Thank you to all those who nominated.  Click on the categories below to read about our amazing finalists; the announcement of the winners can be found in our news feed.

Thank you again for helping us highlight the amazing things that occur through volunteering in Tasmania.

The Arts, Heritage and Tourism Award aims to recognise and reward volunteers who contribute their time to informing, enriching and entertaining Tasmanians and visitors, both young and old. Tasmania has a vibrant arts culture, a fascinating past and a busy events calendar, all running with extensive volunteer support. Volunteers share their passion and knowledge willingly, without payment, for the benefit of our community and Tasmania’s economy.


1. Dianne Powell

Described as a ‘driving force’, as the unofficial curator at the not-for-profit Gallery Museum in Queenstown, Dianne is responsible for the management of this highly regarded tourist draw-card. With a passion for local history and the Gallery, Dianne spends close to 30 hours every week volunteering at the Gallery. With her untiring effort to collect, conserve, curate, interpret and disseminate the family and local history of the West Coast, Dianne’s nominator says she has been vital in lifting the spirit of locals and transforming Queenstown’s economy toward sustainable heritage tourism. In addition to the eight years Dianne has spent at the Gallery, she is also a volunteer at the West Coast Community Hub where she maintains the donated collection of the Friends of the Robert Sticht Memorial Library.

2. Chris Palmer

As a volunteer member of the Board of Directors of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, Chris has assisted with all aspects of the planning for the Festival, which attracts over 220,000 visitors to Tasmania every two years. As well as volunteering on the Board, Chris’ nominator acknowledged Chris’ role as the voluntary manager of the International Wooden Boat Symposium, which is delivered during the Festival. Described as ‘a rare combination of intelligence and strategic thinking with a willingness to get his hands dirty’, Chris is attributed with ensuring the success of the Symposium. Receiving no payment or reimbursement for his time, Chris has spent countless hours organising presenters and overseeing the delivery of the Symposium, and creating what is considered a world-class event.

3. Ruby Doherty

Despite being 17 years old and still a student, Ruby’s nominator said ‘don’t let that fool you’. Volunteering in the North West theatre community since she was very young, Ruby’s passion for helping others is considered ‘boundless’. Volunteering most nights and every weekend, Ruby is credited with helping five theatre performances gain nominations in the Tasmanian Theatre Awards. Known for leading with a sense of purpose, Ruby gives her time and skills freely to develop others and entertain the communities of the North West Coast. A remarkable young woman, who in addition to the countless hours she provides to the theatre community, also managed to achieve Dux of her class in year 11 at Marist Regional College in Burnie.

The Anglicare Lifestyle Community Care and Health Award is dedicated to those volunteers who willingly donate their time, skills and compassion towards helping citizens in our community who need extra assistance with daily living, and to those volunteers that support fundraising efforts for their community-focused organisation.


1. Joy Searle

A long-serving volunteer at Mathers House in Hobart, Joy has been nominated for her work leading a team to provide meals and friendship to Hobart’s senior citizens. Her nominator highlighted Joy’s ‘selflessness and compassion’ and described her as someone who has had an incredible impact during her 25 years as a volunteer. As a senior citizen herself, Joy understands the difficulties that can be faced by the elderly in regards to cooking, socialising and being mobile. In addition to volunteering throughout the year, Joy was the driving force behind the Mathers House Christmas dinners which provide food and companionship over the Christmas period for those who may otherwise go without.

2. Mary Gates

For 18 years Mary has been a committed and passionate volunteer at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Mary has been described as someone with great passion who is always ready with a smile for those who arrive to the hospital. In addition to being an integral part of the Hospital’s volunteer service, Mary coordinates the annual volunteer service quiz night, which raises funds to purchase equipment and comfort items for patients. Mary’s nominator thanked her for the countless hours she provides but also her willingness to always take on other roles as required. In particular, Mary was acknowledged for her willingness to take other volunteers under her wing to ensure they enjoy their time volunteering at the hospital.

3. Kim Dunstan

Described as a ‘local West Coast legend, Kim has been recognised for her tireless effort supporting the Zeehan Gem and Mineral Fair. A weekend of children and family activities, the Fair provides a economic boost to the West Coast but for Kim it’s all about putting a smile on the children’s faces. In addition to volunteering at the Fair, Kim gives her time during the year to hold fundraisers and connect with local businesses to ensure the Fair’s success. Kim has been a dedicated volunteer for the Fair for 14 years, and as someone who ‘keeps on keeping on’ she also finds time to be a member of the Granville Harbour Coastal Care group.

