During National Volunteer Week, 9-15 May, the 2016 Queensland Volunteering Awards were held to honour the extraordinary and valuable work being done every day in our communities.

The awards presentation was held on Friday 13 May in the Brisbane Room of Brisbane City Hall.

The awards were presented across four categories:

  • Youth Volunteering Award
  • Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award
  • Volunteering Impact Award
  • Corporate Volunteering Award

Thank you to the dignitaries who attended and honoured the nominees, finalists and recipients:

  • Ros Bates MP, Shadow Minister for Community Services
  • Wayne Briscoe, Excutive Director, Department of Communities
  • Phil Carney, Community Recovery, Department of Communities
  • Dr Stacey Hassall, Office for Community Sector and Industry, Department of Communities
  • Col Barker, Office for Volunteering, Department of Communities
  • Vivi Zammit, Office for Seniors, Department of Communities
  • Leonie Saunders, Office for Youth, Department of Communities
  • Amy Casley, Strategic Communication and Engagement, Department of Communities

The Queensland Volunteering Awards are proudly supported by the Queensland Government

Queensland Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award

Recipient – Lillian Burke

Our winner of the Lifetime Commitment to Volunteering Award is an Aboriginal woman of the language group “Butchulla/Kabi Kabi” who experienced a childhood of extreme disadvantage as part of the Stolen Generation. The number of organisations that she has been involved with as a volunteer is extraordinary and I’d like to mention some of them:

  • She is president of the Cooloola Aboriginal Services Inc. – an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander based not for profit organisation 
  • the Indigenous Advisory Committee for Fraser Island World Heritage Area  
  • the South Pacific Strategic Solutions initiative  
  • Lillian coordinates all National Aboriginal and islander Day of Commemoration (NAIDOC) celebrations annually in Gympie 
  • She project manages Yarn-Up for Jobs which has helps young people find employment 
  • She volunteers her time to the Gympie State High School to support the endeavours of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students  
  • She runs and coordinates a Leadership Camp for Indigenous high school girls from Gympie State High School  
  • She supports a range of agencies in the Gympie community assisting with building the rapport between Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander community and the Non-Indigenous community 
  • She supports a healthy eating cooking program for young indigenous mums at a playschool 
  • There are many other Government, religious and academic and organisations that she supports in an advisory and support capacity, which you can read about in her bio in the program. 
  • She assists the Workforce Council for non-Indigenous foster carers to understand and assist with fostering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children 
  • She volunteers support to urban and Indigenous health services, education authorities, the Tenants Advice Bureau, Drug and Alcohol agencies, agencies tasked with addressing homelessness and domestic violence and many others. 
  • She supports all organisations in Gympie (Government, non-government, Indigenous and non-Indigenous and other) and volunteers her services on a full time basis to the betterment of All Australians. She seldom has much time for herself but enjoys giving to community.  

Lillian sums up her life role in her community by saying that she works to share an understanding of where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are coming from, their past history and that their history and culture are embedded in them and will continue to be for future generations. She says: “She is not here to change the world but to ensure that all acknowledge the past and understand and to make it a better place where everyone can be equal to each other.” 

The selection panel were taken aback by the sheer number of organisations that she supports in her community as an advisor and through her work. They were particularly impressed with how many of those programs are having such a positive effect on the next generation.  

Finalist – John Lee

It was a very close call between the first and second runners up in this category but the first runner up for this award is Mr John Lee who has been with the Queensland SES services for over 40 years. During this time he helped people during their darkest hour when they were affected by natural disasters and other crises. The selection panel thought that his story was particularly touching. Through his nomination we learned that John is a warm, caring, optimistic and determined person who simply wants to help people during their most challenging times.  

Finalist – Marcia Scholes

The second runner up is Mrs Marcia Scholes who has given 70, that is seven zero!, years of continuous service to Mission for Seafarers, Brisbane. Perhaps we could all pause for a moment of contemplate 70 years of volunteering service. The selection panel recognised that it must be challenging to offer assistance to people from other countries who find themselves in a foreign land. We also wanted to acknowledge her 50 years of service with the Anglican Mother’s Union. 

Queensland Youth Volunteer of the Year Award

Recipient – Taylor Birtchnell

Taylor began volunteering when she was 7 years old through the Guides. She has been achieved the Duke of Edinburgh Silver and Gold awards.  

