Top honour for empowering vulnerable women

MEDIA RELEASE

Published: 24 January 2020. (Note: information was correct at date of publication but may have since been changed or superseded.)

Cairns region’s 2020 Citizen of the Year has been working in some of the more unspoken and taboo areas of women’s health and safety to improve lives in Cairns.

Yolonde Entsch was recognised for her dedication to empowering disadvantaged women in Cairns, Doomadgee and Papua New Guinea in a ceremony at the Pullman Cairns International today (24 January).Cairns Mayor Bob Manning (back centre) with recipients of Cairns Regional Council’s 2020 Australia Day Awards.

Mayor Bob Manning described Ms Entsch as a strong advocate, deserving of the honour for her contribution to promoting equality and self-worth for women.

“Yolonde has been encouraging and supporting women to engage and act, no matter their circumstances, where they live, their age, or their education,” Cr Manning said.

“She has fostered positive action, established safe places for women at risk of domestic violence, and delivered projects that give isolated and vulnerable women confidence and a sense of worth.

“Her wide-ranging work also includes co-founding a project that makes washable sanitary products for women in disadvantaged communities, and as an ambassador to YWAM Medical Ships."

Ms Entsch co-founded Moon Sick Care Bags in 2017, which featured in the 2018 award-winning documentary A Women’s Calling, and was screened on SBS On Demand.

Through her role as Cairns Community Ambassador for YWAM Medical Ships, Yolonde helped to raise over $30,000 to purchase machinery to allow the ship’s laboratory to test for tuberculosis, leprosy and other communicable diseases while anchored near PNG villages.

Young Citizen of the Year, Daniel Rosendale, has been recognised for his work helping disadvantaged youth, as a role model for Indigenous youths, and for his distinguished sporting accomplishments.

An alumnus of the Indigenous Leaders of Tomorrow group, he used his training to become a volunteer board member and treasurer of the ATSI organisation, Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG), where he has assisted underprivileged youth in Cairns to achieve self-sufficiency.

“A determined young man, after graduating from high school, Daniel was employed by both NAB and Accor Hotels, where he has won several accolades, including NAB’s Trainee of the Year 2015 and Accor’s 2016 Indigenous Employee of the Year,” Cr Manning said.

“He was also one of two employees selected to represent Australia at the Accor International 2018 “Unveil Your Talent” competition held in London, and represented the hotel group at the Uluru National youth Conference in December 2019.”

Mr Rosendale’s achievements have extended to the sporting field where he has represented Australia in the Lloyd McDermott National Under 18 Indigenous Rugby Union schoolboys’ side and was selected as co-captain of the Indigenous Australian Invitational Tour of America and Canada in 2018.

He is also set to co-captain and act as a mentor for the Indigenous Australia Invitational Rugby Tour of Europe in 2021.

Also presented with awards today were Volunteer of the Year, Colin Lawson; Cultural Award recipient, Shaun Edwards; Junior Cultural Award recipient, Abi Muir; Sportsperson of the Year recipients, Mark and Nicola Miller; Junior Sportsperson of the Year was the Aus Crocs white water rafting team; and a lifetime achievement award recipient Wayne Trimble.

“These individuals represent everything great about our region and about being Australian,” Cr Manning said.

“Despite different backgrounds, talents and interests, each has contributed in a unique way to our community.

“They are wonderful role models for our city and very much deserving of this special honour.”

Award recipients

Citizen of the Year – Yolonde Entsch

An advocate for empowering women, Yolonde Entsch, has fostered positive action, established safe places for women at risk of domestic violence, and delivered projects that give vulnerable women confidence and a sense of worth.

Yolonde co-founded Moon Sick Care Bags in 2017, which featured in the 2018 award-winning documentary A Women’s Calling, screened on SBS On Demand.

She was the executive producer of the documentary that focused on Doomadgee women making and supplying washable sanitary pads to women living in isolated villages in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The project has since helped Doomadgee women to build confidence, pride, self-belief and generate an income by selling their products.

Through her role as Cairns Community Ambassador for YWAM Medical Ships, Yolonde helped to raise over $30,000 to purchase machinery to allow the ship’s laboratory to test for tuberculosis, leprosy and other communicable diseases while anchored near PNG villages.

She has collected more than 5,500 prescription glasses and sunglasses, helped deliver more than $80,000 in donated goods to PNG villages, and organised for almost 350 women and adolescent girls in the country to receive a five-year contraception device.

Yolonde is the director of YLE Enterprises Pty Ltd and customises and delivers Empowering Woman and Empowering Youth programs in remote Indigenous communities in North West Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Torres Strait.