The MyState Education, Science and Technology Award recognises volunteers that help Tasmanians of all ages develop their learning and literacy skills; their practical, technical or IT skills; and also those volunteers that collect, count, observe and/or help our scientists in other ways to get the data they need. These volunteers are everywhere – classrooms, libraries, neighbourhood houses, community access centres, men’s sheds, in front of their own computer; in a car, inside, outside, wherever they can help.


1. Amanda McMaster
Known as a hard worker and a keen volunteer, Amanda is in charge of the ‘Little Listeners’ program at the YMCA. Designed for children of all ages, over the past two years Amanda has worked tirelessly to encourage children in the local community to enjoy reading. Educating the children in craft, vocabulary, literacy and colours, Amanda’s nominator described her as a generous volunteer who is dedicated to helping those less fortunate in her community. As an avid book lover, Amanda has not only donated her time to Little Listeners but many books as well.

2. Hina and Waqas Durrani (dual nomination)
With a passion for women and youth, Hina and Waqas have spent countless hours organising various events to advocate for people from culturally and linguistically diverse and non-English speaking backgrounds. With a belief in supporting resilience and pushing boundaries, Hina and Waqa’s were nominated in recognition of their fight to reduce inequalities against displaced people. As members of the Multicultural Council of Tasmania, Hina and Waqas’ work has targeted government policy makers, business people and the broader community to remove stereotypes, build connections and encouraging volunteering opportunities for others.

3. Brother Sean McManus
Described as a ‘kind and positive role model’ Sean is one of the coordinators of CatholicCare’s Light the Way Study Club, which provides support to secondary students of refugee background in Hobart’s northern suburbs. As one of the founders of Light the Way, Sean leads sessions and manages much of the behind-the-scenes planning. Sean’s nominator believes that the success of Light the Way is largely due to Sean’s commitment and leadership, which has benefited over 150 new humanitarian entrants to Tasmania. Dedicating a large amount of time to the Tasmanian community, Sean’s also volunteers for the Clemente program, which provides English language support for new migrant adults, Edmund Rice Camps and the Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support Group. Sean is also a founding member of the Bridging Visa Social Club.

Tasmania’s Emergency Services rely on an army of skilled volunteers to help respond to a fire, flood, ambulance emergency or other sudden crisis. These volunteers work all hours without payment, and dedicate large amounts of personal time to training. The Lifeline Emergency Services Award aims to recognise the formal Emergency Services volunteers, but also the ‘informal’ volunteers – the ones who follow after the Emergency Services crews – those who are there through the long recovery phase, to help their neighbour, a friend, or even a stranger get back on their feet.


1. Christopher Hine

Described as a humble volunteer, Christopher has worked tirelessly for over six years with the State Emergency Service. Taking on a crew leader role to teach and train new and current volunteers, Christopher’s role in the SES and Ambulance Tasmania has benefited the broader southern region tremendously. Volunteering for 1,200 hours in both organisations over the past year, Christopher has also helped Tasmania Police on a range of traumatic forensic jobs. Undertaking his volunteer work whilst maintaining paid work, Christopher’s nominator described him as ‘demonstrating both courage and leadership’ and as someone who values highly the opportunity to give back to the Tasmanian community.

2. David Gleeson
A survivor of the 1967 bushfires, David has served the Lachlan Brigade and Tasmania Fire Service for over 30 years. With 19 years as the Lachlan Brigade Chief, David remains in the Brigade as a Leading Fire Fighter. During his time with the Brigade, David has taken it from a small obscure country brigade to one which accepts its responsibility. Described as a humble man who has never sought recognition for his work, David has protected the Lachlan community as it has evolved through the years. Considered a quiet achiever, David’s nominator considers him a role model for all Brigade members. By mentoring each new officer David is passing on his knowledge and skills, accumulated over many years, as part of his legacy.

3. Philip de Bomford
Volunteering for the Claude Road and Sheffield Fire Brigade Phillip is known for his ability to rally people together in times of need. Building strong relations across the Kentish community, Phillip has not only served the Sheffield Brigade but provided countless hours of training to other brigades across the north west. Described as a reliable and outstanding source of support to his community, Philip inspires others by demonstrating how it is possible to give much to one’s community and to both enrich that community and be enriched by it in the process.

The NRM South Environment, Animal Care and Conservation Award is dedicated to the many volunteers who participate in land and environmental conservation and education, and to the huge-hearted volunteers who give up their time, their skills and sometimes even their homes to helping sick, injured and orphaned animals.

1.  Angela Knight and Mark Bartlett (dual nomination)
Angela and Mark have been described as a ‘fine example’ of two people raising awareness about an issue and making a difference. For the past year, on a daily basis they have been cleaning up the natural parklands and waterways within the Bridgewater and Gagebrook area. By talking to, and educating people about recycling and the effects of rubbish in our waterways, Angela and Mark are sending a powerful message and dispersing the idea of caring for our natural resources through their actions. Focused and dedicated to caring for the environment, Angela and Mark are creating enormous change in their community.

