Nine Sunshine Coast residents were recognised for their outstanding contributions to the Sunshine Coast region at a special ceremony today (March 22) to announce this year’s Sunshine Coast Australia Day Award recipients.
Buderim’s Mark Ellis was named Citizen of the year for his tireless work advocating to improve the lives of those less fortunate in the community and for collective action to put a stop to homelessness.
Through his role as Community Development Coordinator at the Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre, Mark co-ordinated the One Roof Program, which provides everything from hot showers and haircuts to mental health and medical support , for people who are homeless.
In one year, the One Roof Program has provided free meals for more than 23,000 vulnerable people and services for more than 9,000 people.
He helped launch Sunny Street’s very first medical outreach clinic, which seeks to provide free medical assistance to the vulnerable.
Mark has also helped raise $200,000 for the coast’s first sleep bus for men, women and children.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson, on behalf of Sunshine Coast Council and the Sunshine Coast community, congratulated each Sunshine Coast Australia Day Award nominee at the ceremony.
“There are so many outstanding stories of community spirit, inspiration and comradery, which gives us all hope for 2022 and beyond,” Mayor Jamieson said
“As a nominee in these awards, you represent so much of what is great about the Sunshine Coast and why it is such an enjoyable and desirable place to live.
“Your efforts help build community vitality and resilience and are an integral part of the social fabric of our region.
“Each one of our nominees has made a difference to our Sunshine Coast in the past 12 months, and I’m sure will continue to do so into the future.”
2022 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Award Recipients.
- Senior Citizen of the Year – James (Jim) Coles
- Young Citizen of the Year (TIE) – Jack Watson and Sophie Greenhalgh
- Environment – ECOllaboration
- Sport and Rec – Dr Bridie Kean
- Community – Mooloolaba Surf Life Saving Club
- Creative (TIE) – John Waldron and Toni Eggleston
The 2022 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Award recipients were nominated by the community and selected by a panel of local leaders, including the 2017 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Young Citizen of the Year, Jak Hardy, Angela Lisle (TAFE Queensland), Caroline Campbell (Seven Network) and John Williams (92.7 MixFM).
The 2022 Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards are organised by Sunshine Coast Council and proudly supported by 7 News Sunshine Coast, 92.7 Mix FM, Maroochy RSL, Sunshine Coast Daily, TAFE Queensland and Living Smart Sunshine Coast.
Citizen of the Year – supported by Seven News Sunshine Coast
Mark Ellis [Buderim]
Mark Ellis is a dedicated advocate and community worker, fighting homelessness on the Sunshine Coast. Between 2019 – 2021 he volunteered over 250 hours. Through his role at the Maroochydore Neighbourhood Centre, Mark coordinated the 2019-21 One Roof Program which provides a range of support and services to almost 10,000 vulnerable people. He also collaborated with Sunny Street to launch their first medical outreach clinic, which seeks to provide free medical assistance to the vulnerable. Following the murder of a gentleman who had been sleeping rough, Mark has also helped raise $200,000 for the Coast’s first sleep bus for men, women and children.
Senior Citizen of the Year – supported by Maroochy RSL
James (Jim) Coles [Flaxton]
James (Jim) Coles is RangeCare’s longest serving volunteer with 27 years of voluntary service. Jim has served as Blackall RangeCare Group’s voluntary Management Committee for 14 years. The last three years of his time on the Management Committee, Jim served as Vice President. Jim raised funds for renovations to the RangeCare site in Flaxton and raised $460,000 for a new building in 1994. Jim remains an active member of the organisation and currently volunteers at least twice a week in RangeCare’s Op Shop in Mapleton.
Young Citizen of the Year – supported by 92.7 MixFM
Jack Watson [Dulong]
Jack is very involved in his school community and his co-curricular activities include being Co-founder of the school’s Debate Club, a Member of Student Representative Council, a Lion’s Youth of the Year Participant and a participant of the University of Melbourne’s Corporate Social Responsibility Board Program. Jack has been accepted to study a Bachelor of Law and Commerce (Accounting). He has received numerous awards including Queensland Secondary Schools Citizenship Award 2021 by the Order of Australia Association, Dr Joe Goodall Community Spirit Award, Burnside Mortgage Choice Bursary and the Burnside Rotary Citizenship Award.
Sophie Greenhalgh [Buddina]
Sophie is a Year 11 student at Mountain Creek State High School who strives daily to be an inspirational role model. She continually displays excellence in her academic studies, leadership, innovation, community and volunteer work. Sophie’s dedication to service and academic excellence is reflected in her many awards and accolades including the 2020 USC Rise ‘n’ Shine Award and 2020 ADF Future Innovators Award. Sophie also volunteers for Chaplain pancake breakfast each week at school and was one of 20 ambassadors nationally, selected for the 2020 – 2021 PNG Aus Partnership
Community Group or Organisation – supported by Sunshine Coast Daily
Mooloolaba Surf Lifesaving Club
In 2022, Mooloolaba Surf Lifesaving Club will celebrate 100 years of community service. Mooloolaba Surf Lifesaving Club has over 1425 members, with Mooloolaba lifesavers completing 14,000 volunteer patrol hours and performing over 1800 preventative actions and rescues per season including upwards of around 180 first aids. The Club organises countless community events including an ANZAC Day Dawn Service, Christmas Tree Appeal, Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast, Mooloolaba Mile Ocean Swim and the Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival. The Mooloolaba Nipper program has over 430 children participating per season and Starfish Nippers for children with disabilities.
Creative – supported by TAFE QLD East Coast
John Waldron [Palmview]
For over 30 years, John has contributed vastly to the arts sector as an artist, art educator, curator, and manager. For over 20 years, he worked as an education officer and gallery director for government and corporation, leading innovative gallery facilities and programs. For close to eight years John was Gallery Manager for both Caloundra and Noosa Regional Galleries. During that time, he developed the Sunshine Coast Art Prize, curated touring exhibitions featuring local artists and led a team responsible for the situating of Andy Goldsworthy’s ‘Strangler Cairn’ within the Conondale Great Walk.
Toni Eggleston [Yandina Creek]
Toni has worked with Arts Connect, organising Sculpture on the Edge, Sunshine Coast Open Studio’s and is currently working on reopening Stevens Street Gallery in Yandina. Her dedication to enabling the artistic community is admirable. She is passionate about creating spaces to appreciate art through events and giving a voice to artists. Her business, Mother Goose Media, saw the birth of Kids on the Coast magazine, a publication that is still running today. She also runs Boxed Up, a business that only stocks products from Sunshine Coast local artisans.
Sport and Recreation
Dr Bridie Kean [Baringa]
Bridie is a duel Paralympic medallist, former Captain of the Australian Gliders, USC academic, President of the Suncoast Spinners wheelchair sports club and the Paralympic representative who helped win the Brisbane bid for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Bridie leads by example and inspires those around her to create inclusive sporting opportunities with lasting outcomes. Bridie is working to ensure that the 2032 Games have a legacy that trickles through for people with a disability into all aspects of life – education, employment, public transport and access to sport.
Environment and Sustainability– supported by Living Smart
ECOllaboration (formerly Maroochy Waterwatch) is a not-for-profit community organisation that has been working on conservation projects across the Sunshine Coast for over 25 years. They have planted tens of thousands of trees, removed tonnes of weeds from the Coast’s natural areas, eliminated tonnes of rubbish from the Mooloolah and Maroochy Rivers, employed dozens of disadvantaged Sunshine Coasters and trained them in Conservation and Land Management and taken thousands of water quality samples in waterways across the region. Through the education of school children, they have created a sense of environmental stewardship across multiple generations