Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards

2020 Finalists

Tasplan Create Change Award:

Toby Thorpe, 18 of Huonville is passionate about climate change and inspiring future generations to take action. Toby founded the Tasmanian Climate Leaders Program which ran the first ever state-wide climate leaders conference in Hobart, attracting over 350 students and professionals. Only 14 when he started the program, Toby juggled this with full time study and volunteering whenever possible. Toby also assisted in leading the Tasmanian Youth Delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2018 and 2019. Through this initiative Toby has been able to give seven students the chance to attend the conference and meet influential people such as Greta Thunberg….

Zoe Douglas-Kinghorn, 22 of South Hobart is an inspirational young leader in the climate movement, driving greater representation of young people in the media and encouraging students to take action. In 2017 Zoe launched the Switched on Schools Program in Tasmania, leading a team of volunteers to provide workshops on climate science. Zoe has facilitated over twenty workshops and presentations in schools, organised the Climate Justice Bootcamp which trained over fifty people, and formed the Student Climate Action Network, bringing various students together to share skills and networks. They recently organised the biggest protest in Tasmania’s history at the Global Strike for Climate with a crowd of over 20,000.

George Scott, 18 of Sandy Bay seeks to empower young people to develop the skills required to support peers with mental health issues. George attends an all-boys school and in 2019 became the Mental Health Prefect where he encouraged over fifty fellow students to complete a two-day Mental Health First Aid course. Twenty of these students went on to become Mental Health Contact Officers within the school. This led to a reduction in stigma around mental health and an increased awareness around how to support those struggling with mental health. George’s involvement in the program helped his school win the Outstanding Contribution by Young Persons Award.

Samantha Andrews, 28 of Bridgewater has been a member of the Bridgewater Police and Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) for nine years and is currently the Assistant Manager. Samantha has been critical in assisting PCYC becoming a Winner and National Finalist in the Telstra Tasmanian Business Awards, Social Change Maker category two years in a row. She was crucial to the expansion and improvement of a series of youth targeted community service initiatives now executed by the Bridgewater PCYC. This led to the club experiencing a growth in total members of 600%, including participation in schools which improved by 132%.


St.LukesHealth Healthier Communities Award:

Harriet Beattie, 28 of Scottsdale is extremely committed to the health and wellbeing of the Dorset community in a physical, social and emotional capacity, which she has demonstrated through various roles. Harriet is currently a Rural Physical Health worker for the Royal Flying Doctor Service where she delivers group and individual cardiac & pulmonary rehabilitation programs along with other exercise-based care plans for individuals suffering from chronic conditions. Harriet has successfully increased the physical activity of people aged 50-85 and the number of people completing cardiopulmonary rehabilitation living in rural and remote areas. She provides educational health programs and runs a free weekly group exercise program.

Brittany Szlezak, 29 of Chigwell is a big believer of preventive health and wellbeing measures. With a passion for improving mental health and wellbeing since she was young, Brittany and worked and volunteered in the health and community services sector since she was 18 . Dedicated to community wellbeing and mental health some of her previous roles have included volunteering with the Newcastle Youth Council, gaining a Bachelor of Social Work and completing ten years of active service as an Army Reservist. Currently, Brittany works fulltime in mental health, volunteers with the Healthy Communities Advisory Committee for the Glenorchy City Council and Co-Produces the highly successful Mental Health Week Comedy Roadshow, all of which has been achieved whilst caring for people who live with mental ill health.

Rayyan Baig, 17 of Park Grove discovered a consistent trend whilst working at a Pharmacy that the majority of their customers were above 70. This led him to develop an App called ‘MedTime’ which reminds patients to take their medications on time and enables users to call their local pharmacy and G.P. Rayyan designed and created the App completely on his own, which involved countless hours of research, talking to customers to accumulate feedback and teaching himself how to code the App. The App has gone on to win the Young Engineer Award, be on the cover of a magazine and help countless people remember their medications.

Raw Strength Tasmania, 28 of Rokeby provides affordable, top quality training to athletes, focusing on the disabled, aged and disadvantaged people. Raw Strength have successfully started a club, run a not for profit event, invited the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority to test the competitors and run 12 successful events. These include two Australian Masters Games and the only Para Lifting competition in Tasmanian history. They advocate for health and fitness through strength training in a safe, drug free environment and recently worked with the Clarendon Vale Neighbourhood Center to provide a low-cost gym aimed at improving the health, fitness and wellbeing of the disadvantaged in the community.


