Spirit of Tasmania Arts, Heritage and Tourism Award

This Award 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.


Shirley Baker – Friends of Deal Island Wildcare Inc.

Shirley Baker is a volunteer lighthouse caretaker, fundraiser, historian and treasurer with the Friends of Deal Island (FoDI) – a group dedicated to protecting and conserving Deal Island and Kent Group National Park. She has been a dedicated member of the groups since 2002

Shirley has contributed immeasurably to preserving the cultural and natural history of the Island and Kent Group National Park. She has been secured several Arts Tasmania grants to support this work and has lead the development of a collections project, an interpretation project, and multiple information banners so that visitors can learn the rich stories of the Island and its lighthouse.

Shirley initiated the restoration of the original superintendent’s cottage (1846), which is now recognised as a small museum.  She has even produced the Lighthouse Cookbook, and sales of the book have raised considerable funds for both FoDI and Friends of Tasman Island.

Shirley’s talent as a historian and her reliability, initiative and knowledge have contributed immensely to building Tasmania’s historical archives.

The finalists are:

Brenda Boyle – Calvary Health Care Tasmania

Brenda Boyle has dedicated her retirement years to creating the Calvary Hospital’s Heritage Archive. Since 2001 she has been curating the history of Calvary Hospitals at Lenah Valley and St Johns. She has lovingly curated, preserved and catalogued a significant range of historical items which are now on display in Calvary’s public foyers for others to enjoy.

Brenda has a special skill in relating historical items to current medical practice, creating numerous links between the heritage of Calvary and its founding sisters to the history of medicine and care in our Hobart community.

Volunteering is not new to Brenda, who began volunteering in the 1970s as a coach of junior hockey. During her 23 years as a nurse working at Calvary, she has been president of Calvary’s Past Nurses Association, a conference organiser, and a committee member and vice-president of the Hospital Auxiliary and The Friends of Calvary.

Mary Machen – The Tamar Valley Writers Festival

Mary Machen is president of the Tamar Valley Writer’s Festival and was key to the highly successful Spring into the Tamar—promotional initiative with other Launceston-based arts festivals. Brimming with original ideas, Mary has worked hard to promote the festival and work with potential sponsors, arts events organisers, and politicians, enlisting support from her wide range of contacts. This year’s program included a Schools Day to support literacy and a diversity and identity element especially designed for young people.

Before joining the Tamar Valley Writers Festival board, Mary has volunteered with other arts organisations including Junction Arts Festival, Friends of the Museum, and Friends of Theatre North, where she was instrumental in growing the support base to ensure that major theatre productions are available to Launceston audiences.

Mary’s cheerful attitude and excellent people skills have enabled the Festival board to recruit many other talented people to volunteer. She leads with a light touch and is always keen to lend a hand.

Allen Rust – Tasmanian Sail Training Association

Allen Rust volunteers as the Ship’s Master for the Tasmanian Sail Training vessel the Lady Nelson. A volunteer for over 20 years, and their longest serving Master, Allen has shown great commitment to the organisation. During this time. Allen earned his Master’s ticket at his own expense, attending the Australian Maritime College in Launceston as a mature age student.

For some years he was the only Master available, and so he sailed every cruise for which the Lady Nelson was chartered. The sacrifices he made to do this allowed the Lady Nelson to operate continuously in Hobart.

Allen has helped many others to gain qualifications to take on senior positions on the ship through his dedication, calmness and positive instruction. He inspires those around him to learn and continue the traditional maritime crafts, skills that are part of Hobart’s rich history.