Mackay region on the hunt for unsung heroes

Published: 04 Nov 2022

The Mackay region is seeking unsung heroes worthy of being named our 2023 Australia Day citizens of the year.

Nominations are now open for the following categories: Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Arts and Culture, Environmental Achievement, Lori Burgess Community Volunteer, Community Group, Senior Sports and Young Sports Award.

This year’s citizen of the year is Frank Cowell, convenor of Shed Happens Mackay and active community volunteer.

Mayor Greg Williamson said Frank Cowell had been in Mackay for 12 years and had contributed a great deal to our region over that time, especially in the areas of men’s mental health, domestic and family violence and suicide prevention.

“Frank and the Shed Happens blokes never shy away from difficult topics and they offer a safe and non-judgemental space for those who need to talk,” Mayor Greg Williamson said.

Mr Cowell said there were so many deserving nominees in the room in 2022, all of which were worthy of the accolade.

“As a matter of fact, I was rather stunned when they called my name – I was a bit like a rabbit in the headlights,” Mr Cowell said.

“To be the one picked out of that group was humbling and amazing – a real honour,” he said.

The 2022 Young Citizen of the Year, William Deeley was likewise humbled by the accolade.

William was nominated for his community service work, commitment to his church and volunteer contributions to junior sport, including a cricket program for those living with disability.

“It was such an honour – there are so many special young people in Mackay, so to receive the Young Citizen of the Year Award was something I could never have imagined,” William said.

Queensland Ambulance Service volunteer of 60 years Carmel Wheeler took out the Lori Burgess Community Volunteer Award.

Mayor Greg Williamson said nominating someone for an Australia Day Award took just minutes and was as simple as filling out a nomination form on council’s website or grabbing a hard copy at council’s customer service centres.

“Every year, our nominees comment on just how much it means to be nominated and recognised for the work they do – it means so much and it takes so little time,” he said.

“So, if there’s someone you know who goes above and beyond for our community, then please recognise them today with a nomination.”

Nominations close January 5, 2023.

All award winners and nominees will be recognised at a special awards ceremony at the MECC on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.

The Australia Day Awards are proudly sponsored by P. Comino and Sons and Tropical Exposure and are supported by Star 1019 and 7 Mackay.