Meet the winners & finalists of the Queensland Volunteering Awards 2017


During National Volunteer Week, 8-14 May, the 2017 Queensland Volunteering Awards were held to acknowledge the efforts of thousands of volunteers, volunteer managers, and volunteer-involving organisations in bringing about positive change within their communities.

The awards presentation and recognition ceremony was held on Friday 12 May in the Brisbane Room of Brisbane City Hall.

This year, the awards were presented across six key categories:

  • Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award
  • Youth Volunteering Award
  • Corporate Volunteering Award
  • Excellence in Volunteer Management Award
  • Volunteering Impact Award
  • Volunteer of the Year Award

During the ceremony, the finalists were called up on stage according to award categories, and each finalist would be recognised for their hard work and contribution in volunteering. The recipient of the award was then announced, and it was followed by the winner giving a speech.


Thank you to the dignitaries who attended and honoured the nominees, finalists and recipients:

  • Our patron - Governor of Queensland, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC
  • The Hon. Bill Byrne MP, acting as a representative on behalf of the Hon. Shannon Fentiman MP, Minister for Communities
  • Ros Bates MP, Shadow Minister for Communities

National Volunteer Week is proudly supported by the Queensland Government.

A big thanks to the Department of Communities who produced the following inspiring video. Their team spoke to the award recipients about their work, and the rewards of volunteering for both the community, and within their own lives.



Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award

Recipient: June Quinlan

June was selected as the recipient for this award for her humble volunteer work with Villa Vincent, OzCare and her wider community. For over 56 years of her life June has cared for her community. June began volunteering with the Sisters of Mercy, and was a driving force in raising funds and planning for Villa Vincent in 1965. While raising her six children, June was an integral member of their school communities, before returning to Villa Vincent in 1983. To this day, June still lends a hand every day – taking residents to Mass in the mornings, going shopping with them, sitting and offering love and support, and serving morning tea at various social events organised at the centre.

Read June Quinlan's story


There were two finalists for the Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award:

Noeline Clamp has spent the past 50 years advocating, providing opportunities and support for refugees and new immigrants to Australia. Noeline also founded Access Community Services Ltd with her husband Des. Despite starting out with only three staff members, under Noeline’s guidance Access has become one of the country’s leading settlement agencies, employing over 300 staff, many of whom are migrants themselves.

Read Noeline Clamp's story


Sally Jones has spent over 20 years advocating for older women across all levels of community and government through her work at the head of the Older Women’s Network of Queensland.

Read Sally Jones's story

Youth Volunteering Award

Recipient: Michael Andrews

Michael was selected as the recipient for this award for dedicating his life to helping people in their darkest moments. Michael’s volunteer journey started with St John when he was merely five years old. As the current Marketing, Communications and Events Coordinator for the Australian Youth Advisory Network, Michael solves problems, makes decisions at the highest level, meets challenges and develops ideas in a manner which belies his age. Michael can unite people together for a common cause, and has helped steer St John Ambulance in a time of unprecedented change. Michael enthusiastically challenges the status quo. For the last five years Michael has volunteered with Surf Life Saving Queensland, and recently launched his own consulting business to provide pro-bono IT assistance for small businesses. Michael’s passion and selfless dedication to helping improve the lives of those around him embodies the spirit of these volunteering awards.

Read Michael Andrews' story


There were three finalists for the Youth Volunteering Award:


Alasdair Hughes has dedicated a large part of his teenage years to volunteering with the Australian Navy Cadets. He has empowered over 400 cadets and has individually mentored over 50 cadets himself. Alasdair has also worked with staff to improve the quality of training and support offered to future cadets.

Read Alasdair Hughes' story

Madison Birtchnell is a strong advocate for positive mental health among youth and has volunteered for a variety of organisations that aim to help women and young people. For the past 10 years, Madison has volunteered with Ormiston House, Daughters of Promise, Amnesty International and Fishers of Men, as well as fundraising for Red Cross flood victims, and World Vision. Madison has also organised, presented and hosted the inaugural Super Women Conference, as part of International Women’s Week celebrations.

Read Madison Birtchnell's story

Kristy McGregor has been instrumental in establishing Channel Country Ladies Day, as well as advocating for the positive mental health and wellbeing of women in rural and remote pastoral Queensland. Kristy has also conceived and run the Voices of Yaraka community art workshops, a remote arts camp and community art exhibitions.

Read Kristy McGregor's story

Corporate Volunteering Award

Recipient: Cutting Edge Group

Cutting Edge Group was selected as the recipient of this award for their work with YoungCare, a charity committed to raising awareness of and providing assistance for young Australians living in aged care. YoungCare was co-founded 12 years ago by Matthew Lawson, the owner and director of Cutting Edge. His organisation provided YoungCare with the office space, resources, administration, and support needed for their startup. Today they continue to work alongside YoungCare, whether through engaging their creative talent to help tell their story to gain support for their charity, or physically assisting with events.  

Read The Cutting Edge Group's story


There were two finalists for the Corporate Volunteering Award:

The EY (Ernst & Young) Foundation focuses on youth education, employment, serious illness and mental illness, as well as fundraising and food drives for charities.

Read EY (Ernst & Young)'s story

Allens Law Firm works with the Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic (through QLD Public Interest Law Clearing House) to provide free legal representation for people struggling on the streets. They have partnered with the University of Queensland to create a program that allows Indigenous university students to network and build skills while being mentored by lawyers from Allens.