Heather & Christopher Chong Community Service & Volunteering Award:

Steven Elliston, 23 of Kingston is an active and popular member of the community who values the people and gives back wherever possible. He volunteers at Kingborough Knights Cricket Club where he was given a seat with his name plaque on it. He also volunteers at Bishop Davies Court where he received the Star of the Year Award and Rowallan Park, Kingston where he is seen as a role model. He also works at St Vincent’s cutting clothes into rags and helping deliver them. Steven has overcome the difficulties of living with a disability to assist others and make a positive impact in their lives.

Jordon King, 17 of Bridgewater organises charity events with all funds raised going towards unwell children in the Royal Hobart Hospital Children’s Ward. Jordon has organised a great deal of events over the past 3 years including Bingo games, Santa’s Jetty Runs, concerts and Charity Family Fun Days. Jordon organised the events completely on his own and has raised over $30,000 in total. He was awarded the 2019 Young Citizen of the Year in Brighton, the Social Justice Award in 2018 and has spread awareness by being featured on The Project, 7NEWS, Win News, Mercury Newspaper and Take 5 Magazine.

Toby Thorpe, 18 of Huonville led the Energy Futures Team at Huonville High School to become the sole Australian finalist in the International Zayed Sustainability Prize and the winner of $100,000 (US). Toby has represented his community twice at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and spoke at multiple e-meetings across the world. He organised the first ever state-wide Climate Leaders Conference in Hobart, attracting over 350 students and professionals and is an active member of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Toby volunteers for Switched on Schools and has empowered young people to take action against climate change through the role of Youth Facilitator at Education for Sustainability Tasmania.

Alissia Pearson, 22 of Riverside has been an active member of her local youth council for over 10 years. She has been involved in Clean Up Australia days, led and participated in Youth Leadership Camps, redeveloped the youth strategy in her area and filmed informative videos for use in schools. Alissia did this while completing Year 12, a Certificate III in Education Support and now works full time as a teacher’s assistant. Alissia is involved in her local sporting clubs as an officiary, mentor, coach and President and was awarded Young Sportsperson of the Year in 2016 and Young Citizen of the Year in 2018.


First National Real Estate Leadership Award:

Gabrielle Dewsbury, 17 of Newnham pioneered the School Strike 4 Climate movement which is a student-led movement fighting for climate justice. She has led multiple Climate Strikes including the first Northern Strike in Tasmania and set up a Student Wellbeing Committee at her school. Gabrielle leads the “Health is Wealth” initiative, which runs workshops focused on mental health and wellbeing and has partnered with Beyond Blue to expand Nationally. Gabrielle is on multiple committees including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and speaks at conferences and forums around the state. She has won multiple awards and represented Tasmania at the UN Youth Aotearoa Leadership Tour.

Madeline Wells, 24 of Wynyard is a strong leader and role model in the Wynard community. Madeline won the Tasmanian Aboriginal VET Student of the Year Award, became a finalist at Nationals and was asked to be part of a delegation group that attended the APEC VET Skills Camp in China. She spoke at the United Nations Youth Forum as an Amnesty International Australian delegate and was selected as 1 of 17 people globally to be on their Youth Task Force. Madeline was selected as one of the Young Leaders in the 2018 class for Women Deliver and won the Waratah-Wynyard Young Citizen of the Year for 2019.

William Smith, 27 of Montana’s dedication to improving the lives of young people led him to begin his company ‘JPC Empowering Youth’. William travelled alone to an active war zone in the Middle East, risking personal safety to steer youth away from Islamic State Recruitment through soccer. He developed the ‘Isaac’s Gift’ initiative for Make Runs Maxi Charity which spreads random acts of kindness to those affected by mental health trauma and created a partnership between Tasmania Police and Edmund Rice Camps Tasmania where at risk young people are partnered with a police recruit. He is the 2020 Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year.

Rose Lindner, 27 of Montrose completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Tasmania in 2014, majoring in Geology and Environmental Science. During her studies she was Vice President and Secretary of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) Student Chapter. Rose successfully increased participation in the Tasmanian Branch of the Women in Mining Network by organising events and guest speakers and was recently awarded the 2020 AusIMM New Professional Award. Rose is currently the Mine Closure Projects Advisor for MMG and is working to implement change and increase female inclusion in male-dominated industries to share the economic benefits that mining brings the community.


