Residents honoured on Australia Day

Published 10:05pm 25 January 2024

Residents honoured on Australia Day
Words by Moreton Daily

Story by Nick Crockford and Nadia Chapman

Five residents in the City of Moreton Bay have been recognised in the 2024 Australia Day Honours. Meet our award winners.

Suzanne Bowen OAM

Bribie resident Suzanne Bowen, pictured above, has received a Medal of the Order of Australia for her “service to women and dragon boating”.

Ms Bowen has been heavily involved with paddling and Dragons Abreast for more than 25 years, competing on four continents, holding board positions and volunteer roles.

“I was very surprised when I was told about the award – and overwhelmed,” Sue said.

Ms Bowen was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000 and remembers feeling everything was about what “what you can’t do”, rather than “what I can do”.

In 2001 she joined Brisbane River Dragons (BRD), which had a BCS (breast conserving surgery) team but only three regular paddlers. However, the team grew and in 2002 became “Missabittatitti”.

Having settled into the paddling routine, Ms Bowen then sought a bigger challenge. She trained with BRD and Missabittatitti and competed in club, state, national and international levels.

'What an experience'

In 2002 she went to Rome, with a combined Australian and Canadian team, for the World Club Crew Championships, which was the first event to include a BCS category. “That was a big one. What an experience,” Ms Bowen said.

There were further BCS competitions in New Zealand (2003), Vancouver (2005) and Abreast in Australia where a “sea of pink” took over Caloundra (2007).

In 2010 Ms Bowen went to the World Club Crew Championships in Macau paddling with both the BRD sport team and Missabittatitti BCS team.

There have also been Masters Games, Pan Pac, club regattas, state and national titles, including the Florence (2018) and New Zealand (2023) IBCPC Festival for BCS teams.

Off the water, Ms Bowen became treasurer/finance officer of Dragons Abreast Australia (DAA) in 2001 and helped it gain charity status.

In November 2012 she joined the DAA board and within two months became chairperson until 2017. Ms Bowen was then an advisory panel member until retiring in 2021.

During this time, she also held club roles including treasurer, vice-president and co-ordinator.

'Beautiful Bribie'

Ms Bowen relocated to “beautiful Bribie” in 2012 and became an accredited coach with Bribie Pink Dragons, encouraging and supporting those who wish to “give it a go”.

“Seeing someone come on board and giving it a go is one the biggest rewards,” she said.

Shortly after her diagnosis, Ms Bowen also joined Fenceliners, which was set-up by those who had received a BCS diagnosis to arrange activities.

These included paddling down the Murray River in canoes and cycling round Tasmania raising breast cancer awareness by talking to local groups and media.

Ms Bowen was in the 2004 team which walked 350kms on the Heysen Trail from Kapunda to Cape Jervis in South Australia.

She walked all the night in the first Queensland Cancer Council Relay for Life and from 2002-2012 was a Queensland Cancer Council volunteer supporting those newly diagnosed.

Ken Rogers who has received an OAM

Ken Rogers OAM

Ken Rogers is “a little surprised, but immensely proud and humble” to receive a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

The Banksia Beach resident of 14 years has been recognised for his “service to school sport and to education” in the 2024 Australia Day Honours.

During a long career - which restarted after retiring - Mr Rogers had major roles with Education Queensland, as well as State, Australian and international sports administration positions.

“I’ve had a great life and worked with great people who are as deserving of this as me,” he said, “I really appreciate their support …. and especially that of my wife.”

Mr Rogers has “seen most of Queensland” having spent his primary and secondary school years in Gladstone, before gaining a scholarship to Kelvin Grove and studying at UQ.

He then worked in Ipswich, Rockhampton, back to Ipswich, Gordonvale and Trinity Bay in Cairns, Mt Isa, Toowoomba and Mt Ommaney.

Top program

Six months after retiring he started a consultancy and was asked to review school sport in Victoria.

His response was modelled on school sport in Queensland and all the recommendations were accepted.

“In my opinion, Queensland School Sport is in the top five per cent of school sport organisations in the world,” he said.

“Kids have the opportunity to get involved, no matter what the sport they play.”

Mr Rogers was principal at Gordonvale State High School and then Trinity Bay State High School near Cairns, from 1986-1994.

He became Regional Director, Mount Isa and Darling Downs for Education Queensland from 1995-1997.

Promotion followed to Assistant Director General, Education Queensland, a position Mr Rogers held for 10 years.

He combined much of this time with being vice-president of the International School Sports Federation, Oceania, for 10 years.

Life member

Also chairing Peninsula School Sport from 1990-1994 and then Queensland School Sport, for a decade.

Mr Rogers was a QSport board member for 10 years, president of School Sport Australia from 2003-2011 and patron of Queensland Secondary Schools Rugby League for 20 years.

He is now a Life Member of School Sport Australia, Queensland School Sport and the Queensland Secondary Schools Rugby League.

Mr Rogers other achievements include helping get the Chaplaincy program into schools.

His sporting career included representing Central Queensland at rugby league before moving into touch football. Mr Rogers now plays golf.

Simon Ball who has received the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM)

Simon Ball AFSM

Simon Ball, who lives in Elimbah, has received the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) in the Australia Day Honours.

It recognises more than 40 years’ service in this region, Brisbane, Queensland - and on the other side of the world.

During that time, he has risen from an urban firefighter to station officer, superintendent, Deputy State Commander and is currently Acting Chief Superintendent.

In this region he has been a firefighter in Caboolture and Area Commander based at Pitt Rd, Burpengary

The AFSM citation says Mr Ball’s “commitment to highly professional standards, continuous improvement and operational excellence has been an attribute demonstrated throughout his exemplary career.

