Awards Recognise and Celebrate Remarkable Mount Isans

Published: 26th January 2020

Council is pleased to announce that Grant Szabadics is the 2020 Mount Isa Citizen of the Year, with his outstanding and selfless commitment to many Mount Isa community organisations and generosity of time, kindness and patience greatly applauded. 

Mayor Joyce McCulloch said people like Grant are the backbone of Mount Isa’s community and his ongoing efforts over the years are commended.

“On any given week, Grant – a born-and-raised local – can be seen helping out with groups including the North West Queensland Photography Club, Mount Isa Theatrical Society, Astronomy Group of Mount Isa, Mount Isa Restored Car Club, Mount Isa Girl Guides, Mount Isa Lapidary Club and the Salvation Army Men’s Group,” Cr McCulloch said.

Photography has been Grant’s first love from an early age. Today he is the president and the driving force behind the North West Queensland Photography Club.

Grant is not only extremely knowledgeable about his photography but very giving with his time. His patience is always greatly appreciated, particularly amongst newcomers and novices who are learning to master their new digital camera.

Grant has been a member of the Astronomy Group of Mount Isa for about 12 years. He runs the monthly astronomy nights at the Lake Moondarra observatory. He also goes out to schools to teach students about the wonders of our universe.

When he’s not out gazing at the stars, Grant also helps out at the Mount Isa Restored Car Club. You might have also seen him working behind the bar at the Mount Isa Rodeo or at the club’s Annual Car Show.

The Senior Citizen of the Year is Kathleen “Joan” Marshall. Joan has dedicated her whole life to others and improving the quality of life of many in the community.

Cr McCulloch said “Auntie Joan” is a role model for many and has spent many years providing personal service to the community.

“She has fostered and raised hundreds of kids and has devoted much of her life to advocating for and supporting the community of Mount Isa, particularly First Nations peoples,” she said.

“She has truly dedicated herself selflessly to hundreds of people in this community, and because of that, so many people are better off for having her support, love and care.”

The Young Citizen of the Year is Manny Williams. Manny has been working and contributing to Mount Isa as much as he can, and his passion for this community is evident.

Manny is a proud Kalkadoon man who grew up in this community and he loves to help youth and families wherever he can.

His most recent roles as a Youth Worker at Youth Justice and Young People Ahead gave him the confidence to go above and beyond and be a role model to not only his peers, but to the young people in the community as well. He now he works for the Family Participation Program, where he works closely with Indigenous families.

He was selected to attend the Queensland Indigenous Youth Leadership Program last year, where he spoke in Parliament House and met other emerging young people from around the state.

The Community Event of the Year Award goes to the mountain bike trails established by the Stack City Mountain Bike Club.

The 40km of trails on the R48 Reserve around Lake Moondarra were pioneered and made possible by volunteer members of the Stack City club, who applied for grants to make the trails a reality.

The trails connect to the bike path on Lake Moondarra Road and enabled Mount Isa’s first ever mountain bike race events to be held in 2019, including the Great Western Games in June and the Mount Isa MTB Classic in September.

The Arts and Culture Award goes to Leanne Ryder, for her outstanding contribution to dance in Mount Isa.

For 23 years, Leanne has made an incredible impact on Mount Isa’s cultural narrative as the principal dance teacher of Mount Isa School of Dance.

Leanne started teaching for the Mount Isa School of Dance in 1996. She grew the school over the next few years with only the help of one or two other teachers.

Many of her students have been accepted into well-known dance schools around Australia to further their love of dance, gone on to dance in all parts of the world, and even begun their own dance studios in other parts of Australia.

The Senior Sports Award goes to Alison Whitehead. A local fitness guru, she encourages sport enjoyment for people of all ages and shows amazing community spirit in the process.

Her biggest achievement last year was jogging and walking the equivalent of the 8800m elevation of Mt Everest by doing 100 laps, non-stop, up and down Telstra Hill in one day, for a total distance of more than 170km, in a challenge called “Everest in the Outback”.

It was a mammoth effort and was all to raise awareness and funds for mental health, with her crowdfunding page raising more than $8000 for the North West Queensland Mental Health Network.

“Alison’s ‘Everest in the Outback’ challenge was the talk of the town on that weekend in June last year, and with good reason,” Cr McCulloch said.

“She is passionate about good mental health as well as good physical health and this achievement was nothing short of brilliant.”

The Junior Sports Award goes to Te Urewera Potini. Te Urewera started playing Peanut League tee-ball in New Zealand when he was just three years old, playing with the same club for six years. He has excelled in the sport since, always giving 100 percent, and has always been a steadfast team player.

He moved to Australia in 2011 at the age of nine and played for the Rebels and Red Devils Softball clubs, receiving awards for Most Valuable Player, Player of the Year and Best Slugger.

He also represented Mount Isa in the U/17s softball teams at state competitions, was selected for the 2019 U/17s Queensland team, and was nominated for the Players’ Player Award at the 2019 Queensland tournament. He was even selected to represent Queensland at the 2019 December Nationals in Sydney.

Now though, Te Urewera has his sights set on rugby league. He’s moving to Townsville to pursue his dream of playing in the NRL and is on his way to playing for the North Queensland Cowboys’ Development Squad.

The Southern Gulf Catchments Sarus Crane Award goes to Ben McGlynn. Ben has been an active member of the community since starting at Rocklands Station in 2016.

He has taken on the chairman position of the local Regional Beef Research Committee and has been active holding field days at Rocklands Station.

Ben has instigated a large development program at Rocklands to achieve a sustainable grazing system, minimising the over-grazing of water points. This project has included an extra 102 water points and over 500km of fencing, focusing on improving the grass base and ecology of the business. 

Ben received the Young Producer Award in 2019. He has also been active in the local community, supporting the Camooweal Campdraft.

Cr McCulloch congratulated each and every award recipient and said they were excellent role models in our community, with their commendable and often unseen work helping to make Mount Isa a better place in which to live.