Mount Isans Recognised at Australia Day Awards

2024 Mount Isa Australia Day Awards list

Published: 26th January 2024

Rick Leeman is Mount Isa’s Citizen of the Year for 2024.

The announcement was made at this morning’s 2024 Mount Isa Australia Day Awards, which were held at the Civic Centre auditorium.

Mayor Danielle Slade, in congratulating Mr Leeman – who is a proud member of the local Army reservists and is also a local snake handler – said he’s the epitome of the type of person who makes Mount Isa special.

“Rick is always prepared to go out of his way to help people in a sticky situation. He is always the first to put his hand up to support all of the Gecko Outdoor Sports events – either as a runner, or a volunteer dressing up in a superhero costume, marking courses and setting up and packing down equipment,” Cr Slade said.

“You will always see Rick at commemorative services held throughout the region, for example for Anzac Day, Veterans’ Day, or Remembrance Day.

“If you’re going away and need your lawn mowed, or are moving house and need a hand, Rick is your man. He’s always prepared to go above and beyond for anyone in need.”

The Senior Citizen of the Year is Pastor Keith Christie.

Every day, Pastor Keith runs and motivates a team of dedicated staff to try to involve as many members of the community as possible in Christian Outreach Centre Mount Isa’s activities, such as its weekly youth outreach program, young adults’ outreach, men’s meetings, and social barbecues.

“Pastor Keith is almost 80 years old. His dedication to, and the work he does for and within, the Mount Isa community every single day is inspirational and commendable,” Cr Slade said.

The Young Citizen of the Year is Lianna Woodsbey. Lianna is an inspirational young woman who has achieved amazing success and recognition over the past 12 months, receiving multiple awards and representing her school, workplace, Mount Isa, and the region with honour and pride.

She is undertaking a fulltime heavy diesel mechanical apprenticeship at local business Sandvik and has become a well-established and welcome part of the team. She is working towards her goal of becoming a dual qualified tradesperson.

“Lianna has consistently nurtured, mentored, encouraged, and inspired others in Mount Isa and all around the State. She is proud to be a Mount Isan and is looking forward to working throughout the region and serving her community,” Cr Slade said.

The Senior Sports Award recipient is Katelyn Hankin. Katelyn was born and raised in Mount Isa and is an amateur boxer. She has competed in the sport for almost three years.

“She has achieved so much in this short period of time, thanks to all of the hard work and dedication she has put into the sport,” Cr Slade said.

“Katelyn is a great role model to young people living in Mount Isa. She proves that if you set your mind to something and are willing to put in the work, you can achieve it. She is also coaching and giving back to those in the local area, helping women get fit, feel empowered, and learn self-defence through the sport of boxing.”

The Junior Sports Award recipient is Maleya Raitava. Now aged 11, at the age of 10, Maleya became the youngest nationally accredited netball umpire in Queensland, and possibly Australia. Maleya started her umpiring journey in 2022 aged just 9, when she was identified by her coach as having the maturity and knowledge of the rules to commence mentoring.

She shadowed her coach for several months before taking on the reins herself, eventually umpiring solo, including one of the Mount Isa Amateur Netball Association’s 2022 junior grand final games. She gained her national accreditation in 2023.

“Maleya’s long-term aspiration in umpiring netball is to umpire as high as the Suncorp Super Netball level, or the Olympics – and she certainly has the skills, proficiency and aptitude to reach those goals,” Cr Slade said.

The Community Event of the Year is the 2023 Mount Isa Show. The two-day annual event, which is run by a team of volunteers, was held in June and played a vital role in helping Mount Isa celebrate its 100th year, providing an opportunity for residents to showcase our amazing community.

The 2023 event had record-high entries in the pavilion categories of arts, photography, cooking and horticulture. There was something for all age groups, from Lego to quilting, cooking, needlework, woodwork and photography.

It also featured live entertainment from local musicians, carnival and circus entertainment, a PBR bull riding event, horse events, bronco branding, and a rock-drilling contest. The very popular poultry display also returned in 2023, after several years’ absence.

The Arts and Culture Award recipient is Brian Adamson. A born-and-raised Mount Isan, Brian has a passion for photography and local history that started at a young age.

Wanting to preserve Mount Isa’s history, he started collecting photos and memorabilia in 1988 and established the North Queensland History Collection. Now with more than 30,000 images and 207 items, each year Brian exhibits his collection at the Mount Isa Show and the Mount Isa Multicultural Festival.

In February 2023, Brian held an exhibition of his photographic collection at the Mount Isa Regional Art Gallery at Outback at Isa. This exhibition depicted Mount Isa’s history from its very early beginnings and was a fitting tribute to the city in its 100th anniversary year. He also held an exhibition of memorabilia later in the year, giving locals the opportunity to remember the city through his collection of objects. Brian is also a member of the Mount Isa Underground Hospital and Museum volunteer team and plays an important role photographing and cataloguing the collection.

The Spirit of Mount Isa Award recipients are Erica Shaw, Chris Pocock, Jacob Takurit, and James Derrick.

Erica Shaw has made remarkable contributions to the success of the Mount Isa Underground Hospital and Museum over the past five years. Under her guidance as the volunteer coordinator, the hospital has transformed into the top tourist spot in Mount Isa. Her unwavering commitment to supporting the volunteers, preserving the historical significance of the hospital, and promoting Mount Isa’s tourism sector has been truly exceptional.

Chris Pocock has consistently demonstrated his dedication and selflessness through his volunteer work as an emcee for various events organised by Mount Isa City Council and other non-profit organisations. Chris is the epitome of professionalism – his emceeing at events is always flawless and precise. Chris also plays a vital role in the leadership team at Spinifex State College Senior Campus. As the deputy principal for Senior Secondary, he demonstrates a deep passion for education and student success.

Jacob Takurit is actively and enthusiastically involved in the Mount Isa community and is a significant part of many community events. He is an accomplished radio presenter at MOB FM, where he has worked for more than 16 years. He brings his personal charisma, emcee skills, singing skills, and his music abilities to many local events. In his spare time, Jacob works hard in the administration of a diverse range of organisations addressing social justice issues. He is a director of Injilinji Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Children and Youth Services; North West Indigenous Catholic Social Services; and Gidgee Healing Primary Health Care group.

With his unwavering commitment to his community, James Derrick is a true embodiment of the Australian spirit, tirelessly dedicating himself to improving the lives of those around him. His contribution to the community is two-fold, as he successfully manages his own boxing club while also running a diesel-fitting business. Through his boxing club, he offers a haven for young individuals to not only develop their physical fitness, but also to instil discipline, self-confidence, and respect.

The Sarus Crane 2024 Award recipient is the Sundowners Kalkatungu Dancers. This group has dedicated their time to learning the traditional dance of their ancestors and continues to share and preserve their culture and heritage with their youth. In addition, they also showcased their culture on a national stage at DanceRite 2023, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance competition held in at the Sydney Opera House in November 2023, making it into the top 8 out of 22 groups.