“He is an asset to both QFES and the Queensland community.”

'Nice surprise'

Mr Ball said it was a “surprise … a nice surprise” to receive the AFSM after a “long and varied career”.

“I enjoyed my time on the trucks,” he said, “about 10-15 years as a firefighter, working with the crews.

“At the old Caboolture station we had a basic truck and power tools were coming in. Now crews have a fleet of technology tools.

“The job is certainly much broader now.”

Simon Ball started his firefighting career in 1982 in the UK with Hampshire Fire Brigade.

He moved to Australia in 1988 and joined Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) as an auxiliary firefighter at Caboolture.

Two years later Mr Ball became an urban firefighter for a career now spanning 42 years.

Key roles

He served as a station officer in 1998, an inspector from 2008, superintendent in 2012 and have been in his current role as acting chief superintendent since 2021.

As the zone commander of Brisbane Centre Zone and the director of Operations for the Brisbane region, Mr Ball has worked and developed inter-agency relationships with Queensland Police Service, Queensland Ambulance Service, local council and Queensland Urban Utilities.

Mr Ball is a key link with the Brisbane District Disaster Management Group and represents QFES in all aspects of fire and rescue and broader disaster management.

He has been on 11 deployments (most recently in 2022), appointed as QFES liaison officer, incident controller, senior officer, commander, deputy state commander, and team leader.

Mr Ball is currently on long-service leave.

Residents honoured on Australia Day
Dr Helen MacGillivray who has received an AM in the Australia Day Honours

Dr Helen MacGillivray AM

Dr Helen MacGillivray, from Bunya, has received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division.

She is being honoured for significant service to mathematics and statistics education after more than 40 years in the industry.

Helen taught statistics in engineering, science, education, IT, pharmacy, MBA and mathematics majors; sometimes teaching many large classes with up to 600 students.

“My love of statistics and its teaching and communication took me to working with more than 30,000 students, thousands of professionals and officials nationally and internationally, and even the UN,” Helen says.

Helen has received a few awards, including a Distinguished Service award in 1999 from the Statistical Society of Australia, being awarded Finalist in the 2003 Australian Awards for University Teaching and receiving a citation for outstanding contributions to student learning in 2011.


“I consider my greater accomplishments have been as a pioneer and leader in how statistics is viewed and in teaching where it matters—at the frontline,” Helen says.

“Across all my work as counsellor, teacher, professor, discipline leader, centre director, consultant, and across all my professional leaderships and editorial positions, the most exciting aspects have been to make a difference to hundreds of thousands of students across so many disciplines and educational levels.

“It’s both lovely and humbling that people nominated me. I also thank the Order of Australia for their work in honouring Australians across all walks of life.

“I have always loved watching people learn and rejoiced in their strengths and progress. As a grandmother to seven, I hope that they and all their generation enjoy diverse and rich learning and development as their own special individuals.”

Residents honoured on Australia Day
Alan Sparks, who has received an AM in the Australia Day Honours

Alan Sparks AM

Alan Sparks, from Albany Creek, is receiving his second Member of the Order of Australia (AM) this Australia Day.

Alan has been the CEO of East Coast Apprenticeships for more than 25 years and is receiving the award for significant service to apprenticeship and vocational training, and to veterans.

After serving in the Defence Force for 27 years, Alan was awarded his first Medal of the Order of Australia award in 1996 for his contribution to army training.

“It is a great honour to have been awarded a second Member of the Order of Australia (AM) this Australia Day,” Alan says.

“East Coast Apprenticeships was originally established with the support of Redcliffe, Pine Rives and Caboolture Councils.

“Those who know me understand my passion for apprentices, vocational education and training are close to my heart, efforts to support those men and women who served our Nation in the defence forces; and to extend that support to their families.”

'Great honour'

Alan is currently the Program Director of National Apprenticeships Program and the Defence Trade Program, where he uses his knowledge to upskill Australians and support veterans in the transition from defence force personnel to trade career.

“The awarding of this Member of the Order of Australia, AM in the 2024 Australia Day announcements for contributions to apprenticeships, vocational education and training, and veterans is a great honour," he said.

“Every day, I work with extraordinary men and women at East Coast Apprenticeships who are dedicated and passionate about enriching the lives of others. 

This AM is underwritten by their efforts in helping others fulfil their dreams. I salute them for their service.

“A very special thank you to my colleagues at East Coast Apprenticeships and those in my life, especially my family, that have allowed me to contribute.”

Dr Paul Browning OAM

Dr Paul Browning, the former headmaster at St Paul’s School in Bald Hills, has received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

The citation, with the full list of Australia Day Honours, says his OAM is for “service to education”.

Dr Browning was headmaster at St Paul’s from 2008 to last year when the Anglican Schools Commission (ASC) decided not to extend his contract.

It sparked huge protests by students and parents at the school, when news broke in September, with challenging the ASC decision.

Before taking charge at St Paul’s, Dr Browning was founding principal at Burhmann Anglican School in Canberra for 10 years from 1998.

He was a teacher and the early childhood educator at Gib Gate Frensham School from 1990-1998.

Board member

Dr Browning was on the board of the Campbelltown Anglican Schools Commission from 1997-98 and Independent Schools Australia 2005-6.

He was chairman of the Association of Independent School of the ACT from 2003-6 and chairman of the Gungahlin Anglican Church 2005-6

Dr Browning has been an advisory board member for the Department of Business Strategy and Innovation, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, since 2021.

His awards and recognition include School Principal of the Year, Non-Government, Australian Education Awards, 2018 and being on the Hot List influential educators, The Educator magazine, 2017 and 2019.

He is the author of two books and has been a media commentator for print, radio and television.


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