Over the week Plus More will be running a daily feature highlighting the recipients of our Australia Day Awards, area by area.
Today we honour those from Surat and surrounds.
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR | Elaine McInnes
Affectionately known as ‘Maggie’, for the last 17-years Elaine has been a full-time carer for her late husband Rick. She has also devoted much time to supporting her family and assisted in raising her grandchildren.
But her dedication to her family has never stopped Maggie from always finding time for her community and friends. Passionate about the Surat community and assisting the elderly, Maggie has been an enthusiastic supporter of many local groups and charities.
Even in the most turbulent of times, Maggie’s drive to help and support the community has never wavered. Instead of enjoying her retirement, she is diligently working tirelessly to give to those less fortunate.
On a Sunday morning in Surat Maggie can be found spending hours baking delicious goodies to welcome weary travellers in to her town and make them feel at home.
One such happy traveller has even raved on the internet about the fantastic reception – Surat was nothing compared to any town ever that he had been to. Not only a friendly welcome but he was given fresh baked scones with all the trimmings!
By always going the extra mile to ensure everyone feels extremely welcome in Surat, Maggie truly embodies the Australian spirit. Maggie truly cares for people is always there for anyone in need, never expecting anything in return.
Of a night, Maggie can be found either sewing for the elderly, creating outfits for young inspiring dancers or anything else that may require mending. Otherwise she will be decorating another cake to donate to charities to raffle, or supply delicious Christmas treats to those otherwise overlooked.
Elaine is a very hard working citizen of the Surat community, and spends a lot of her time volunteering for organisations such as the Surat Diggers Races, Surat Campdraft, Surat Clay Target Club, Meals on Wheels, Surat Hospital Auxiliary, Lions Club, Surat Carols, Surat Local Ambulance Committee and the Warroo Senior Card Group – just to name a few!
Elaine has a heart of gold and quietly goes about supporting the Surat Community. Whether it is volunteering cooking, sewing, cleaning, lawn mowing or looking after pets, it is never too much hassle for Elaine and her kind actions are felt across the community.
COMMUNITY EVENT OF THE YEAR | Back to Teelba 50th Anniversary Celebration
On Saturday, 24 September 2016, the Teelba State School welcomed back more than 200 past and present students, staff and members of the wider community for an incredible celebration.
Thanks to hard-working fundraisers and generous donors, the Teelba P&C Association was able to provide free lunch and activities for all attendees, allowing the community a great day out without any financial constraints.
The Back to Teelba day kicked off with morning tea provided by the Teelba P&C and was followed by a sit down lunch where, in true Teelba style, many of members past and present were there to help out.
Formal proceedings of the day were run by the School Captains, assisted by the Member for Warrego, Ms Ann Leahy. Current students entertained the crowd, performing a song written by Josh Arnold and filmed in the local area.
The school was presented with an Honour Board for past and present students and families, so they will always be remembered for their contributions to the Teelba State School and community.
Whilst Teelba is a very small area, it is filled with big hearts and the day raised more than $10,000 which will be invested back into the school and community
CULTURAL AWARD | Surat Aboriginal Corporation
Not-for-profit organisation the Surat Aboriginal Corporation organises culturally diverse events, not just for the Surat community but throughout the entire Maranoa.
Programs have included Mums N Bubs, Homework Club and Health Eating. In Surat they have conducted workshops such as Money Tips Workshops, Kindy Program, Moving Monkey Program, White Ribbon Day, Pink Ribbon Day, Harmony Day, R U OK Day, NAIDOC events and the True Grit ICE program.
These community programs are for both Indigenous and non-indigenous community members – everyone is welcome. The community appreciate having such a proactive and valuable organisation providing so many vital services.
The development of the Surat Traditional Campsite and the Surat Interpretive Shelter by the Surat Aboriginal Corporation provide amazing historical sites that are rich in cultural heritage and an asset to the Surat Community.
The Surat Aboriginal Corporation promotes Culture & Capability, Safety & Wellbeing and Children & Schooling programs for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities – Surat is better place because of this organisation.
ACHIEVEMENT AWARD | Lloyd Harth
For the past 50 years the Harth family have run a mixed farming and grazing property at ‘Teddington’. Lloyd has an extensive history of community and industry involvement, having been on the executive committee of various organisations during that time.
For 45 years Lloyd has served his community as a qualified Justice of the Peace and has been the St George Road Rural Fire Brigade fire warden for 42 years.
He has also been a member of the Ministerial Rural Fire Council for six years and for many years a member of the Community Advisory Network, which advises and provides community health concerns to the Surat Multipurpose Health Service.
Lloyd has been a member of the Murray Darling Catchment Committee and on the executive since 2011. He was the first Chairman of the Maranoa Balonne Catchment Committee and has been an executive member since 1992. He has spent seven years as a member of the Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council.
A member for the South West on the Natural Heritage Trust Regional Assessment Panel for seven years, Lloyd has also served as vice-president and treasurer for Ag Force Southern Inland Region and Ag Force representative on the QDMC Committee.
Lloyd was a member of the Surat Masonic Lodge and served in the position of Secretary for 23 years until its warrant was surrendered. Whilst his children attended school, he played an active part in the Surat P&C Association, as well as the Surat Pony Club of which he was a committee member.
