Local Heroes Celebrated on Australia Day

Published on 26 January 2021

Eddie Olsson at podium.jpg

The usually unsung heroes of the Rockhampton Region were celebrated in style today, with Australia Day Awards recognising the outstanding contribution they make to our community.

Edward Olsson was named Citizen of the Year, with Denvah Baker-Moller taking home the Young Citizen of the Year award.

Acting Mayor Neil Fisher said that he was overwhelmed by the strength of community spirit on show.

“The judges had an almost impossible task this year, with so many fantastic examples of people and organisations who are vital to the fabric of our community nominated,” said Acting Mayor Fisher.

“Our Citizen of the Year, Mr Olsson, is certainly a worthy winner, having dedicated his life to serving others through the Lions Club.

“Given all of the things he has done it’s honestly hard to know where to start, but one thing is clear: whether he’s leading the Low Vision Support Group, raising money for medical research, cooking sausages at Bunnings, supporting those impacted by drought and natural disasters or setting up junior Lions Clubs, he’s doing it with community service in mind.

“Mr Olsson has also represented Australian Lions Clubs at International Conventions in Seattle, Hamburg, Hong Kong and Milan to name but a few.

“His nomination form described him as an inspiration to all who know him, and that the community would be much poorer without his dedication.

“His commitment to service is outstanding, and I am delighted we have been able to recognise him as our 2021 Citizen of the Year.”

Acting Mayor Fisher said the Young Citizen of the Year, Denvah Baker-Moller, uses her musical gift to enrich the lives of others.

“Born and raised in Rockhampton, Miss Baker-Moller is a singer songwriter with an incredible talent.

“At just 20 years old she has already worked with stars like Busby Marou and Felicity Urquart, and earlier this year released her self-written debut album. Her first two singles both featured in the top ten on the Australian Country Hot 50 charts.

“However what really stood out to the judges is the way Miss Baker-Moller uses her talent to help others. She is a member of the judging panel for CQ Schools Battle of the Bands, she volunteers at charity events, performs for retirement village residents, and writes songs encouraging kindness towards others.

“I would like to thank every single person who took the time to send in a nomination form, and of course all of our fantastic winners and nominees who give so much of their time for the benefit of others.

“I am always proud to represent the Rockhampton Region but even more so today!”

Full list of Australia Day Award winners

Citizen of the Year - Edward Olsson

Young Citizen of the Year - Denvah Baker-Moller

Community Service Award - The Bouldercombe Singers

The Bouldercombe Singers have been providing free entertainment for the community since 1994, performing in Aged Care homes, public celebrations, community church services, Anzac Day ceremonies and even for the Singapore Army Troops.

Community Initiative Award – Peter and Lynne Foxwell

The Foxwells opened up the sunflower fields on their Alton Downs farm for all to enjoy after the lockdown was lifted and raised $32,000 for cancer research.

Cultural Award – Carmen Beezley-Drake

Carmen Beezley-Drake is a founding member of the Central Queensland Contemporary Artists and has been contributing to the arts in Rockhampton and Central Queensland for over 40 years.

Sportsperson of the Year – Jessica Moffat

18 year old Jessica Moffat has been representing the region in hockey tournaments since she was 8, and the State since she was 12. She has captained the Queensland team, played in Australian squads, and coaches senior and junior hockey players in Rockhampton. 

Sports Official of the Year – Marie Sweeney

A keen hockey player since 1946, Marie Sweeney has been the driving force behind many hockey programs in the region. At 90 years old she is still the Assistant Secretary and Bingo Convenor of the Park Avenue Brothers Hockey Club.