Read Allens Law Firm's story

Excellence in Volunteer Management Award

Recipient: Nicolle Edwards

Nicolle was selected as the recipient for this award for her passionate dedication to RizeUp, a charity organisation providing immediate, practical support to families who are fleeing from domestic violence. This acknowledges her care and attentive management of RizeUp volunteers and her ability to get alongside her volunteers ‘in the trenches’. Nicolle is the founder and director of RizeUp and has managed over 200 volunteers in Queensland, despite only being operational since 2015. Volunteer safety and privacy are paramount within this sector, and Nicolle ensures that volunteers are comprehensively trained to protect themselves and their clients in their work. 

Read Nicolle Edwards’ story


There were two finalists for the Excellence in Volunteer Management Award:

David Crane has been with the State Library of Queensland for 12 years, recruiting, coordinating and managing over 110 volunteers in various programs throughout the Library. David also annually reviews library projects, works closely with staff to identify and create new volunteer opportunities, and actively supports volunteers of various skills and backgrounds. David’s ability to build rapport with volunteers, his availability to assist at any time, and his communication skills are an asset to the Library.

Read David Crane’s story

Helen Tarttelin has spent 12 years advocating for the development of innovative programs and tailoring volunteer opportunities to her diverse range of volunteers with Ronald McDonald House North Queensland. Helen has developed many innovative programs and advocated for the development and implementation of their Indigenous policy. Helen has also supported volunteers in all areas from training through to creating an inclusive environment for volunteers with disabilities.

Read Helen Tarttelin’s story

Volunteering Impact Award

Recipient: Access Community Services Ltd

Access Community Services Ltd was selected as the recipient for this award for the sheer scope and impact of their programs that aim to unite communities across cultures, race, and gender. With over 30 years of experience in providing housing, employment, training, youth support services and enterprise opportunities for migrants, refugees and Australian-born clients. Access is a leader in Australia’s multicultural issues. At Access newcomers to Australia find a place to belong, to grow, learn and thrive while becoming part of the wider community. Over the past three years, Access has recruited over 700 volunteers across the state with more than 300 recruited in the last year, and this number is growing every year. These volunteers belong to an age group from below 20 to 70+ years and can speak 45 languages.

Read Access Community Services’ story


There were two finalists for the Volunteering Impact Award:

RizeUp is a charity organisation that provides immediate, wrap-around practical support to families fleeing domestic violence. Through their 3 key programs – the Homes Program, Rapid Response Program and Rize4Liam Program - RizeUp ensures that families are linked with domestic violence services to receive the vital support required to break the cycle of violence and to increase their safety and the sustainability of their decision to leave the abusive relationship. In 2016 alone, RizeUp created (and kitted out) 150 homes for families fleeing domestic violence, assisted 122 children in relocating schools, and found safe havens for 346 children through their Homes program.

Read RizeUp’s story

The Logan City Council Library is uniting the Logan community and investing in the education of their young people through their varied programs. The library recognises education as a major driver of development, and by addressing these educational needs through these programs, the library is supporting Logan’s young people to reach their full potential. 

Read Logan City Council Library’s story

An additional two organisations were recommended as Highly Commended by the panel, owing to their work in the Queensland community:

The Pyjama Foundation aims to bring hope and joy to children who are often lost in the middle of trauma and confusion. They create lasting positive change in children's lives through the passage of a book and a compassionate reader.

Read The Pyjama Foundation’s story

Ipswich Hospice Care Inc provides affordable, no-set-fee, compassionate palliative care within the greater Ipswich community. Without their programs, grieving families would not be able to cherish their last, precious moments with loved ones.

Read Ipswich Hospice Care’s story

Volunteer of the Year Award

Recipient: Allan Tennent

Allan was selected the recipient of this award for his selfless, consistent dedication to the Coast Guard, and the incredible, immeasurable impact of his efforts on the lives of his community. For over 35 years, Allan has dedicated his time, talents and energy to serving Queensland on the sea. Allan has constantly risked his own life in performing thousands of rescues, brought over 5,000 people back to shore from distressed vessels and saved innumerable lives. As well as his work on the water, Allan has shared his knowledge and experience by training hundreds of Coast Guard volunteers and community members – freely giving his own time to teach others how to save a life. The lasting impact of his work is seen in the hearts that continue to beat because of his hand in their rescue.

Read Allan Tennent’s story


There were three finalists for the Volunteer of the Year Award:

Leslie Green has united his rural community through his on-going volunteer work with Queensland Rural Fire Service, despite his own health battle. As well as training and organising live fire exercises, Les mentors each of the members to improve the Brigade’s operational abilities.

Read Leslie Green’s story


Val Russel-Wilson has survived breast cancer and has dedicated her time to providing comfort and hope to other cancer sufferers and their families in the Maryborough/Hervey Bay region. Since 1999, Val has walked alongside families and patients diagnosed with any type of cancer. Her consistent, unwavering dedication to reaching people in some of the worst times of their lives, and her gentle compassion has reached beyond the pain and trauma, and brought comfort and hope.

Read Val Russel-Wilson’s story

Bianca Goebel is the volunteer CEO of Youth Without Borders and is a vocal social advocate for the empowerment of youth, women and people from culturally diverse backgrounds. As well as mentoring current engineering students and young people in the ‘start up’ phase of not-for-profits, Bianca is relentless in her belief in the importance of the development of people in order to empower them to be able to tell their own stories as a platform for positive change. 

Read Bianca Goebel’s story

A special thanks to Rob McMullan for once again providing fabulous entertainment and singing a tribute song for volunteers.

Congratulations again to all of our winners, finalists and nominees. We received an incredible amount of amazing stories and experiences from all over the state. It was lovely to meet and celebrate with so many changemakers at the awards ceremony.