Lloyd has been a member of the Surat Bowls Club since 1976 and received a Life Membership in 2004, having spent many years on the Executive Committee.
As a qualified Bowls Coach and Umpire he has regularly instructed community members and school children across the region on all aspects of the game of bowls.
He is also a Member of the Maranoa Divisional Bowls Association, Maranoa/Warrego District Bowls Association and a delegate to the Bowls Queensland State Council.
Lloyd is a tireless worker for the club. He can be found in the kitchen every Friday evening cooking and providing meals for members and visitors alike. He has been and still is the backbone of the club.
Lloyd is a volunteer who has made a huge contribution to his community, selflessly giving to so many committees and organisations for many years.
JUNIOR SPORTS AWARD | Tom Schutt
An outstanding young sportsman, Tom has successfully represented himself, his school and his region for Athletics and Cricket. His vast achievements include representing South West School Sport Athletics for discus at the Queensland State Athletics Championships and representing South West School Sport Cricket at the State Cricket Championships.
His vast achievements include representing South West School Sport Athletics for discus at the Queensland State Athletics Championships and representing South West School Sport Cricket at the State Cricket Championships.
Tom achieved the impressive feat of breaking the Surat State High School high jump record, has won Age Champion and Primary School Champion at the Surat State School Athletics Carnival, and was the Surat State School Sports Captain for 2016.
A true sport enthusiast, Tom regularly participates in community sports such as rugby league, touch football and cricket.
Tom is a truly worthy ambassador for his school and a high performer in his many selected sports.
SPORTS AWARD | Barbara Cooper
For the past 40 years, Barbara has been an ambassador for Surat and the Maranoa across a wide variety of horse sports.
What began as a love of Pony Club as an adolescent has developed into a life time of commitment and competition in the equestrian arena.
During the last 12 months Barbara has competed at Dalby, Wallumbilla, Miles, Roma and St George shows, winning a collection of ribbons at each show.
Her most recent achievement was winning Elementary Champion at the championships in Roma in October 2016, riding a horse she trained and educated herself.
Another feat in November occurred when Barbara, in memory of the late Jeffery Dean, rode his horse at The Dalby DARC Stockman’s Challenge, successfully placing in two events.
Barbara is an outstanding sportsperson, always striving to improve not only her own performance but that of her horse.
She has an outstanding record of achievement not only as a competitor, but as a trainer, instructor, judge and ambassador for Equestrian sport in the Maranoa.
MEMBER CONTRIBUTION | Ronald Thompson
An active community member involved with many different groups, Ronald has been a dedicated member of the Surat Fishing & Restocking Club for over 25 years and is currently Vice- President.
Ronald is heavily involved in all fundraising activities, with funds raised going to the purchase of fingerlings to restock the waterways. Not only does this enhance the river system, it also provides great enjoyment to fishing enthusiasts.
Ronald helps to organise and participate in Clean Up Australia Day and Take A Kid Fishing Day, both vital community events. The Surat Fishing Club holds a Family Fishing & Carp Buster competition every year. Ronald helps to organise and participate in Clean Up Australia Day and Take A Kid Fishing Day, both vital community events. The Surat Fishing Club holds a Family Fishing & Carp Buster competition every year.
Ronald helps to organise and participate in Clean Up Australia Day and Take A Kid Fishing Day, both vital community events. The Surat Fishing Club holds a Family Fishing & Carp Buster competition every year.
Ronald is involved in the organising, set-up and clean-up, as well as spending many hours weighing in fish and disposing of the Noxious Carp in a proper manner.
The Fishing Club is contracted by the Maranoa Regional Council to maintain the freshwater aquarium in the Cobb & Co Changing Station Complex.
Ronald devotes many hours on a weekly basis monitoring water, cleaning tanks and filters, collecting crayfish and feeding the fish.
His dedication not only raises money for the Fishing & Restocking Club, but provides much enjoyment to the community and travelling public.
The Freshwater Aquarium is talked about Australia wide and is a great tourist attraction in Surat.
Ronald is a much valued member of the Surat Fishing & Restocking Club and through this makes a valuable contribution to the town of Surat.
ANDREA MURRAY MEMORIAL AWARD (REGIONAL) | Elaine McInnes
A new award introduced in 2016, the Andrea Murray Memorial Award was donated by David Murray, in memory of his wife Andrea, in recognition of people who have made a noteworthy contribution during the year and/or given outstanding services to the disability sector for a number of years. The engraved Andrea Murray Memorial Trophy will be on display at the Maranoa Regional Council office in Surat.
Elaine has been nominated for this award because of her commitment to looking after and caring for her husband Rick for the past decade.
Elaine devoted herself to caring for Rick, whilst maintaining her involvement with the community and helping others.
She is actively involved with the Warroo Community Group and their fundraising efforts, which has made substantial donations to groups that support Motor Neurone disease sufferers, and Soldier On.
So much of what Elaine does is in her own time without recognition or acknowledgement.
It is her giving of time and thinking of the small details that makes Elaine so valuable to both the people she is involved with, and the community as a whole.