Dental South Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Achievement Award:

Kitana Mansell, 19 of Lutana is a proud Tasmanian Aboriginal woman currently working as an Aboriginal Business Trainee at Macquarie Point Development Corporation. Through this role Kitana has facilitated the involvement of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s children group, men’s cooking programs and homeless shelters with the Edible Precinct to harvest their native and exotic edible plants. The Edible Precinct is one of Australia’s largest precincts and showcases European species planted alongside Native bush foods. Kitana addressed the public at the Hobart Invasion Day Rally, speaking about the importance of younger generations using their voice to make a difference in the Aborigine community.

Jordy Gregg, 22 of Glenorchy is a passionate teacher, actor writer and film maker. In 2018, Jordy played the part of Laertes in Hamlet which went on to win Tasmania’s Best Professional Production. He has been the lead tour guide for the Bay of Fires Walk and worked closely with educational facilities such as the Lambert School where he gives music lessons. Jordy has given talks to students at Clarence High School regarding jobs and potential career paths and taught children at the Aboriginal Children’s Center about acting, drama and social dynamic skills. He is currently writing a theatre show which has attracted national interest.

Mia King, 18 of East Launceston is a proud Aboriginal woman and football prodigy, currently playing for North Melbourne in the AFLW. Mia has been selected for the Tasmanian State Football Team, awarded MVP for the Kickstart Indigenous team and was twice selected to play at the All Stars Championships. Mia was named in the Dream Team for the Tasmanian State League Women’s and was the sole Tasmanian selected in the NAB AFLW development squad. She coaches, speaks at schools, inspires young aboriginal women and uses her platform to educate others on her culture and history. Mia is truly gifted and finished high school with an ATAR of 95.35.


Motors Tasmania Sports Award:

Flynn Caro, 16 of Kingston Beach is a world-renowned gymnast. Flynn competed at the Gymnastics Australia National Clubs Carnival in 2019, qualifying for the final round in 1st place in both Individual Trampoline and Double-Mini Tramp. He was selected to represent Australia at the 27th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Championships in Tokyo, earning a finalist position in the double-mini trampoline finishing in 7th position. Flynn was the only Tasmanian gymnast to make an individual final at an international event during the 2019 competition season. Flynn coaches junior athletes at the Kingborough Gymnastics facility, assists at local and club events and is an accredited judge.

Matthew French, 19 of Tinderbox is a successful gymnast competing in the Individual Trampoline and Double-Mini Tramp categories. Matthew represented Australia twice in 2019 at the Trans-Tasman Challenge and the World Age Championships held in Tokyo. Matthew is in the Gymnastics Australia Junior National Squad for Individual Trampoline and a Senior National Squad Member for Double-Mini Tramp. He placed 2nd in the Junior International Synchronised Trampoline event at the 2019 Australian Gymnastics Championships and was a member of the bronze medal winning team for Tasmania in the Double-mini tramp event. Matthew represented Australia again in the Individual Trampoline team's event going on to win first place.

Amber French, 16 of Tinderbox is the current Junior International Under 17 Women's Australia National Champion. Amber won the Junior International division at the Gymnastics Australia National Clubs Carnival on the Gold Coast and is the current Tasmanian State Champion for the same division. She is a member of the Gymnastics Australia Junior National Squad for Individual Trampoline, was selected to represent Australia at the 27th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Championships and is a junior coach at the Kingborough Gymnastics facility, working with young beginners in Trampoline. Amber is a registered Gymnastics Tasmania judge and volunteers her time to assist at gymnastic events.

Kate Eckhart, 22 of West Hobart is a Canoe Slalom athlete and has represented Australia for almost seven years. During that time she has won countless awards, some of which include; second and third place at the Junior world championships, third place at the senior world championships, third place at the Australian open K1, 6th place at the U/23 World Canoe Slalom and third place at the World Championships U/23 World Canoe Slalom Championships. Kate has held a scholarship for the Tasmanian Institute of Sport and Paddle Australia since 2013 and is an amazing role model for other athletes at the Tasmanian Institute of Sport.


