Community & Business

1 February, 2024

Honours for former Mayor, volunteer

A FORMER Mayor and a dedicated volunteer have made the 2024 Australia Day Honours List for outstanding contributions to their community.

Former Mayor of Eacham Shire Council Ray Byrnes was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Former Mayor of Eacham Shire Council Ray Byrnes was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)

Former Mayor of Eacham Shire Council Ray Byrnes was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for a lifetime of serving the community including his eight years in local government. He was a councillor from 2000-2004 and Mayor from 2004-2008.

Mr Byrnes continues to be heavily involved in the Yungaburra community and across the southern Tablelands.

He is currently a member of National Servicemen's Association of Australia, Tablelands Branch, was the inaugural president of the Afghanistan Avenue of Honour Association and is a current committee member and is a member of the Yungaburra Military Commemoration Committee.

His is also a volunteer and member of the Yungaburra Beautification Incorporation and had a hand in bringing the Yungaburra Community Rotunda project to fruition.

He is vice president of Yungaburra Men's Shed since 2022, a member of the Eacham Historic Society, the director of Terrain from 2003-2007, a former member of Yungaburra Sport and Recreation Association. former chairman of the Yungaburra Centenary Celebrations Committee, a member of the Yungaburra Triathlon Committee (2015-2019), and a former president and life member of the Yungaburra Community Association (now Yungaburra Association).

Mr Byrnes has also been passionate about land care, being the former coordinator of the Malanda and Upper Johnstone Landcare Group, former coordinator of the North Johnstone and Lake Eacham Landcare Group, a former member of the Johnstone River Catchment Association, and recently, stood before Tablelands Regional Council to make a plea to save the Pederson Creek walking track.

Yungaburra is also the home of another Medal of the Order of Australia winner in John Compton.

Mr Compton is mostly known for his role in being the coordinator of the Medical Equipment Loan Project which he initiated in 2013.

The loan program services clients across the Far North, as far as the tip of Cape York, with items such as shower chairs, toilet frames, and wheelchairs.

Mr Compton receives second-hand equipment donations from hospitals, nursing homes, and the general public. He also receives monetary donations from community organisations who host fundraising events throughout the year.

For those requiring equipment, Mr Compton does not charge any hire fees – he simply asks for a donation.

In 2022, he provided equipment to 2500 clients.

Mr Compton was also recognised for his contribution to the community of Yungaburra, being a member of the town’s Lions Club since 2008, and a committee member of Malanda Ambulance since 2018.

Mr Compton’s career was with the Queensland CSIRO as a researcher from 1960s-2008.

In 2022, he won the Community Service Award at Tablelands Regional Council’s Australia Day Awards.

Also honoured on Australia Day was Biboohra resident Darren Cleland who received a Public Service Medal for his for outstanding public service to regional and rural communities in Queensland.

Mr Cleland is the executive regional director of the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning.


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