Queensland award winners

David Elliott OAM, co-founder of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History.

The Reverends Robyn and Dr Lindsay Burch, Founders of Havafeed Relief, have been named the 2024 Senior Australians of the Year for Queensland at a ceremony in Brisbane on 8 November.

Sixty-six year old David Elliott OAM also featured in this year’s awards. David, the co-founder of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History, is the 2024 Local Hero for Queensland.

The Queensland recipients will now join those from the other states and territories for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2024.

Reverend Robyn and Reverend Dr Lindsay Burch’s not-for-profit organisation Havafeed Relief has fed more than one million people.

The couple started Havafeed in 1994 with a van and donated loaves of bread. It’s now a regular fixture at the Mermaid Beach Community Centre.

Six days a week, visitors can enjoy a hot meal, pick up a hamper, connect with others or talk with a local support service if they need help.

Robyn (72) and Lindsay (75) have dedicated their retirement years to Havafeed. They start before dawn to make sure they have enough food and volunteers for each day’s work.

The organisation receives no funding and relies entirely on donations from the community. The couple have never asked for wages, often using their own funds to keep their work afloat.

Havafeed Relief currently provides more than 300 meals a week and has raised almost $2 million in donations over the last 30 years.

David Elliott OAM, co-founder of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History, is the 2024 Local Hero for Queensland.

David Elliott’s chance discovery of a dinosaur fossil during routine sheep mustering in 1999 led to the revival of Australia’s palaeontology field – and the creation of a palaeo-tourism industry that put outback Queensland on the map.

David’s initial fossil discovery was followed by others. As palaeontologists began to return to the region to investigate, David and his wife Judy founded the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History in 2002 as a not-for-profit charity.

The Museum first operated on the couple’s property, where they conducted dinosaur digs and built an impressive collection of fossils. Later, it was moved onto donated land. Today, it houses Australia’s most significant collection of fossils from the country’s largest dinosaurs. A major tourist attraction, it serves as a centre for Australian paleontological research and discovery in Australia.

National Australia Day Council CEO Mark Fraser AO CVO congratulated the Queensland recipients.

“The award recipients for Queensland reflect the values of the Australian of the Year awards – inspiration, excellence and positive citizenship – they are people all Queenslanders can be proud of,” said Mark.

Acting Premier of Queensland Steven Miles said these national awards exemplify outstanding Queenslanders, from all walks of life, and recognise their incredible achievements.

“The recipients have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to Queensland and Australia, and their tireless efforts and dedication to making positive change and improving the lives of others.

“Congratulations to the recipients and all of the nominees for their great work in our communities and for making a positive difference for Queenslanders.”

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