The 2015 Queensland Father of the Year is:
Australia’s worst injured survivor of the 2002 Bali Bombing, Ben Tullipan, lost both of his legs and sustained significant burns to 63% of his body. Despite being just five metres from the van which housed the bomb, Ben survived, even after medical professionals initially believed he was too injured to survive.
Eager to rehabilitate, Ben began to play golf which helped develop his balance, co-ordination and stability, all skills he would need to regain his independence. Never one to focus on himself, Ben soon began volunteering with the Queensland Amputee Golf Association. It was not long before Ben was President of the association. In this role, he has worked tirelessly to encourage and motivate fellow amputees, many of whom are also fathers, to regain their self-worth and build friendships with one another.
While Ben’s passion for helping others is evident, his greatest passion in life is his family. He is an active and caring father to his two children. Wife, Kerrie, will attest that he is a prominent part of his children’s lives; driving them to school and after-school sports; walking them to class; attending awards ceremonies and sports carnivals; and being their biggest supporters.
2015 Southern Queensland Father of the Year: Graham Andrews
2015 Sunshine Coast / Wide Bay Queensland Father of the Year: Robbie Radel
2015 Brisbane South Queensland Father of the Year: Ron Longhurst
2015 South East Queensland Father of the Year: Ben Tullipan
2015 Central Queensland Father of the Year: Stephen Gellatly
2015 North Queensland Father of the Year: Andrew Holden
The 2014 Queensland Father of the Year is:
Father of four, Andrew Butwell, was left a paraplegic after an alleged assault in November 2006. Despite this dreadful situation, Andrew continued in his fatherly duties. Acting as a single parent, he had the full responsibility of running the home and nurturing his children. Within six months of his assault, Andrew returned to part-time work, and was back working fulltime 12 months after his injuries. In 2012, he earned his Masters of Mental Health Nursing.
2014 Sunshine Coast & Wide Bay Father of the Year: Darren Geissler
2014 Southern Queensland Father of the Year: Peter Beasley
2014 Gold Coast & Logan Father of the Year: Damien Hobson
2014 Northern Queensland Father of the Year: Murray Pearce
2014 Central Queensland Father of the Year: Kelly Major
2014 Metro South Father of the Year: Greg Johnson
2014 Metro North Father of the Year: Andrew Butwell
The 2013 Queensland Father of the Year
Neil Thomson is a father to eight, grandfather to 10, and foster dad to more than 100 children, including two permanent foster children. As well as being a father-figure to many, this inspirational dad has also the fulltime carer of his wife, who is battling chronic kidney disease and cancer. Neil runs a busy household, taking the children to athletics and cheerleading, while still remaining by his wife’s bedside when she regularly travels to Brisbane for treatment.
2013 Southern Queensland Father of the Year: Shane Hattersley
2013 Sunshine Coast / Wide Bay Queensland Father of the Year: Brent Crosby
2013 Brisbane South Queensland Father of the Year: Matthew Ames
2013 Gold Coast / Logan Queensland Father of the Year: Rod Gordon-Smith
2013 Brisbane North Queensland Father of the Year: Aleem Ali
2013 Central Queensland Father of the Year: Gary Hill
2013 North Queensland Father of the Year: Neil Thomson
The 2012 Queensland Father of the Year
Mark has 8 children, between 15 and 32, two of whom suffer from cystic fibrosis. Five years ago, Mark became a single dad, but his children say he’s always made them feel like they’re a family, in it together.
Mark runs a successful landscaping business, and every day comes home to cook dinner, care for the two kids who suffer from CF, and look after the household.
Both children suffering from CF require two to three hours of physio and treatment each day, and there can never be a day off.
Everyone who knows him says that Mark always puts his children first, and the closeness and warmth of the family is testament to his selfless example.
Mark’s children have a strong sporting connection, involved in rugby and touch footy competitions on a national level.
Mark lives by the philosophy that every day is a new day, with a new set of challenges. “The sun comes up every morning”, he says, and life needs to be faced head-on.
Congratulations to Mark, a truly worthy winner of the title “Queensland Father of the Year”!
We would also like to congratulate Andrew Clarke and Dale Dowler, our 2012 finalists.
2011 Queensland Father of the Year
The founder of ‘Fathering Adventures’ in Townsville, Mr Darren Lewis, was today named Queensland Father of the Year.
The Townsville resident and father of four boys aged between 17 and eight has helped hundred of fathers across the state with his widely recognised fatherhood program since 2008, as well as being a regular speaker at community groups, conferences and on the radio.
