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2017 saw a change in the FNQVI Volunteer of the Year Awards for both the awards and the venue.

In previous years, there was a winner and runner-up category where both long-term and short-term volunteers had to compete in the one pool. This year, the award was altered to one winner in each category awarded for both (a) the long-term (over 3 years) and (b) the short-term (less than 3 years) volunteers of the year. This means short-term volunteers could be recognised for their efforts and encouraged to stay volunteering in the community, whilst long-term volunteers are still recognised for their enormous efforts over the years.

Attendees across the room at the Volunteer of the Year Awards 2017

The other change was the venue.

This year FNQVI opted for a venue where to food was considered simple but plentiful, and there was plenty of car parking available for attendees – at the Plantations Restaurant Function Room at the Bungalow Hotel on Aumuller Street, Cairns.


A small number of organisations participated in this year’s Volunteer of the Year Awards.


  • Michelle O’Loughlin – OzHarvest Cairns : Nominated by Jana Gorski
  • Megan Wall – Frog Safe : Nominated by  Deborah Pergolotti
  • Robert O’Gorman – Mossman Support Services : Nominated by Desley Lloyd
  • D. John Russell – Steps Group Cairns : Nominated by Angela N Murphy
  • Jurgen Muller – Steps Group Australia : Nominated by Donna Lea Williams
  • Murray O’Neill – RSL Cairns Sub-branch : Nominated by Buster Todd


  • Margaret O’Shea – Playgroup Qld : Nominated by Melissa Baker
  • Phil Watson – Cairns RSL Sub-branch : Nominated by Buster Todd


(Thumbnails below are nominees receiving their Certificates Of Appreciation from FNQVI Board Member Joanna Cray) L-R: D John Russell, Jurgen Muller, Margaret O’Shea, Megan Wall, Michelle O’Louglin, Murray O’Neill, Phil Watson, Robert O’Gorman.


Special guests Dr George Skeene (AO Mediallist) and Cairns Regional Councillor Cathy Zeiger – both of whom are tireless supporters and contributors to the volunteering community – presented the awards. Elise Chatterton represented Rob Pyne MP at the Awards.

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Several FNQVI Staff attended the proceedings. 1. Services Coordinator Oni Vuniyaro was the MC for the day. Board Member Joanna Cray presented the Nominee Certificates accompanied by Referral Officer Loani Burns. 2. Referral Officer Terese Allen read out the nomination wording for long-term volunteer winner Phil Watson (Cairns RSL Sub Branch). 3. Frances Mintrom read out the nomination wording for short-term volunteer winner Jurgen Muller (STEPS Group Cairns).


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