Some of the projects that Taylor has been involved in include: 

  • Regular visits to the elderly at Ormiston House 
  • A 2 year involvement with Daughters of Promise 
  • Caring for native and domestic wildlife at the Redlands Veterinary Clinic 
  • a librarian assistant at her school for 7 years 
  • she established EXO Day at her school which raised awareness of mental health issues in the school community, but also benefitted parents, teachers and the wider business community 
  • She founded Calvary Cares school program which promotes a caring school community by handing out free hot chocolate and biscuits and a chat  
  • #bringbackourgirls in association with Amnesty International to raise awareness about the kidnapped Nigerian school girls and social justice in general 

Finalist – Claire Kelly

Claire Kelly is a passionate advocate for women’s rights. She has travelled to Fiji and Vanuatu to tutor children in orphanages and she is involved with many local charities . Her local community benefits as Claire is involved with the annual Christmas carols event and annual free car wash and coffee days. She is a mentor, public speaker, youth leader and she has completed the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award. The selection panel were impressed by how much someone of her age can achieve locally but also by how she was able to translate that internationally. They felt that Claire encapsulates what volunteering is all about. 

Finalist – Tegan Lather

Tegan Lather has been a passionate fundraiser for wildlife and marine conservation since the age of 11. Over the past 6 years, Tegan has raised more than $135,000. The selection panel were impressed by how she has taken her volunteering to such a high level that she is able to generate so much income for the causes that are close to her heart.  Tegan has inspired a book that has become a commercial success, she makes volunteering fun and she has created her own event – Zoo Run – which she has used to help multiple charities. 

Queensland Corporate Volunteering Award

Recipient – Deloitte

Deloitte has partnered with Oxfam Australia since 1999 to promote the Oxfam Trailwalker fundraiser in Brisbane. This event raises $1.2 million a year for Oxfam’s work overseas. In addition the pro bono work that Deloitte provides Oxfam is currently valued at $1.4 million.  They have supported feasibility studies, strategy advice and infrastructure projects, as well as hosting workshops and offering their expertise. 

Finalist – Wilmar Sugar

Wilmar Sugar owns and operates eight sugar mills in North and Central Queensland. They run Community Support Programs that financially assist community organisations, schools, clubs and groups.  

They also support the SES and make it possible for employees to volunteer and make a difference within their communities during natural events and disasters including the 2010- 2011 Queensland floods, Cyclone Yasi, Cyclone Ita, Cyclone Oswald and Cyclone Marcia. Without volunteers with supportive employers the SES would not be able to carry out their function of supporting the community.  

Volunteering Impact Award

Recipient – Lions Club Mooloolaba

The Lions Club of Mooloolaba has run the Fisherman’s Road Sunday Markets for the past 16 years which has generated around $1.6 million in funding for local, state, national and international causes and disasters.  

The club is involved in a number of programs including  

  • Student driver education programs in conjunction with local state high schools 
  • The PA Hospital spinal unit 
  • Mater Hospital core bank 
  • Emergency accommodation shelter for victims of domestic violence 
  • Camp Duckadang a youth outreach project 
  • Drought assistance in western Queensland 
  • Bushfire assistance in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia 

The selection panel were impressed by how a relatively small number of people, around 10 people, who run the markets each week, are able to generate so much funding and help so many organisations across different levels.   

Finalist – Blue Nurses Thrift Shop

This service, which is based in Somerset, is run by 25 volunteers and has been going for 40 years. It creates opportunities for social engagement and skills development. The thrift shop was able to support Charleville after the 1990 floods and the local emergency centre after the 2011 floods.  

They have supported the ongoing services and resources of the Blue Care Community Nursing Services and the Glenwood Aged Care facility including a $250,000 contribution to the community care facilities.  

The panel felt that economically they are making a big impact on the local community which was commendable but the shop is doing more than fundraising, it provides a vital link in the life of the Lowood community. 

Finalist – Toowoomba Hospice

This organisation has been operational for 12 years with a team of around 100 volunteers. It is estimated that volunteer services save the centre around $450,000 per annum conservatively. They have helped around 1,100 clients and their families during extremely difficult times. Some of the services done by volunteers at the organisation include: cleaning,  flower arranging, preparing meals, gardening and maintenance, reception and administration duties, fundraising and many more. The selection panel noted that it must be a very well run and well trained body of volunteers to be able to run such a dependable and well-serviced organisation.  

Congratulations again to all of our recipients, finalists and nominees. We received an incredible amount of amazing volunteering stories and experiences from all over the state. It was lovely to meet and celebrate with so many changemakers at the awards ceremony.

Previous Queensland Volunteer Awards

The Queensland Volunteer awards are a time to celebrate the volunteering sector and all those who dedicate their time, energy and resources to improving peoples lives and protecting our environment.

As an organisation, we are very proud of the ongoing dedication of volunteers and volunteer managers. It is an honour to witness so many individuals come together to work towards the betterment of our communities.

We would like to share with you Snippets from the Queensland Volunteering Awards from years gone by and look forward to celebrating with you in 2020 and beyond!

View all the details of past award ceremonies from 20222021202020192018, 2017, 2016

Skip to content