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Volunteer spotlight: Gillian Bann

20 May 2022

This week is National Volunteer Week, Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of community sport and recreation, and their dedication and commitment to help others is truly inspiring.

We’d like to celebrate Queensland’s volunteers and shine a spotlight on Gillian Bann, Yarrabah Junior Rugby League Club President and volunteer superstar!

Gillian has been volunteering in the rugby league community for 36 years and last year was awarded the QRL Female Contribution and NRL Woman in League awards for her contribution to rugby league in her community of Yarrabah.

As a descendent of the Gunggandji tribe of the Guru-Gulu and Guru-Buna clans, for Gillian, being a President of a Junior Rugby League club is more than a position at the club. Gillian is the lynchpin for the club, a mother-figure to many children and families and a strong advocate for rugby league as well as her local Indigenous community located 50 kilometres south-east of Cairns.

Gillian showed that one person can make a difference. In 2019 the club was unable to field any competitive teams but through her dedication, love, hard work, patience and determination, eight club teams played in the Cairns District Junior Rugby League competition in 2021, and Yarrabah Junior Rugby League Club had the highest number of female registrations in Far North Queensland.

In recognition of her tireless work, the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council has recently named the female facilities which is currently being constructed at Jilara Oval in Yarrabah in her honour.

Without Gillian Bann, rugby league in Yarrabah wouldn’t be where it is today, and we applaud her for her tireless efforts and commitment to the sport.