Outstanding Citizens Recognised at Mount Isa Australia Day Awards

Australia Day

Published: 26th January 2023

Mount Isa Police-Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) volunteer Nikki Row is the 2023 Mount Isa Citizen of the Year.

The Mount Isa Australia Day Awards were presented at a ceremony held in the Civic Centre auditorium this morning.

Nikki has been a registered volunteer for the Mount Isa PCYC for 10 years and in that time has contributed to key responsibilities, such as community fundraisers and youth and community-engagement events. She personifies all of the values the PCYC stands for: passion, dedication, teamwork, respect, leadership, and commitment.

Through Nikki’s volunteering efforts and contributions, the Mount Isa PCYC has been able to build its commercial gym into one of the largest and most professional facilities in the city. A qualified personal trainer, she also operates her own small business and facilitates free community boxercise and group fitness classes at the PCYC.

She donates her time each year to a number of other initiatives, including the Mount Isa Harley Owners’ Group’s annual Christmas Toy Run, as well as a variety of Mount Isa community groups to improve opportunities in health and wellbeing, and to assist the disadvantaged.

Mayor Danielle Slade said Nikki is an outstanding volunteer who’s dedicated to the Mount Isa PCYC, its members, and the community as a whole.

“Nikki had a pretty major health scare a few years ago, and since then she has worked towards improving not just her own health and fitness, but that of others – she did this by becoming a qualified personal trainer,” Cr Slade said.

“She freely shares her personal experience with others, to motivate and inspire them towards achieving their own personal fitness and wellness goals. Nikki is truly an inspiration to everyone she encounters and has continuously demonstrated her passion and dedication to the Mount Isa community.”

The Senior Citizen of the Year is Peter Roberts. Peter may be retired, but he is a tireless and very active volunteer who continues to make contributions to the community through personal service.

His contributions include establishing the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in Mount Isa in 2018, and the Pink Ribbon Ride in 2022; being an organiser for the Mount Isa RSL Sub-branch; being Santa for the Glencore Christmas parties; mentoring and guiding new motorbike riders; and being involved in Scouts, the Restored Car Club, the Leichhardt Lions Club, the Harley Owners’ Group Christmas Toy Run, and the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, which helps Vietnamese children and families in crisis.

Cr Slade said Peter’s personal efforts and volunteer work make a lasting and significant difference to the quality of life in Mount Isa.

“Peter is an excellent role model who is passionate about doing good for others and whose energy and enthusiasm inspires others to follow in his footsteps,” she said.

The Young Citizen of the Year is Sophie Greenhalgh. Sophie graduated from Good Shepherd Catholic College last year and has recently been accepted to study a Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of Behavioural Science degree at a Brisbane university this year.

She umpires regularly for the Mount Isa Amateur Netball Association and also stepped in to take over coaching a team mid-year. She volunteers her time tirelessly for both the Good Shepherd Catholic College and the Good Shepherd Parish, preparing and serving food at Jangawala and for the watchhouse meals, and helping out as an entertainment assistant for the Multicultural Festival. Sophie’s work within the community and academic success has been recognised through many school awards, including its most prestigious, the Christ Our Light Award.

“Sophie is hard-working, selfless, caring, compassionate, enthusiastic, and always willing to volunteer her time to support those in need,” Cr Slade said.

The Senior Sports Award was presented to Kodie Kuskopf. Kodie has given much to the sport of netball in Mount Isa over the past two years, and the past 12 months have seen him not only advance his own skills and improve himself, but also advocate for, assist and encourage multiple junior and senior umpires within the Mount Isa Amateur Netball Association to improve and advance their own skills.

Kodie has developed and implemented new policies and procedures to raise the calibre of MIANA umpiring, benefiting not only the association officials, but also the competition as a whole.

The Junior Sports Award was presented to Aaliyah Poihipi. Aaliyah has been involved in athletics and netball in Mount Isa for the past four years since moving to Mount Isa and has excelled in both codes.

The Community Event of the Year is the Mailman Express. The annual event is part of Isa Rodeo festivities and has been going strong for more than 20 years. The race is a time-trial for non-thoroughbred horses and takes place over 200 metres on the home straight of the Buchanan Park race track.

The Arts and Culture Award was presented to all of the volunteers of the Mount Isa Underground Hospital and Museum. The volunteers are responsible for the preservation and interpretation of the Heritage-listed Underground Hospital tunnels and Tent House, and the running of the Beth Anderson Museum, which houses an extensive collection of medical equipment. They also run six 20-minute tours per day, six days a week.

The 2023 Legend of Mount Isa is Ian Brown. Ian is in his mid-80s and volunteers at the Mount Isa Underground Hospital, Outback at Isa, and the Mount Isa Golf Club. An A-Grade golfer in his own right, at the golf club he helps out with maintaining the golf buggies, as well as with other tasks that need to be done.

He worked at Mount Isa Mines for 50 years and was captain of the Dive Squad for 40 years, in that time helping to mend the Lake Moondarra dam wall and recover everything from cars to bodies from the lake.

The Southern Gulf NRM Sarus Crane Award was presented to Steve Farnsworth. Steve has a profound enduring connection with the environment and community of the North West at many levels and has a profound interest in its local heritage.

His efforts led to the establishment of the Mount Isa Fish Stocking Group almost 40 years ago, and he was its first president and is currently its secretary. In 1999, when the Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic started, Steve became the “weigh master”, a position he continues to this day.

There are four recipients of the Spirit of Mount Isa Award: Sue Wilson, Ranita and Tony Toholke, Nadia Cowperthwaite, and Charlotte Byrnes.

  • Sue Wilson has been involved with Mount Isa Softball for more than 54 years as a player, coach (junior and senior men and women), committee member, and president of Wanderers Softball Club. She has received a Lifetime of Service Award from Queensland Softball, and over the past few years trained junior players who have gone on to represent Mount Isa through other districts.
  • Ranita and Tony Toholke are always supporting, volunteering and fundraising in the Mount Isa community and surrounding district, supporting various sporting and community organisations. They are tireless in their contributions to Mount Isa and are always looking to help where they can. Their efforts significantly enhance the groups and clubs in which they are involved.
  • Nadia Cowperthwaite works tirelessly as a volunteer for several local organisations. She is president of Mount Isa Tourism Association and an organiser of the Mount Isa Motor Show. She is also secretary for the Underground Hospital and a tour guide there. She runs the Arts on Alma shop on Saturday mornings and promotes the art made by locals and is the vice-president of the Mount Isa Community Markets.
  • Charlotte Byrnes is a true ambassador of not just netball, but sport in general. She is always advocating for more opportunities for young athletes and is a committed and dedicated athlete herself. She attends all netball training sessions and games and puts in 110%, both on and off the court.

In congratulating all of the award recipients, Cr Slade said the work they do in the community is often unseen and unappreciated but is crucial in making Mount Isa an inviting and welcoming place in which to live or to visit, and that the Australia Day Awards are the ideal opportunity to thank and acknowledge them for all that they do.