Spirit of Tasmania Tourism and Hospitality Award:

Alexandra Turner, 25 of Rosetta is a Pastry Chef at MACq 01 Hotel’s Old Wharf Restaurant. Alexandra exclusively developed and is responsible for the breakfast buffet at the hotel which is the recipient of many glowing reviews. She is passionate about food, local produce and creating exceptional guest experiences which she excels at. Alex’s pastry creations are constantly praised and she is often asked to share recipes with guests. The MACq 01 Hotel was the winner across five categories at 2018’s Tasmanian Hospitality Association Awards for Excellence, one of which included ‘Best Restaurant in a Hotel or Accommodation Venue.

Evelyn McCormack, 27 of Hobart is the Restaurant Manager at the Old Wharf Restaurant, MACq 01 Hotel. Evelyn started as a casual waitress and through hard work, passion and dedication worked her way to become the youngest Restaurant Manager the hotel has seen. She is responsible for all hotel operations, team development and culture of the Restaurant, and works closely with the Executive Chef to create exceptional first-class dining experiences for local and visiting guests. Evelyn completely redesigned the hotels point of sale system into a much more user-friendly layout and was the winner of the Federal Group Properties Coffee making competition.

Benjamin Coe, 23 of Flowery Gully is a tour guide and supervisor at Platypus House. Ben is responsible for running the tours, assisting staff, and liaising with tour directors. His passion lies with animals and touring, which is evident from the hundreds of customer service reviews highlighting his friendly, enthusiastic persona when hosting the tours. Ben’s efforts have led to the opening of a Platypus Exhibit at San Diego Zoo and took him to the Finalist stage in Chilli 90.1fm's Champions of Tourism Awards. Ben’s shining personality and positive attitude allows him to lead his team by example and improve the efficiency of the group.

Freya Downie, 15 of Gretna is a young entrepreneur. Freya started her produce company ‘Freya’s Delights’ at just 12 years old with minimal parental guidance. Her hand-made products range from quince paste, preserved lemon, fig paste and pickled walnuts. She is passionate about giving back and volunteered with her Mum in Cambodia this year. At a school market she raised $80 for the organisation Head Heart Hand Holidays which helps provide access to fresh water for Cambodian school children. Freya is a frequent stall holder at the new Blackmans Bay Twilight Markets attends Business networking groups.


Colony 47 Transition to Work Award:

Jan Richards, 18 of Latrobe is a determined, energetic young woman. In 2019 she completed her Certificate II in Community Services focusing on Children’s Services and a Certificate III in Hospitality. Jan is currently completing a traineeship within the Child Care industry as well as a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. She completed these whilst also working part time to support herself. Jan participated in the planning and running of Play Group sessions that were provided to the parents and children within their community.

Madeline Wade, 19 of Saltwater River is pursuing her career goals. Madeline completed a 2-year Certificate III in Business at the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority in just seven months. She worked part-time at the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority whilst completing her TCE and Year 12 at the Tasman District School and later completed a Certificate IV in Business. In February 2019 Madeline was also accepted into a Diploma of Nursing through the Health Education and Research Centre, so was studying two qualifications simultaneously for 9 months. She recently accepted a job offer as a Customer Service Officer at the Tasman Council.

Patrick Rosevear, 17 of Rosevears is a hard- working young person actively pursuing experiences that will enable him to gain employment in the field of Agriculture. In 2019 Patrick successfully completed a Certificate II in Agricultural Studies in addition to other senior secondary subjects and previously completed a certificate in Animal Welfare from the Livestock Production Assurance. In 2018 he completed the Emerging Leaders Program conducted by the University of Tasmania and a Worksafe Smartmove safety training in the farming, forestry and fishing module. In 2019 Patrick attended Lilydale District High School farm to gain practical workplace experience.

Brigid Thomson, 21 of Sandy Bay is currently in her third-year of a Bachelor of Social Work with Honours at the University of Tasmania majoring in Psychology and minoring in Behavioural Science. In 2019 Brigid studied an intensive 3-week university course overseas in Positive Psychology and is trained in Mental Health First Aid, Advanced First-Aid and Applied Behavioural Analysis for working with children with autism. Brigid has also completed Group Facilitation Training and a course in Consumer Leadership through Flourish Tasmania. She is currently undertaking a 12-month training course with Lifeline Tasmania in the hope of becoming an accredited Crisis Supporter.


