20 October 2016

Father to the fatherless

Posted in Family life / Youth issues

Artist, community role model, father of seven children and foster father to four more, Bowen dad Gary Prior, was recently awarded the 2016 Queensland Father of the Year.

Passionate about teaching his children the value of giving back to the community and educating them about their Indigenous heritage and culture, the doting father and grandfather has dedicated his life to helping young people find their purpose in life.

Described by wife Janeen as a father to the fatherless, Gary is actively engaged in his local community in Bowen, teaching culture and traditional art in schools, mentoring children from broken families, and driving buses for local church youth groups.

He has also run a camp for young men coming out of juvenile detention to help them successfully transition back into society.

Gary’s passion for serving others and being a positive role model in the community has inspired his own children to pursue a life in service to others.

His eldest son is now a Police Liaison Officer in Townsville, while his second eldest is a Sport and Recreational Officer working with troubled children in the local community.

Never one to seek accolades, instead preferring to empower others to achieve greatness, Gary said he hoped to inspire more fathers to get in and support the mothers of their children and teach the next generation that it’s better to give than to receive.

Gary Prior was one of five regional finalists for the state-wide Queensland Father of the Year award.

Hosted by SU QLD, the Queensland Father of the Year award honours outstanding fathers for their exceptional commitment to raising their children, or for their exemplary contribution to the development of children in the community.

Congratulations to Cartia Moore, winner of the Apple iPad, for submitting a nomination and taking out the entrant’s prize.

Thank you to all who nominated father-figures around the state. To read our five regional finalists’ stories, visit qldfatheroftheyear.org.au/winners.

Simeon Lawson


  1. I am deeply touched by reading this story: “Father to the Fatherless” – that is the very heart of God.
    Thank you so much for being a positive role model to every father, not only in Queensland, but around our nation. You are creating a tangible, undeniable and positive legacy for your children and the generations to come. I’m sure every father who reads your story is inspired to attain the standard of excellence you effortlessly model. What greater gift can a parent give their child but a sense of identity and destiny – worth, value and purpose.
    God bless you in your endeavors Gary; your lovely wife Janeen; your marriage, family and ministry to others. May He give you a double portion of blessings to share.
    Warmest regards
    Carolyn Roach – Perth

  2. It is wonderful to read a ‘good news’ story about indigenous people who make a positive and enduring difference. It is especially poignant as it demonstrates that you do not need to be materially wealthy to make your mark and challenges those who have more to do more with what they have.

  3. Very well done Gary Prior. Abundant blessings to you. It is wonderful to see a father whom has achieved much for now, plus the generations to come. Congratulations.

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