this year's committee for advising me: Jo Culshaw, Pat Atkinson and my friend Craig Bowen OAM. I look forward to thanking all of the recipients at the ceremony that we'll be having later in the year to congratulate them all on their service to the community and their Griffith Australia Day awards.