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• Cr Mark Edwards with Margaret Broome and Conchita Maulguet.

Australia Day on the islands was a huge success with islanders out in force celebrating our national day.

Beaches, clubs and pubs were busy and packed and definitely a good time was had by all.

On the Bay Islands the focus was on Sandy Beach and the Bay Islands Australia Day awards.

What a great event this was with sailing and kayaking events along with the traditional cricket match and thong throwing and music thrown in.

The highlight of the event was the announcement of the island Australia Day Awards.

This year the main Bay Islander of the Year Award went to Russell Island resident Margaret Broome. Margaret is a long time resident of the islands and recently made the generous donation of a large section of her property off Canaipa Road to the community via the Redland City Council.

It will be developed into a community park with walks and seating and expansive water views to the north and east.

Margaret was appreciative of the award, and congratulated the organisers on a wonderful day.

The Senior Bay Islander of the Year went to Conchita Maulguet. Conchita, originally from Spain, who has lived on Macleay Island for 20 years and has been a dedicated volunteer for most of those years involving first aid as a First Responder, a Blue Care volunteer, a big role with the Bay Islander Bloomers and more recently as the secretary of Club Macleay in a voluntary capacity making a huge contribution to that organisation, a position from which she has recently retired.

In her acceptance speech, Conchita urged her fellow islanders to become volunteers.

“It is one of the best things you can ever do,” she said.

The Young Bay Islander of the year is young sailor Mara Stravinsky. Mara lives and does much of her sailing just up the road from Sandy Beach on Russell Island. She has been selected in an Australia elite sailing group and has potential to be a future Australia representative.

Mara did not attend the day because of her training commitments.

A surprise addition to the awards held at Sandy Beach was a special additional award to event organiser, Steve Morgan.

The Friendly Bay Islander produced and presented the special award for an Outstanding Community Contribution.

The announcement was loudly acclaimed by the many who attended the presentations.

Steve Morgan said he was ‘dumbstruck’ at the award and was most appreciative.

The awards were sponsored by Cr Mark Edwards and The Friendly Bay Islander.

Cr Edwards made the presentations of the awards and medals to event winners on the day.

He said:” What an outstanding day this has become. It is a wonderful location and I thank the organisers Steve Morgan and Bob Turner along with the Sandy Beach Kayak and Sailing Club, and the Friendly Bay Islander. This is now an iconic island event,” he said.