Citizens, Ceremonies & Sausage Sizzles by the Pool: Cassowary Coast Celebrates Australia Day 2024

  • 14 new Australians from 8 countries in citizenship ceremony
  • 23 recipients of Australia Day Awards with Richard Graham named Citizen of the Year
  • 4 Youth Sports Bursaries acknowledging outstanding achievements in sport
  • 3 SES units and groups awarded a Mayor’s Community Spirit Award
  • 4 pool parties across the Cassowary Coast with free entertainment and sausage sizzles

The Cassowary Coast came alive this Australia Day with a series of celebrations to welcome new citizens, award the region’s most dedicated, and party by the pool with free sausage sizzles throughout the region.

Citizenship Ceremony

Fourteen new citizens from eight countries including Thailand, Malawi, New Zealand, Philippines, Tonga, United Kingdom, Ireland and South Korea were welcomed at the Citizenship Ceremony. 

The ceremony was held at the Innisfail Shire Hall yesterday with Cassowary Coast Mayor Mark Nolan encouraging the region’s newest Aussies to enjoy the public holiday celebrations with friends and family.

“For the first time this year we were pleased to be able to conduct the ceremony the day prior to Australia Day so that our new citizens can enjoy the public holiday with friends and family,” Mayor Nolan said.

“Our new citizens are a great asset to our community through their skills and cultural diversity and we warmly welcome them to the Cassowary Coast.”

Maria Fe Sanopao Toquero from the Philippines pledged her commitment to Australia as a new citizen with her two sons Miki Laurence and Christian Dave Toquero.

“This is a special day,” said Maria.

“I love to live here because the Australian people are so nice and they respect where we come from.  We are so proud to become Australian and we’re going to have a BBQ at our house to celebrate.”

Australia Day Awards

Twenty-three of the Cassowary Coast’s most dedicated and accomplished community members were celebrated last night as part of the 2024 Cassowary Coast Regional Council Australia Day Award Ceremony.

Mayor Mark Nolan said the Award recipients represent an inspiring group with many talents and qualities that form the foundations of the community.

“The Australia Day Awards provide a significant opportunity to publicly recognise and celebrate our local heroes,” Mayor Nolan said.

“Each and every recipient has made substantial contributions to improve our region. We are better as a community for their efforts and thank them for their continued dedication and service.”

Receiving Citizen of the Year was Tully State High School Principal Richard Graham, with Mayor Nolan saying Richard’s leading roles in both school and community organisations makes him a leader in every sense of the word.

“Richard has taken on countless leading roles in both school and community organisations including the Innisfail Community Band, Innisfail Young Performers Committee, Far North Queensland Instrumental Music Working Party and Combined Sports Association to name just a few.

“Words can’t adequately describe what he has done for the Cassowary Coast’s sporting, cultural and educational landscape.”

In true Aussie spirit, Cassowary Coast Australia Day Citizen of the Year Richard Graham was humbled at receiving the award but hesitant to take full credit for his achievements.

“To be nominated alongside such high achieving community members was an honour, and I attribute much of this award to my colleagues who do the hard yards behind scenes,” Richard said.

“I might be the face of some of these organisations and activities but I’m just communicating the work and effort of the good people in the Cassowary Coast who’ve helped along the way.”

Young Citizen of the Year was Council employee and Miss Riverfest Queen Rikki-Lee Broccardo who was recognised for her exceptional contributions to the community as a Youth Advisory Committee Member, and devotion to the Innisfail Rotary Club among other achievements.

Youth Sports Bursary

2024 is the first year that Council’s Youth Sports Bursary was included in the Australia Day Awards ceremony which was held at the Innisfail Shire Hall last night.  Four young and talented sportspersons were recipients of the 2024 Youth Sports Bursary to acknowledge their outstanding achievement in sport.

Mayor’s Community Spirit Award

The Innisfail, Tully and Cardwell SES units and groups were awarded a Mayor’s Community Spirit Award for their tireless work throughout ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper and the flooding events that followed.

“Their remarkable efforts over the last two months in the wake of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper and the flood waters, have been a beacon of hope and resilience, embodying the true spirit of community service,” Mayor Nolan said.

“In the face of adversity, the volunteers of the SES have not only provided crucial assistance but also showcased exceptional leadership, weaving a tapestry of support and compassion that has left a lasting positive impact on our community.”

Australia Day Pool Parties

Hundreds of residents are expected to have gathered at swimming pools across the Cassowary Coast today with Australia Day pool parties being held across the region.

Residents enjoyed free entry at public pools in Innisfail, Mission Beach, Tully and Cardwell with entertainment, and a free sizzle hosted by local organisations.

Cassowary Coast Councillor for Community and Culture Trudy Tschui attended the Mission Beach Pool Party saying it was a fabulous celebration.

“Despite the looming uncertainty from ex-TC Kirrily this week the weather turned out to be great and the community came out in droves,” Cr. Tschui said. 

“It’s days like today that you feel so proud to be Australian.”

In reflection of Council’s two-day celebrations Mayor Nolan paused to acknowledge the deeper meaning of Australia Day.

“This has been a fabulous celebration but there’s more to Australia Day than citizens, ceremonies and sausage sizzles,” Mayor Nolan said.

“In the Cassowary Coast we encourage everyone to mark Australia Day by taking time to reflect on what it means to be an Australian citizen: our shared values, our national history, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, and our commitment to reconciliation.

“Think about how you can become more involved with your local community, to help make it a better place every day.”

Council wishes to thank supporters of the Australia Day Pool Parties, Grimsey’s Aquatics and Cotter Aquatic Swim and Fitness.  Community groups hosting the fundraiser BBQ sausage sizzles include Friends of the Con, Tully Netball Association, Cardwell Volunteer Coastguard and Mission Beach Scout Group.

Australia Day events on the Cassowary Coast are assisted by the Australian Government through the National Australia Day Council and the Queensland Government.

2024 Australia Day Award recipients:



Richard Graham

Citizen of the Year

Rikki-Lee Broccardo

Young Citizen of the Year

Chrys Tait, Les Moule, Craig Marturia, Ninney Murray

Lifetime Contribution

Innisfail Bowls Club Centenary

Community Event / Project of the Year

St Vincent De Paul Mother of Good Counsel Conference, Etty Bay SLSC, Mission Beach Wildcare Inc.

Community Group Award

Emily O’Brien

Sports Person of the Year

Kai Greven

Young Sports Person of the Year

Nadine O’Farrell

Service to Sports Award

Mission Beach Historical Society

Arts and Culture Award

Emily Muriata

Young Arts and Culture Award

Constance (Connie) Symons, Judy Ronland

Sustainable Environment Award

Kyanna Wirth

Young Sustainable Environment Award

Blue EDGE Program, Michael Sands and Mick Maguire

Achievement Award

Alicia Magnanini, St Rita’s School South Johnstone

Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Education Award

Satkirat Kaur

Young Entrepreneur

Hannah Beeron

First Nations’ Fire Award

Rebecca Mosk

Excellence and Innovation Award


2024 Youth Sports Bursary recipients:

Elle Gracie

Junior Sports Female (Age 8-12)

Shaun Riley

Junior Sports Male (Age 8-12)

Mia Wilson

Senior Sports Female (Age 13-18)

Kai Greven

Senior Sports Male (Age 13-18)


Australia Day Photography Competition Awards 2024

Jane Stark

Third Prize

Selina Wirth

Second Prize

Cameron Anderson