Western Queensland has long known the late Butch Lenton was one of the state’s great citizens, and now the rest of Australia knows that too.
Joining other posthumous awardees, Eddie Mabo and Steve Irwin, the former Winton mayor was on Friday night named a Queensland Great for his role in shaping Queensland.
Speaking at a ceremony at the Queensland Art Gallery, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Graham “Butch” Lenton had received the posthumous award for his unwavering commitment to Winton, and his lasting legacy to the region.
“The region of Winton is a better place because of Butch. His vision and passion for his community will continue to inspire us all,” she said. “On behalf of all Queenslanders, thank you to the 2018 Queensland Greats recipients for your role in shaping Queensland.”
The Queensland Greats Awards, now in its 18th year, recognises the efforts and achievements of extraordinary people for their remarkable contribution to the history and development of the state.
Butch is the third mayor to be named a Queensland Great in 18 years – the other two are Brisbane lord mayors, Clem Jones and Sallyanne Atkinson.
Other well-known Greats include Wally Lewis, Rod Laver, Geoffrey Rush, Deborah Mailman and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Butch Lenton spent more than 20 years on the Winton Shire Council, pursuing his unique vision for the region in which he was born and raised.
He had a strategic vision for the Winton community, including the rebuilding of the Waltzing Matilda Centre and the introduction of geothermal power to the region.
When the original Waltzing Matilda Centre was destroyed by fire in 2015, Butch was determined to build a newer and better centre for that part of Australia’s heritage.
He worked tirelessly to secure funding for the rebuild of the iconic museum and to highlight its importance to the nation’s tourism industry.
The centre reopened on April 20 and will be powered by geothermal energy, another of Butch’s legacies to the state.
The five 2018 individual Queensland Greats were: founder of Woodfordia, William (Bill) Hauritz AM; equality activist, Gail Ker OAM; education and heritage advocate, Associate Professor Henrietta Marrie AM; Queensland baseball legend, David Nilsson and pioneering parenting academic, Professor Matthew Sanders FASSA.
This year’s institution award was presented to the St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland.
“Tonight, we acknowledge six extraordinary individuals and one institution who have inspired us through their exemplary work, and passion to go above and beyond,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“All of these Queenslanders are great in every sense of the word. They have made a profound and sustained difference in their respective sector—differences that have reverberated across the state, and will leave a lasting and positive impact on many Queenslanders.”
Queensland Greats are honoured with commemorative plaques displayed proudly at Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane.
More about these awards and previous recipients is available here.