‘Fathering Adventures’ is an adventure-based social enterprise designed to reconnect and strengthen the bond between fathers and children.
Mr Lewis was surprised and thrilled to receive the award.
“It’s surreal – I honestly didn’t expect to win with so many worthy dads here today,” he said.
“Just being nominated for this meant the world to me, and I still can’t really believe this has happened.”
Five other fathers were in the running for the award, including a long-serving paramedic and a former UN Peacekeeper.
Mr Clive Bird was among six others who nominated Mr Lewis for the award.
“He is a wonderful father to his boys and a great leader and inspiration to fathers generally. I believe that I am a better father because of the influence of this man,” Mr Bird said.
Mr Lewis’s four sons Brandon, 17, Isaac, 14, Joseph, 11, and Theo, eight, all play a role in running the organisation.
Nominations for the Queensland Father of the Year Award were received across six different regions around the state.
The award recognises fathers who have made an outstanding contribution to their family and community.
The overall Queensland Father of the Year winner was announced at a special presentation luncheon in Brisbane this afternoon.
Darren and his family have won a five night holiday package with Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove.
The Queensland Father of the Year Award has been hosted by Scripture Union Queensland for the last three years, and was this year sponsored by Smith & Sons.
Tim Mander, CEO of SU QLD, said “The role of fathers in today’s society is often undervalued. SU QLD is thrilled to be able to help recognise such a great father, a man who has made a real difference in his family and his community.”
2011 Regional Winners
2011 Brisbane Father of the Year: Steven Richardson
2011 Central Queensland Father of the Year: Cheyenne Edwards
2011 Gold Coast Father of the Year: Stephen Pasfield
2011 North West Queensland Father of the Year: Darren Lewis
2011 South West Queensland Father of the Year: Adam Kitching
2011 Sunshine Coast & Wide Bay Father of the Year: Roger Lehmann
2010 Queensland Father of the Year
Mr Woods and his wife, Janine, have five children at home aged 10 months to 6 years. Four are aboriginal foster children. Mr Woods and his wife say their aim is to provide a safe, loving environment for their young foster children.
He is active in the local little athletics club and swimming club. He and his wife are members of a local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island parent group.
Mr Woods works as a cleaner at Gladstone State High School and has recently taken on a role in the school tuckshop. He was nominated for the award by the Gladstone State High School Chaplaincy Committee.
Mr Woods said he found the award overwhelming. “I find it hard to believe,” he said. “It’s very rewarding being a parent and a lot of hard work.
“I have a great wife, great family and a great support network. I love to see the kids reach milestones and see them grow.
“For me every day is Father’s Day. The reward for me is that my kids love me. That’s all I ask for.”
2010 Regional Winners
2010 Brisbane Father of the Year: David Howell
2010 Central Queensland Father of the Year: Nathan Woods
2010 Far North Queensland Father of the Year: Kerry Eaton
2010 Gold Coast Father of the Year: Sam Barnaba
2010 North West Queensland Father of the Year: Mal McQueen
2010 South West Queensland Father of the Year: James Poole
2010 Sunshine Coast & Wide Bay Father of the Year: Alan McMullen
2009 Queensland Father of the Year
Mr Baldry has 15 adopted or foster children and eight grandchildren. And if raising 15 children isn’t challenging enough, Richard has been a paraplegic since he was 19 through an accident at work. Richard works with intellectually disabled people and, as a qualified leatherworker, he teaches men leatherwork at a local rehabilitation centre.
His daughter, Samantha, fostered to the family as an 11-month old baby, nominated him for the 2009 Queensland Father of the Year.
“Dad’s given me a second chance to progress in life,” she said. “He’s taught me life skills and given me the confidence to be a young lady.”
2009 Regional Winners
2009 Brisbane Father of the Year: Gordon Kelly
2009 Central Queensland Father of the Year: Merv Brown
2009 Far North Queensland Father of the Year: Ben Mitchell.
2009 Gold Coast Father of the Year: Craig Donovan.
2009 North West Queensland Father of the Year: Drew Pemberton.
2009 South West Queensland Father of the Year: Scott Petrie
2009 Sunshine Coast & Wide Bay Father of the Year: Richard Baldry.
Other Recent Winners
Recent past winners of Queensland Father of the Year include:
Dr Kevin Rosengren, founder of a Brisbane mining engineering consultancy
Dr. John Quayle, chairman of the Queensland cochlear implant program
Wayne Bennett, NRL coach of the St George-Illawarra Dragons and past Brisbane Broncos coach.