2.  Dr Eric Woehler
Described as a dedicated conservationist and educator, Eric’s passion has improved the chances of survival of many threatened bird species in Tasmania. Holding an Honorary Associate (voluntary) position at the University of Tasmania, Eric’s nominator says he is an inspiration to students considering undertaking research in biological conservation. Contributing hundreds of volunteer hours every year for the past 34 years, Eric has personally attended numerous community events and provided his support to others working in natural resource management across Tasmania. As a founding member of UTAS CARES, which brings academics and students together with environmental care groups, Eric’s work was an integral component for the proposal for the hooded plover to be listed as threatened in Tasmania.

3.  Nel Smit
Nel has been described as an ‘outstanding leader’ in environmental education in Tasmania. A founding member and Vice-President of the Taroona Neighbourhood Garden, Nel is also an active committee member of the Taroona Environment Network as well as the Secretary for the Australian Association for Environmental Education. Last year, Nel was also Chair of the inaugural Taroona Art Trail and successfully led her former school, Huonville High School, to their win in the global High Schools Zayed Future Energy Prize. Passionate about empowering people, communities, teachers and students to take action to support their local places, Nel has displayed persistence, enthusiasm and an enduring commitment to her environment and community.

Sport and recreational activities are enjoyed by almost all Tasmanians – people of every age enjoy spending their leisure time at schools, clubhouses and indoor/outdoor recreational venues across the state. Many of these organised activities would not run without the generous support of volunteers who turn up consistently and help with a huge variety of tasks. This Award aims to recognise those dedicated people who give up their spare time for the enjoyment of others.


1. Shaun Donohue
Described as a tireless worker Shaun is the current President of the Deloraine Football Club and the past President of the Deloraine Basketball Association. Often committing 15-30 voluntary hours per week, Shaun has dedicated himself to raising awareness of depression, anxiety, breast cancer and youth inclusion. During Shaun’s tenure, the Club has raised over $10,000 for charity over the past three years. Working hard to ensure all locals feel valued and welcomed, Shaun’s nominator described him as an inspiring individual who has used his personal hurdles to raise awareness in the local community while dedicating a great deal of commitment to the clubs that he is involved with.
2. Tom Bain
Taking on many roles, Tom has volunteered with the Tamar Yacht Club for over 30 years. From being the first person to set up for morning trainings, to being a race officer for the afternoon dinghy racing, Tom also gives his time to school sailing events and State championships. Described as irreplaceable, Tom’s experience benefits both junior and senior sailors alike and his work ethic is said to inspire and create a wonderful volunteering attitude at his Club. Tom’s nominator believes that Tom’s attitude towards the Club, his genuine interest in helping people succeed and his humility make him a great role model.
3. Tracy Badman
As the Treasurer of the Devonport Gymnastics Club, Tracy is one of the main driving forces behind the Clubs successful Federal funding application to build a new facility. In addition to this accomplishment, Tracy has also led the Club in their completion of strategic, business and project plans. Tracy’s nominator believes all members of the Club benefit greatly from Tracy’s outstanding contribution, which has opened up new possibilities for both the community and Club members. Described as an inspirational role model, Tracy leads by example through her work ethic and is inspiring the next generation to be selfless and passionate for their Club.

The CatholicCare Volunteer Program of the Year award is a new category in 2017, and has been introduced so that volunteering involving organisations can nominate their volunteering program or group. Volunteers can also nominate their own group, even individuals who have benefited from the efforts of a volunteering group may nominate. This Award aims to highlight the amazing things that volunteering groups can do and have achieved across Tasmania.


1. King Island Meals on Wheels
The King Island Meals on Wheels program has 17 volunteer drivers who deliver meals to clients in their homes 364 days of the year. Volunteer drivers pick up meals from the King Island Hospital and Health Centre and deliver them in town and to rural areas. Drivers meet each client with warmth and help them in whatever capacity they need. Their nominator said that the “Meals on Wheels volunteer team is an exceptional group of people who care about their community and invest so much to help.”

2. Launceston Community Legal Centre
The Launceston Community Legal Centre provides legal advice and assistance to the most vulnerable people in our community. Unique to Tasmania, the Legal Literacy Volunteers Program was developed in response to the 2008 Tasmanian Adult Literacy Plan. Involving local non-legally trained volunteers, members of the community are provided help to correctly complete legal documents and forms and write letters. Volunteers assist others to identify legal needs and refer people to legal assistance, as required. In the six years since the program began, Legal Literacy Volunteers have helped over 2,000 people.

