Photo: Charles Knight, nrlphotos.com

Toyota Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston has joined a child protection advocate, a wildlife warrior and an international golf superstar as a contender to become the 2015 Queensland Australian of the Year.

>>> See the finalists at australianoftheyear.org.au

The National Australia Day Council today unveiled the four finalists with the winner, to be announced later this month, becoming the state’s nominee for the Australian of the Year as part of the 2015 Australia Day celebrations.

Nominated as much for his off-field community, reconciliation and mentoring work as his tremendous on-field achievements, JT’s fellow finalists are Hetty Johnston from Braveheart, Terri Irwin from Australia Zoo, and world top-five golfer Adam Scott.

The champion halfback has previously won the NRL’s main off-field award, the Ken Stephen Medal.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said the Australian of the Year awards, which also include Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Local Hero categories, gave an insight into great achievements and sacrifices that take place across the state.

“Among our state finalists are founders of multiple charities, national sporting heroes, leading advocates for social affairs and lifelong community leaders," Mr Newman said.

“Each of these finalists provides us with a unique story of tenacity, reminding us why it's so great to be a Queenslander.”

The winners will be announced at a cocktail reception at the Queensland Museum in Brisbane on 24 October.

They will then join recipients from all other states and territories as finalists for the national awards, which will be held in Canberra on 25 January.

National Australia Day Council CEO Jeremy Lasek, said in total 137 Australians were being recognised as finalists.

"The finalists all embody the Queensland spirit, giving their time, skills and passion to make a difference to others and to make the State and Australia, a better place," he said.

2015 QUEENSLANDER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS

  • Terri Irwin AM – conservationist (Sunshine Coast)
  • Hetty Johnston AM – child safety campaigner (Brisbane)
  • Adam Scott – sportsman and youth advocate (Gold Coast)
  • Johnathan Thurston – sportsman and reconciliation ambassador (Townsville)