TADPAC Print Service to the Disability Sector Award:

Nicole McKillop, 23 of Margate was diagnosed as legally blind in her early teenage years but didn’t let that stop her. She recently completed a Certificate III in Individual Support, with a Disability Specialisation and currently works as a Residential Support Worker at Hobart City Mission. Nicole also does some work with the Association for Children with a Disability as a Youth Mentor where she will pilot a leadership program involving working with young people with a disability to facilitate empowerment and self-advocacy. Nicole has previously worked with Women with a Disability Australia and volunteered for Riding Develops Ability and Girl Guides Tasmania.

Cody Woulleman, 24 of Rokeby is the senior production supervisor at a Timber Manufacturing Company. He began as an apprentice at 16 years old and now manages all production, oversees 43 employees (33 of which are Supported) and ensures their days are safe, productive and all NDIS requirements are met. Cody was the first young Australian to complete a double apprenticeship in Timber Machinery and Disability Care and did so in just two years. He is currently studying a Business Management course at University and hopes to start his own disability service.

Katie Holmstrom, 25 of Brighton has dedicated her life to helping others. Katie has previously worked for the Strong Families, Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line, The Child Safety Service, and was a Disability Support Worker. In 2015 Katie became a full-time carer for her Father who suffers from early onset dementia whilst also assisting her mother with her health issues. During this time, she was working and completing a Bachelor of Social Work. Katie has had to overcome her own battles with mental illness, being diagnosed with Diabetes, miscarrying and caring for both parents to become the selfless and giving person she is today.

Heidi La Paglia, 26 of Hobart is an advocate for young women with disabilities, like herself. Heidi undertook leadership roles for the Tasmania University Union and National Union of Students where she assisted women with disabilities with their welfare and participation. She worked to assist individuals in accessing the National Disability Insurance Scheme in her roles working for Federal Members of the Australian Labor Party, Senator Carol Brown and the Hon Julie Collins MP. As the Content Officer for Women With Disabilities Australia's virtual centre project, Heidi worked extensively with individuals with disabilities across Australia to develop content for their website 'Our Place’ which was launched in March.


Travel Associates Career Achievement Award:

Julian Cook, 27 of North Hobart is COVA's youngest Business Unit Manager, leading the Hobart Engineering Team to provide creative solutions for complex Commercial, Healthcare and Tourism projects across Tasmania. Julian commenced a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Tasmania and later received an Engineering Summer Research Scholarship. He graduated with honours and became a Graduate Building Services Mechanical Engineer with COVA. In 2017 Julian attended the Australian School of Applied Management 12-month Leadership & Management Course and was the recipient of the Property Council of Australia – Tasmania Future Leader Award. Julian is also the Division President of the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Airconditioning & Heating Engineers.

Shannon Umgeher, 25 of Murdunna is a young and successful entrepreneur. In 2014 he completed his study of residential drafting at TasTAFE, after which he became Store Manager at the Brighton IGA where he managed 23 staff members. During this time he also established and successfully operated his own garden maintenance business. In 2017 Shannon took the next step in his career and became the owner of the Murdunna Roadhouse, a small service station and general store. Since Shannon purchased the business he has been able to expand the building, product line, and services offered, and has single-handedly doubled the business’s stock, customers and sales.

Ashley Evans, 29 of Port Arthur has contributed immensely to building awareness and understanding of agriculture. After completing a Certificate II in Agriculture, Ashley continued her studies by completing a Bachelor of Agriculture through the University of Tasmania. Ashley went on to work as an Extension Officer for RM Consulting Group, working with farmers and other agricultural businesses to improve environmental and business sustainability. In 2017 Ashley began teaching a Certificate II in Agriculture and Certificate II in Horticulture at the Jordan River Learning Federation Farm Campus. In Ashley’s current role at the Tasman District School she has implemented the Food and Fibre curriculum from kindergarten to year 10.

Alice Saul, 29 of Sandford is currently completing her doctorate at the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research, examining the role of diet in Multiple Sclerosis. She has published and presented her work in international journals and conferences, was the sole winner of the Golden Key’s 2018 Asia Pacific Postgraduate Study Award and was awarded an MS Australia Postgraduate Scholarship. Alice is an entrepreneur, founding a successful and sustainable alpaca and sheep wool business and producing an iPhone App called PockStats. The App is an educational tool for scientists was designed to assist students and researchers to understand study designs.