Marine icon honoured at Australia Day awards


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TOP CITIZEN: (L-R) Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu presents John Rumney with the Citizen of the Year Award at an Australia Day ceremony at Rex Smeal Park yesterday. IMAGE: Douglas Shire Council.

RESPECTED marine conservation, research and ecotourism pioneer John Rumney was announced as the 2017 Douglas Shire Citizen of the Year at idyllic Rex Smeal Park yesterday.

Mayor Julia Leu welcomed Rumney to the stage in front of more than 250 people who turned out to celebrate the communities’ quiet achievers.

“John’s live-aboard adventure diving expeditions, citizen science projects and general contribution to our magnificent Great Barrier Reef has enabled scientific discoveries, facilitated the completion of many PhDs and inspired countless passengers and crew to conserve the marine environment,” Leu said.

“His networking and lobbying efforts were instrumental in many conservation successes including Great Barrier Reef rezoning, the Memorandum of Understanding to protect Coral Sea reefs, the International Reef Check program and the development of minke whale watching guidelines used around the world.

“John’s amazing efforts on behalf of our reefs continue with the Great Barrier Reef Legacy project to further scientific research and inspire the next generation of reef custodians.”

Teenager Jasmine Faishney was announced as the 2017 Douglas Shire Young Citizen of the Year for her tireless contributions to the community at such a young age.

Leu said Jasmine, who graduated from Mossman State High School last year, had made a significant contribution to her community over a number of years.

“Among these achievements, Jasmine was a Senior Leader at Mossman State High School in 2016, is a volunteer for the Cancer Council Queensland, Meals on Wheels and the Mossman Show Society, assists the Mossman Sportsfishing Association data collection for fish research and the Tangaroa Blue Cape Kimberley clean-up,” Leu said.

“Jasmine has the unique ability to establish a rapport with people of all ages and social groupings, build strong relationships and is trusted because of her caring, generous and compassionate spirit.”

Douglas Shire Historical Society president Freda Wilson is the deserving 2017 Douglas Shire Volunteer of the Year.

“Freda has been a part of the Douglas Shire Historical Society since its inception in 1994 and has been involved in some hugely important projects for our community including the rescue and relocation of St Mary’s By The Sea Chapel and the historic Dixie’s Shed, and a driving force behind the ANZAC “Diggers of Douglas” research project,” Leu said.

“Freda has been a weekly volunteer at the Court House Museum for decades and has also worked tirelessly over the years as a volunteer for the Clink Theatre, the Port Douglas Restoration Society and the Port Douglas Volunteer Fire Brigade.”

Mossman Markets coordinator Joan Vico was also presented with a Civic Recognition Award.

“Largely due to Joan’s commitment and energy, devoting many long hours to grow the markets from a handful of stalls to over 60, the community spirit of Mossman is able to flourish every week,” Leu said.

Fifteen new citizens from the UK, the Philippines, Zimbabwe, Chad, Switzerland, the Netherlands, India, the Republic of Ireland and Italy who have chosen to call the Douglas Shire home were also welcomed as the Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony.