GAMAA Judge, Robert Ryan, Mackay Regional Council with Mark Richardson, Cairns RSL Sub-branch accepting an award on behalf of Craig Maher – Winner of Individuals: Volunteer category. Photo: Blueclick Photography, courtesy of M&G QLD.




Craig Maher headshot
Craig Maher. Courtesy of Cairns RSL Sub-branch.

Craig Maher
Volunteer, Cairns RSL Sub-branch – Kokoda Hall Museum

Since commencing as a volunteer for the Cairns RSL Sub-Branch Kokoda Hall Museum after discharging from the Royal Australian Navy in 2011, Craig has made an outstanding contribution towards improving the material state of Museum exhibits, initiating and implementing new displays, and sourcing new items of memorabilia. His contributions, enthusiasm and vision have combined to establish him as a role model for his fellow Museum volunteers and has inspired them to undertake further ground-breaking initiatives.

Craig has contributed to raising the standards of practice of the Kokoda Hall Museum, and some of his notable achievements in enhancing Museum exhibits and creating new displays include:

  • Refurbishment of over 100 Military crests and remounting on dedicated display boards which he manufactured;
  • Construction and installation of cabinets for weapons in a dedicated collection for display;
  • Sourcing of historically significant uniforms and cleaning and refurbishment of the uniforms for display;
  • Construction of a mezzanine storage area by reinforcing the roof of the Museum’s Vietnam War exhibit “Bob’s Bunker”, with an authentic façade for “Bob’s Bunker”;
  • Sourcing funding for a 1/50 scale model of Cairns-based Attack Class Patrol Boat HMAS Barricade … to name a few.

The outcomes that Craig has delivered have originated from his innovative approach and strategic vision for the direction of the Museum. His ideas have been underpinned by specific themes relevant to the history of Cairns’ important role in the defence of the nation. He has demonstrated exemplary professionalism in delivering outcomes that add value to the Museum’s collection.

Craig is a valuable asset to the organisation.


Matthew Jackson
GAMAA Judge, Robert Ryan, Mackay Regional Council with Matthew Jackson, Cassowary Coast Regional Council – Finalist of Individuals: Volunteer category. Photo: Blueclick Photography, courtesy of M&G QLD.

Matthew Jackson
Volunteer, Cassowary Coast Regional Council

Matthew is recognised for his contribution and commitment to preserving and sharing the history of Cardwell to locals and visitors to Cardwell. He has volunteered his time at the Cardwell Visitor Information & Heritage Centre since 2012, and has presented a number of displays focusing on the modern history of the region.

In January 2019, Matthew presented a display entitled Era of Crime which showcased three prominent local crime stories from the 1920s and 1930s, and highlighted the Italian gangster folklore of Far North Queensland. This project allowed Matthew to showcase his research skills and his interest in modern history, and provided an opportunity for him to present his work to the community. 

In March 2019, Matthew presented a display, Here Lies A Japanese Pearl Diver, which showcased one of the local resident’s kindness in restoring a grave marker on Gould Island which was set there to honour the Japanese Pearl Divers who lost their lives during the 1918 Cyclone. As part of the display, Matthew invited the local primary school children to display Japanese origami art as a gesture to the Guest of Honour, the Consul General of Japan. Matthew further developed his research and public speaking skills through working on and presenting these displays.

The success of Matthew’s displays in attracting audiences at the opening nights, in garnering media attention, and increasing numbers to the heritage precinct, has inspired other volunteers to create and curate their own displays focusing on their own topics of interest of Far North Queensland history. 

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