She also manages 120 head of cattle, having built a herd of elite Brangus cattle from an initial purchase of 12 cows.

Young Citizen of the Year – Daniel Rosendale

An alumnus of the Indigenous Leaders of Tomorrow group, Daniel Rosendale has used his training to become a volunteer board member and treasurer with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation, Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG).

He was also a North Queensland representative at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation conference in Darwin.

Through the award winning youth mentoring, development and counselling group DIYDG, he was been able to assist underprivileged youth in Cairns to achieve self-sufficiency.

While studying at Peace Lutheran College, Daniel also completed the Duke of Edinburgh Award and a Certificate II in Business after on completing a two-year traineeship at the National Australia Bank Smithfield branch.

He was the recipient of a scholarship from the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation and was awarded the 2015 Vocational Partnership Group – Trainee of the Year award, for his work at NAB.

Since graduation, Daniel has been employed by Accor Hotels – starting as a concierge he is now an assistant manager at the Pullman Cairns International.

He has won several accolades for his role with Accor Hotels, including 2016 Indigenous Employee of the Year, Pullman Cairns Employee of the Year, was one of two employees selected to represent Australia at the Accor International 2018 “Unveil Your Talent” competition held in London, and also represented the hotel group at the Uluru National youth Conference in December 2019.

His achievements have extended to the sporting field.

A member of the JCU Mariners Rugby Union Football Club, he has been selected in Peninsula, Far North and Queensland schoolboys representative teams.

He also represented Australia in the Lloyd McDermott National Under 18 Indigenous Rugby Union schoolboys’ side and was selected as co-captain of the Indigenous Australian Invitational Tour of America and Canada in 2018.

Daniel is set to co-captain and act as a mentor for the Indigenous Australia Invitational Rugby Tour of Europe in 2021.

Volunteer of the Year – Colin Lawson

With a lifelong dedication to serving the community, Colin Lawson was recognised for his extensive and varied volunteer work as a Rotarian and Freemason. His work has spanned many sectors of the Cairns community, from aged care services and installing buddy benches in local schools, to assisting disability services and running awareness campaigns to stamp out ice use in the community.

Colin has been a member of the Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise for 27 years, during which he served twice as club president and has held various other board positions.

For many years he has played a key role with the club in organising hamper packing for the annual Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal.

Colin has held executive positions at a District Rotary level and, for the past two years, has been the Assistant Governor for the Far North region.

In 2019, he spearheaded the committee that ran the Australian anti-ice campaign Walk Against Ice, and has been instrumental in the installation of Buddy Benches at several local schools.

Colin is the secretary and treasurer on the Board of Australian International Fellowship of Cricket-loving Rotarians, and is on the organising committee for its next world festival, which will be held in Cairns this year.

He has been a member of the local chapter of the Freemasons since 1983, again serving in executive roles and was for a number of years on the Board of the Masonic Aged Care Facility (Whitfield).

Since retiring in 2013, Colin has been volunteering with the Therapy Equipment Loan Service.

Cultural Award – Shaun Edwards

Celebrated Kokoberrin artist, fashion designer and health worker from Western Cape York Peninsula, Shaun Edwards was a driving force behind Australia’s first Black Pride arts and cultural festival, raising awareness about HIV prevention.

Shaun has used fashion, art and culture as a vehicle to bring about change, and support better health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Maintaining a strong link with his Indigenous culture, Shaun has undertaken work to develop appropriate health promotion projects specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at risk of HIV.

He has also applied his skills in helping to develop health policies to benefit children, including work on the national Telethon Kids Institute project on foetal alcohol spectrum disorders in remote Queensland communities.

The homelands of his mother and grandmother are known as Pinnarinch, which stretch from  Staaten River National Park in the south and north to Nassau River, including Wyabba Creek and Dorunda Lodge area.

These remote lands encompass several important clan story places, which Shaun celebrates through his art and designs.

His artworks have been exhibited widely in Australia and are found in the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Drawing inspiration from his Kokoberrin culture, Shaun has developed fashion label Wild Barra, launching a range of swimwear in 2014 at the inaugural Australian Indigenous Fashion Week.

In addition to his art and design, Shaun is an advocate for Indigenous advancement with hopes that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can find peace and equality in Australia.

He was the founder of the Kowanyama Baby Festival and is a graduate of the Cape York Institute’s Young Leaders program.

Junior Cultural Award – Abi Muir

Talented singer, actor and dancer, Abi Muir has used her experiences to promote the performing arts at Redlynch State College and in the wider community.

In what proved to be a breakout year for the teenager, she was the only student from Cairns to be a featured vocalist at Creative Generation 2019 (CGEN), Queensland’s largest youth performing arts show featuring 1800 students from 126 schools across the state.

She also released her first single Heebiejeebies, which has been streamed more than 50,000 times on Spotify and received radio airtime.

The talented performer is regularly cast in Rondo Theatre productions, and has participated in the Cairns Fringe Festival, Oasis Cairns Made Festival, and the Cairns Dinner Theatre Variety Show.

In 2019, Abi was also the only student to gain a place on all three of the College’s performing arts courses of excellence (dance, drama and music); she was recognised last year as the school’s Cultural Student on the Year.

Through her experiences, she has worked to bring students from the music, drama and dance programs together to perform combined routines at the Excellence Showcase evening and the school’s Awards Presentation function.

Sportsperson of the Year - Mark and Nicola Miller

Mark and Nicola Miller coached, supported and assisted with fundraising to help a team of teenaged boys become world champions in white water rafting.

The team of six high school students from Cairns stunned rivals at the IRF World Rafting Championships to win the men’s under-19s world title at Tully in May 2019.

The journey began two years earlier when Mark and Nicola heard that the World White Water Rafting Championships would be staged on the Tully River in 2019.

The Millers formed a team with the 2019 competition in mind, which included their son Cooper along with Justin Baume, Lachlan Willmott, Nathan Tibbs, Liam Stephen and Jacob McClarty.

The team of six, then-14-year-old boys, committed to a four day a week training regimen, along with monthly trips to the Tully River to prepare for the championships.

The training schedule created by Millers was tailored to suit schooling needs and part-time job commitments.

Along the way there was a mountain of fundraising required to properly equip the team with uniforms, paddles, helmets and lifejackets.

Mark and Nicola Miller have also founded an all-female team, the Crocetts, who won the U19 women’s division at the Australian Rafting Federation R4 National Championships last year.

Junior Sportsperson of the Year – Aus Crocs team

The Cairns-based Aus Crocs team represented Australia at the 2019 World White Water Rafting Championships and claimed the Under 19 world title.

The team of six boys – Cooper Miller, Justin Baume, Lachlan Willmott, Nathan Tibbs, Liam Stephen and Jacob McClarty – all aged 16 to 17 years at the time of competition, dedicated two years to training and fundraising to enable them to take on the world and the Tully River.

Their efforts paid off with a world championship title and an invitation to compete in an open international event in China, where they placed sixth.

Their journey began in 2017, when Aus Crocs managers and coaches Nicola and Mark Miller formed a team of 14-year-old school students after hearing that the World White Water Rafting Championships were to be held on the Tully River in 2019.

The team committed to a regimen of three sessions each week on the Barron River and strength and conditioning circuit training each Sunday.

At least once a month the team also headed to the Tully River to familiarise themselves with the conditions.

In addition to training, the team worked hard to fundraise for equipment through countless sausage sizzles and chook raffles, which was bolstered through sponsorship from Harvey Norman Cairns and Sharkskin Australia.

Lifetime achievement award – Wayne Trimble

For more than 30 years Wayne has dedicated his life to volunteering and fundraising efforts in the Far North.

In 1990, Wayne opened a motorcycle repair shop in Cairns and it was here, through his interactions with customers, many of whom became friends, that he became aware of the multitude of people in need throughout the community.

He was responsible for the first “Poker” run from the Northern Beaches to Port Douglas, a fundraising initiative that involved riders paying a fee to participate with added fundraising and donations collected along the way.

The basic formula, with some adjustments, remains in place today.

Wayne remains involved in 15 to 20 fundraisers, and in the past three decades has contributed to a variety of causes from cancer fundraisers and toy runs, to helping Vietnam veterans and lifesaving clubs. He has also raised funds for organisations such as YAPS, PCYC and the Variety Club of Australia, to name just a few.

More recently, he has driven an awareness campaign seeking justice for Toyah Cordingley, who was murdered in October 2018 at Wangetti Beach.

A close family friend of Toyah’s family, he organised the Wangetti Walk that attracted 500 people, who combed the Wangetti Beach shoreline to search for clues into the 24-year-old woman’s murder.

He also initiated and spearheaded the highly successful Toyah sticker campaign, which resulted in the printing of 400,000 stickers.

A fundraising ride/drive from Ellis Beach to Port Douglas and back to Wangetti Beach, which resulted in a five-kilometre convoy that included about 260 bikes and 130 cars, was also one Wayne’s initiatives.

With the help of about 150 volunteers, Wayne was responsible for refurbishing Toyah’s car, which was then presented to her stepbrother, Jack.

A year after her death, Wayne was a driving force behind the Toyah’s Memorial Stone at Wangetti Beach.

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Last updated: 18 June 2020