3. The LCG: Older Persons Electronic Network Computer Club
The Older Persons Electronic Network, or ‘OPEN’, is managed and staffed by senior volunteers. Over the past 12 months, 35 OPEN volunteers have given their time and expertise through sessions catering for the specific interests of their members who have varied information and communication technology (ICT) skills and needs. With 140 members, OPEN has provided introductory computer and Internet information sessions and one-to-one tuition and classes to men and women over the age of 50 (some with sight or mobility impairments).

The Hydro Tasmania Excellence Award – for best practice in volunteer management – aims to highlight managers of volunteers (either paid or unpaid) who embrace the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement; through effective recruiting, training, support, and recognition of volunteers.

1. Liz Lord
As the Volunteer Coordinator for the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, Elizabeth ‘Liz’ has been described as a ‘gifted manager of people.’ Having recently completed the 2017 Festival, Liz oversaw the recruitment, registration, training and induction of 415 volunteers ranging from radio operators, truck drivers, information counter staff, sign writers, dock crew, boat handlers to food service people and site laborers. Additionally, Liz was responsible for liaising with scouts and other youth groups involved with the Festival. Despite the challenge of working to a narrow time frame of one week, including the four days of the Festival, Liz’s nominator said her ‘natural talent’ in volunteer management and her calm demeanor were key to her creating an incredible volunteering environment.

2. Melody Towns
As the founder and managing director of ‘Be Hers’, Melody has created a national volunteer organisation and social enterprise that raises funds and awareness of human trafficking and the millions of women and children trapped into sexual slavery around the world. With approximately 300 people volunteering at any point in time throughout the year, Melody has implemented management structures to ensure that her organisation operates effectively. Her nominator believes that Melody’s focus on aligning her volunteer’s talents and skills with the right role has enabled her to empower her volunteers to not only contribute, but gain new skills and experiences. As a volunteer herself, 100 per cent of the funds Melody raises goes towards ‘Be Her’s to make a difference to the lives of women forced into sexual slavery around the world.

3. Shelley Haas
As the Volunteer Manager at the Royal Hobart Hospital, Shelley is credited with successfully revamping and rebuilding their volunteer management program. Working with the program previously known as the ‘Cherry Ladies, Shelley renamed it the ‘RHH Volunteer Service’, and transformed it to include males and successfully increasing the number of volunteers from 24 to over 110. With volunteers ranging from 18 to 87 years old, Shelley has introduced volunteering programs into the maternity ward, hospice and emergency departments. Described as a ‘passionate campaigner for health care services’, Shelly encourages volunteers to be involved in hospital decision making processes to ensure they have not only have an understanding of the services the hospital provides but also insights into the difficulties the hospital faces from time-to-time.

The Tasplan Super Corporate Award is awarded to a company that has had a significant impact through its employee volunteering program. This award is open to any organisation who release their employees from employment to carry out volunteer activities as part of an employee or corporate volunteering program.


1. Hydro Tasmania
Commencing in 2011, Hydro Tasmania’s employee volunteering program was developed a result of employee feedback. Established as a formal employee benefit, Hydro Tasmania’s employees are able to link volunteering to their development plan for both personal and professional growth. With 200 employees working with grassroots organisations across the State, Hydro Tasmania has an established set of employee volunteering policies that includes employee background screening and insurance. With 800 employees, Hydro Tasmania hopes that in the long term community groups will look to corporates to recruit volunteers, and corporate volunteering programs will have a stronger presence in the community.

2. Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania (RACT)
Launched in 2011, the RACT Volunteer Program was developed to align with the organisation’s strategic theme of actively engaging with the Tasmanian community. Aspiring to be an outstanding corporate citizen, the RACT provides every permanent staff member with one paid day every financial year to participate in an activity that delivers value to the community. Placing a high value on the health and well being of their employees, in addition to supporting the development of capable, effective and motivated employees,the RACT strives to make an impact by giving back to the community and creating pride and appreciation within their company.

3. University of Tasmania – Young Tassie Scientists
With an aim to inspire and raise awareness of the role of science, the Young Tassie Scientists are a group of early-career scientists who volunteer their time to share their passion for science across Tasmania during National Science Week. A partnership between the University of Tasmania and National Science Week, in 2016 they reached over 14,000 Tasmanians, encouraging science career options and actively supporting community science activities. Delivering presentations at 52 primary and secondary schools, many regional, the Young Tassie Scientists provide these visits for free, supported through the University of Tasmania’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology.

The Premier’s Volunteer of the Year Award is chosen from the finalists across all individual categories. The winner this year was Christopher Hine, an SES and Ambulance Tasmania volunteer who also donates his time to Tasmania Police. To read his story please review the Lifeline Tasmania Emergency Services Award finalists.


The Tasmanian Volunteering Awards are an initiative of Volunteering Tasmania and are supported by the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

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